The Online Relationship Marketing Paradigm

The Online Relationship Marketing Paradigm

The internet and predominantly social media has given a paradigm shift in the way we interpret marketing and has pushed us into the second phase of Relationship Marketing.

1.        The way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected. 

The principal of relationship marketing was first noted by Berry (1983). He noticed a stagnancy in banking, and gave way for a new form of trust in customer relations.

‚attracting, maintaining and enhancing client relationships’

Previously companies were focused on their products, and then the audience (for a bank their rates were the USP ). There have been a few steps along the way, however the largest change in relationship marketing is linked to social media. The paradigm has twisted once more and online culture has carved a new path for marketers.

We are in a time where the product could be ‚relatively’ useless, however with a strong and unique interaction gains through social channels can lead to great public awareness. The snowball effect entails and your product could be the most talked about item to have that year.

The image of a company/product is changing, it now depends heavily on what the customer reads and remembers. Many of us care about the spoken word and strong company interaction can really increase the chance of a product being used or bought.

We all know the Oreo Twitter campaign that started.

This was quick, sharp, timed to perfection and was aimed at one of the single largest audiences for a single moment. The cookie had no physical relevance to anything, it was the simple, timely wording that engaged an audience of millions. The audience felt like the company related to their problems. That was enough. Oreo hit the top.

This shift is now be incorporated in the world of affiliate marketing. It seems the writers are doing the talking, and its showing. The power of word is prevailing over the product and in some cases even the actual company image. People are beginning to trust bloggers and the content that is being provided. The relationship to customers and industry people(s) provide a healthy portion of your revenue stream. Bloggers are pushing hard and are really adopting the theme of Relationship Marketing.

Last week we discussed the basics of blogging and how traffic is key. When a relationship has been formed trust is ensured. This trust builds shares and comments and in the end hopefully a purchase. Once your trust is of a notable level you then have 31.1% chance of influencing a purchase. Bingo!

So where to start? How do you get your blog known, yourself known, or your company known to even begin building a relationship? Unlike a bank it may be a lot harder to just walk in and build a relationship. For a start you can’t lock someone in a bank, you don’t have a multitude of customer support workers on hand to help you and you don’t have those well dressed good looking people to point you in the correct direction.

Blogs are open and can be left just with the click of a ‚X’ the customer has full control of what he or she wishes to view and when to leave.  You also can’t track down every page viewer to interact with them, so you have to do it through your content and through your online presence.

Develop and research your niche, a lot. Really, a lot. Understand what the audience may be after. Find out as much information as you can to offer a deep and thoughtful insight regarding your niche. Make them trust you. Who would you trust when being told about Elephant eating habits, David Attenborough or Dr Dre?

Build a relationship with your audience that makes it clear that you are you, and you know what you are talking about. Post content that is current and thought provoking. Post content that is true and accurate. Make them believe.

Interact with your customers continulously. Not just through your blog or affiliate page but in comments, in discussions, where ever. You have to take on all rolls, ceo, affiliate manager, custmer support. If you keep at it and build those relationships in the online world they will help you. Remember, you can also build these relationships in the outside world too. At conferences and events.

If you are an affiliate trying to sell a single product then write about that product like you have one in your hand and have been using it for the past 10 years. Show you care, show you know.

The second relationship comes from other businesses, bloggers and marketers.

Lots of these guys have been improving their web presence for a long time. I started creating a presence within some of their communities, after all, I didn’t know where to begin.  This form of relationship marketing gives you great exposure. Build an internal relationship. This is great because these people are trusted. It takes time, but when your content starts to get shared you are being referred by a trusted source, this will increase traffic and conversions.

To summarize my point, be there, be current and build those relationships. All  3 points will increase your whole outcome and you should start to reap rewards for your efforts. It was proven in the offline world, so lets see if Berry’s theory works in 2013. His book is sourced below.

Many thanks,

Rob Walker

Berry, Leonard (1983). Relationship Marketing. American Marketing Association, Chicago. p. 146. ISBN 0-87757-161-9.