Get Started with Customer Lifecycle Marketing Using These 7 Strategies
When you attract a customer to your business, you don’t want them to buy from you once and never return. You want to form a lasting connection that encourages the customer to come back again and again. You can do that through customer lifecycle marketing.
Through customer lifecycle marketing, you can attract new customers, convert them into buyers, and then encourage them to become repeat customers and brand advocates.
What Is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?
Customer lifecycle marketing is a strategy that uses marketing in every phase of the buyer’s journey with the goal of getting customers to buy and then come back to buy again. It focuses on educating, engaging, and building a relationship with customers so they form a lasting connection with a brand.
If you look around at today’s marketing environment, you can see brands that ignore customer lifecycle marketing and instead focus on short-term gains. These companies dramatically slash prices, give away shipping, and market to audiences far outside their target demographics in desperate attempts to hit their short-term sales goals for that day or week. They’re not thinking about the long run, which means they’re going to continue struggling in the future.
Customer lifecycle marketing approaches marketing with a long-term approach. You plan to attract -- and keep -- customers.
Lifecycle marketing focuses on re-engaging customers and marketing to them in different ways throughout their buyer’s journey. It addresses what happens after customers buy your products and works to continue providing solutions for them.
Why Embrace Customer Lifecycle Marketing?
Lifecycle marketing is useful because it can increase the efficiency of your advertising budget. You will likely spend less on marketing when you embrace lifecycle marketing that brings existing customers back into your sales funnel.
Repeat customers are cheaper and easier to market to. Most businesses spend five times more to nurture a lead and close a sale than to bring a repeat customer back. Plus, repeat customers have a 60-70% chance of converting when they visit your website, while new customers average a less than 13% chance.
Repeat purchases aren’t just beneficial because of their cost-saving properties, but they also increase your revenue and build customer loyalty. One Harvard study found that a customer’s 6th purchase is 40% higher than their first one, and their 8th purchase was 80% higher on average than their earlier purchases.
When customers stay customers, you can save money on marketing and drive more sales. So, how does customer lifecycle marketing work?
What Are the Stages of the Customer Lifecycle?
To know how to engage in lifecycle marketing, you need to understand what the customer is doing and thinking in each phase of their buyer’s journey. Let’s consider the six most common stages of lifecycle marketing.
In the awareness phase, potential customers are becoming aware of their problem or need. They are realizing that they need a product, service, or offering to fill a gap. For example, someone would be in the awareness phase if they realized they needed to plan a birthday party for a family member. They are aware that they need something.
In the engagement phase, potential customers begin searching for something that solves their problem or fulfills their need. They begin doing research to see what products, solutions, or offerings can help them fill their gap. In the example of the person planning a birthday party, they may begin doing online searches for party places or asking friends for referrals.
In the evaluation phase, potential customers start comparing their options to determine which product, service, or offering best solves their problem or fulfills their need. They get more details to determine what option and brand is best. In the evaluation phase, the person planning the party may compare two restaurant options by reviewing party pages on the restaurants’ websites to compare costs and seating availability.
In the purchase phase, potential customers are ready to follow the path to purchase and buy. In the purchase phase, customers may have to make additional decisions, such as what to add on to their purchase or how they would like to receive their purchase. The person planning a party at a restaurant might use an online form in the purchase phase to make a reservation for their guests and be prompted with options to add on desserts or an open bar.
In the support phase, a paying customer may need assistance with their purchase. They may require resources to help them get the most out of their purchase. The brand stays in touch with the customer to make sure they have everything they need. In the support phase, the party planner may need additional follow-up conversations with the restaurant team about how to prepare for the party.
Advocacy and Return
Once the customer finishes their purchasing process, they enter the advocacy and return phase. In this phase, the customer may become an advocate for the brand. They may also return to do business with the brand again. For example, if the customer had a great experience with their party, they may come back to the restaurant for another party or for more intimate dinners.
7 Lifecycle Marketing Strategies
Once you are aware of the stages of customer lifecycle marketing, consider how you can use these strategies to build out a marketing plan around them. Here are seven strategies to use as you create a customer lifecycle marketing plan.
1. Get to know your customers.
To build better lifecycle marketing strategies, start by getting to know your customers. When you understand your customers, you can better outline what they are thinking and doing in each phase of the customer journey.
Create buyer personas that reflect the needs of your customers, not just their demographics. Create 2-5 personas that describe who your customers are, what they buy, and how they spend their money. You can then use this information to create comprehensive marketing plans that match their needs. Plus, as your personas grow, you can adjust your marketing to their different groupings.
