Implementing a solid relationship marketing strategy is crucial for Shopify brands to gain repeat customers. December offers many opportunities to do just that!
Table of contents
- ☑️What is a relationship marketing strategy?
- ☑️Goal of a relationship marketing strategy
- ☑️Importance of consistent relationship marketing
- ☑️7 Benefits of relationship marketing
- ☑️8 Components of a winning strategy
- ☑️New opportunities
- ☑️Relationship marketing strategy ideas for December
- ☑️Relationship marketing case studies
- ☑️Boost your holiday campaign
- ☑️Web3 loyalty
What is a relationship marketing strategy?
Relationship marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on building long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with customers. It is often focused on customer retention and satisfaction. Relationship marketing is regarded as an essential component of customer relationship management.
Goal of a relationship marketing strategy
The ultimate goal of relationship marketing is to cultivate a community of engaged customers, which ultimately results in higher customer lifetime values with more customers. By building relationships with your customers, you can foster loyalty and trust. The quality of the connections with current and prospective customers is the key to long-term success in business. But it’s easier said than done. You can’t force customers to like you - you have to earn their trust and loyalty through real, meaningful connections. Only then can a vibrant community of engaged customers be grown.
Importance of consistent relationship marketing
One of the best ways to earn trust and loyalty is by implementing relationship marketing strategies. It’s important to note that relationship marketing isn’t a one-and-done. It’s a long-term strategy that requires consistent effort. You can’t expect to implement a few relationship marketing tactics and then disappear. Customers will quickly lose interest if you don’t follow up with them. That’s why it’s important to make relationship marketing a year-round effort.
7 Benefits of relationship marketing
There are many benefits to relationship marketing. Here’s an in-depth overview of 7 benefits of relationship marketing:
☑️Growth in customer loyalty
☑️Higher customer lifetime value
☑️Improved operational efficiency
☑️Increased amount of word-of-mouth
☑️Reduction in marketing and advertising spend
Customers who are happy with your brand and are loyal to your business are likely to spend more with you. Therefore, this is also the type of audience most susceptible to a post-purchase upsell. Relationship marketing can help you build the right connections with your customers to increase sales.
Growth in customer loyalty
A strong relationship with your customers can lead to greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. This is particularly true when you can meet their needs and solve their problems. Happy customers are more likely to stay with and recommend your brand. By leveraging one of the different types of loyalty programs for e-commerce, customer loyalty can be encouraged even more.
Practicing effective relationship marketing means that the entire team, or business, needs to be onboard. Emphasizing relationship marketing throughout an entire organization ensures that there is a stronger organizational alignment around the customer, ensuring a customer-centric approach not only in marketing but in all areas.
"The probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%" - Markinblog
Improved operational efficiency
Stronger relationships with your customers can also lead to improved operational efficiency. Customers who are satisfied with your brand are less likely to complain or make demands on your company. This can help you save time and money that would otherwise be spent handling complaints and resolving issues.
Higher customer lifetime value
Growth in customer loyalty is the first step to reaching the status of brand insistence with your loyal customers. Once you’ve accomplished this, your brand has the potential to stay connected with the customer for a lifetime, increasing the customer lifetime value.
Increased amount of word-of-mouth
Loyal customers are to be cherished, as they are most likely to become brand advocates or brand ambassadors. Since word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most powerful marketing methods of traditional and modern marketers, this is something to encourage.
Reduction in marketing and advertising spend
Customer acquisition can be much more expensive than customer retention; up to 7x as expensive. Businesses that focus more on relationship marketing will not have to spend as much budget on attracting new customers as before. Retaining existing customers offers a better ROI, and brand advocates do part of the marketing job for you.
"Loyal customers spend 67% more than new ones" - Markinblog
8 Components of a winning strategy
To enjoy these benefits, it is vital to have a winning strategy. Building strong relationships with customers is paramount for sustained success, these 8 components will help you with that.
A winning relationship marketing strategy comprises eight key components that collectively create a robust foundation for meaningful connections. These are the 8 components of a winning relationship marketing strategy:
☑️Provide seamless experiences
☑️Optimize customer service
☑️Engage at the right places
☑️Leverage shopping trends
☑️Collect and use feedback
☑️Share valuable content
☑️Pick suitable tools
Provide seamless experiences
The cornerstone of any successful relationship marketing strategy lies in the ability to provide seamless experiences. From the moment a customer interacts with your brand to the completion of a purchase, the journey should be smooth, intuitive, and enjoyable. This involves optimizing your customer journey, optimizing your website, streamlining the purchasing process, and ensuring a cohesive experience across various touchpoints.
Optimize customer service
Exceptional customer service is a linchpin for building lasting relationships. A responsive and empathetic approach to customer inquiries and concerns not only resolves issues but also fosters trust and loyalty. Building well-trained support teams and efficient communication channels is essential for creating positive customer interactions.
