Improve customer retention.
Increase customer engagement.
Build a large base of loyal customers.
That’s what customer lifecycle marketing is all about. Unlike other marketing approaches, lifecycle marketing considers the needs and wants of customers at specific stages of their journey with your brand.
The result is more personalized, relevant, and engaging marketing that tries to cultivate loyalty from the very first contact. In this article, we’re going to talk about customer lifecycle marketing and how you can implement this strategy properly in eCommerce.
What is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?
Customer lifecycle marketing is an approach to personalizing customer communication. It’s based on the idea that different marketing messages work best for customers at different stages of their journey with your brand. To create such personalized and relevant customer communications, you need to have a deep understanding of your target audience.
Key Phases of Customer Lifecycle Marketing
Typically, customer lifecycle marketing consists of six specific phases. Each phase defines what your target audience might need, want, or like about your brand.
The six phases are:
- Awareness. Also called “discovery,” this phase involves customers coming in contact with your business for the first time. The contact might occur via any common marketing communication touchpoints (online ads, Google search, cold emails, etc.)
- Engagement. After learning about your brand, customers start engaging with you in many ways: follow your brand on social media, sign up for your email newsletter, or visit your website.
- Evaluation. Customers consider your brand’s offer as a part of their product/service research. They’re not buying just yet, because they might be considering other businesses as well.
- Purchase. After thinking about where to buy, customers make a purchase. In an ideal scenario, all the branded experiences customers went through before would lead to a real purchase.
- Support. In the US, 60% of customers decide to cut off a relationship with a brand after a poor customer service experience. That’s why it’s important to be available to your existing customers and help them maximize the value of their purchase.
- Loyalty. Every customer who reached this phase is happy with your brand’s product or service. So, the main goal here is to retain them and make them refer more customers with some positive word of mouth.
Businesses approach customers using specific marketing channels and messages at all of these stages to reach their goals. Customer lifecycle marketing combines all this communication into an organized strategy aligned with your long-term business goals.
How To Do Customer Lifecycle Marketing
In this part, we’ll deep dive into some tips to conduct effective customer lifecycle marketing at every stage.
1. Awareness Stage
The main goal of the first stage is to attract as many target customers as possible. Your business can achieve this goal by creating and sharing engaging, useful, and relevant content based on the needs of your target audiences.
Strategies to maximize your brand or product awareness:
- Customer personas. Create multiple customer personas that include characteristics, needs, goals, and problems of your typical customers.
- Paid ad campaigns. Run advertising campaigns to maximize the reach and mention the benefits of your product and services.
- Content marketing. Create blog content using target keywords to be featured in Google results and drive traffic to your eCommerce store.
- Influencer marketing. Collaborate with influencers to have some reviews and spread the word about your products and services.
- Paid social advertising. Run advertising campaigns on social media platforms favored by your target customers.
- Loyalty program. Encourage new customers to buy with loyalty perks and bonuses
Another important thing about building brand awareness is trying to build customer loyalty right away. This means providing excellent customer support to those asking questions, ensuring loyalty rewards, etc.
When potential customers start to engage with your brand, your task is to ensure that there’s plenty of content waiting for them. You need to market your business in a way that makes them interested in buying.
Consider these tips to engage potential customers:
- Videos. Make videos showcasing the benefits of using your products or services
- Blog content. Write blog posts and other content that provides relevant information about the problem your product can solve.
- Newsletter signups. Encourage website visitors to sign up for your newsletter, so you can use email marketing apps to send marketing messages.
We’re one step away from turning a potential customer into a real one. They have engaged with your content and become interested in learning more. Since they are comparing your product with those of your competitors, your job is to show that your offer is better.
Ideas to encourage customers to make a buying decision:
- Customer reviews. Collect reviews with review request emails and showcase via customized widgets to build trust among customers. Here’s an example of such a widget from a Shopify store.
- Case studies. Show your company’s expertise and prove that your product or service works.
- Demonstration videos. Share videos with influencers or customers trying their products so customers see firsthand how they work.
The most important goal of this stage is to make the buying process as fast and stress-free as possible.
Here’s how to make customers confident about buying from you:
- Provide a clear product description. This information is essential for customers during product searching.
- Make checkout simple. Ecommerce sites lose around 42% of customers because of mandatory account requirements and complicated checkout processes (see the image below). That’s why consider adding a simpler guest checkout for quick purchases.
- Share customer reviews. Reviews showing along the checkout process can be a way to persuade customers that they are choosing the right product.
Many shoppers are likely to stay with your business if you offer excellent post-purchase support. That’s why support plays a vital role in customer lifecycle marketing.
Customer support tips:
- Use fast service tools. Live chat, for example, has the highest customer satisfaction rate because it allows getting answers fast.
- Provide self-help options. Resources like manuals, FAQs, and knowledge bases are essential for 51% of customers who prefer self-help support options
- Share helpful service emails. You can send emails containing links to customer accounts, returns and refund policies, customer service contacts, etc.
- Give incentives. Sharing a discount or a perk like free shipping is also a good way to encourage customers to buy again.
Loyalty is critical in effective customer lifecycle marketing because it promotes word of mouth, and, therefore, brings you more customers. Since recommendations from friends and family are important for 93% of customers, eCommerce brands try to promote loyalty in many ways.
Here are some tips to get customers to talk about your brand:
- Give bonuses for referrals. A referral program can be a way to reward customers who recommend your brand to their friends and family.
- Start a customer loyalty program. Customers always like rewards and perks, so a loyalty program that offers regular rewards can encourage repeat orders.
- Re-engage passive customers via emails. You can launch re-engagement emails containing bonuses and other offers to reactive customers who haven’t engaged with your brands for several months.
Customer Lifecycle Marketing: Summary
Customer lifecycle marketing is the process of providing shoppers with communications and experiences according to their position in the buying journey with brands. Instead of letting customers reach the end of their journey, this approach creates a continuous loop that has them interact with your brand.
Customer lifecycle marketing helps you understand the needs and goals of your customers to provide the right products and build long-term relationships with them.