Brand awareness used to be the primary goal of marketing. It was about getting people to walk in the door and start a relationship with the brand or company. Now that consumers are very aware, however, this information is readily available online, marketing priorities have changed slightly. And while brand awareness is still essential, it’s no longer the ultimate goal – not even making a sale.
For businesses to enjoy a long-term return on investment (ROI) from marketing, they need to convert customers into repeat buyers and ambassadors. This is what life cycle marketing is all about
What is lifecycle marketing?
Lifecycle marketing is the practice of interacting with customers at every stage of their journey with your business, from knowing your brand first to becoming a loyal advocate for your brand. This means showing them different types of content that will appeal to customers as they go through the stages of the buyer’s journey and more deeply into the lead generation sales funnel – first as prospects, then as leads and finally as customers.
Through lifecycle marketing lenses, a business relationship with the customer does not end with a sale. Instead, it has a key sponsorship strategy that lasts well after the first successful sale.
To better understand what lifecycle marketing is, we will discuss its stages and the goals that each should have. We’ll also touch on the benefits of customer lifecycle marketing and how it can impact your business. The last part of this article provides examples of lifecycle marketing campaigns that you can apply to your business.
The Six Stages of Lifecycle Marketing
Highly reliable marketing sites have different interpretations of the different stages of lifecycle marketing. At Hubspot, online marketing experts have identified these six stages of the marketing lifecycle:
Customers first understand your brand and products or services. Awareness is carried out at the top of the conversion funnel. You want to make an excellent first impression so that customers are more receptive to your messages in the next stages of the buyer’s journey.
Customers enter engagement when they’re ready to interact with your brand and respond to your marketing messages. This is when they check your website or search for your official social media pages.
The primary form of engagement is to follow social media accounts and subscribe to email marketing content and newsletters. Keep in mind that these signals are more active in building relationships with customers through social media and email marketing.
After grabbing the attention of your customers, the next step is to push them towards places (such as social media accounts, websites, YouTube channels, or blogs) or materials that will help them form their opinion about everything you have to offer. They are looking for information to weigh the pros and cons of their options in the hope of making the best buying decision. Again, a lead nurturing strategy will come in handy at this and next.
The first three phases focus on customer care campaigns and directing customers to the checkout page. From a customer’s point of view, the buying stage is all about paying for their orders and making sure that the payment methods are easy, secure, and reliable. A smooth payment process can foster a good relationship between buyers and sellers, while a complex and unnecessarily cumbersome process can discourage first-time buyers from coming back.
5. Provide support
There is a high chance that customers will abandon the marketing cycle after the first purchase. But if your goal is to have loyal customers who will keep coming back for your products or services, you need to get them to stay after the final stage of your lead generation sales funnel.
Thus, this stage benefits from customer advocacy or the practice of prioritizing and addressing customer needs by offering quality products and services. When you stand up for your customers, providing reliable, timely, and adequate customer support becomes second nature. Meeting your customers’ expectations, if not exceeding them, is key in building customer trust – a critical factor in lifecycle marketing campaigns.
6. Loyalty and Advocacy
With the successful delivery and support phase, happy customers can become willing brand advocates. People who are completely satisfied with your products and support services will talk to their friends and family and even recommend your brand to others in need. But more importantly, they will become loyal customers who keep coming back to buy your products and be willing brand advocates.
A course, not an individual campaign
What is important to remember about lifecycle marketing is that it is not linear. While there is a definite entry point (the stage of consciousness), it does not end with an end. Rather, it’s a cycle. So if you continue the marketing lifecycle, your business can have long-term gains.
Benefits of Customer Lifecycle Marketing
Investing in lead nurturing campaigns is essential to closing deals and generating sales. But for long-term success, you have to work on building long-term relationships with your customers. Success in lifecycle marketing campaigns can bring your company the following benefits:
1. Improves marketing ROI because it aligns your marketing strategy with your customer’s journey.
2. Improves customer service and customer retention.
3. Improves your brand image.
4. Builds long-term relationships with customers.
5. Increases the Client’s Lifetime Value (CLV), which measures the revenue a client brings to the company as long as there is a relationship between them.
