When building a brand, there are many facets of digital marketing small business owners must consider. Although each component may be different — for instance, email marketing or building a holistic digital marketing strategy — the bedrock of each element is strong relationships.
Whether you’re building connections with website customers or your community, establishing these ties will help you effectively market your business and differentiate yourself.
There are several strategies and approaches to nurture different strategic relationships. Each can help you market your business and grow your brand reputation.
Establish ties with influencers
It’s well-known that influencer marketing is a growth strategy that helps brands succeed. However, creating an influencer program involves building relationships with influencers.
The first step to building an influencer relationship is identifying influencers who could be a fit for your brand. Identify which platform you’d like to pursue; for instance, products that look visually appealing, or that you can demonstrate, might benefit from an Instagram or TikTok influencer partnership.
Once you decide what platform you’d like to focus on, identify a few influencers who fit your brand’s image. You can reach out, and see if they’re interested in partnering to feature your product. Choosing the right influencers is important since audiences respond to genuine posts.
Importantly, the best influencer partnerships involve strong communication and quick payment. The more influencers trust your brand, the better spokespeople they will be.
Engage with fans and followers
Creating brand evangelists starts with building relationships with existing fans and followers, particularly on social media. Strategic engagement in this realm means building relationships in which these customers feel seen and appreciated by the brands they love.
Engagement with fans and followers can take many different shapes. First, you can make sure you’re replying to comments and tags on your social media, so customers feel they are being heard. Not every comment will be positive, but it’s still important to reply, so customers have a good interaction and can trust that you care.
The more your followers feel seen and heard, the more connection they are likely to feel with your brand.
Deepen local community ties
Relationships with local communities are invaluable to small businesses. Entrepreneurs who position themselves as community leaders and give back to their local areas stand much to gain in terms of brand loyalty and customer retention.
You can build community relationships in several ways. If you are a brick-and-mortar business, consider hosting open houses with refreshments of door prizes. You can also benefit by finding — or even starting — local business associations. Helping entrepreneurs in your local area can show you like to give back — and you may even learn important marketing and strategic tactics yourself.
Even if you don’t have a physical product, you can still give back to the community in which your headquarters are based, through actions like volunteering and philanthropy.
Seek out brand partnerships
Relationships aren’t only with your customers — they’re with other brands, too. Strong brand partnerships can mutually boost signals to like-minded communities of consumers and encourage client crossover.
Identifying brands that share your values or have overlapping customer bases can be mutually beneficial. You can reach out with ideas about cross-promoting with these other brands, through ideas such as contests in which followers can win products from each brand. This can get customers excited to follow your brand long-term, and even help with lead generation.
Get personal with loyal customers
Your most engaged customers are often your most loyal — and building relationships with these super-fans can pay dividends. Using your internal databases, such as sales records, you can consider identifying loyal customers who have patronized you repeatedly, and reach out to them for their feedback and opinions.
Approaches to recognizing loyal customers can vary. For instance, you can ask them to participate in focus groups, provide them special codes for discounts and even send them small gifts and rewards to recognize their loyalty.
Provide personalized customer service
With small businesses, every interaction is a long-term investment. For instance, customer service interactions are small events, but in this short moment, your relationship with your customers is crucial. Customers will judge you and your brand on how well you handle your interaction — and decide whether or not to invest as a consumer for the long haul.
Even if feedback can be difficult to hear, customers want to be acknowledged and have their issues addressed in a timely manner. If you’re able to solve their issue quickly, or at least promptly let them know you are working toward a solution. these customers who otherwise may have been unhappy could change their minds and feel more confident purchasing from you again at a later date.
Ultimately, an effective digital marketing strategy is based on the foundation of strong relationships. There are many places in which you’ll want to evaluate your relationships and understand how to nurture them to succeed.