Lifecycle Marketing is the key to retaining your new and existing customers by providing them enough value throughout their journey. And this blog contains everything you need to know to get started.
Lifecycle marketing is something that I feel really passionate about since it offers us, marketers, a way to engage, influence, and retain our audiences over long periods of time and ideally turn them into our brand advocates.
But to bring this concept to life and to get started with it, we first need to understand and consider a few essential things. For example, what does your customer’s life cycle look like? What can you do to provide them value beyond the transaction? How can you facilitate their decisions along the way? Etc.
No worries, though, as I will walk you through all of that.
- What is lifecycle marketing?
- Stages of lifecycle marketing
- Lifecycle Marketing strategies
So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
What is lifecycle marketing?
Lifecycle marketing is all about interacting with your audience at different times during their buying journey, starting from when they find out about your brand first till the end of making the purchasing decision and maintaining a relationship with them over time to have them come back around consistently. It includes helping them choose the right product, holding their hand, and walking them through all the nitty-gritty details.
And we can do a lot of that through content marketing using email and unveiling a lot of unique opportunities there.
What does my customer lifecycle look like?
So, for businesses thinking about how to incorporate this strategy into their marketing mix, I’d recommend looking into your customer’s journey and your product/service through the lens of what’s going to make this valuable for the end user and also what things they’re going to need your help with along the way.
Now, let’s talk about how to do that.
Depending on the purchase the customer is going to make, in terms of how expensive the product is or how risky they perceive that decision to be, they’ll need more support and information during their journey.
For instance, if I’m buying a pack of band-aids, I might need only one or two sources of information, but if I’m buying a car, I’m probably going to need like 18-20 sources of information because it is such a high investment. So, in that case, you should be able to understand the goal of that person making that decision and the possible risks they see associated with it.
And the whole intention behind doing this is to take them from being problem aware to solution aware to eventually making a decision/purchasing a product and then getting the most out of it later on. That way, they are going to become your loyal, long-term, and repeat customers.
In all, doing this opens a gateway to a lot of unique opportunities to transform them into the kind of customers we want and gradually move them a level up that audience hierarchy.
In case you’re wondering, we’ve talked about audience hierarchies before and how they help map out a customer’s life cycle so well and explain how we can turn a prospect into an engaged user and that engaged user into a loyal customer with a high lifetime value.
What makes email such a powerful tool?
What makes email such a powerful tool here is how it allows us to reverse engineer the experience we want to provide our customers with. Plus, it also helps get the right message to the right person at the right time, based on the data we have.
So if we can give them the tools they need along the way that are going to be relevant and contextual for them at every stage, it can really help maximize the retention rate and revenue as well.
Stages of lifecycle marketing
Using a few different models, we have broken the whole cycle into the following stages:
- Awareness – It’s that top-of-the-funnel touch point where they first discover you. For instance, it can be an Instagram ad. This is the stage where they become problem aware.
- Engagement – Then, engagement is a little bit different. It’s when they start to do some research about your brand/product.
- Evaluation – at this stage, they dig a bit deeper and start comparing one product to the other and become solution aware.
- Purchase – this is an advanced stage where they have gone from solution aware to product aware.
- Support – and then support comes after they made the purchase. It includes following up on how well they leverage that purchase.
- Loyalty – And at last, loyalty is about if they found enough value in it to come back and rebuy it.
Lifecycle Marketing strategies
Content marketing plays a vital role in laying out the strategies for lifecycle marketing as it allows us to connect the right content at the right time with the right person. And when we get to connect the right content with the right person, it gives us a unique perspective to deal with each and every one of them the way they deserve.
Anyway, let’s have a look at how you should be doing lifecycle marketing with respect to the different stages we discussed earlier.
Typically, awareness is not the stage where you should use email because it isn’t the strongest place to start.
This is the top-of-the-funnel marketing where you want to create demand, and for that, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media ads work really well.
With these platforms, you can create that initial spark in someone’s mind by showing them something they were not searching for. Similarly, influencer marketers can also help a lot in creating demand for a specific product or service you’re offering.
But if you still want to include email here, one way you can do that is by collaborating or partnering up with other relatively well-established businesses to piggyback off their audiences. We’ve seen some examples of brands doing this by offering complimentary products, and no doubt, that is an excellent way of creating brand/product awareness.
So once you’ve caught their attention and they have started to engage on their own, it’s time you start collecting some data. And with that data, you’re going to analyze what they find value in and how you can add more to it; you have to offer them something more valuable in return for that information they share with you.
For example, in the case of a B2B business, it can be a white paper or an exclusive report. Similarly, in the case of B2C business, it can be early access to a new product.
About that, we’ve seen businesses doing cool things like quizzes or offering guidance to find the right product while collecting all the useful data along the way.
Octane AI is a great tool for doing that, though.
Also, during this engagement phase, you should consistently communicate with them to develop a use case for the product and then, based on that information, build an argument and convince them how you can offer the best product/service.
