Thriving in the digital world is not just about who can gain more customers but about who can maintain those customers over time. Knowing the customer lifecycle, aligning your marketing strategies to each of its stages, and integrating a loyalty program in your business is the most effective way to retain customers.
In this article, we’ll discuss details of lifecycle marketing and help you understand how you can improve on it with a loyalty program.
What Is Lifecycle Marketing (LCM)?
Before we can understand what Lifecycle Marketing entails, we need to know what a customer lifecycle is. A customer’s lifecycle refers to the stages they go through when interacting with your brand, services, or products over time. It includes their journey from prospect to customer to loyal advocate.
Lifecycle Marketing is the collection of strategies brands use to positively influence customer behavior as they advance through the initial attraction stage to become a loyal brand advocate. Lifecycle marketing strategies should engage new and existing customers, increase revenue and build customer loyalty.
What Are the Stages of Lifecycle Marketing?
Different stages make up every lifecycle marketing plan. Grasping the importance of these stages will help you meet your audience's specific needs at every step, whether they're joining as a lead, purchasing for the first time, repeating a purchase, or are a one-time customer. Below are the main lifecycle marketing stages.
It is the first stage when customers get to first learn about your brand. Since it is the initial stage, it is your most significant chance to capture the attention of that lead and urge them to take further action with your brand. Therefore, it is essential to create highly visible and shareable content at this stage, attracting as many customers as possible within your target audience. Some of the strategies you can use here include:
- Researching and using keywords that help more people discover your brand or store in their online searches.
- Creating targeted audiences for every buyer persona so that each lead you attract fits into your buyer profile.
- Writing posts or answers to questions most of your audience may have about your products and services.
- Sharing your product offers in catchy paid or organic ads and collaborating with influencers to promote your products.
The key here is to reel people in and give them the right urge to return to transact business with your brand.
At the engagement stage, people begin interacting with your brand. They express their interest and desire to learn more about your products, whether by visiting your online store, joining your mailing list, or following your social media pages. As a business owner, this is your opportunity to share as much information about your products so they can understand why your brand is worthy of their attention. Show them why your brand, products, or services are better than your competitors and how you can solve the problem they are seeking to resolve. Some of the strategies you can implement at this stage include:
- Designing engaging and easy-to-navigate landing pages or explainer pages.
- Using quality videos or images to showcase the features of your products and services.
- Writing case studies that highlight the advantages of transacting with your brand.
- Promoting personalized email campaigns that address customers and their expectations of your brand.
Since about 83% of customers who contact companies expect some form of immediate engagement, it is prudent to have your responses automated to transition them to the next lifecycle stage smoothly.
It is one of the most exciting stages in the life cycle marketing process. You have worked hard to impress that prospect and turned them into a customer. This is not the stage to further promote the brand but to ensure that the purchase process is as seamless as possible. It is where you clarify the advantages of your offer, so they feel more confident to buy. Some of the strategies business owners can use here include:
- Offering transparent pricing and information about product features so customers can easily compare
- Offering a free trial or demo to increase customer's confidence in making a full investment
- Sending an email that answers any questions they may have to ease the pitching process
- Giving a sneak peek into your customer service experience for support after they have purchased.
Apply a lot of personalization to this stage by making customers feel unique. Personalizing their customer service experience is the surest way to get potential customers to convert.
This stage is crucial because it determines how long a customer will stay to do business with your brand. Companies ought to invest more in this stage by paying attention, particularly to the customer experience. Statistics show that while generating leads is relatively easier, about 93% of customers will only be willing to repeat purchases with excellent customer service brands. At this stage, brands need to:
- Set up support options such as FAQ pages, live chats, chatbots, messaging, and troubleshooting forums.
- Offer discount codes for future purchases
- Create targeted ads with offers that complement the buyer's first purchase
- Send emails to inform customers about ways to improve their purchases.
At this stage, the customer is so pleased with your brand and products that they are willing to become advocates, telling the people they know about them. Customers at this stage can easily recognize your brand and choose it over others. They frequently purchase from your store and invite new buyers to join them. Some of the strategies businesses can implement to cultivate loyalty in their customers include:
- Creating loyalty programs and exclusive membership clubs
- Creating referral programs to incentivize members who bring new customers
- Rewarding customers for sharing testimonials and engaging with the brand.
The most crucial strategy at the loyalty stage is to maintain your customers' expectations and prove that you genuinely value their feedback and patronage.
How Loyalty Program integrates with your LCM?
Since we have discussed the stages of lifecycle marketing, it’s time to look at how a loyalty program integrates and enriches the lifecycle marketing structure.
When it comes to attracting the interest of new customers, your greatest assets are existing members of your loyalty program. Since they have already engaged with your brand and trust your products, it is easy for people to rely on their testimonies. Therefore, you should incentivize your existing members with a loyalty program by rewarding them for reviewing products and referring friends. These activities will promote your brand and attract new customers into the cycle.
At the engagement stage, where potential customers are simply interacting with your brand and finding more information about your products, you can use loyalty programs to drive them to take further action. For instance, you can reward them for taking soft actions such as filling out a short survey. The reward for this survey could be a discount code, which will then urge them to redeem it by shopping in your online store. This gamified survey method is also beneficial because you can gain access to customer data useful for personalization.
Most of the loyalty-related features take effect at the conversion stage. It is the point where you allow customers to redeem their points for a meaningful reward as you convince them to make a purchase. To stand out, you need to provide unique and irresistible rewards such as exclusive new products, branded gifts, or unique invitations to community or VIP events.
The retention stage is about maintaining existing customers and reactivating customers at risk of churning. Integrating a loyalty program into your business is by far the most effective way to retain customers. Some of the loyalty techniques you can implement here include:
- Creating exclusive content and rewards for members of your loyalty program. This will encourage customers who are not yet part of the program to join to enjoy these perks. It will also expose churning customers to the benefits they are opting to miss.
- Promoting personalization campaigns. Customers appreciate it when messages and rewards are crafted based on their personal needs.
- Sending personalized birthday messages accompanied by some bonus points or gifts will make the recipient feel valued. They will be more willing to purchase so that they can redeem that gift.
Another strategy to retain customers is to create a dedicated loyalty app that will manage all program activities while ensuring that customers engage with the brand through prompts and notifications.
Loyalty programs can be an essential part of the lifecycle marketing process when executed properly. The ultimate goal is to create a program that rewards members for completing specific actions at multiple points in their journey with your brand. These will enable them to further embrace your value proposition and propel them to the next stage in the lifecycle while building a solid relationship with your brand.
Customers are more likely to repeatedly choose your brand if you give them an excellent experience. You can start by mapping out what you want the customer’s typical journey with your brand to look like. How best can you help them advance to the next stage in the lifecycle?
Including a Loyalty Program in your lifecycle marketing strategy will enhance its overall effectiveness while helping you achieve success as a brand. The Beans Loyalty program is specially designed for this purpose.