Tag Archives: online customers

16 Reasons To Be Cheerful – Part 2 – Maintaining Your Customer Relationships Online


In our last blog (Part 1), we spoke about using marketing to build customer relationships. In this post, we’re going to look at ways that the customer relationship might be maintained through online activity. By the way, in Part 3, we’ll focus specifically on how we can do that, using social media.

Think about the many ways we build relationships offline. It can be through sharing a joke, a personal introduction, a warm handshake or even just a smile. Personal connections build trust. The challenge for us, as business owners, is that when we go online, it is difficult to replicate the human touch. In our online conversations, we don’t have the human signals such as the handshake, the eye contact, and the body language. These engagement opportunities are not available online. Or are they?

How might we replicate those 3 human signals online?

First of all, when a person lands on your homepage they’re thinking “is this site of interest to me? Are the owners genuinely interested in helping me?” Your website needs to answer those questions by simply stating who you are, what you do and how you can help them – all in a user-friendly way. You might consider this your personal handshake.

Secondly, you might equate the eye contact with their experience of your online presence. If they have read your blog or arrived on your site through a social media channel – are you consistent in tone, voice, and personality. Is it informative or entertaining and easy to navigate?

Thirdly, will they consider their meeting with you good enough for them to return (your body language), and start building a relationship with you. Building a relationship means building trust, which you can do by sharing relevant content, delivering what you promise and responding to their online requests for help.

Here is a link to an article on the MasterCard Biz site that gives us three practical examples of 3 Easy Ways to Bring In-Person Customers Online.

5 other areas that should help maintain customer relationships online.

  1. Website speed. In addition to your site’s functionality, speed plays an integral part of its UX. I, for one, don’t hang around for probably more than 5 seconds if a site isn’t loading – how is your patience? Use the Google’s PageSpeed Insights to check your site’s speed.
  2. Mobile Audience. Build your website with a mobile audience in mind. The majority of people now search on mobile devices. Your content and Calls-to-Action must be accessible (and readable) on the small screen.
  3. Online Personality. Let the real you shine through the business’s online voice. People like to deal with people so forget the business-speak. Why not have some fun while you’re at it.
  4. Content Platforms. There are many platforms that you can use in addition to your blog. Visual communication is becoming the most popular method to engage customers. Think YouTube, Instagram, Periscope, Snapchat, Pinterest – use your smartphone on the fly.
  5. Influencer marketing. Build on the trust that existing influencers in your industry / niche have on, say, social media. Building an authentic relationship with them augurs well for your customer’s perception of your authority.

Tips and Timesavers for an online review

You may well be attending to all the points above but sometimes it is good to review your online relationship with your customers. Here are eight suggestions that we think might help you reconsider your customer relationship:

  1. Analyse your traffic to see when, how and why they come to your site
  2. Go out of your way to have a conversation with your customers
  3. Learn about your new customers – who they are, what they do, why they do it and what they dislike
  4. Research if, when and how your customers use a mobile device
  5. Stay up-to-date with industry trends so as to pass on benefits to your customers
  6. Check that your customers are still on the same social media channels / platforms as you are
  7. Deliver relevant content in a format that they can access easily i.e. 2 clicks
  8. Check that your customers are still engaging with your marketing messages / storytelling


By being available online to help customers whenever they need it, will go a long way to building a sustainable relationship. The ultimate goal for your business is to have customers trust and understand you completely. The payback for your efforts will be that they will tell everyone about the excellent brand that you are – it’s only human nature.

“Thank you for reading our blog post today” – Aidan & Jim.

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A good relationship is more than a value exchange – people don’t care about your business.

Marketing Relationships

“We want to create value for you by sharing marketing tips and timesavers” – O’C&K.

Is relevancy the currency in a relationship-based economy?

If you have something of value that people want, they will pay you for it. A simple exchange of value. The challenge is to keep them coming back for more.You have heard of terms like, strategic marketing, content marketing, social marketing, integrated marketing, contextual marketing and so on. Can you guess what all these ‘types’ of marketing have in common? Yep, they are all intended to build a customer relationship and thereby make more money for your business.

I ascribe to the notion that in addition to delivering value, if you do so through a positive experience for people, it will build a stronger relationship. Many businesses struggle with that concept, for some reason. Maybe it’s because they get caught up in quantifying costs, which is understandable I guess, in the current unstable economic environment.

As a result, marketers are asked to focus on sales, conversions, acquisitions etc. and, in my opinion, ignore the experiential  element of the value exchange. Invariably, they get distracted by measuring shallow digital relationships such as page likes, followers, G+s etc.

Let’s look at my own simple explanation of marketing. It is communication activity used to connect people with a brand, in the hope that they will buy something. I know this is a simplistic viewpoint because it doesn’t take account of people buying at different times and for different reasons. Still, we cannot get away from the fact that marketing exists to create a connection. That connection may well be a first one, or with an existing customer but without it, there can never be a relationship.

Online relationships.

There’s nothing new here folks. We create and cultivate relationships every single day. We meet a receptionist, the cashier at the supermarket, we laugh with our family, talk with our work colleagues, we tweet, we post updates etc. Of course, they are at different levels of intensity, but they are ‘connections’ none the less.

