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The Importance of Relationship Marketing for eCommerce Brands

3 minute read

Relationship marketing refers to everything your brand does to develop strong, lifelong relationships with your customers. From influencer programs to referral campaigns to affiliate marketing, relationship marketing builds brand awareness and positions your brand as your customers best option. The most important part of relationship marketing is facilitating two-way conversations with your customers.

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There are many relationship marketing strategies marketers should try in order to expand brand awareness and drive sales. But it’s near impossible to scale your efforts without technology. Simply put: It would be difficult to harness the sheer volume of strategic relationships, affiliates, and top referrers without a system that facilitates and streamlines the relationship marketing process.

To truly scale your efforts, partner with a relationship marketing software vendor that offers tools to maximize your engagement and revenue every step of the way.

Here are a few key items to look for in a relationship marketing platform:

The ability to remove any unnecessary friction from the experience. For a program to be successful, it has to be incredibly easy to use. To achieve this ideal state, you need to structure your program in a way that makes it super simple for ambassadors, affiliates, or influencers to seamlessly refer and promote your business across multiple platforms and channels, and for each party involved to see immediate value. When you can do that, you remove most of the roadblocks that tend to hinder engagement.

Orient your program around high-value touch points and “moments of delight.” In almost any successful customer journey, there’s at least one “moment of delight” — a point at which the customer is happiest with or most excited about your product, service, or brand. These “moments of delight” are perfect opportunities to present customers with the opportunity to refer others to your product or service.

Give your team the ability to customize and change the program in real-time — without internal development help. Making it easy to customize and change the program once it’s up and running is critical to success. The last thing marketers want is to be forced to run to internal developers for help every time a change is needed. This introduces friction for the marketing team, making it less likely that they’ll bother to optimize your program after it’s deployed.


Relationship Marketing eCommerce Header ImageWhat’s the ROI for eCommerce brands when it comes to relationship marketing? 

That's typically one of the first questions I hear from eCommerce companies trying to develop a new affiliate, influencer, or referral marketing strategy.

How do I respond?

Well, we're pretty numbers oriented here, so we recently ran a study to measure engagement, participation and ROI based on our eCommerce customers. Here are some of the key findings I like to share:

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Basically, if you have 10,000 ambassadors and 40% of them share your brand (just once), it would generate 46,000 visits to your site. That’s a pretty solid way to increase web traffic.

And there’s more.

If we assume that each visit is worth, let’s say, $3.62, that potentially equals $166,520 of revenue. Now these are averages based on eCommerce clients we’ve worked with, but it goes to show: Referral marketing is a numbers game.

If you think about a marketing or sales funnel, the more ambassadors you have at the top of the funnel (sharing and spreading your brand to their networks), the more traffic, visits, conversions, and purchases there will be at the other end of the funnel.

When you're thinking from an ROI perspective, the ROI of year one is pretty clear. But the second 12 months is where the magic really happens. And that's in the form of 3x ROI.

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Why the jump?

It comes down to being more prepared, learning, and getting feedback. As brands continue to optimize their existing programs, the better results they will see over time. Which is why building long-term partnerships is the best way to approach relationship marketing initiatives, no matter the type of program.

If you’re looking for the best way to manage and execute relationship marketing efforts, tune in to our on-demand webinar with CPC Strategy as we dive into strategies that can differentiate your business from your competitors. 

CPC Strategy & Ambassador Webinar: Why eCommerce Marketers Need to Leverage Relationship Marketing

Posted in Relationship Marketing

Jeff Epstein

Written by Jeff Epstein

Jeff Epstein is the founder and CEO of Ambassador Software, the World’s #1 Relationship Marketing Platform which enables brands like Hulu, SAP, Hewlett-Packard, HubSpot and Madison Reed to build & scale referral, affiliate, partner and influencer programs.

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