Focus on experiences
What’s life cycle marketing?
Life cycle marketing focuses on the journey customers go through when interacting with companies and their brands. This journey, also called customer life cycle, includes different stages users pass through, starting as prospects till turning into loyal customers. Life cycle marketing is a really powerful approach, since it’s centered on customers personas and the specific stage they’re in their journey. This way, companies can run specific marketing campaigns, crafting personalized messages offering sales, support, news, etc., based on users’ needs, with the purpose of encouraging them to use their apps.
Customer life cycle stages
Scholars have followed different approaches to name customer life cycle steps. However, one of the most suitable for our description encompasses the following:
As it can be seen, a user goes through several progressive stages before becoming a loyal customer. That’s why it is important for companies to retain customers, not only to reach and attract them. Indeed, retention is now widely considered as the crucial phase for business success. So, let’s discover some of the main features of each customer life cycle stage (with some tips to better leverage this strategy)!
This is the beginning of any customer life cycle. Businesses can exploit social media, ads, and word-of-mouth to draw potential customers’ attention, show them their products and services, and stand out from the crowd thanks to their value. Tips:
- You should definitely opt for an omnichannel marketing strategy, allowing you to reach prospective customers in a multitude of channels. Make sure to guarantee users a seamless experience with your brand. This will be a plus point!
- At this very first stage, you should carry out a content-based marketing strategy creating any kind of useful and engaging resources like infographics, success stories, and small videos. Remember that it’s crucial to put a lot of effort in getting customers attention through meaningful content that can also be shared.
- Try also to increase website traffic and strengthen SEO, so that you can be found on search engine pages more easily.
In this second phase, you should focus in attracting potential customers and pushing them to enter the marketing and sales funnel. You need to give them relevant information through blog posts, articles, whitepapers, e-books, webinars, aiming at solving users’ problems. At the same time, this is a way to nudge them to buy your products/services. Tips:
- You should create amazing landing pages that offer valuable content to users in exchange for their information. For example, you could suggest that customers download e-books, reports, and subscribe to your email newsletters.
- You also need to run an effective email marketing campaign to support these landing pages, ultimately leading people to visit your website and use your app.
In this stage, you’re trying to persuade customers to buy leveraging emails, blog posts, even in-app messages and push notifications. Purchase support is another important resource to encourage people to buy. Tips:
- At this stage, you need to rely on an experienced customer support team and a well-crafted knowledge base able to help customers and meet their needs.
- Try your best to prove your value by showing people what makes you unique distinguishing yourself from your competitors.
- Nudge your loyal customers to write reviews on your products/services. This may prompt other users to purchase.
In this step, you should put a lot of effort in keeping the customers you’ve already acquired, namely those that have bought from you at least once and have been using your app. You should engage them and push them to use your app regularly. This way, you’ll have better chances at retaining them and increase their customer lifetime value (CLV). Tips:
- Through push notifications and in-app messages you can get in touch with your customers, providing a personalized user experience (e.g. through exclusive offers and content). This allows you to show your app value and it’ll be more likely that customers will use it regularly.
- You could also leverage deep linking in your notifications to drive customers to specific pages or locations in your app. This has proven to be a really effective strategy to retain customers.
At this very last stage, you should turn your paying customers into brand advocates advertising your products/services in multiple channels. Don’t ever underestimate their power! But what strategy should companies implement to grow such loyal customers? The secret is an outstanding product provided through an excellent service! Tips:
- Firt off, you need to measure customers’ loyalty to your brand. Track what percentage of your customers make repeat purchases. And, compare new buyers with repeat buyers.
- Remember to keep investing in an effective customer support team. They play a key role in making the user experience more pleasant, and supporting users before, during, and after purchase.
- Never forget to nurture your relationship with your loyal users. They’ll greatly contribute to your company’s success.
As you can imagine, customer lifecycle marketing requires an ongoing effort. But mastering these techniques is the key to business success. It’s all about understanding and focusing on users, the stage they’re in the customer journey, and their specific needs. This way, you’ll be able to engage them through a suitable marketing campaign, and turn them from users, into leads, then paying customers, and finally brand advocates. You will constantly increase their Customer Lifetime Value.
Customer life cycle main problems
Quite often, companies don’t put much effort in running personalized marketing campaigns, or mix up customer life cycle stages. For example, they send the same marketing message to every customer. Please, don’t ever do that! You need to craft personalized messages based on customers’ needs and wants, their position in the customer journey, their past behavior, and digital body language.
Too linear customer life cycle
Sometimes companies do implement a customer life cycle marketing strategy, but they set up traditional stages like AARRR (i.e. acquisition, activation, retention, referral, and revenue). This is a business growth model that hasn’t kept up with the times, outlining a too linear customer journeyand focusing on user acquisition as the key to business success. Instead, companies should focus on user retention, since this has proven to be the secret to business growth. It’s also important to remember that customer lifecycle marketing is never linear, it’s cyclical. Try to figure users going through the different stages of the customer life cycle: as their needs and experience with your company change, you need to constantly meet those needs and enhance their experience with your brand.
Quite often, companies find it difficult to understand where their customers are in their journey, due to the several different platforms they use, which operate in isolation from others. As a consequence, they cannot figure out whether their marketing strategies are effective or not. In addition, if you lack a real-time insight on your app users, it’ll be difficult to personalize the messages to be sent to them. And this is a really huge drawback! You cannot simply guess what they like and are willing to buy. You need to target your customers with messages based on what they’ve just purchased or viewed.
It would be really useful to have a central hub, namely a single platform, through which you manage all your customers’ data and send them messages based on their behavior and preferences.
Focusing on experiences: the advantages
Now that I’ve outlined some of the main mistakes companies may make in their customer life cycle marketing campaign, it’s time to deal with the benefits they may get by focusing on customer experience. The secret to a winning customer lifecycle marketing strategy is providing an outstanding customer experience. What ‘s exactly a customer experience? It refers to customers’ perception of brands and companies. This in turn means that your brand identity is entirely based on customers’ perception. Given that customers create a perception by interacting with your company and app, you need to deliver as much value as possible in any interaction with your customers and on any platform they use. Indeed, users consider as amazing a customer experience when they receive value, trust, and respect.
Customer experience optimization
Customer optimization platforms are really powerful tools, as they can tell you exactly where each user is in their journey and what segment they belong to. By implementing this kind of platform, you won’t be guessing where users are in their life cycle anymore! You’ll receive updated data on customers’ activities and know precisely what they’re doing, what they’re buying, where they’re spending the most time, what they’re viewing and clicking on. In essence, a customer experience optimization platform enables companies to craft personalized in-app messages and push notifications based on users’ behavioral data, thus making your communication more relevant.
Remember that customers should always be companies’ focal point. Indeed, by focusing on customer experience, you’ll have the chance to transform loyal customers into evangelists bringing in new users and increasing user retention rates. Thus, you’ll benefit from a higher CLTV, your revenue will increase and your brand perception will improve.