When it comes to figuring out what to spend on marketing, most small business owners are stumped.  Relationship marketing is an easy answer to a difficult circumstance. But what’s the best way to build those relationships as a part of your marketing?

Growing Sales is About Growing Relationships

Jon Ferrara, Founder, and CEO of Goldmine and Nimble knows a lot about how to launch and run a business without spending money on marketing.  When he launched Goldmine, he wasn’t as well knows as he is today.  What he knew, however, was the power of influence and connection.  Instead of trying to reach and convert millions of business owners to his new sales and customer relationship management platform, he focused on those people who were connected to his customers and influenced them.  This proved to be a huge success.

Decades later, when he launched Nimble, a social selling and relationship management took, he decided to do the same thing.  However, instead of focusing on technical people or technical brands, he started spreading the word with journalists and sales and marketing experts who would not only use his tool but would sing its praises to their communities.

In this episode of #BizapaloozaChat, Jon gets into the details of how he implemented this strategy twice,  Lean in and take notes because it moves pretty fast, and you don’t want to miss it.

Use Inbound Marketing to Get Prospect’s Attention

I really believe that everybody wants to be top of mind with our prospects and customers. But small businesses fail to understand how to build a comfortable enough relationship where they pick up the phone, call you and drag their friends with them.

Your secret low-cost marketing weapon is inbound marketing via relationship building..

Most small business owners mistakenly think that inbound marketing means creating tons of content like blog articles and videos. But it’s not that complicated. A big component of inbound marketing is relationship marketing.

Tell Stories Instead of Selling Stuff

The first part of relationship building is storytelling. Storytelling is insanely powerful. If you want people to stop and take notice, start your sentence with “I’d like to start with a story”. Sharing stories allows people to get to know you better and build that know-like-and-trust factor.

Ferrara says “It started, by us gathering around a tree and telling stories, and I believe that a brand is built on the promises that you make and the experience that you deliver. So marketing, isn’t just storytelling. It’s the complete customer journey. And if you could align the promises that you make and the experience that you deliver.”

It’s really simple. Stop talking about your products and services. Nobody cares. They care about how they can become better, smarter and faster. That is what you should be talking about on a daily basis.

Be a Trusted Advisor to Your Audience

Ask yourself how can you be a trusted advisor to help them achieve their passion plan and purpose in life?

One simple way to be a trusted advisor is to share content, give away your expertise. If you’ve done the relationship building and work upfront, and learned about your audience and then share the kind of content that you know will be helpful to them.

Your brand will not only be built yourself, but your community, your constituency will become your storytellers. And that’s what you need to do. You need to tell great stories and get other people to tell their story, your stories, because it’s more powerful when other people talk about you.

How Jon Ferrara Built Two Customer Relationship Tools by Building Relationships

So there I was, I built the first social skills marketing CRM before people knew they’d want to do you needed to use social to build their brand in a network?

what I did is I found the influencer of my prospect in and around the areas of my promise, my product thought leaders in social sales and marketing. I started to share their content. And hashtag it appropriately count sales, pound marketing, count, social attribute their name like DIY marketers and all of a sudden, not only was I able to attract people who want to be better at social sales and marketing the masses, but also the audience of D I want marketers and also to build a connection.

You need to put things in the garden and then attract the right thing. So you don’t have to spray and water. And that’s what you do with inspirational content and engagement. I call it the five E’s of social selling, educate and chant, engage, embrace, and empower your customer by giving you knowledge away.

It’s not necessarily who I was that helped me to be here, who I am. It’s the compilation of everything. And I think part of it is having a philosophy in life that we’re on this planet to grow our souls by helping other people grow theirs, the basis of my humanity. And so. My whole philosophy in life is I’m here to help you grow.

The Best Marketing is Free

As you can see, Ferrara is a relationship person. To him, building relationships comes as naturally as breathing. So, it’s no wonder he used building relationships as his form of free marketing.

The big take-a-way from my conversation with Ferrara is that if you want to grow sales, no amount of money thrown at marketing can take the place of the power of building relationships.