What is lifecycle marketing and why should I factor this into my marketing plan?
Lifecycle marketing includes all strategies a business might use to attract, convert, and retain customers. It is a framework that integrates all of your company’s communication channels that support customers before and after purchasing. The goal of this marketing technique is to ultimately expand your customer base to grow your company and brand.
Sounds great, but what does it actually entail? And what is included in this “lifecycle?”
It helps to think of lifecycle marketing like any other lifecycle: a series of changes through certain stages. In this context, it means to find, engage, connect, and develop relationships with customers, nurturing that relationship like any other. You’ll want to use this tactic to keep long-lasting customers who help build your brand through their loyalty.
As you may already know, it’s much more crucial to keep existing customers than work to keep attracting new customers. The old adage in business is that 20% of your customers produce 80% of your sales, so hanging onto those purchasing customers is important. If you target marketing strategies that promote and improve loyalty, you’ll increase the odds of those coveted repeat purchases.
At Margo, we break down lifecycle marketing into four stages: attract, consider, convert, delight.
This stage is all about making customers familiar with your brand and your services. At this point, your customer may not have heard of your brand, but their attention may be caught with an enticing ad, social media message, or through word of mouth. This is essentially a customer’s first impression of your business, so this stage will be about making sure you can communicate who you are in an enticing, succinct, and memorable way.
- Strategies to attract customers may include social media posts, paid ads, word of mouth, referral programs, hosting events (both online and offline), and organic web content.
After attracting customers, consider providing them with helpful content they’ll need to develop a positive relationship with your brand and ultimately use your services. If a potential customer lands on your website, they should come across helpful, educational content that can influence their purchasing decision. Your customer is likely comparing brands, reading reviews, and considering all their options. Make sure your customer has all of the information they need to choose your company.
- At this stage, think about connecting with customers through email newsletters and email marketing, landing page offers, targeted blog posts, and useful educational content.
After a customer has considered your brand, now you want to capture the moment of truth: when your customer decides to make use of your product or business. Having gained all necessary information and being impressed with your brand's expertise, make sure your prospect is moved to give your product or service a try.
- Convert your customers using special promotions, (think added value or discounts), free trials and demos, estimates/quotes, consultations, referral programs, and email marketing.
Now, you want to make it clear that you're providing value. Show your customer that they’ve just entered a relationship. Delight your customer so that they feel called to return to you again, instead of shopping around next time. Check in and ask how they've enjoyed their new product or service, or offer exclusive perks that only existing customers have access to. Encourage them to share their experience on social media, and validate their experience publicly to show your appreciation.
- To delight your customers, consider providing 24/7 support access, product discounts, referral bonuses, post-purchase email exchanges, and product experience surveys.
If you can see a customer through this entire lifecycle, your odds of gaining their loyalty are high. Remember: brand loyalty doesn’t come without effort. It must be nurtured and instilled through service experiences that solve the consumer’s need and prove the value of your worth.
Setting up your lifecycle marketing structure
In a process like a lifecycle, it may seem difficult to find a place to “get started.” You will likely see yourself in multiple aspects of this lifecycle at the same time: attracting new customers while working to retain the ones you have, and repeat. Below are some simple steps to setting up a lifecycle marketing structure within your company.
Brainstorm how to attract your ideal customer
To get started attracting your first customers, you’ll need to perform market research on your target audience, similar to any other marketing strategy. Once you understand who your ideal customer is, consider how to best get their attention. Where do they spend their time online? For example, would they be more likely to see an Instagram or LinkedIn ad? Do they spend more time reading emails, or texts?
Come up with an implementation plan
It’s not just enough to get your brand seen by ideal customers – you want them to remember you next time they have a need. How can they keep you in mind? Here, you’ll want to think of a plan to turn a passive customer into an engaged customer. Think of click-through ads, capturing emails for follow-up, useful blog posts, and social media content they can like, comment, and share.
Make sure you offer support
When setting up a lifecycle plan, consider how you’ll support the customer after you’ve captured their attention. If a potential customer runs into any issues attempting a sale, they may abandon it altogether. Is your web structure sound? What does your purchase page look like? What is your follow-up email strategy? Plan these now for easy implementation once the lifecycle strategy is in place.
How to implement lifecycle marketing to produce results
Once you’ve done the setup – knowing your customer, attracting them, and planning the follow through – it’s time to see your plan in action.
Nurture prospects into their first purchase
Your ads are being seen, your social pages have followers – so what? Moving past the “attract” phase, you need to make sure your customers are considering you as a purchasing option among the competition. Emphasize how you solve your customer pain points: provide educational content, newsletters, email exclusives, and showcase trusted customer reviews. Show that your customers will be joining a loyal, appreciative family once they decide on your business.
Capture the sale
Consider incentives you can offer to close the sale: consultation calls, free trials, discounts, and simple and easy buying options. You need clear communication and well-written documentation, as well as any clarifying processes for dissatisfied customers.
Monitor your customers
Run analytics on your customer base. How many are repeat buyers? If most customers are one-time purchasers, how can you entice them to come back? Engage customers in a loyalty program, a discount offer for future purchases, or a reminder to leave feedback or take a survey. You can also keep track of customer loyalty through their social engagement – what features of your product are they talking about? What is coming up in reviews? How can you reinforce this value and use it to attract more customers?
Expanding your lifecycle marketing
Although attract, consider, convert, and delight are the typical stages we use through this strategy, it’s still a fluid process. Once you have a solid strategy down, you’ll want to think of innovative ways to expand your strategy.
When thinking of how to retain your customers, experiment with loyalty offers to boost that repeat sale. If you haven’t created one yet, think of a VIP or rewards membership for elite customers. Let your loyals become brand ambassadors who attract and convert customers for you. Reviews dictate a lot of online purchasing behavior because they feel honest and authentic. With customers doing some of the “attract” and “consider” work, you can spend more energy on delighting and retaining.
Using a small trusted group of customers, experiment with focus groups and surveys to understand what they perceive as valuable about your product. Always be in the process of developing new strategies, tactics, and services to generate return customers.
The biggest takeaway is to communicate often with your audience to provide them the expert assistance they need. A smooth experience from attraction to delight will help you make the most of your lifecycle marketing strategies.
You can also lean on Margo to help you expand your lifecycle marketing techniques. Using our attract, consider, convert, and delight framework, Margo can help boost and support your lifecycle strategy for higher customer acquisition and conversion rates. Reach out to Margo and consider Margo’s network of experts to find the right specialist to fit your needs.