6. Increases cost savings as getting new customers is more expensive than retaining repeat customers.
7. Save time for the same reason as above.
8. You understand the market better and know the pain points and the necessary solutions. Your customer call evolves, leading to better support products and services. More importantly, you gain insights into an effective lead nurturing strategy.
Examples of leading sponsorship campaigns
To realize the benefits of customer lifecycle marketing, here are some actionable tips and strategies for each of the six stages:
• Identify and embody your buyer personas to adjust your lead nurturing campaigns.
• Do keyword research. Even better, hire digital marketing experts to discover your target audience’s favorite words, terms, and phrases when researching relevant topics online.
• Invest in paid online advertising. Moreover, include keyword search results in the ads you will launch on search engines, social media, and third-party sites. Seasoned PPC specialists, with the help of professional content writers, can compile highly converting ads for you.
•If your target market is reachable offline, invest in offline advertising. Consider placing an ad on digital screens in your local shopping mall and tarpaulin logos on billboards along your city’s main streets. Vision can do a lot for traditional businesses that cater to the local customer base.
• Find influencers in your field to collaborate with. Influencer marketing can really amplify the reach of your marketing efforts.
• Create landing pages that are easy to navigate and contain concise and easy-to-understand content about your products, services, or business.
• Invest in content creation for marketing and information purposes. For example, create explainer videos that show customers how to use your products or the benefits of your services. Video is a convenient format for posting on websites and sharing it on social media. Moreover, over 80 percent of marketers report that videos increase waiting time, help attract leads, and increase sales.
• Post blogs and guides that answer specific daily questions from your customers.
• Be present where your target market is. If it’s on social media, be active on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram. If many of them are on LinkedIn, be sure to update your company’s LinkedIn page.
• Consult digital marketing experts about the types of content that your target market handles the most. You may have noticed that some digital marketing experts specialize in a particular field or industry, and that’s because they will spend years studying the market. Their insight can help guide customers faster into the lead generation sales conversion funnel.
• Provide a free trial or satisfaction guarantee, if applicable. These offers can help increase confidence in your products and services, especially among first-time customers.
• View complete and accurate pricing information on your website and other online POS outlets.
• Add customer testimonials to your product pages.
• Encourage customers to submit detailed reviews by asking questions like the feature they liked the most. Detailed reviews look more legitimate and help boost customer confidence.
• Work with optimal conversion rate experts to determine how to achieve the highest possible conversion and purchase rates on social media and e-commerce sites. They help you understand how audiences interact with the content on your page and find ways to increase the number of users following your call-to-action (CTAs). With CRO experts, you can improve conversion rates and increase sales.
• Have more than one payment option available. In this digital age, consumers use a variety of banking and online payment services. Since this stage aims to make payment as smooth as possible, use the online payment options that your target audience uses the most, such as credit card processing gateways, PayPal, and Cash App.• Consider adding shoppable content to your website and social media posts.
Shoppable content takes advantage of impulsive buying and shortens the stages of the buyer’s journey.
Offer and support
• Provide free or lifetime customer support services if possible.
• Set up communication channels such as live chat, private messages on social media, and customer support hotlines.
• Address FAQs on the FAQ page.
• Create a forum where you can provide detailed answers to questions or troubleshooting concerns that are not found in FAQs. The forum is a convenient way to answer less common problems without inflating your FAQ page.
Loyalty and advocacy
• Develop a loyalty program or incentives for repeat customers.
• Offering first Dibs privileges to existing customers.
• Offer incentives when customers write reviews for the first time. This encourages them to be brand advocates and write their reviews sooner rather than later.
• Suggest complementary products when customers add an item to your cart.
• Send exclusive discounts and offers to newsletter subscribers via email.