Bournemouth Pier

What is the missing ingredient in your online marketing?

Relationship Marketing

The business world is ever changing. It’s hard to keep pace. Yet, for businesses wanting to promote their products or services online there has never been a time where it’s been possible to reach so wide and so far. We have the potential for more connections and more opportunities than ever before.

So what next?

With all of these new possibilities, it is very easy to get caught up in technique and technology and forget that at the end of any promotional communication we make there will be a person. That person is also more empowered than they have ever been. They too have more connections. They have more choice and therefore as a buyer they can be more independent and ignorant of your online marketing messages.

Yet, there is a secret sauce, a special elixir that will give your online marketing an extra dimension and added spice and make your marketing much more effective.

Actually, to be truthful, it’s not really a secret and in case you think it’s the next new thing to hook your marketing into, it’s not new either. BUT, it is very important!

What is it?


Yes, that’s it. Was that disappointing to you? I’m sorry to let you down. When you read the headline to this article, were you perhaps a little optimistic, expecting to be given an inside track on something new to keep you a step ahead of the field?

Like I said, it’s not new. In fact, relationship been around since the beginning of time, but actually it is something that is badly missing from a lot of today’s online marketing. So, maybe, in terms of something to keep you a step ahead of your competitors, this is your missing ingredient.

We are hard wired

Relationship is in our DNA. It’s an essential part of the way we are made. We are hard wired for relationship.

Almost everything we do involves relationship in some way. Just think about your day so far. Whether you have been at home, in the office, out at the shopping centre, surfing the web or checking social media, you have almost certainly been making connections or having conversations.

Yes, of course, those connections and conversations have been on different levels. In terms of defining them as relational, some may have been close, some more distant, some even remote, but each connection you make, every conversation you are engaged in, involves you in relationship at some level and in some shape or form.

How do you feel?

Whether we realise it or not, the output of every relational connection we make provokes an emotional response in us.

How did the last one make you feel? Happy, sad, optimistic, pessimistic, confident, discouraged, frustrated, supported? Insert your own list here…

But how does all of this relate to business and in particular, how you can better market your business online?

Customer Service because customers care

In an age where consumers buying power is probably more powerful than it has ever been, a lot of marketing is focused on competitive pricing. However, a survey conducted by Oracle of 1400 online European shoppers found that 81% (that’s 4 out of every 5 people) would be willing to pay more for better customer experience.

The fact is customers care. It matters to customers, even when online, how they feel. As a result, many larger brands today have dedicated customer service departments. They have learned that customers care and what customers say and do as a result of their engagement with that company can impact their future business.

But a lot of times customer service is seen as what happens after an event, it’s retrospective, maybe dealing with how a problem is resolved. That’s not to say that isn’t important. Of course it is, but what about before the customer even came on the horizon, when in sales terms they were just a prospect? That sounds kind of cold, doesn’t it, and where is the relationship in that?

Building customer relationship into your online marketing

Just because a potential customer is remote, even a speck on our marketing horizon that doesn’t mean we should be disengaged in the way we try to reach them. In fact, with the Internet and social media, much of a customer’s connection with our business will come long before any direct connection with them. So, the better we can make that, the more relational in a postive way it is for that customer, the better it will be.

People buy from people, they know, like and trust.

That’s a saying I have heard a lot. No doubt, it’s been around a long time, but as a principle, it’s been around since trade began and it’s something that should be woven into the way we market our business online.

Opinions matter

As people we are quick to form opinions. There’s a saying that we should always trust our first impression. Whether we can genuinely always trust that, I’m not so sure. If we are truthful our first impressions of someone are often wrong, but in business, perhaps most often with our marketing, we only get one chance to influence the opinion a customer makes of us. It’s true that you never get a second chance to form a good first impression.

So, with our online marketing, it’s through the way we communicate with customers that they form an impression about our business and the seed of their relationship with us is sown. What will that mean for your business?

How does your marketing communication make your potential customers feel?