Building Customer Relationships - Old School Style

Building Customer Relationships – Old School Style

Build Customer Relationships - Old School StyleWhen I was a teenager, my best friend Carolyn and I would spend countless hours doing I don’t even remember what. It was that kind of easy companionship that doesn’t happen with just anyone, and it started when we were about four. I remember going through each other’s school books and sneaking random notes in between the pages for later discovery. It might be about a boy, “Ooooh, RB really DOES look like Johnny Depp!” (am I dating myself here?). Or the even more random, “I hope your teacher doesn’t see this and make you read it in front of the class!”

What we were doing – consciously or not, was in fact incredibly powerful. Each was making sure the other knew they were thought of – often at unexpected times, in an unexpected place – and in a way that would make us smile. Using an inside joke or a shared secret served as an extra reminder that we have a special bond that the teacher, or anyone else finding the notes just wouldn’t understand.

Building Customer Relationships

What does this walk down memory lane have to do with inbound marketing? When you care enough about your relationships with clients and prospects, you will not wait until they call you. You’ll be looking for ways to show them that you care – often when they least expect it, and in a way that makes them smile.

Building Customer Relationships with Email List Segmentation

Segmentation – while it sounds pretty cold and calculated, it’s anything but! When you segment your lists based upon expressed interests, you can share ONLY what will be of interest to those people, making them feel special and showing them that you care about them individually.

For example, let’s say you provide nutritional counseling at your independent pharmacy. Your contact list includes:

  • Current participants in your nutritional counseling program,
  • Past participants,
  • People who have inquired about your program and,
  • Physicians who might recommend your services to patients.

You COULD send the exact same email to all four groups, but while that does serve to remind them about you, it doesn’t show that you care about THEIR needs and interests. Here’s what you could do instead:

  • Your current participants might appreciate words of encouragement.
  • Past participants might like some reminders on how to maintain their healthy lifestyle or news they can use.
  • People interested in your program might want to hear about special offers and real-life success stories.
  • Physicians might want to hear more about the science behind your methods, as well as accounts of people whose health has improved through implementation of the program.

See how this is like me sending Carolyn a note about Johnny Depp or George Michael? If I sent her one about something only I cared about (say, playing the piano), it would not show her I care about HER and our shared um, interests. AND, it would not be nearly as much fun. It would be a relationship-building opportunity squandered.

Building Customer Relationships with Social Media

Build Twitter Lists and Google Plus Circles in a way that allows you to keep up with your customers and prospects at-a-glance. Continuing with our nutritional counseling example, you could have a list for each of your four target audiences. On Google Plus, you could keep circles broken down the same way, for an easy way to see what people are talking about, and an easy way to share super-targeted information from time to time.

We use HubSpot social media monitoring, which allows us to look at a stream of all our contact’s tweets, or to segment by list (just like emails) and even add in criteria, such as, “Contacts who downloaded the Pinterest ebook who are tweeting about Pinterest.”

This makes it very, very easy to know what people are interested in and when. We can then reply to their tweets, retweet, or answer any questions they might be asking. If you have something to share that would be helpful, you can do that, too.

When I was a teenager, Carolyn and I kept in touch mostly via telephone. Oftentimes we just watched Magnum, PI together on the phone, hardly saying a word. Still, it was enough for each of us to know what was going on and what was important to each of us. Sorry for the phone bills, Mom and Dad!HubSpot Signals alert me when a contact revisits my site.

Building Customer Relationships with HubSpot Signals

What if you could know which of your website pages a particular prospect or lead was looking at WHEN they were looking at it? Signals is a program that alerts you when someone opens your email, when a prospect returns to your website (and what page they are viewing), as it happens. Β It even tells you when contacts from specified lists interact on Twitter.

This not only reminds you to keep in touch, but tells you what they are interested in at this exact moment, which allows you to follow up in a super personalized manner.

While the “notes in school books” technique Carolyn and I used wasn’t exactly real-time, I could at least know that she’d likely get to the end, before Sean Connery was “so last year”.

Does This Kind of Relationship Building Really Work?

keep-in-touchWell, even though we have lived far apart for years, I was one of the first to find out when Carolyn was expecting her first daughter. She was one of the first I called when my Dad passed away. To this day, I feel like no one understands me quite the way she does. When I told her I was writing this, she sent several old gems like the one at left. Thanks, Q!

Trust me, if you reach your clients at the right times, in the right ways, and in ways that make them smile, they will know you understand them and their business. When they need help, you’re the one they’ll call!

Could your business use some help with online marketing? We can help you get more website traffic, more leads, nurture those leads, and see exactly how well everything is working. Request your free consultation today.

Article Name
Building Customer Relationships – Old School Style
Building customer relationships isn’t so different from building personal relationships. Get practical ways to show you care about each and every prospect and customer.

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


  1. Abigail Currier

    Great article, Alisa. Connecting maintaining personal friendships with that of maintaining customer relationships with social media, really well illustrated how it should be done.
    I also enjoyed taking the trip with you down memory lane (Johnny Depp is still pretty hot).
    Thanks again!

  2. Hi Alisa,
    Nice post about using some hubspot features to connect and build better relationships. I’ve seen so many inbound marketing users overlook social media, so it makes me happy to see you embrace it. Keep teaching, you are doing a great job.


    • Alisa Meredith

      Thanks, Mary! How can you do inbound without social media? It is soooo important! Thank you so much – there is still so much misunderstanding out there, don’t you think?

  3. I absolutely loved reading your blog, Alisa. And it warms my heart to know that your friendship that began at age four remains just as strong to this day. I also love that your practice what you preach. It’s not just Carolyn who enjoys the benefits of your “old-school style” of building relationships. I know from our social media interactions that your desire to truly connect is genuine. You remember the name of my dog and always do what you say you’re going to do, in an unusually timely manner πŸ™‚ It’s rare that people do what they say they’re going to do — even rarer when it happens before you even have time to wait and wonder! Your support is genuine and I’m so grateful to have met you in social media. And your clients are so lucky to have someone so truly devoted to meaningful relationships. Just as Carolyn is so lucky to have you as her BFF πŸ™‚

  4. Alisa Meredith

    Thanks so much, Katherine! I’m touched!

    Sometimes you meet someone online or in-person and you just “click”. It’s fun to connect with someone else as crazy about her four-legged kids as I am.

    I feel the same way you do, and Pepe says, “hello!”

  5. Ivy says hello too, Alisa!! And you are very welcome πŸ™‚ Loved your article and love your kindness, support and positivity.

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