I've been studying relationship marketing from a few different sources - one of which is an article from bizjournals.com. I thought their first step towards relationship marketing was an odd one....in the article they state:

"1. Fine-tune your search engine keywords and criteria
Develop strong, informative (not sales-y) content that answers the questions they are asking. Poll your sales people for what pain customers are going through. Develop a system to track customer pain points and then leverage that into solutions-based content that you deliver in educational, sometimes fun and even funny ways. We’re human beings! Be real and human."

That makes sense within relationship marketing, if you think about it. Let’s take a minute to break that down into bite sized pieces:

First of all, do you remember when you could lace your website with hidden keywords to cheat the system? I totally do, and we totally did. We put all of our keywords at the bottom of the home page so that the font color matched the background color so that you couldn’t see them with the human eye, but the search engine robots saw them and we were instantly popular on the first page of most searches for our industry!

Sadly, you can’t cheat the system anymore. Search engine bots have become smarter and now they want to see legit uses of your keywords. They look to see that your words make sense within the sentence structure. In other words, you have to use your keywords on each page in a way that makes sense to human beings. J

So, it’s time to take a serious look at your web pages. Are they helpful and informative or are they bare and bland? Do you have a blog that teaches helpful tips and hints to your target demographic, or are your blogs just about your latest projects. Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with creating a few of your blogs based around your latest projects, but that can’t be ALL of your blogs. Either purposefully make some of them informational hints and tips blogs (like this one), or use your project brags in a way that also includes helpful info.

Pain? Yes, this article mentions pain points, which is just a clever way of saying “problems that your typical client has that you can solve”. So solve it! If you don’t know their pain points, ASK!! Ask things like “When you are shopping for the kind of things that we sell, what are your biggest frustrations.” Come up with other questions along those lines. Not only will this instill confidence and trust in the customer you’re speaking with directly, but it will give you some ideas on what to blog about next, or post on Facebook in order to be helpful, thereby pulling in more followers and website visitors!

So, on our websites and social media platforms, maybe it’s time to think more like a best friend and less like a salesman?