I will move your couch – A relationship marketing strategy for 2010

The other day I was enjoying my Saturday puttering around the house not doing much of anything really… until the phone rang.. It was one of my best buddies…

Conversation went something like this:

“Hey Carson, how’s it going man.. What are you up to today?  Nothing… Well, I am wondering if I could ask you a favor?  I just got a new Couch and I need to move my old one out of my place.. Can you help me…”

I know that you’ve had this this exact conversation with a friend of yours before!  And chances are that you lent a hand and helped move that couch!

What the heck does this have to do with Internet Marketing?  Well.. EVERYTHING…

When my buddy asked me to help him out I instantly thought to myself how inconvenient it was, but it didn’t take much for me to say “yes” because I am a friend, and that’s what friends do right?  RIGHT.

In the Internet marketing world you have every opportunity to build relationships with people even though you are potentially 1,000’s of miles away.  You can become a trusted source to people who visit your website, your articles, or your blog.  You can take a complete stranger and turn them into a friend by offering them valuable content that will help them in some way.

A successful Internet marketer in 2010 focuses on has a relationship marketing strategy with their visitors.  The key is not only to be nice, but to create a long lasting channel of trust.

Let’s go back to Saturday and replay the conversation but let’s pretend it wasn’t my buddy calling me to ask a favor, but a telemarketer who I don’t have any relationship with.

“Hi Sir, this is someone that you don’t know at all.  I’m not only asking you to take the time to talk with me right now, but I’m asking you to take time out of your day to come and help me move an old couch out of my house.  On top of that, I’m going to ask that you pay for the delivery truck to take the couch away to the dump”

What would you expect my answer to be (assuming I listened to their spiel)

ABSOLUTELY NOT.. NO WAY IN HELL BUDDY… (as I throw the phone at the wall.. lol)

Bringing it back to Internet marketing.. How is this so different from someone who attracts a visitor to their website (a complete stranger), and asks them to make a purchase?  You’re asking people that you don’t know to trust you, and spend their hard earned money purchasing something that you recommend.  It will happen, don’t get me wrong.  The good ‘ol  review site will still convert visitors in to buyers, but not at the rate you could a “friend”.

A relationship marketing strategy is becoming more evident and necessary within the online marketing world.  People don’t know who to trust anymore and customers ability to research on the Internet has never been greater.  The old “buy this because I say so” tactic no longer holds the same power.

So… how do you take a complete stranger and turn them into a friend?  Well, it takes more than just offering valuable content and it’s something that we really push these days within our marketing training. Offering value is the FIRST thing that you must do to get someone to lower their guard slightly and allow you to offer them more value at a later date.  But this is not good enough anymore.

Look… there are successful Internet marketers out there that do nothing but promote products to you left right and center.  They may just offer you a review, or a comparison, or even just a page telling you about a single product they recommend. That’s fine, but making a recommendation to make a purchase to someone that you’ve built a relationship with will convert much higher than it would from a first time visitor.

You can also keep something else in mind.  People tend to naturally reciprocate.

My buddy helped me move into my house a couple years back and although I would have helped him if he didn’t, I remembered that.  As you build an online business people will remember you and the value that you gave to them.  Maybe people don’t make a purchase from you the first time you make them an offer.  Maybe not even the second, third or fourth time. But there will come a time that people will remember back to when you helped them and if they are in a position to make a purchase financially, that purchase will almost surely be yours.

Think about Internet marketing this year with a relationship marketing strategy in mind.  It will lead to much greater success and a preparation for a much longer career within the fast evolving IM world.

If you take anything away from this blog post, take the knowledge that offering value to people who you connect with online will ultimately build you a stronger and more profitable business.  Build relationships that last by focusing on “helping” versus “selling”.  If you treat people like commodities, they won’t react to you in a way that will benefit you in the long run.

So..  Here’s a question for you.

Are you treating visitors to your websites, blogs, or articles as potential friends or another dollar in your pocket?

Let me know in a comment below!

Carson
2010 Relationship Marketer – and couch mover!

26 thoughts on “I will move your couch – A relationship marketing strategy for 2010”

  1. Totally agree. That strategy has always worked in offline sales and marketing. Only real difference with online marketing is that you seldom if ever come face to face with a potential customer.

    Same basic principles apply. You get lucky occasionally and make a sale on the first meeting/contact because you were in front of a prospect who needed your product and just needed someone like you to purchase it from.

    That’s just a case of ‘preparedness meeting opportunity’ and that more often happens for salespeople who systematically work their market, get a regular supply of referrals from happy customers and create centers of influence.

    Consumers have choices and most prefer to buy from people they like, trust or respect (preferably all three) and if the merchant/salesperson is recommended to them by a friend so much the better.

  2. I don’t know whether it works or don’t work as some of them had commented, but when I google your title phrase + affiliate you turned out No. 1 in the search – Well done!

  3. Hi Carson,

    I try to treat all visitors to my website as potential friends.I hope they feel they are offered a good value.
    I have a Free Give Away every day as I offer completely Free People Searches all the time. Plus more if they chose to take advantage of them.

    So if you offer value to people you connect wiih like you say then they will likely recommend you to others and come back again themselves

    When you think about Internet Marketing then you should try real hard to think about an Internet Marketing Strategy!

  4. well said Carson, I have always approached my business as strengthening relationships and my brand!

