The Customer Lifecycle Marketing Playbook 2022


What is Customer Lifecycle Marketing?

Imagine you have a work meeting. As you walk in the person chairing the meeting asks you for your name, role and reason for attending. As a first timer this might be a positive experience.

Now imagine it’s your third time attending this same meeting. On arrival for each meeting you’re once again asked for name, role and reason for attending. What was useful the first time, now becomes frustrating and annoying. Why? Because suddenly you don’t feel that you’re being recognised. Each time you interact, it’s like you’re a stranger.

Lifecycle marketing recognises each prospect and customer and where they fit into key relationship stages. Segmenting your audience in this way means you can offer them the most relevant communications at that moment in time.

This applies equally to both B2C and B2B marketing. Whether you’re encouraging a subscriber to purchase, use a service or attend an event, the principles are the same.

Build relationships by meeting the specific needs of each group of customers and prospects. Long term customer relationships deliver profitable business for your brand.

Key lifecycle stages

Depending on where they are in their lifecycle with your business, a subscriber will have varying needs and requirements.What a prospect wants to know will be different from a multiple user. What a lapsing customer might be offered should be very different from a regular purchaser. To deliver the most relevant meaningful communications it is essential to create personalised, tailored messages aligned to the customer lifecycle.

The Benefits of Customer Lifecycle Marketing

Email has one of the highest Return on Marketing Investments (ROMI) for all channels. The DMA reported that Marketers’ ROI estimation remained strong in 2020 at £35.41 for every £1 spent. 

However when diving deeper into the companies that reported the highest ROI, they share a common approach of using email to engage existing customers to maintain and grow interest, loyalty and repeat sales.

By creating emails that follow the journey of your prospects and customers through their lifecycle, you create value to the subscriber. One of the primary requirements for success in any campaign. 

Using the phases of the customer lifecycle provides a strategy framework for you. Nurturing the relationship you have with your customers. Increasing subscriber engagement increases the customer lifetime value.

Being able to automate this whole process maximises your return on investment. It also enables you to create multiple new, always on, campaigns without having to increase your permanent headcount.

Lifecycle email examples

Let’s bring this to life with some email examples we love. And let’s also consider the needs and wants and needs of our customer at each stage…

1. Prospect welcome and nurture

What are they searching for?

Create content that inspires, reduces their fears and captures their attention. Introduce your brand.

eBay’s welcome series is a great example of what good looks like, upon signing up they introduce key elements of their service in bite size chunks, over multiple emails..

The series takes a new user on a journey from setting up ‘My eBay’ to buying and then onto selling.

Ebay welcome journey

TOP TIP: In the header of the email is a lovely number sequence so you know where you are in the series. At the end of each email is a ‘coming next’ block to set expectations and motivate the next open. Try using these elements in your nurture series.

2. Consideration and Demand generation

What does the reader need to know to make a choice and purchase? 

FAQs / allay fears / get excited. Why your brand.

Two areas of suggested focus here to get you started – first purchase and an abandoned action e.g. basket, browse or form

Encourage the first purchase

A new customer is hard to win, so make this as easy and attractive as you can for them. Discounts, free delivery or the promise of a future reward (loyalty) can all be used to win this business. As this is incremental revenue a more aggressive offer can be considered for this targeted group.

Justfab offer email example

Abandonment Campaigns (basket, browse, form etc)

Almost 70% of baskets are abandoned. Don’t lose out on sales and revenue. Help your customer over the line. And this doesn’t just need to be money off. The offer of help, guidance or peace of mind is maybe all they need.

Abandoned campaigns are not just for commerce; it can also apply to forms. 81% of people have abandoned a form mid way through completion. Think about how you can make it easy for subscribers to complete an online form, whilst providing support.
Nike abandonment email example

Abandoned campaigns are not just a first purchase support solution. As shown in the customer lifecycle diagram earlier, repeat purchase (or use) starts with a new phase of consideration. This is often referred to as the loyalty loop. 

3. First use

Make the purchase and post-purchase experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.

After sale value. Customer support services. Help the customer.

