The 3 R’s of Relationship Marketing

Posted on September 23, 2014. Filed under: Business, Business Development, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , , , |

The 3 R's of Relationship MarketingIn my previous post, How to Grow Your Business with Relationship Marketing, I defined Relationship Marketing as the activities involved in building a greater connection with your clients, prospects and partners.  This strong connection often leads to the sale of products or services, and also increases loyalty to your brand or company.

The benefits of using Relationship Marketing strategies in your business include the following 3 R’s:

  1. Referral Business-  Referral business can be one of the best ways to get business, because a referral basically comes with an endorsement from the person who is doing the referring.  A great source of referrals comes from current clients, partners, and even your prospects, so building a strong relationship with your clients, prospects, and partners becomes vital for your business.  In order for someone to feel comfortable referring you, they must know, like and trust you.  When you use online relationship marketing strategies including, email, blogging, social media, etc., these activities help people to get to know you, like you and trust you, which in turn gives them confidence in referring your products or services to others.  Referrals can be a great source of new business and can be a large percentage of where you get your business from, so nurturing your relationships with relationship marketing is a great way to grow your business through referrals.
  2. Repeat Business–  Once a person becomes your customer by purchasing a product or a service, your next goal should be to stay top of mind so that they will purchase that product or service again if they need it, or they will consider your company for other products or services that they may need.  That’s why conducting relationship marketing with your current customers by practicing activities to nurture the relationship and stay top of mind will help with getting repeat business from your current customers.  Some relationship marketing strategies you can use for current customers include; Customer Appreciation Events, Sending Cards on special occassions including: Birthdays, Holidays, Anniversaries, Offering VIP discounts for current customers, etc.
  3. Retain Business–  It tends to be more expensive to get a new customer than it is to retain the customers that you have, so it is important to nurture the relationships that you have with your current customers to make sure that you keep their business.  Some relationship marketing strategies to retain business include, showing appreciation for their business by sending “Thank You” cards, making follow-up calls to make sure they are satisfied with the service they have received or are receiving from your company, providing an excellent customer experience.  The customer experience includes pre-purchase, during purchasing, and post purchase.  How are you making sure that each step is a good encounter for your customer?

Are you using Relationship Marketing strategies to retain business and get repeat and referral business?  What are some other relationship marketing strategies you can use to grow your business?

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How to pick an Email Marketing Service Provider

Posted on January 15, 2014. Filed under: Email Marketing, Marketing, Small Business | Tags: , , , , , |

Are you using email marketing for your business?
Are you trying to decide what email marketing service provider to use?

Blog Image- How-to-Pick-an-EmailIf you are using email marketing for your business, or you are considering using email marketing, you have probably found out that there are hundreds maybe even thousands of email marketing service providers out there.  So how do you decide which one is right for you? It would be impossible for me to mention them all in this post, so I have narrowed it down to the top three that seem to be at the top of everyone’s list; MailChimp, Constant Contact, and AWeber.  Based on the popularity of these companies, I decided to do a post that compares these companies on customer base, price and product features.

MailChimp

MailChimp has the largest customer base with over 4,000,000 customers according to their website.  I suspect that their large customer base may have to do with the fact that they have a “Forever Free” product that allows small businesses to use their product and several of the main features for free as long as they don’t have more than 2,000 subscribers.  In addition, if someone opted to upgraded to a paid account, MailChimp  has the lowest priced monthly package of the three companies at $10/month.

Another advantage MailChimp has over the other Email Marketing Services providers is that they have several great features like automated list segmentation.  Their system allows you to segment your email list based on several already defined factors that you can select or adjust (i.e. member rating, subscriber activity, location, etc.).  MailChimp is also great if you want to upload an unlimited amount of images to use in your email.  Constant Contact and Aweber have limitations on the amount of images you can upload to their systems or the storage size available for the images you upload.

MailChimp also offers the following features that neither Constant Contact or Aweber offer:

  • Event Triggered Autoresponders–  this allows you to send a follow-up email to someone based on an action they have taken within your email.
  • A/B Testing–  this gives you the option of testing elements of your email campaign to see which one works better via A/B testing.
  • Inbox Preview–  this offers you the ability to preview your email and see how it looks over various email providers like gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.

