Why 2009 is the Year of the Customer Relationship

I was tweeting with a friend (yes, I’m on Twitter now – follow me!) who had some exciting news to share. It was a wonderful way for her to start the new year.

We agreed that 2009 is going to be a very good year for people with enough get-up-and-go to take the bold action required to make the most of the opportunities presented by the poor economy.

While things are undoubtedly bad for many people (I work with real estate agents and mortgage brokers in the United States, so I have first-hand experience of what some people are facing), those same conditions present huge opportunities for those who will take action.

While everyone else is nesting under the covers (and being given the chills by the squealing of CNN), those with enough get-up-and-go will be ramping up their marketing.

As a business consultant said to me in December, there’s no difference between what happens during a recession and what happens when new competition to your business opens. When there’s extra competition, there are more vendors looking for the same number of clients; in a recession there is the same number of vendors looking for fewer clients. Same difference.

And what would you do if competition opened up next door?  You’d boost your marketing.

Why Relationships are Key in a Recession

And what’s the best way to increase the power of your marketing in a time when people are feeling vulnerable and afraid? It’s to strengthen your customer relationships.

After all, in times like this, people are looking for vendors they like and trust; businesses that won’t take advantage of them.

(Incidentally, they’re also looking for businesses that look like they are going to survive the recession. It’s interesting how many people ask – often quite subtlety – if my customer newsletter business is going to be around this time next year! One way to demonstrate that you are going to survive is to continue marketing and communicating with your clients.)

So this year, for my business, I am going to be focusing on building trusting relationships with my prospects and clients. I urge you to do so too.

How Newsletters Build Relationships

Newsletters, of course, play an important role here. They’re one of the best ways to build strong relationships over the long term. What they do is provide useful, entertaining content on a regular basis. Not only does this keep your name in front of clients’ eyes, but it also establishes you as a trusted adviser rather than just “another salesperson”.

New Year Relationship Resolutions

With all that in mind, here are my New Year’s Marketing Resolutions – all based on building a stronger relationship with my clients and prospects. Maybe they will give you some ideas for your business.

  1. I will re-invigorate my own customer newsletter, sending it to existing clients and prospects. I will provide useful information, links to useful resources as well as well-crafted offers.
  2. I will integrate my newsletter content with my blog, my Twitter feed and my Facebook page, increasing the value I obtain from my content and making the most of the network effect of these multiple media.
  3. I will use my newsletter and blog content to write a book that will serve as an important platform, lead generation device and “business card”.
  4. I will become an evangelist for customer newsletters. I know that every business can benefit from a newsletter – and it’s my role to prove that to the world.
  5. I will continue to build a close relationship with my clients and prospects by surveying clients on a regular basis and encouraging conversations between myself, my assistant and my clients and prospects.
  6. I will continue to ask my assistant to provide follow-up calls to new members of Ready to Go Newsletters and I will pro-actively offer extra assistance to members who might need it.
  7. I will tweak my business and, most importantly, my product offers according to the feedback I receive from clients and prospects.
  8. I will continue to enjoy communicating with my clients and helping them achieve their goals.

What are your relationship-building resolutions for 2009?