Start with a Relationship Marketing Plan

In a previous post, we talked about the 5 steps to effectively building consumer relationships. Now, let’s talk more about the marketing tools. Before we design any marketing programs, we start with a goal. An easy place is to start with a welcome program. Avoid the tendency to start by saying “I need a welcome email”. Rather, commit to the idea that I should have a welcome message with a goal. Let’s say that the goal of the welcome message is to get consumers to try the product. Let’s be bold and say we want a 30% order rate.

Now we can start thinking about what offers to create that might entice the consumer to try. Is cents off the right offer and what is the optimum value? Maybe offering a premium with purchase is the way to go? Remember your goal and create compelling offers!

Next, start thinking about how many messages are needed to reach the goal. Is five the right number of touches to explain the product or proposition? Can it be done in three? At a minimum it should be two: the initial welcome and a reminder because consumers open marketing messages and intend to participate but then get sidetracked. Sending a reminder allows those consumers another chance to engage.

Notice, we’ve avoided saying email, direct mail, text message so far. The channel we use to deliver the message should ideally be dictated by the consumer. You can start with the contact variables you have the most complete. No sense in designing an SMS program if you have no mobile numbers.

Also, some channels are better for delivering some messages. Maybe a mix of emails followed up with a direct mail piece that drives them to retail is the best way to go? Maybe a social media message is the right way to start a conversation and follow up with an email offer?

Create Compelling Conversion Programs

For most companies, getting the consumer to purchase the product the first time is just the start. We need consumers to purchase our product regularly instead of our competitors. To do this we need to understand how consumers form preferences for brands. Is it solely a functional benefit of the product or service? Or does using a particular brand say something about who I am and how I want to be perceived? There is no right or wrong answer here. Pick one. Then decide what a loyal consumer looks like.

Next, set a goal. Why not 30% conversion rate? Not high enough? Make it 50%.

Now you are ready to build a conversion program. Reinforce at least four to five purchase decisions. The frequency of purchase decisions determines the length of the program and the time between messages. One great message isn’t enough. You need steady reinforcement. Think about telling a story with several chapters. Establish the characters at first by focusing on product benefits. Next move on to how this product is better for the environment or better for the consumer. Next talk about developing a community by showing that we are listening. Talk about how we developed our latest line extension after learning something from our customers.

Every communication should have ways for consumer to engage. After all, this is a relationship and good relationships are based on listening and understanding.

Again, notice that we’ve avoided specific tactics and channels and are focused on messaging. Think about making the earlier offers more lucrative and the later ones more relational. Once you’ve designed what you want to say and what offers you want to present, then you are ready to overlay the right channels and tactics to optimize the conversion.

Hold On To Your Loyal Consumers

Most brands lose money trying to attract new consumers and make money on their existing customers. But let’s not forget that it is much more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep one you already have.

The keys to retaining your loyal consumers are:

· make sure that you are truly dedicated to a quality product (or service),

· back up your products or service with great support

· look for opportunities to show your appreciation

With our clients, we have been able to prove that investing wisely in customer retention programs reduces the defection rate dramatically.

Having great products is obviously most important. If your offering exceeds customer’s expectations you will continue to build brand equity with each interaction.

When we talk about providing great support we mean having easy ways for customers to reach you (800 numbers, customer service email, text support). It also means have people managing those contacts with the purpose of addressing customer issues and not committed to getting off the phone as quickly as possible. It also means admitting when you’ve done something wrong and committing to making it right.

The best way to show appreciation is to periodically thank customers for their loyalty and encourage them to share their ideas on how to make the product better. Sending thanks with a token offer is also a great idea on birthdays, first purchase anniversaries, holidays or whatever works with the personality of your brand. You don’t have to spend much, but what you spend here keeps loyal folks purchasing.

Check out this post  to learn more about the 5 Steps to Build Consumer Relationships.


CRM provides a 360-degree view of your customers

Relationship. Direct. Database. CRM. One to One. So many different marketing terms that boil down to one methodology – Start conversations, build relationships and impact your bottom line in a measurable way.

There are five basic steps to get you started in the right direction:

1. Build the Vessel

2. Build the Marketing Tools

3. Amplify

4. Segment

5. Measure and Improve

This may sound overwhelming if this is new to your company and/or to you. Keep in mind, like many things, once the tools are in place, the execution is the fun part and the results are so sweet.

Step 1: Build the Vessel

The old joke is “you can’t have everything – because where would you put it?” The first step in relationship marketing is building the vessel, the database, a place to put all your consumer information.

Every time someone interacts with you make a record of it. Every time you send something to someone record it. If they use a coupon, record that, if they send you an email or call you, record that.

Within the database there are 3 core types of information – Stuff we received from consumers, stuff we sent to consumers and what the consumer looks like now. We call the stuff we received from the consumer Responses. We call the stuff we sent consumers “Campaigns” and we call what we know about each consumer right now their “Profile”.

You can start in Excel or with a simple Database tool (likeEnvoy) that helps to automate the process. We talk more about how to build a database in Excel in a separate post.