Then comes the evaluation phase, in which they will be making their decision regarding the purchase. At this point, your focus should be on figuring out how to help them with that. How to make that process seamless? This might even include comparing your products to others and helping them understand if they are a good fit for our product/service or not.
And in that regard, incentives like free shipping, return policy, social proof, and positive reviews are the things that help ease them out and reverse the risk they feel while making that decision.
If you do these things really well, you make people feel confident about their purchase; you walk them through their journey like that, and you’re definitely going to end up converting them.
Plus, our email and SMS automations are also going to be helpful in this stage.
For instance, although you have already laid a nice foundation for that purchase with all the follow-up and communication to make the process as frictionless as possible, you still might hit a speed bump. In that case, those email and SMS automations for abandoned-cart or added-to-cart will play their part in bringing them back to where they left or paused and get over that finish line. This way, we’ll finally be driving that revenue we wanted.
But before they buy our product, they must buy our marketing because that’s what is going to drive those end results, and so we have to be the best at it.
Once they have finally made the purchase, the support phase starts.
At this point, they’re going to start using that product/service, and our job is to make sure they get the best out of it so that they come back to us and, ideally, purchase a complimentary product as well.
There are some amazing examples of businesses doing this on the SAS or B2B sides. And, no doubt they are gangsters at it because they realize that our optimization strategy isn’t necessarily going to be revenue positive in the first transaction, but the lifetime value is going to be so high when we have those customers purchase from us on a monthly recurring basis which will bring us consistent revenue that’ll be predictable and exciting as it would give us a solid baseline.
They are many different ways you can go about sharing informational content to help support their decision. For example, showing them how to integrate some XYZ software with your existing teams or anything else they need to ensure they’re finding the maximum value in it.
On the B2B side, there may be different stakeholders you need to address.
Whereas on the B2C side, let’s suppose you have a coffee brand, so your informational content may look something like, ‘how do I grind my coffee beans?’. Or, if you’re a running shoe brand, you can share some content with them on how to make them last longer or offer some complimentary product that can help with that.
And not to mention, the more relevant you can get, the better experience they’re going to have at the end of the day.
That’s why I always talk about collecting contextual data on the front end. You can find some of that useful information through the purchasing data too.
For example, if I have a children’s clothing company and somebody purchases in the zero to the three-month category, what content am I going to need to get them afterward? It has to be something like, ‘how to dress your infant for bed? What are my go-to outfits for every infant? How many onesies does my infant need?’.
So you see how all this is all super-inline with their purchasing? Because if it is not, it’ll be of no value to them. For instance, if I have a toddler, I’ll have zero interest in how to dress an infant. I would want to know more about toddler clothing.
Therefore the more relevant you can get, the better are your lifecycle automations going to perform.
Plus, it can also help us communicate the value of our product and the supplementary offerings really well. Like, if they are buying one bundle of onesies, you can offer them the sleeping bundle with it as well and explain how it’ll keep them comfortable and how easy it is to use. And then, with the post-purchase sequence, you can follow up on how well they are using their product.
Where our campaigns really shine is in this loyalty and retention phase.
So we’re trying to add value beyond the transaction here and keep them engaged. And when we can keep them engaged, we’re adding value to a longer-term relationship.
And on the B2B side, we start with getting everything organized.
For example, if you’re a B2B business, how to get your team organized for the new year, how to prep your tax filings early, and what metrics to include in your quarterly reports.
All those things are going to be something valuable for those end users that you should consider.
And again, they have to be super relevant, contextually and seasonally. For example, thinking about tax reporting in August isn’t going to be the best idea. Instead, you should be trying to figure out what else could possibly be on the mind of our customers at that given time of the year; what problems could they be facing? What are their challenges? How do we help them solve them?
And then, for the B2C side, where our e-commerce clients fit in, you can go for something like ‘how to stay fit when you can’t ride outside? How to stay hydrated in the winter? Here’s your guide to summer riding gear’; all those things are gonna be highly contextual to give you a reason to communicate, add value beyond a transaction, and make them engage with your brand.
In fact, you’re also giving yourself a Trojan horse this way in terms of like, ‘Heyy, here’s our guide to summer riding gear, and oh yeah, also here are our new summer running shoes or summer hydration bundle.’
All of those things are going to be super helpful for us to maintain that rhythm of connection and to build that longer-term loyalty. And then this is where that retention rubber meets the road and where that real magic happens.
So, if it does well through the campaign, then we can automate it too – that’s where that content creation iteration process really optimizes itself.
So this is how we think about the customer life cycle, how we’re constantly tweaking and changing it based on what that customer may need.
We can run experiments in our automations here too, but basically, the better we can understand that customer’s life cycle, the better we can understand the problems, and the better chances we’re going to have to help them solve those problems – That’s what’s going to make them feel confident and trust us in the long-run.
And this also makes us really powerful among our competitors here because, hey, Amazon isn’t aware of their customers’ lifecycles in each category, but we are! That surely gives us an edge over them.
In all, I hope you find this blog helpful, and if you guys have any questions or if we missed anything, do let us know in the comment box below because we always want feedback.