How you reach and interact with your customers can help your business to grow. Using the right tools and techniques can help you reach your target audience. Interact with them in the right way and you can turn them into advocates of your business. This means they don’t just buy from you, they share your brand with others.

In this lesson, we’ll cover both marketing and customer relationships. Starting with a look at growing your marketing toolset. You’ll focus on what fits best with the other growth methods you’ve picked so far. Then we’ll talk about how to manage customer relationships in your new or expanding market.

KEY LEARNINGS

  • Using marketing to grow
  • Be able to use relationships to grow
  • Combine marketing and customer relationship management for growth

Read time:

12 mins

Chapter 1

Marketing for growth

Read time:

8 mins

How marketing can help you grow

When you think of marketing, what does it mean to you? Is it simply how you promote your products or services? A way to grow sales?

As you grow your business, you need to attract new customers and keep existing ones. Marketing can help you do both.

 

Supporting your other growth methods

You’ve so far seen two growth options – reshaping your market and innovating your products and services. Maybe you have one or more of these in mind for your growth goals already. It’s now time to think about how to market these.

If you decide to expand into new markets, you need to raise your business profile in those markets. If you innovate a product or service, you need to make sure people are aware and excited about it.

You can see then how marketing can be an enabler for your other growth options and a means for growth in itself. Even if you choose to grow using marketing alone, it can help you to target the right customers if done right.

 

Marketing can:

  • Raise awareness – For more people to buy from you, they need to know about you
  • Promote your Unique Selling Point (USP) – Show people why they should pick you rather than your competitors
  • Engage your customers – They should remember and think of you, even after launch or sale
  • Put data to good use – Your customer data can focus your message

You may have marketing tools and techniques already. So let’s start by looking at these, from a growth perspective.

Activity

List the marketing tools and techniques you already have. Think Search Engine Optimisation, social media and more.

Then look at your growth goals and methods you’d like to use.

Note down how you think your existing tools can help achieve these.

Increasing your tools and techniques

Marketing growth comes from increasing your tools and techniques. By introducing more of these, or focusing and refining your efforts, you can make your marketing more efficient. This can then help you achieve your goals.

We’ll look at a few ideas in this chapter. You may already use or know about some of these, others may be new to you.

Note

Most of these work for both B2B (Business-to-Business) and B2C (Business-to-Consumer) models. We’ll point out those that are more relevant to one or the other as we go.

Pick your channels

Your customers use many channels to find what they are looking for. They hear a radio ad, research online, ask each other for recommendations. Then they may follow up with emails or phone calls to find out more. When they buy, this may be in person, through a website or an app.

It's important you learn what channels your target market is using. Creating more channels that you need can be costly and halt growth. Equally missing opportunities to engage your customers where they are can stop growth.

For all your channels – measure what they do for your business and customer. Use this data to inform your choices.

 

Remember to think about offline channels:

TV and radio ads

Popular for B2C

Printed media

Leaflets, posters and brochures

In-person advertising

At events like conferences and local fairs

Sponsorship

Sports teams or community events

Plus, online channels like:

  • Webinars and podcasts
  • Content marketing – Try ‘top tips’ articles for B2C, fact-based infographics for B2B
  • Social media – There tends to be less competition in the B2B market here
  • Email – Popular option, with 84% of B2B marketers using this
  • Search engine optimisation (SEO) – This helps you reach the top of the search results
  • ‘Pay per click’ ads – These work for all, but are more common for B2C businesses
  • Customer review sites
  • Programmatic marketing – This uses software to buy targeted online advertising space

Want more detail? There’s much more on these channels in our marketing lesson.

For now, let’s look at the techniques you can use across these channels.

 

Pick your techniques

Select each of these techniques to find out more

  • Adding value can help increase customer satisfaction. It also makes you stand out from your competitors. For your customers, this could be the deciding factor when they are picking who to buy from.

    Try reward cards, discounts for referrals or special offers for repeat customers. These work with both online and offline channels. Think about leaflets with QR codes that link to web deals. You could email customers with tempting rewards.

  • This is where you partner with a non-profit organisation. It can boost awareness for both you and the charity. Your aim here is to show customers you support the causes that are important to them. Plus, it's a way for you to share your core values.

    You could, for instance, sponsor a local community group. Maybe you'd prefer to connect online with a charity. Just make sure there's a good fit between you and the cause you're supporting. The support you give needs to be authentic. For example, work with an environmental conservation charity, but aren't sustainable yourself. This could do more harm than good for your reputation.

  • The aim of a lead magnet is to draw customers to you, by giving them something that helps them. So first, you need to work out what they need. Then build your lead magnet. This could be a video, checklist or e-book. It's whatever works for your users. Think about the format that will appeal to them.

    You can use a lead magnet to prompt people to visit your website.

  • Word-of-mouth can be a powerful form of marketing. A Neilsen report showed that 92% of consumers trust recommendations from friends and family more than all other forms of advertising. So it can be worthwhile to invest time and effort on this.

