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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!

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To get started you can use the ultimate multi-tasker – Microsoft Excel. Sure, when you get lots of consumers you will outgrow Excel, but at least you’ll have a structure that can be easily moved into a robust database solution.

Create a simple database to get started

Start with one tab in Excel and call it “Profile”. Create a unique customer number for each customer or prospect. In the Profile tab put every consumer. Make sure to have separate fields for each data element (a field for first name and another one for last name). Try to get as much useful information as you can about your customers and prospects. Anytime you learn something new about a customer update the record in the profile tab.

Don’t make the mistake of only collecting email address. If the contact gets one-character wrong you have no way of contacting them and the opportunity is lost. Try to get first name, last name, address, email and mobile number along with some information you can use to create a great offer for the customer.

Next, create another tab called “Response” and create a record for each time the consumer contacts or interacts with you. Be sure to have a field that tells you what the contact was (they called the 800 number, interacted with them at events, registered on the website –call this field response codes). Make sure for each record you record the date (if you don’t know it, guesstimate). Match up the consumer ID from the profile table to each response in the responses table. If you mess up the profile, having the response data makes it really easy to recover.

Lastly, create a “Campaigns” tab and list each time you send something to a consumer. Create a special code for each campaign (call this a campaign code) and use that for everyone that received the same thing. Make sure you make a copy of what their profile looks like when you sent it (we call that a snapshot) and have the date you extracted or sent the message.

Good news! You are ready to start building programs! Check out this post to learn more about how to utilize the database to engage customers and prospects into action.