Tom Now wrote a terrific post earlier in the year for StartUp Nation.  In it he made a list of the 20 hottest Internet Marketing Trends for 2009.  As I read it, I thought, it should have been twenty ( or at least ten) separate posts. So that is what I have done.    From time to time since I read the post, I go back and take a closer look at his predictions and suggestions and how some of our clients are incorporating these trends.

Today:Trend #13: Relationship Marketing – In his original post Tom says:

Companies will move towards a relationship-building model with their customers. The downturn in the economy means fewer new customers for a business. To address this, companies are going to need to focus on thrilling their existing customers and building longer-term relationships.

I think this is good advice in any market, but we are clearly seeing more of this activity lately.   For example,  Crew Property Improvment Specialists is trying a few innovative programs right now.

The first is a collaborative effort with six other companies.  Collectively they are offering churches, neighborhood associations, and other non-profit groups a way to earn revenue, without any real effort.  The group will pay the association 5% of any work they do for any of the members of the association.  All they ask, is the association promote the program.  dinner-on-us

Today as every association which is struggling to make ends meet in the face of falling contributions,  this program is getting some attention.  It  is something they can offer to long-time clients as a way for them to support their favorite charity, and still get the new kitchen, bath or windows they were hoping for.

The second program is specifically created to encourage clients to send referrals to Crew.  We created a business card, with a simple offer.  Refer Crew and if they close the sale, dinner is on them!

Crew has been in business for more than six years, they have an established customer base and a strong network. For them, relationship marketing is an easy way to make the phone ring.

What about you?  What are you doing to strengthen old relationships, and make new ones too!