The thing is that people need value exchanges in different ways i.e. different relationships. When we talk about online relationships, it is obvious that some of them just need information and others want to (or have to) engage with you. Here are a few examples of digital relationships:


  • Annoying – people who get you to follow them and then ‘spam’ you with their posts.
  • Contactless – people who like to use the information / knowledge you provide online, but don’t want to have a conversation.
  • Recognition – people who don’t want a one-to-one relationship but will ‘like’ or ‘follow’ you online.
  • Empowering – people who want to be the leading voice in a conversation you are having.
  • Involved – people who want to build a relationship with you because of the value you provide.


It is the last one above, the involved relationship that is the one businesses will want. Marketers should use various technology platforms to filter the types of relationship they are looking for. At the end of the day, however, you cannot beat the traditional one-to-one communication with the right person at the right time to close the deal. So if you do create a connection online, try to arrange a meeting offline to follow up on the opportunity.

Smarter relationships.

So, if marketing is all about relationships, online or offline, why do many marketers still persist with big generic marketing campaigns?  Even large corporates such as Coca-Cola are attempting to change. Instead of teaching the world to sing they are now personalising their bottles with people’s names. To be fair, customised communication is nigh on impossible to quantify so I can see the marketer’s dilemma. The argument with the CFO will be the difference between short-term and long-term results.

It is a long term play to create a pleasant brand experience that will generate positive attitudes and eventually, more paying customers. One thing is certain though, the businesses that are conscious of this changing paradigm and who adapt, will survive into the future.

Investing in technology is another argument to be had with the CFO. Technology has a large part to play in shaping a customer’s experience. Social media, mobile, big data and augmented reality will allow businesses to enhance customer experience. Needless to say some industries will be more affected than others, but all businesses will have to embrace the new reality. For instance, we already know that mobile is at the heart of how customers are interacting with your brand.

It is almost a cliché now to say that we live in a rapidly changing business environment. Being smart in this environment doesn’t mean having college degrees. In my opinion, it means being a good communicator and networker. Being smarter in these areas also means making your business more flexible and adaptable. Internal relationships are as important as external ones, if a business is to embrace smarter marketing.

In fact, having a strategy and multiple plans these days may well act as a straightjacket on your business. This is because it’s not about coming up with the right answer anymore – it’s about coming up with the right question. The right question is ‘what matters to my customer’? Thereafter businesses should be focused on providing a contextual experience that matches the customer’s expectations.

A downside of businesses adapting to the new ‘context’ of building relationships is that there is a rush to publish stuff, just to be seen to be doing it. Sometimes the need to get content ‘out there’ supersedes the quality that is required to be effective.

The worst scenario is that marketing ‘gurus’ become sales people and the relationship building element is lost. Marketing will always be about compelling content, relevant media, top class production, engaging sales follow up and the creation of outstanding retail experiences.

My point? Be smarter about your marketing.

Marketing isn’t complicated.

Despite the new marketing tools out there, the original marketing principle remains in place. Know your audience and hone your message. Technology is your friend as long as you prioritise the most important aspects for your customer and your business. As mentioned above, a business must be agile nowadays, so don’t over-plan. Keep it simple.

If marketing is about connecting with people, it has been said that there are only three ways you can communicate your marketing message: write to them, talk to them or create a visual (video, picture or graphic). Writing would involve blogs, articles, press releases etc. Talking would include podcasts, seminars or networking events. Once you have decided which method you’re more comfortable with, you then go about choosing your platform.

Tips and Timesavers.

Here are examples of marketing platforms that you may or may not use. The platform should be focused on where the people you want to engage with are, but it’s also important that you don’t spread yourself too wide. Concentrate on a few channels and become proficient in them.


  • Social Media (FB, Twitter, LinkedIn, G+), Blogging, Email Marketing, guest blogging,
  • Radio, Advertising, PR, Leaflets, Run competitions, Enter Awards, Testimonials, Branded vehicles.
  • Cold calling, Networking, Join local associations, Exhibitions, Joint ventures, Business referrals.
  • Set up a website, video marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Localised offers.


There are many other platforms but before I finish, I would like to return to the notion of your online platform. People are going to find you, actively through online search, passively while browsing or through a digital community. If you are not visible to them through any of these online options, you will lose out to competitors that are.

You might well think that you haven’t the time or the budget to undertake smarter marketing. There is a solution to this. You always have the option of employing an external resource (us for instance) to augment your capabilities on an as-needed basis. Partnership with an external resource will allow you to focus on the fundamentals of building a great business in the knowledge that you are being smart about your marketing.

To summarise, here are some of my tips on marketing:


  • Although marketing channels can change– principles don’t.
  • Every business needs a marketing plan – including a plan to listen.
  • Marketing is about selling – good marketing cannot sell a bad product.
  • Your brand identity won’t last forever – make people feel for your brand.
  • A relationship is about being relevant – customers don’t care about your business.


If you have any other tips or timesavers please leave a reply below. If you’d like to receive similar content, just subscribe by clicking through the pink button, on this page.  Of course, if you want to get in touch, leave your details and perhaps we might meet for a chat, cheers.   Jim – O’C&K