This article is part of the 7 Deadly Sins of Relationship-Based Marketing series. In the series, we’ll chronicle different online behaviors and practices that can ruin your business relationships. Some are subtle, and some not so much. If the success of your business relies on maintaining healthy relationships with current clients, prospects, or a network of referrers, it could be time you start repenting.
Let’s talk about extroverts: We all know that one guy or gal who is always up at 4:45 a.m. hitting the gym and rushing off to a 7:00 a.m. networking meeting, followed by coffee with a potential client, lunch with an existing client, and then second lunch with a hopeful partner. That’s a lot of face time before noon.
And let’s be honest, we’re not all wired that way.
For those of you who don’t thrive on having eight meetings before noon, the temptation to hide your head in the sand can slowly take over and leave you wondering who else, or what else could help you make all those touches.
A business relationship is a relationship with you
If you own or manage a small-to-mid-sized business, you know first-hand the value of the people in your network.
Whether they are customers, employees, clients, vendors or any other business associate, they see value in doing business with you. It’s value you’ve earned over time, probably by delivering as promised again and again.
As long as you keep these people feeling important and respected, it’s going to be difficult for competitors to pry them away.
No business relationship can survive on marketing automation alone
You’ve spent years cultivating business relationships with some people, and in that time, they’ve become your brand’s most vocal advocates. Don’t insult them by reducing your conversations to one-way blasts about tomorrow’s early-bird specials.
They want to know about your family, your interests, your large-scale plans for the direction of your business. They want to share their ideas with you, as well as their own interests and milestones. Passing them off as mere sales leads is only going to reveal that you value them as resources only, and not as people. They will respond in kind by demoting your brand from essential to a commodity.
At times, it might feel like keeping track of all these people and maintaining a personal connection can become a tough balancing act. Each person becomes a hot potato you would just as soon pass along to someone (or something) else. That feeling is completely natural, but just remember that your email newsletter isn’t going to ask people how their summer has been, how their kids are doing, or what big changes they’ve seen in their industry—only a human interaction can meet those needs.
Go on and hold that hot potato
We’ve seen it time and time again: Clients who come to us for marketing automation solutions partly because they want more business (who doesn’t), but are often feeling overwhelmed with the responsibility of maintaining the relationships they need to expand. They’re looking for automation to cover all their bases and get in front of as many people as possible.
Often, we find that it’s that owner or CEO’s personality that earned much of their company’s success in the first place. And to replicate that success, they’d need a clone to allow them to be in more places and be having more conversations at one time.
Don’t get us wrong: We believe marketing automation does have its uses. For reach and consistency, and keeping your audience in the loop about your brand, it’s a fantastic tool. But it really doesn’t demonstrate a heart-felt concern for the people you serve, and can even expose your brand as one whose caring depends on the crutch of convenience.
We help clients be more present, and in ways more genuine than social media strategies and digital ad campaigns allow. We help people transition from feeling spread too thin to being set firmly on a proven path to sustained growth. Let us show you how it’s done.