Constant Contact

Constant Contact is in the middle of the three companies with over 500,000 customers according to their website.  They are also in the middle with price.  They offer a 60-day FREE trial option, and their lowest priced package after the trial period is $15/month.  One of the features that stands out with the Constant Contact email marketing product is the fact that they offer you an extensive Contact Management System that allows you to treat your list as not just subscribers, but contacts in which you can add additional information on each contact like the person’s phone number, address, special notes, social networks, etc. making the system more of a type of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) instead of just a list of subscribers.  Constant Contact also offers its customers direct access to quality stock images to use in their email, but there is an additional cost for this feature.

In addition, although email marketing is their main product, Constant Contact offers a suite of solutions for small business owners (at an additional cost).  Allowing you to create a dashboard of online marketing tools that complement your email marketing product.  These tools include:

  • EventSpot-  A tool to help you manage events online
  • Social Campaigns–  A tool to help you grow your fans on social media
  • SaveLocal–  Allows you to create offer deals to send to your customers
  • Online Surveys–  Online Surveys, Polls, & Questions to get your customers feedback
  • And more…

Constant Contact also offers a lot of support.  Depending on where you are located, Constant Contact offers many local FREE workshops and seminars to help educate the community about email marketing.  Another great feature that Constant Contact offers is FREE coaching for its customers and phone-based customer service.

AWeber

AWeber comes in at the lower end as far as amount of customers served with over 120,000 customers according to their website.  AWeber does not offer a free option or free trial, but does offer the first 30 days for $1.  After the first 30 days the lowest priced package is $19/month.  As far as features, an outstanding feature that is include in the AWeber email marketing system is  the ability to convert your blog post into an email newsletter with the click of a button (MailChimp also offers this feature).  AWeber also claims to offer some of the best email delivery rates in the business.

AWeber also offers customer service via phone 7 days a week (Constant Contact also offers phone support).

So the key takeaway from this analysis is you have to figure out what features are most important to you and select the company that has those important features!

Please see the chart below for a full comparison:

MailChimp Constant Contact AWeber
Customers Over 4,000,000 Over 500,000 Over 120,000
FREE Option Forever Free 60-day Trial No (first month for $1)
Lowest Priced Package $10/month $15/month $19/month
Features of Lowest Priced Packages:
Subscribers 0-500 0-500 0-500
Emails per Month Unlimited Unlimited Unlimited
List Features:
Contact Management System Limited YES NO
List Segmentation Available YES YES-  Limited YES
Sign-up Forms YES YES YES
Geolocation YES NO YES
Email Features:
Customizable Email Templates YES YES YES
Image Hosting Unlimited Limited
(Up to 5 images)
Unlimited
(Up to 10 MB)
Access to additional Stock Images YES-  via APP Additional Cost
($5/month)
NO
Drag & Drop Editing YES YES YES
Mobile Responsive Email Templates Available YES YES YES
Autoresponder Emails YES-  New Subscribers and Event based Limited-  New Subscribers Only Limited-  New Subscribers Only
A/B Testing YES NO NO
Inbox Preview for various Email Providers (i.e. gmail, yahoo, aol, etc.) YES NO NO
Integration Features:
APP & Integration YES YES YES
RSS/Blog Integration YES NO YES
Social Media Features:
Share Email with Your Social Networks YES YES YES
Social Follow Buttons YES YES YES
Social Share Buttons YES YES YES
Reporting/Archive Features:
Campaign Archives YES Additional Cost YES
Reports YES YES YES
Google Analytics Integration YES YES YES
Customer Service:
Phone Customer Service NO-  Text or Chat Only YES YES

All information in this posts is based on information on the email marketing service provider’s website or obtained after talking to a representative from the company.  Features are based on current (January 2014) information.

Disclosure:  I have used both Constant Contact and MailChimp for my clients.  I have not used AWeber.  Although I like to feel that my analysis is not bias, I believe it is important to mention that I am a Solutions Provider for Constant Contact.

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