I was very excited to read Mari Smith’s (@marismith) new book The New Relationship Marketing, and once I cracked the cover, I was not disappointed. Mari was also kind enough to answer a few questions about her new book as an added bonus for TopRankBlog readers.
To sum up Mari’s book in a few words: practical yet genius. I would recommend this book to any marketer who would like to create meaningful interactions and relationships with their customers. Lets dive in and see what we can gleam from Mari’s experience!
A Little Extra Discovery Can Go A Long Way
Mari included a simple but powerful example of a Twitter interaction she had with someone that she didn’t know. Before replying to a tweet that she was tagged in, Mari took a few short seconds to take a look at the person’s Twitter profile. In this short time she deducted that they had something in common, they were both from Canada. Armed with this information Mari was able to personalize her message therefore opening up the stage for further conversations on a more personal level.
Forget Your Agenda
A cornerstone of TopRank’s CEO Lee Odden’s social media interaction is something he has taught me to be very important. What is it? Providing value without asking for something in return is what you SHOULD do. Mari also touches on this subject in her book and states: “Sooner or later you will be greatly rewarded from the collective whole. The people you helped will not necessarily be the ones who then reciprocate or buy from you; rather the exact right prospect or media opportunity will come to you.
Fully Utilize All 140 Characters Twitter Has 2 Offer
We can never assume that our audience will understand all of the abreviations that we use. However, since Twitter only allows for 140 characters there are many acceptable acronyms that can be included to fully utilize your character counts. These acronyms include:
- DM = direct message
- F2F = face to face (meeting in person)
- FTW = for the win
- TIA = thanks in advance
- LMK = let me know
*for more acronyms from Mari, visit pages 31-33 of her book
Avoid The Social Media Time Suck
One thing many if not all marketers worry about is protecting their time. We’re trained to work on the projects that are the most profitable, in the most time efficient way. Now as a society we are “connected” 24/7, which can make time management somewhat difficult.
Mari made a fantastic point about time stating, “Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. Whether you are a pastry chef starting your own bakery or one of Eastern Europe’s Fortune 100 companies, you have the same amount of time in every day. Making yourself crazy attempting to operate in this “always on” environment is up to you, of course; but your ability to do so depends on two things: the size of your company and the nature of your objectives.”
Mari suggests solutions for getting the most out of your time including: assigning brandividuals and community managers, creating a daily routine, use social media management tools, and determining just how socially active you want to be.
9 Steps to Significantly Growing Your Business Through Relationship Marketing
Part 2 of The New Relationship Marketing contains the meat that all marketers are looking for. However, I won’t divulge all of Mari Smith’s secrets, you’ll have to buy her book to find out the rest.
Step 1: Create a Solid Foundation With the Right Culture
This chapter opens up with a 12 question assessment of relationship marketing best practices. The more questions you answer yes to, the better off you are. In this chapter you will find a wealth of examples and stories of companies that are following the rules for better relationship marketing. Some of the core principles include:
- Identify Your Core Values: what do you stand for and how can you connect with others that have the same core set of values?
- Hire slow – Fire Fast: take your time finding the right people, and get rid of those who are not bought in to the vision of your organization.
TopRank Readers Bonus: Interview with Mari Smith
Question #1: What are 3 steps you can share that marketers need to take on the path towards becoming a relationship marketing master?
- Content is King, but Engagement is Queen… and she rules the house! Carve out time in your schedule each day to focus on engaging with your community. This means replying to @ mentions on Twitter, responding to comments on Facebook and Google+, and initiating conversations.
- Don’t be afraid to give away your best stuff! Your audience will be amazed by how much you give away for free and will be more likely to buy from you when you do intersperse your free content with valued-packed offers.
- Nurture key relationships with no agenda. Keep a list of your top contacts and stay in touch regularly: re-tweet their content, comment on their blogs, send cards in the mail periodically, etc. If and when you need to call in any favors, you’ll already have plenty social equity built up and your colleagues will happily help.
Question #2: When marketing on behalf of a brand, does it make sense to have multiple contributors or should there be a specific voice or person responsible for the brand?
Both options can work very well. @ScottMonty is known as the voice and face of Ford Motor Company – he’s the company’s “Brandividual.” When brands choose to have multiple contributors, it’s crucial to have their headshots and full names in the brand’s Twitter background and author initials next to tweets. This helps to humanize the brand.
Question #3 – What is the best piece of advice you can give to marketers that are afraid or don’t know where to begin building relationships with their clients online?
Start by asking your audience questions to find out where their biggest challenges are, where they get stuck, where they need help – and, of course, keep the questions relevant to your niche but without jumping straight to your product/service as the answer. These questions can be posted on your Facebook page, Twitter and/or Google+ as well as sent out to your database in an email. And, for sure, *always* respond to your clients’ comments on all social channels as often as possible.