Engage at the right places
Understanding where your target audience spends their time is crucial. Engage with your customers on platforms and channels that align with their preferences. Whether it's social media, email, or other communication channels, being present where your audience is most active enhances the likelihood of meaningful interactions.
Leverage shopping trends
Staying attuned to current shopping trends allows your brand to adapt and remain relevant. Embrace emerging technologies, such as asset tokenization or social commerce, to enhance the shopping experience. By aligning your strategy with evolving trends, you position your brand as forward-thinking and responsive to customer needs.
"88% of consumers say it takes three or more purchases to build brand loyalty" - Exploding Topics
Collect and use feedback
Customer feedback is a valuable resource for refining your products and services. Actively seek feedback through opt-in mechanisms using surveys, reviews, and social media to gain insights into customer preferences and pain points. Utilize this information to make data-driven improvements that resonate with your audience.
Share valuable content
Providing valuable and relevant content is an effective way to establish your brand as an authority in your industry. Whether through blog posts, videos, or social media updates, sharing informative content helps build trust, educates your audience, and keeps your brand top-of-mind.
Encourage customer loyalty by offering enticing incentives for engaged customers. Loyalty programs, exclusive discounts, or personalized rewards for repeat customers create a sense of value and appreciation. These incentives not only strengthen the existing relationship but also motivate customers to continue choosing your brand.
Pick suitable tools
Selecting the right tools to support your relationship marketing efforts is pivotal. Whether it's a customer relationship management (CRM) system, customer journey management system, marketing automation tools, app marketing tools or analytics platforms, the right technology can streamline processes, enhance personalization, and provide valuable insights for ongoing optimization.
By integrating these eight components into your relationship marketing strategy, you can cultivate strong, enduring connections with your audience, fostering brand loyalty and advocacy.
To kickstart your strategy, first, you need to determine the right components that align with your business goals and your customer’s needs. For many e-commerce brands, a rewards program is a good method. There are many loyalty program benefits for Shopify brands to back this statement. But be aware, they traditionally come with several downsides and inefficiencies, as well.
Mobile-first blockchain loyalty programs are the solution to these issues. When implementing a loyalty program like this, a new world of opportunities opens up for your business. Here are some examples that distinguish this concept from traditional loyalty solutions:
☑️Improved customer experiences
There are many traditional incentives for engaged customers, this is nothing new. Think of 10% discounts, free shipping, free trials etcetera. But by implementing blockchain in your loyalty and marketing strategy, a whole new spectrum of incentives opens up for brands to leverage. Blockchain loyalty rewards, for example, come with a set of additional benefits like greater perceived value, efficiency and transparency.
Giveaways are a very common method in holiday marketing strategies to reward (online) communities and get the audience excited - it’s a community marketing classic. When doing a giveaway, brands always seek something in return. Most of the time, especially after the COVID pandemic, it’s social engagement. And that’s important, sure, but what if you could do more? With a mobile program, you can use your mobile app as a safety net for engaging consumers, ensuring they are retained and accommodated in the perfect environment to increase brand loyalty.
By introducing a mobile-first loyalty program, the potential of loyalty programs suddenly became much greater. Just imagine being able to automatically send automated, event-based push notifications to your most valued audience. The timing of your message doesn’t get any better than that. The opportunities that come with having a loyalty program in a mobile application are unmatched, especially once you combine content with rewards. You can think of gamification and incentivized content creation, all in a seamless environment to boost that experience.
"64% of loyalty program members spend more money to maximize points earnings" - Bond
Incentivized messaging? Think of social media engagement, for example. By incentivizing your community to like and share, you boost the performance of your giveaways. With the interact-to-earn mechanism, brands experience a new range of opportunities to make this happen. Incentive-driven messaging will allow businesses to always keep their community in the loyalty loop, while also rewarding them for their interactions with the content.
The possibilities to express themed branding in mobile applications are very flexible compared to any other environment. It’s the perfect way to really give your community that holiday spirit. By adjusting brand assets and sending unique content relating to the holidays, you’re improving mobile app engagement by making your content relevant.
Improved customer experiences
In order to have a streamlined user experience, brands need to have their omnichannel marketing strategy streamlined for their (potential) customers. An application fits perfectly in omnichannel marketing strategies and connects all the dots in the perfect mobile environment.
"89% see customer experience as a key factor in driving customer loyalty and retention" - Markinblog
Relationship marketing strategy ideas for December
Even though it’s a year-round effort, December offers some additional opportunities to kickstart your strategy. We know you’ve probably only just recovered from the BFCM craze, but December brings lots of chances for Shopify brands to connect with customers. Here are some of the most important events December brings:
☑️11th Green Monday
☑️14th Free Shipping Day
☑️21st Winter Solstice
☑️24th Christmas Eve
☑️25th Christmas Day
☑️26th Boxing Day / Kwanzaa
☑️31st New Year’s Eve
Dates are for December 2023.
