At its heart, the role of marketing is simple, but crucial to a businesses growth.
There’s two things any decent marketing strategy has to do. Number one is to bring new customers and number two is to grow and retain existing customers.
If we look at marketing through this framework it’s much easier to hone down and concentrate marketing efforts to deliver results. And it’s why all marketing, in essence, should be Customer Lifecycle Marketing.
According to HubSpot, the customer lifecycle refers to the process of prospects becoming aware of a product, making a purchase from a brand, and ideally becoming a company’s longtime customer.
The following stages of the customer lifecycle are most commonly used:-
Reach. The first opportunity for a brand to reach a potential customer whilst they are in the early research stages.
Acquisition. Initial contact is made by the prospect, whether it’s a website visit or enquiry.
Conversion. The prospect makes their initial purchase, officially becoming a customer.
Retention. Maintaining engagement and offering the customer a positive experience so they keep purchasing from you.
Loyalty. By building a positive relationship, the customer makes repeat purchases and becomes an advocate for the brand.
These stages are a fantastic starting point for understanding customer lifecycle marketing. The next step is customer lifecycle journey mapping. This involves creating a visual representation of the ideal journey your customer takes from the first time they interact with you through to – hopefully – becoming loyal, repeat customers and brand advocates.
As leading SAP company Emarsys say: “A customer journey map does not end with a purchase or onboarding. Instead, it also identifies critical stages within the customer lifecycle so that you can find ways to increase engagement and maximize your revenue. A customer journey map not only reveals ways to attract new buyers, but it guides you toward making the most of the business opportunities you already have.”
In order to create a customer lifecycle journey map, you should take the following essential steps:
Start by asking yourself who your dream customers are. What do they look like? What are they interested in? What platforms do they engage with? What are their likes and dislikes? Knowledge is power and the more you know about your ideal customer the better you’ll be able to tailor your communication – like your email marketing – towards them.
Let’s look at this in the context of email marketing. First off, what makes your prospects or customers part with their email addresses? How do they become subscribers? It could be anything from running through competition through to downloading guides, whitepapers or resources from your website. Once you understand how you best capture their data, you can then identify what convert your prospects into paying customers.
Again this will vary depending on the business but once you have a better understanding of conversions and conversion rates you can map this out so you understand where your customers are on their journey and what needs to happen for them to take the next steps.
This step is crucial because it often goes by the wayside. The way you communicate with your customers after they buy from you will lay the groundwork for building loyalty and driving repeat business. Afterall, it costs 5 times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones. So, it’s important to keep your customers happy and build loyalty at every opportunity.
Take the example of a hotel. An automated email can be triggered 24 hours after the customer’s departure date. This email is a perfect opportunity to both add a personal touch to your communication and sow the seeds for repeat business. For example, it should ask them if they enjoyed their stay and that the hotel can’t wait to see them again. It should also include a link to a review site which could be incentivised by offering them a discounted rate on their next booking.
It’s after this that email marketing really comes into its own in lifecycle marketing. After a customer has purchased from you, you should have an even greater understanding of what their preferences are. This means you can personalise and tailor your ongoing communication with them accordingly.
We’re not just talking about first name personalisation either. Instead, utilise demographic, behavioural, and purchase data to offer highly targeted email content. For instance, in-store promotions based on their location, abandoned basket reminders, or recommended products based on past purchases.
Losing customers happens, it’s part of life. But if you can pinpoint when a customer becomes at risk of churning, you can then hone your email marketing to mitigate this risk. For example, if a customer hasn’t engaged with an email from you in more than 6 months, it’s the perfect time to send a reactivation campaign to them. It’s why reactivating customers has to form part of any serious email marketing strategy. Whether it’s a hook, like a deep discount, or a simple ‘We miss you’ email, you can re-engage up to 45% of your customers with an effective re-activation email programme.
Once you have a clear map of your customer lifecycle journey you’ll be in a much stronger position to create an effective email marketing strategy that gives the ROI you want to see.
We know it can also be hard (and overwhelming) to know where to start with an email marketing strategy. That’s where we come in.
Outsourcing your email marketing – or even small parts of it – will build the perfect foundations for incredible email marketing programmes to be built on. With the right agency at your side can give you the time, capacity and expertise you need to ensure your email marketing program delivers the results you want time and time again.
If you want to find out more about outsourcing your email marketing, we’d love to help.