Lifecycle Marketing

Chapter 01: Lifecycle Marketing

Lifecycle Email Marketing

Customer communication shouldn’t end when a purchase is made. In fact, what you say and how you say it is even more important in lifecycle marketing, especially when retention and repeat purchases are on the line.

Lifecycle marketing is the process of sharing the right content, communication, and experiences with your audience as they move from prospects to customers then, ideally, to advocates. But, in order for lifecycle marketing to work, you need to truly understand your target audience and what makes an impact as they move through the sales funnel. For example, after doing the right kind of research and analysis, you may discover that prospects are more likely to subscribe to your software after attending a webinar. This piece of insight would weave into your lifecycle marketing strategy, with your sending a webinar invite email to leads as they get closer to the purchasing phase.

Why Lifecycle Marketing Is Important

According to Adobe, marketers in the United States must bring in five new customers to equal the revenue of one repeat purchaser.

This statistic represents the major benefit of lifecycle marketing: the ability to continue your conversation with existing customers and generate repeat business. We all know that retaining existing customers is less expensive than acquiring new ones, but a lot of digital marketing activities are still focused on acquisition.

On the other hand, lifecycle marketing doesn’t stop once someone makes a purchase. You have the opportunity to continue sharing relevant, valuable content and deepen your relationship with customers.

Other benefits of lifecycle marketing include:

  • Lifecycle marketing requires advanced customer segmentation and by proxy, helps you better understand your customers.
  • This segmentation also ensures that you are sending relevant, timely information to the customers who care about what you have to say.
  • Customers who are armed with the right information can become brand advocates for you, helping spread the word about your business.

Customer Lifecycle Mapping

Not every customer will have the same path to purchase — some may convert quickly thanks to word of mouth marketing, while others may want a lot of educational content to move them through the conversion stage.

While your customer lifecycle strategy may look different based on your segmentation, there are five basic phases that most customers follow:

  1. Reach: Also referred to as discovery or awareness, this first stage shows how leads hear about you. It can be tough to accurately track those touch points across every lead, but you can get around this challenge by using tracking links on all your digital assets or by surveying both current customers and leads on how they heard about you.
  2. Acquire: Once you’ve established your brand identity, the goal is to capture email addresses so you can continue marketing through a more personal, scalable channel (email). Lead magnets, like an Ebook or whitepaper, can successfully incentivize leads to share their contact information. When promoting your lead magnets, make sure to aim for platforms where the majority of your target audience will be, like social media or paid ads, to ensure you cast your net wide enough.
  3. Convert: At the most basic level, a conversion happens when a lead makes a payment to use your product or service. The most important metric to track in this stage is conversion rate, the percentage of leads that actually end up as customers.
  4. Retain: While lifecycle marketing plays a role in all five phases, you could argue that it really kicks in at the retention stage. This is when you need to deliberately introduce new programs to make existing customers feel valued and supported. For example, introducing an onboarding webinar series or email program to ensure customer success.
  5. Advocate: Your goal is to get every customer to the loyalty phase, when they are delighted with your product or service and become a brand advocate. These customers make repeat purchases and tell their friends and family to buy as well. The easiest way to monitor loyalty is to track retention metrics like churn rate and renewals.

Lifecycle Marketing Campaign Examples

Every business across any industry can use lifecycle marketing to increase sales and foster brand advocates. And, the great thing about lifecycle marketing is flexibility. You can follow its basic principles, but adapt it to fit your specific audience segments.

From enticing churned customers to make another purchase to ensuring retention and loyalty, here are three examples of lifecycle marketing campaigns:

Smartsheet

Smartsheet offers project management and work execution software in a familiar spreadsheet layout. To ensure that existing customers make the most out of their tool, they send frequent webinar invitations that are tailored to learning best practices and tips and tricks.

Imperfect Produce

Lifecycle marketing doesn’t just have to speak to existing customers. In fact, churned customers may be one of the most important segments to target with lifecycle marketing.

For example, Imperfect Produce, a grocery delivery service, uses a discount code to incentivize churned customers to make a new purchase.

TheSkimm

Take every advantage to celebrate milestones, like TheSkimm does. The media company sent a dedicated email to all its subscribers to celebrate its fifth birthday. And, to make it even more personalized, it shared specific details about each subscriber, like the date she signed up and how many mornings she’s read the newsletter.

Customer Lifecycle Software

Customer lifecycle software can help you scale and automate your strategy. You can set up all your segmentation, campaigns, and rules, and let it run automatically.

When choosing customer lifecycle software for your business, some key features to look for include:

  • A simple drag-and-drop interface to build your emails
  • Landing page builder
  • Ready-made campaign templates
  • The option to send manual emails, automated emails, and nurture campaigns
  • A/B testing capabilities
  • CRM integration, so you can keep all customer data in one place
  • Robust reporting options to measure open rates, click-through rates, unsubscribe rates, and more

Final Thoughts

Many digital marketing campaigns prioritize acquisition to drive sales. After all, more new customers equal more opportunities for a sales, right?

Rather than working harder, work smarter. With lifecycle marketing, you can save time, energy, and money by focusing your efforts on existing customers — the people who already believe in your offering.

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