Step 2: Build the Marketing Tools

Before designing any marketing programs, make a plan: Define who you want to talk to and what action you want them to take. Who are your customers? Who are your prospects? What messages (and offers) will motivate them? How many times and with what frequency do you need to reach the different targets to motivate them to take action? What are the methods available for you to reach them – website registrations, email, text, direct mail – and what is the right mix?

· Your customers need reinforcement and reminders that you care, such as: Thank you, periodic low cost offers, opportunities for them to share opinions, ask for referrals.

· Your prospects need to be converted to your brand. Get them to try it, repeat purchase(s) and become a regular customer. Welcome then with first purchase or when they register on the website

It takes discipline, like any relationship. Talk with themnot at them.Showing you care and that you are listening goes a long way with consumers.

We talk more about how to build loyalty and conversion programs in a separate post.

Step 3: Amplify

Now you need to reach more prospects and customers!

Develop a promotion, like a product related sweeps, free product, product related premiums, cents off, that you can post on Instagram/Facebook/Twitter as well as with search and banner placement. Promote it on your product and POS. Use traditional media like radio, TV, newspapers and magazines if it makes sense. But make sure there is a strong call to action!

Consumer Interruption involves visiting the prospects where they are likely to be (grocery store, bar programs, events). Get the product or coupons for free product in their hands and do name collection. You can accomplish this with QR or bar codes, paper name generation forms, text message links. Collect information so that you can follow up, thank them and encourage them to purchase the product again. Always take the opportunity to gather the information of folks interested in your category and/or product.

Another method of consumer interruption is to participate in co-op mailings with other similar products. Make sure the products complement each other and that the consumers can participate in the offer easily.

Step 4: Segmentation

Once you have interaction data on your customers you can now attempt to identify which of your customers are the most loyal. We can append data from compiled sources to get a clearer picture of your best customers and then use that data to find additional folks just like them. We can also use that data to segment the types of users we have (heavy users, seasonal or occasional users, loyal, prospects) and then design our programs to give different offers or messaging based on the segment they are in.

Step 5: Measure and Improve

When you start relationship marketing error on the side of impact over efficiency. Always start with the more lucrative offer, the more frequent interaction, the more engagement. If you can get great customer results you can always find ways to be more efficient the next time. If you focus on efficiency first you may never get the funding to see if you can get impact.

Test cells need to be built into every program. Then, even when you get less than desirable results, at least you are learning what works and what doesn’t. It’s just a matter of time until you will hit on the right message, the right offer and the right communication strategy.

The right tools and the right partner can ease the load and overwhelming nature of Relationship Marketing and produce actionable results. At Broadstreet Marketing, we partner with small, medium and large companies to do just that. If you only need a vessel or if you need help developing and/or executing the plan, we’d love to partner with you!


A large marketing budget isn’t essential to connecting with your customers. Simply learning how—and when—to engage with them will go a long way. Budget-friendly marketing

Whether you are just getting started or have been growing for 20 years, chances are you can still know more about your customers. Finding the time, money and resources to build and implement an impactful marketing plan is often a challenge. Here are a few ideas to make a measurable impact on a budget.

What is your sustainable growth model over the next 1 to 5 years?

We would all love the problem of figuring out how to fill a boost in orders week over week. However, to grow successfully you need to grow at a pace you can manage. That might change from year to year, so check in occasionally to determine your optimal growth rate and how you currently measure against your goal.

If you measure by sales volume, consider how many consumers that translates to in a year. Then set consumer goals for trial, conversion and retention.

Who are your consumers? What are their demographics and purchasing patterns?

What are key characteristics of your consumers? Are there subgroups that are your best customers? Anecdotally, you have an idea of who buys your product or who you’d like to buy your product. Likely you have information about your customers, but it may not be centralized in a way to easily answer these questions with data. 

Consider a few easy ways to start collecting and reviewing consumer data:

Create a website registration page. Collect more than just email address. While you might only be able to afford sending email now, one day you will be able to send thank you notes or birthday cards with coupons in the mail to your customers! When people register, send them a coupon to get the conversation started.

Utilize social media to drive people to your website. “Follows” on Instagram and “likes” on Facebook are a fantastic way to communicate your brand message, but to see if your marketing efforts are working, you need consumer level data.

To maximize the value of your data, keep it all in one place. A record of every customer, email sent, coupon redeemed, etc. Did you know you can put a consumer PIN on coupons and get the PINs keyed by your coupon clearinghouse for just a few cents? 

How do you identify and reach consumers? How do you get them to try and repeat purchase?

Target your messages to make them more persuasive. With data at your fingertips, you can segment your customers in a variety of ways: look at purchase patterns, demographics, age, etc. How you speak to each segment should be different, not one-size-fits-all. The same way the message would be different targeting new moms versus pet owners.

Look at your data. How many people are repeat purchasers? How often do they purchase? Once you establish an average, you can reach out to initiate purchase reminders. For example, if on average your repeat customers purchase every 19.2 days, then on day 17 send an email with a 10 percent off coupon. On day 25, reach out to those who did not purchase with a different coupon and message. 

Does anyone manage this within your organization? Are they able to focus on it as much as you would like?

Part of your sustainable growth plan should be to implement measurable marketing programs that speak to your core customers and find other customers who look like them. Whether that means hiring interns, a marketing director or a company to manage this for you, keep your consumers in mind. They are the ones driving volume and sales.