Related: Get to Know Your Customers Through Super Simple Buyer Personas
2. Collect contact information from your customers.
If you want to keep customers in your sales cycle, you are going to need a way to stay in touch with them. Use a customer data platform that collects contact information from anyone who does business with you.
One of the easiest ways to encourage customers to share their contact information is by setting up a customer loyalty program. Loyalty programs give customers a reason to share their contact information and visit your business again. This is why companies like Kohl’s, Starbucks, and CVS all put so much effort into loyalty programs. If your business doesn’t have a loyalty program, even if it’s a simple punch card or digital coupon option, then you’re missing out on the profits of bringing customers back.
Related: 7 Simple Ways to Collect Your Customer's Contact Information
3. Create marketing initiatives for each phase of the customer lifecycle.
Once you feel like you know your customers and what they need in each phase of the customer lifecycle, begin to create marketing initiatives for each step of their journey. Consider what customers need at each phase and build out both marketing assets and campaigns that guide them through the process.
While lifecycle marketing may focus on bringing past customers back to do business with you, make sure that you have marketing initiatives for each phase so customers don’t get stuck in a step during their journey.
Related: 45 Email Marketing Ideas to Inspire Your Next Campaign
4. Segment your list.
Once you create specific marketing campaigns for customers in a specific phase of the buyer’s funnel, make sure only those customers receive your messaging. Use audience segmentation to split your audience so only the audience who will be interested in your messages see them.
Evaluate how you communicate with customers after they complete their purchase to make sure it matches their goals. Otherwise, you’re just sending irrelevant messages that they will tune out. For example, only send remarketing emails to customers who have already bought. Don’t bombard your entire email list with messaging about coming back to see you if they haven’t already visited your business. Use segmentation to deliver messaging to the people most likely to be interested in your content.
Related: 7 Audience Segmentation Examples and How to Use Them
5. Reflect on why you lose customers.
No company wants to take a deep dive into their failures, but the first step to improving your customer lifecycle marketing is to understand what makes your customers leave. Did your product offerings drive them away, or do you just not have the items or services they want?
To study this data, look at customers who suddenly stop doing business with your brand after stretches of loyalty. You can also look at customer complaints or returns to see what your biggest issues are. If you can solve these problems, your company can reduce the number of customers lost each month.
For example, 79% of customers say they would switch brands within a week of experiencing poor customer service. American companies lose $1.6 trillion in business annually because of lost business. If your brand can identify problems within your products, purchase process, or people early on -- you can take steps to improve them and prevent lost business.
6. Get more customer feedback.
Engaging customers after they complete a purchase can be as simple as sending a customer feedback survey once their package arrives. With just a few questions, your customers can voice their concerns or highlight what they like about your brand.
Customer feedback can also be used to improve your business operations. Some brands take this a step further and offer coupons to incentivize customers to complete feedback forms. This brings them back into the sales funnel by giving them a reason to return.
Related: 9 Opportunities Your Local Business Misses by Ignoring Customer Feedback
7. Create a strong remarketing strategy.
Once someone has already done business with you, they are far more likely to do business with you again than a new customer. The hard part is getting audiences to cross the threshold to do business with you for the first time. Once customers already know (and hopefully, love your brand), they are more likely to come back to your brand again. So don’t put all of your marketing efforts into attracting new customers. Also, put a lot of focus on bringing back existing customers.
Instead of desperately trying to bring in any customer to spend any money, you should have a marketing strategy in place to re-engage lost business and convince loyal customers to return. Acquiring new customers is important, but you want to make sure you bring them to your brand with long-term loyalty in mind.
Evaluate your remarketing strategy to make sure it aligns with your customer’s goals. For example, if a customer buys running shoes from your brand, are you emailing them more offers for running shoes a week later? In all likelihood, they would be more interested in buying leggings or fitness gadgets.
Related: 8 Ways to Use Retargeting Ads to Drive Repeat Visits to Your Local Business
Create a Lifecycle Marketing Plan with MyArea Network
Lifecycle marketing means focusing on the customer’s needs as a whole. It means providing marketing initiatives from the beginning of the buyer’s journey to the end and then back around again.
If you are struggling with getting customers to enter or stay in your lifecycle marketing cycle, let’s talk. MyArea Network specializes in working with brands to reach more local customers in their area -- getting them to come in once and then back again and again.
Let’s see how we can help you build a full-circle customer lifecycle marketing plan. Schedule a free call with our team today.