12 Simple Yet Powerful Relationship Marketing Tips from Mari Smith


Mari Smith at Linked Orange County with her new BFF Mitch Devine.

Mari Smith sure has a lot of friends. Just check out her 50,288 Facebook fan-friends or 119,468 Twitter followers. But she’s really not looking for more BFFs. Her goal is quality, not quantity.

Mari wants to have more meaningful relationships.

Mari (as in “Ferrari”) is in business to be of service and build relationships. Why are relationships so important? “The longer relationships are sustained, the more profitable your company,” she explains.

The topic of Mari’s recent presentation at Linked Orange County, “The New Relationship Marketing,” also happens to be the title of her new book.

Mari has called herself a “relationship marketing specialist” for 10 years, long before social media became a buzzword. Known as the “Pied Piper of Facebook,” she’s the co-author of “Facebook Marketing: One-Hour a Day”.

To dispel the notion that her subject was limited to social media, she addressed her audience saying “There is no amount of sophisticated technology that will ever, ever, ever take the place of this: in-person, face-to-face.”

Relationships Transcend Social Media

According to Mari, “Relationship marketing encompasses not only social media, but also email marketing, direct mail, some television and magzine ads—basically anything in which you make the person you’re connecting with feel they’re important to you.”

Starbucks was cited as one of the best examples of companies that listen well and connect with customers. The coffeehouse chain consistently ranks at the top for customer engagement. Based on the results of its own survey, Starbucks acted in response to customers’ feedback on how they could improve. The number-one suggestion? Free wi-fi.

Tactical Marketing Tips

Mari’s goal with her presentation, besides talking about her new book, was to deliver tactical tips to her audience. I’ve compiled some of my personal favorites that apply to business in general as well as social media marketing. I’ve listed a dozen below, plus a few extra nuggets as well.

12 Relationship Marketing Tips 

  1. Use First Names – It’s easy to make someone’s day. Using first names helps build rapport and trust. Give compliments, too.
  2. Deliver Quality – If you do, quantity will follow; better to say less and be thoughtful than to just fill space. Be the voice that’s remembered, not just heard.
  3. Establish Authority – Remember the root word of “authority” is “author.” To become an authority in your field, share more content. This can also include “OPC” (other people’s content).
  4. Build Your List – It’s always easier to get more business from existing clients than to get new clients. So if you’re in business for yourself, you need to build up your own email list, then build relationships with the people on it.
  5. Develop Your Skills – The two most important skills for social media success are technical skills (e.g. how to build a website) and “soft skills,” a.k.a. people skills or “emotional intelligence.”
  6. Monetize – Think strategically about how to make your social media efforts profitable.
  7. Be Excellent – “Excellence transcends everything” (a quote Mari borrowed from Oprah).
  8. Be Consistent – Put out quality content regularly and be consistent with your brand message and image. (e.g. Mari always sports her favorite color turquoise!)
  9. Share Wisely – Don’t share anything you wouldn’t want shared with your mother or seen on the front of the New York Times.
  10. Protect Your Time – Social media can be a time-suck. Be disciplined. Try using a timer. For instance, blogger Sonia Simone works 50 minutes, then breaks for 10 minutes.
  11. FOCUS – “Follow One Course Until Successful.” Whatever your area of expertise, focus on delivering as much quality content as possible to build influence.
  12. Invest in Yourself – After a recent spiritual renewal, Mari now asks herself “What is my deepest intent?” before posting or sending anything. Her intent is to be of service.

Reading Tip

Mari’s brand-spanking new presentation included photos of her alongside different luminaries. One was Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, a book she recommended highly.  The four agreements are: Be impeccable with your word; Don’t take anything personally; Don’t make assumptions; Always do your best. According to the Amazon review, “It’s the how and why one should do these things that make The Four Agreements worth reading and remembering.”

Tweet Early and Often

Scheduling posts on Twitter is helpful, but keep in mind that 80% of the American population lives in the Central or Eastern time zone. That means that West Coast tweeps need to start earlier when sharing content on Twitter.

Also, you’ll get a better re-tweet rate if you add a comment. This serves to inject some of your own personality and build influence.

Mari’s Favorite Twitter Tools

Facebook Posting, Not So Often

Instead of auto-scheduling, post manually on Facebook. Unlike Twitter, you don’t need to post any more than one to three times a day. If you over-post on Facebook, people will hide you from their newsfeed.

Mari attributes much of her online success to her “relentless” offline marketing as well. And she’s every bit as bubbly and personable IRL (in real life) as you would imagine from her online persona. Here’s a “trailer” for her new book, recounting her personal journey.

Pick up Mari’s new book “The New Relationship Marketing” (with a forward by Guy Kawasaki) when it’s published on October 25.

If you have a favorite Mari tip or anecdote (there were lots more), share it in the comments. And if you liked reading about Mari, please “Like” and tweet this post! :-)




16 responses to “12 Simple Yet Powerful Relationship Marketing Tips from Mari Smith

  1. Great article Mitch, I’m bummed out I missed this LinkedOC and especially because it was Mari. Thanks for distilling the message for us and posting it in here, now I don’t feel like I totally missed out.

  2. Great message and very helpful hints! Building relationships is the base to any/everything we do. I want to get Mari’s book now haha. Thank-you Mitch for putting this out there.

  3. Great tips, I’ll have to drop by one of the meetings when I visit family in Los Angeles.

  4. Good for you, Mitch. Mari is an amazing resource.

  5. Mitch!! You are amazing and you are indeed my new BFF. Heheee. I’m truly honored by this wonderful summary of my talk at LinkedOC last week. It was a delight to connect with you there. Thank you so much for taking the time to write this review and include so many resources too. I look forward to continuing our connection. Meantime, I’m excited to share your post with my online community! :)

    • Hi Mari!
      It was a thrill to meet you, then get not one, but two shout-outs during your presentation, and now to have you stop by and comment on the blog! Thanks so much! I’m excited to read your book when it comes out in a few weeks. Also looking forward to staying in touch! Thanks for the good word :)

    • I’m just going to discretely add “simple yet powerful” to the headline, after seeing your tweet! 😉 Thanks, much better!

  6. Thank you so much for these tips. Very useful. :-)

  7. I truly love how you outline these important points in building mutual beneficial relationships. Love It!

  8. Love Mari’s tips. I studied with Mari two years ago in her first Mentor With Mari class, and it is really unbelievable how much information she has at her fingertips! These tips are really practical, something that people can ACTUALLY implement and have success. Especially love FOCUS – how many of us just are not focused on one things and dilute our efforts?

    • Thanks, Susan. At her presentation Mari also mentioned a few of the people in attendance who were part of her Mentor class. And maintaining F.O.C.U.S. certainly sounds simpler than it actually is. At least in my case!

  9. Great Tips! I especially love #7. Quality above everything … personally and professionally!

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