Let's dive into some cool ways brands can amp up their relationship marketing during key December events:
Consider running a special loyalty challenge that aligns with the festival's theme of lights. Encourage your community to participate in the creator economy and share their creative Hanukkah decorations or holiday recipes on social media using a dedicated hashtag. Recognize and reward the most festive and engaging entries with exclusive loyalty points or discounts. It's a way to encourage social sharing and make them feel part of the celebration as well.
Green Monday (11th)
Leverage the opportunity to highlight your brand's commitment to sustainability. Encourage your customers to join your eco-friendly initiative by taking small, actionable steps toward a greener lifestyle, such as reducing single-use plastic or supporting sustainable practices. If your brand is all about being eco-friendly, use Green Monday to shout about your sustainable practices. In case your brand doesn’t have sustainability included in its core and you’d like it to be limited to just this campaign, maybe pledge to plant a tree for each purchase.
Free Shipping Day (14th)
During this one-day promotion, it’s quite standard to offer free shipping. To make it more exciting, you can also introduce a tiered loyalty reward system tied to the total order value. For example, customers who spend a certain amount during this ‘Free Shipping Frenzy’ could unlock additional loyalty points or receive a free, exclusive gift. Promote this event through your email marketing, social media channels, and your Shopify store to create anticipation and encourage customers to take advantage of the limited-time offer. Remind your BFCM shoppers of that one product they forgot to purchase. This not only boosts sales but also incentivizes customer loyalty during the holiday season.
Winter Solstice (21st)
Ask your engaged customers to share their favorite moments or experiences with your brand throughout the year on social media, using a specific hashtag. In return for their heartfelt stories, randomly select a few participants to receive special winter-themed loyalty rewards or exclusive discounts. Additionally, leverage this user-generated content (UGC) by compiling the shared stories into a heartwarming blog post or social media collage, showcasing the strong connection between your brand and its community. This not only fosters a sense of gratitude but also highlights the shared experiences that make your brand special.
Christmas Eve (24th) & Christmas Day (25th)
Build anticipation by revealing a series of exclusive surprises or offers every hour leading up to midnight. Announce these surprises through email and social media, encouraging customers to check in regularly. Consider incorporating a loyalty program element by offering bonus points for customers who engage with each surprise to get UGC creators. This not only keeps your community engaged throughout Christmas Eve but also creates a festive and joyful experience, making them feel like they are unwrapping gifts from your brand.
Boxing Day / Kwanzaa (26th)
Create hidden "treasure boxes" or discount codes throughout different product pages, and encourage customers to explore your website to find them. Customers who discover these hidden treasures can apply the special discount codes during checkout or unlock exclusive deals. To tie it into your loyalty program, consider offering bonus loyalty points for customers who successfully find and use the hidden treasures. Use push notifications to provide limited-time information to solve certain puzzles and improve instant content engagement by doing so. This adds an element of fun and excitement but also drives traffic to various parts of your online store, increasing participation and creating a memorable shopping experience for your community.
New Year’s Eve (31st)
End the year on a high note. Share a year-in-review video, celebrate milestones, and reward your community with an exclusive bonus. Get them excited for the year ahead!
By tying your relationship marketing strategies to these December events, your Shopify brand can create memorable experiences and strengthen the bond with your community.
Relationship marketing case studies
In the realm of marketing, success stories and innovative strategies serve as guiding lights for businesses striving to make a lasting impact. In this section, we delve into enlightening case studies that showcase diverse approaches by industry leaders. We will discuss what the campaign entailed, what the key takeaways are and how Shopify brands could use these examples as guidance for their own strategy.
In the competitive landscape of the Fashion & Beauty industry, Fenty, spearheaded by the multitalented Rihanna, set itself apart through a strategic emphasis on inclusivity. In a market teeming with celebrity beauty ventures, Fenty disrupted norms and changed the industry landscape. Notably, Fenty Beauty's foundation range, offering shades from the palest to the deepest, exemplifies their commitment to inclusivity. The Savage X Fenty lingerie line further extends this ethos, featuring models of diverse backgrounds and sizes during its streamed shows on platforms like Amazon. Complementing these initiatives is Fenty's membership program, granting customers exclusive access to product launches, VIP-only sales, and premium content.
Key takeaways from Fenty Beauty's case study include:
Inclusive product range
Fenty Beauty's success lies in its inclusive product range, challenging traditional beauty standards and catering to a diverse customer base.
Diverse brand messaging
By featuring models of various backgrounds and sizes, Fenty sends a powerful message of diversity, fostering a connection with a broad audience.
Strategic membership program
Fenty's membership program showcases how exclusive perks and early access to launches can enhance customer loyalty and engagement.