    You can encourage your customers to refer your products and services to others by offering rewards. Why not build a 'referral network'? Here, you and others in the network recommend each other, to increase your customer base.

    A good example of this is a wedding stationery business, a dress hire service and a florist. They can reference one another in their online blogs and social posts. Offline, they may display printed material on each other's trade show stands.

  • Here, you join one or more other brands to promote and sell a product or service. This may add credibility to your own brand. You can then use this to set premium pricing or sell more of your products or services.

    The key to successful co-branding is to find the right fit. Look for a brand that offers a different service but shares the same target audience or market as you.

    A high profile example of co-branding is Red Bull and GoPro. They already shared markets and audiences. Red Bull often sponsors sports competitions. People use GoPro's cameras to capture the action in this type of event. So they were a perfect fit to co-brand.

    Their best-known project was Felix Baumgartner's jump from space, where he broke the sound barrier. Red Bull sponsored his suit, and GoPro recorded the jump from different angles. It gave both brands great publicity.

Activity

Think about these techniques. Which ones do you think could help you achieve your growth goals? Make a note of any that you want to research further.

Relationship marketing

In the next chapter, we’ll look at how to manage customer relationships. First, we want to help you understand the role of marketing in supporting these. It works in different ways, for new and existing customers.

Make the customer the hero of your story

Ann Handley

Relationship marketing for new customers

This is where you focus on building relationships with potential users. The aim is for them to buy from you instead of others. You can do this by giving them content that they want, to encourage them to connect with you.

 

Content that works well for new users includes:

  • Blog posts or articles
  • White papers or case studies
  • Webinars or online tutorials
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts

The type of content and the tone you use will depend on your audience. Are you looking for new B2B clients? A detailed case study in their sector could interest them. Are you launching a new service for college students? A short video on your social site might appeal.

This isn’t a complete list. There are many ways to make people aware of your products and services. So get creative, have fun and try out different ideas.

 

Relationship marketing for existing customers

Here, you’re aiming to improve the customer experience. This can help you build loyal customer relationships. It’s especially relevant if you’re planning to segment your market.

You may need to shift your focus, if you only market to new customers at the moment. Turning to your current users can be more profitable. The idea is that the longer your customers stay with you, the more they end up buying from you. Plus, they’re more likely to promote you and help your reputation if they have good experiences.

Tips to build a loyal customer base:

Research your customers

Use all the data you have to build detailed profiles or personas

Develop the right voice and tone

This is what you say to your customers, and how you say it

Consistent experience

Make sure every experience customers have is first class

Use rewards

Like loyalty programmes and gift cards

The main thing you need to keep in mind here is growth. How can you use your data to make informed decisions? Data-based decisions will help you to level up your marketing efforts and customer experiences.

Chapter 2

Growing customer relationships

Read time:

2 mins

What is customer relationship management?

To have a good relationship with your customers, you need to know them. Every time you connect, you need to be able to see who they are, their experience so far and their expectations. Then you can interact in a way that you know works for them. This is where customer relationship management can help.

It’s all about keeping your customers happy by meeting their needs. This in turn can help to boost your brand, improve sales and increase customer loyalty.

People now expect companies to understand what type of relationships they want and to respond appropriately — they want firms to hold up their end of the bargain.

 

Harvard Business Review

Let’s look first at some top tips to help you do this:

Bring your customers in

Give your users what they need, right from the start. This could be a helpful blog post or a free trial. Catch their attention early, so you can start that conversation.

Keep talking … and listening

Learn about your customers, as they learn about you. Build a healthy conversation. This means showing them that you hear their needs. Then respond in a way that strengthens that message.

Be there

If your customers can see you, they’re more likely to remember you. Make sure you’re consistent across all the channels you use to connect with them.

Make the most of your tools

These can make it easier for you and your customers.

We have a lesson to help you learn more about customer relationship management and the tools that can help.

See Getting started with customer relationship management tools to learn how these tools can help you to grow.

There’s also a link to it at the end of this lesson.

Activity

Once you’ve taken our customer relationship management lesson, think about these tools. Which ones do you think could help you achieve your growth goals? Make a note of any that you want to research further.

Chapter 3

Summary and next steps

Read time:

1 min

Know your customers – and your tools

Being both customer-focused and tech-enabled can help you reach your growth goals. Just having a good set of powerful tools to grow your customer base is not enough. You need a clear picture of the customers you have, and those you want.

In this lesson, we’ve explored a range of techniques to help. We’ve also given marketing tips and ideas to support your growth goals and methods.

 

Next steps

Activity

If you haven’t already, see our lesson on customer relationship management tools. Then review what you’ve learnt in these two lessons. You may need to do more research on the tools. Finally, plan how you could use these to help you meet your growth goals.

 

Lloyds Bank Academy is committed to providing information in a way that is accessible and useful for our users. This information, however, is not in any way intended to amount to authority or advice on which reliance should be placed. You should seek professional advice as appropriate and required. Any sites, products or services named in this module are just examples of what's available. Lloyds Bank does not endorse the services they provide. The information in this module was last updated on 12th May 2023.