  5. Great post and right up my alley. It great to have great ideas presented simply and inspirationally – it’s waht makes them stick :)

    Thanks again :)
    P

  6. Hi Carson, I totally agree with your marketing premise. Isn’t it amazing that people don’t know this instinctively? Trust and likeability are key. It’s important to be sincere, not posturing friendship. And you don’t have to be close buddies with your customers. People are pretty smart. They can smell a phony from a mile away. My Mom used to operate a lady’s specialty shop. It was a nice store alright, but the thing that made it successful was Mom herself. She was “real”: kind, generous with everybody and she knew her stuff. She’s gone now, but remains an inspiration. Not forgotten.

  7. Hmmm! Am impressed. Not that I am in any position to assess you. It’s just that you come through to me as a true human being. Many don’t know a thing about forming linkages ( relationships ) any more. Reading the preceding commentaries, some even see making friends as only an end to the money! I hope you don’t lose what you have, and more than that I hope you are really so off the net!
    To your question, initially, as you noted in another post, I hid behind the blog, not realizing I was communicating to real people. I have since learned a few things here and there. I am now writing with the consciousness that someone is actually likely to be reading my thoughts. Now, am gonna go a step up, writing like am sharing with a friend.

    I have not come round to the making money aspect yet.

    Thanks.

  8. Carson,

    There’s never been a better time than now as consumers witness Wall Street meltdowns and plenty of business deals heading South. One may testify that these troubles are the direct result of some folks forgetting their relationships. You’re spot on when you say that solid business is built on reliable business delivery, but at the heart of that matter lies solid relationships.

    Thanks for reminding us what’s truly key,

    B. Brinkmeyer

  9. @ MT

    No we do not have a trial period at this point, but I can assure you that we offer everything that we say we do on our sales page. We have run a couple trials in our 5 years in business, but they are sporadic.

    Cheers,

    Kyle

  10. Internet marketers are used to focus on technology (setting a web site, an autoresponder, an exit pop-up etc.), marketing (advertising online and offline, organic results in search engine, email marketing etc.) and content writing (writing reviews, articles, blog posts etc.). All of these things are important to succeed BUT… the most important thing that always should be kept in mind is that you are communicating with people, begging their trust and deserving their trust. On top of all the rest, it’s the most important job to be done by an Internet marketer… Way to go Carson!

  11. Great post Carson,

    Treat your customers as your friends, when they need help or solutions…offer them what you have. They will likely to follow.
    When you are selling don’t make “force to buy” method, why not suggest to them “to try” what you offer.

  12. I agree that building a relationship is definitely the best sustainable long term model

  13. I think what you are saying is the same thing my parents instilled in me as a child and that is you treat people the way you would want to be treated. Friendships can last for ever but money comes and leaves. So if the money leaves you better hope you have a friend. Be Blessed

  14. HI Carson,
    And thank you for a great blog, sooo, yes, I learned to work at doing those things because I enjoy having close friends. Before I retired in much of the work I did there was always a crew of friends to help one another, as I worked online, the programs taught us to build relationships, and not try to sell.

    Now, with that said, I answer your other question, we called the people on the phone, we placed free ads anywhere we could , (we Brokers, that is) and many created videos to Brand oneself, I never did, and I know the internet is changing. I would not honestly know how to begin to improve without some coaching, I’m a Senior of 75yrs but I’m still eager to learn in order to work and enjoy the internet. I have become very slow in my movements, slower at the keyboard,because of a light stroke but still working with therapy and doing better daily. I enjoy writing you and I am on my way soon!

    Thank you for listening,

    Cheers
    Sonny

  15. I’m having a hard time with the “friends” theory because I’m kinda picky about who I have as friends. I would rather my customers trust me as a reliable marketer to spend their money with, as a marketer who gives them value for their dollar, as a marketer who absolutely never rips them off, as a marketer that gives them content that informs and/or teaches, as a marketer they can always depend and rely on. Somewhat like I feel for my grocery store, hair dresser, dry cleaner, etc.

    I am not willing, however, to totally discount the ‘friends’ marketing opportunity. I’ll keep an open mind and hope that I am financially surprised!

    Thanks for the content.

  16. Hi Carson!

    Yes, I do treat my customers like friends. One of the reason is I like the unformal way of addressing people. And I want them to know that I’m going to be here for a long period of time!
    Cheers!

    Shufaad

  17. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS think how I can help others first and the money will follow. Online is no different than offline in this respect.

    If you want to be rich, help others become rich first.

    It’s what I live by in my marketing

  18. An insightful post. And I agree with the last comment as well, we need to solve the problem of our visitors. Good things to remember as we take on the marketing world of 2010.

  19. As an affiliate marketer I am a skinny guy who gained weight in just 3 weeks and I am also an overweight who lost weight in the same 3 weeks.

    And then I am a ‘friend’ to both the skinny and the over weight guy.
    Nice post but does this utopia really work here ?

  20. Damn right Carson, relationship building is the way to go.

    Offer INSANE value + support for a HUNGRY crowd and you’re sorted.

    Then just get your relevant targeted traffic and BAM?

    You’re making sales and you’ll have repeat BUYERS!

  21. Hello,
    well I dont treat them like friends :) I always try to imagine their position and try to find out what type of information they need to solve their problem

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