Shopify brands can draw inspiration from Fenty Beauty's approach by prioritizing inclusivity in their product offerings, creating diverse brand messaging, and implementing exclusive membership programs. These strategies can help brands carve their identity, connect with a global audience, and thrive in a competitive market.
ArmorSuit's innovative approach to customer satisfaction revolves around a Lifetime Replacement Warranty for their screen protectors, a stark departure from traditional warranty policies that are often limited to a brief duration. This unconventional strategy is grounded in the principles of building lasting relationships and ensuring continuous customer satisfaction.
The key takeaways from ArmorSuit's case study include:
Unprecedented warranty offering
ArmorSuit's decision to provide a lifetime replacement warranty challenges industry norms. This bold move not only ensures customer satisfaction with their products but also sets them apart in a crowded market.
By prioritizing customer satisfaction and establishing long-term relationships, ArmorSuit goes beyond short-term gains. This customer-centric approach fosters loyalty, making customers more likely to choose ArmorSuit for future tech-related purchases.
Brand trust and preference
The lifetime warranty builds trust, positioning ArmorSuit as a brand that stands by its products. When customers require additional tech-related items, ArmorSuit becomes the go-to choice, benefiting from the trust and preference established through its warranty policy.
Shopify brands can draw inspiration from ArmorSuit's case study to enhance their own strategies. Challenge yourself by searching for that unique aspect of your brand that can be leveraged for a unique positioning. By prioritizing long-term customer satisfaction and building trust through customer-centric approaches, brands on Shopify can create a strong foundation for lasting relationships and customer loyalty. This case study exemplifies how a unique and customer-focused approach can set a brand apart in the competitive e-commerce landscape.
Coca-Cola, the iconic beverage brand, has successfully positioned itself as the ideal companion for meals and moments of refreshment throughout the day. Central to their strategy is the art of making customers feel special and appreciated. The brand's advertising consistently features happy individuals enjoying time with family and friends, tapping into the emotions of their target market and fostering positive feelings. The use of compelling taglines such as "Share a Coke with a Friend" and "Open a Coke, Open Happiness" further enhances this emotional connection. Taking personalization to the next level, Coca-Cola introduced drinks featuring customers' names, a move that not only resonated with individuals but also prompted them to seek out a bottle with their own name on it.
The key takeaways from Coca-Cola's case study include:
Emotional connection through advertising
Coca-Cola's emphasis on portraying joyful moments in its ads builds an emotional connection with customers, making the brand synonymous with positive experiences.
Personalization as a marketing tool
The introduction of personalized drinks, featuring customers' names, showcases the effectiveness of personalization in driving engagement and prompting purchases.
Coca-Cola's use of memorable and uplifting taglines contributes to the brand's identity, creating a lasting impression and reinforcing the association of Coca-Cola with happiness.
Shopify brands can draw inspiration from Coca-Cola's case study for their own strategies. By focusing on creating emotional connections through advertising, incorporating personalization as a marketing tool, and crafting memorable taglines that resonate with their target audience, brands on Shopify can strengthen their brand identity and foster lasting relationships with customers. Coca-Cola's success lies in the ability to not just sell a beverage but to create an experience, a lesson that can be applied across diverse industries within the Shopify ecosystem.
Boost your holiday campaign
If you want your relationship marketing campaign to be successful, there are a few things you can do to boost your results.
Create a holiday marketing plan
Make sure that you have a solid plan in place for your next holiday marketing campaign. What goals are you trying to reach? What type of content are you planning to create and share? If you’re running a holiday marketing campaign this December, make sure to monitor it closely. Gather data, and make sure you know what the outline for your plan will be for next year. Learning from your experiences is one of the most important aspects of business growth.
Optimize your holiday marketing strategy
Determine what went well this year, but most importantly, what could be improved. Whether you are a business owner, marketer, business developer or in any other way involved with business performance, you always want to improve. Be on the lookout for new initiatives, follow the trends closely, and dare take a risk. Industry-leading businesses didn’t get there by playing it safe, but by taking a risk and gaining an edge over their competitors.
Get your systems in place, and allow yourself some time to test
Make sure that the systems that relate to your CRM, marketing automation, multichannel strategy, mobile presence, and social presence are to handle your relationship marketing efforts. For example, available mobile app features can dictate what you can, and can’t do for your campaign. Technological capabilities can dictate what your campaign will look like when you’re striving for the best possible campaign.
With web3 loyalty programs’ extended technological capabilities, relationship marketing strategies are equipped to reach a new level of effectiveness. Costs go down, results go up. Crowny is the newest addition to a marketers’ toolkit, providing an application that fits perfectly in the scope of wishes and demands from both consumers and businesses.
We aim for the Crowny Platform to be included as a primary tool in many e-commerce holiday marketing campaigns for the 2024 season.
Curious about what we have to offer? Get early access to a demo.