Often completely overlooked as a phase in the lifecycle of your customer. But the experience your customer has now, sets the likelihood of their next action. So don’t let them be a one-time purchaser, begin to nurture them into a loyal frequent user.

Allow them to make the most of your product, to know how they can get support if needed and show them you care.

Kurgo newsletter example

4. Loyalty and retention

What will inspire loyalty?

Keep educating, informing and entertaining post purchase. Reward and red-carpet VIP’s.

Here a mix of content approaches across key moments in the lifecycle of the customer is key. 

Examples include

  • motivating and rewarding multiple purchases with a loyalty scheme
  • saying happy birthday (or anniversary of first purchase) 
  • an entertaining annual round up of your customers interactions with you

All these emails show you recognise that individual customer and that you care. It can add a human touch to your relationship with your subscribers.

Subway birthday email example
Apple music email example

5. Lapsing and Win-back

How can you encourage them back? Why did they stop using you?

With a strong loyalty and retention program the number of customers starting to lapse will reduce. But nothing lasts forever. Being able to recognise which customers are at risk of walking away and being able to do something to bring them back, makes complete financial sense.

Is your subscriber 

•still engaged with the brand (web visits, purchasing) but not reading your emails?
•have they stopped engaging with your brand completely?

Knowing this will help you deliver the right message at this critical stage in your customer relationship.

As you can see these lifecycle emails don’t have to be complicated in design or build. Their power is in delivering a super relevant message, at exactly the right time, for that subscriber.

Why automation is critical for lifecycle marketing

“We’d love to add these additional sends into the email mix, but we just don’t have the resources,” we hear you cry. Understood. All these sends can (and should) be set up to automatically send.

A series of always on, automated sends that trigger as and when a subscriber meets a defined set of considerations. Once set up, no additional resource is required to deliver these sends every day. Set up, sit back and watch the marketing return across engagement and revenue flow into your business.

Though this can seem daunting as you start this process, it breaks down into three simple steps

  1. Data: What do you need to define the send moment and the content? And is it available?
  2. Rules: Which subscribers should be in this segment? What is the send hierarchy (if multiple sends are due in the same period, which takes priority?) and when should the send occur?
  3. Content: What’s best for this situation? Can we personalise the content? What do we want the reader to do next?

Of course, remember to check in on your automations regularly.

Here’s an example for a hotel client creating some super targeted search follow up sends

Many email service provider (ESP) platforms allow marketers to easily segment and automate their email marketing campaigns. Like all development we would suggest starting simple and then scaling up over time. Setting up campaigns targeting each key area of the customers lifecycle will take you a long way to developing your overall email strategy.

As well as the campaigns already mentioned there are many more lifecycle messages that can be automated. The below diagram highlights the priority areas that maximise revenue and minimise churn.  

As the customer value curve above shows, the key benefit of lifecycle marketing is the increase over time of the value of each customer.

  • Increased conversion from prospect to customer
  • Increased conversion from first purchase to multiple purchase
  • Increase lifetime value and so profitability of your customers
  • Reduced churn

Automating these sends means that all these benefits can be achieved with the same marketing resource you have now. Once set up these ‘always on’ sends will deliver without the need for manual intervention, leaving your team free to focus on more tactical and key message moments. 

Where does using an agency help you with your lifecycle marketing

Knowing WHAT to do and knowing HOW to do it, are not the same. Working together with an expert email marketing agency like Jarrang provides the best of worlds, your brand knowledge and our delivery expertise.

Outsourcing to an expert provides a number of immediate advantages

  1. Dedicated resource to get the development up and running without distraction
  2. Speed of delivery as we’re not learning as we go
  3. A ‘one-step removed’ perspective to challenge any bias and support the business case if needed
  4. Fresh ideas and new ways of thinking based on years of experience and a passion for email
  5. Quality and control measures to ensure that everything is tested and working before ‘go live’ 

Jarrang’s frameworks and proven planning approaches will get you up and running with minimal stress and even a little fun. We’re an email marketing agency with a personality.

Get in contact and let us help you fill in the blanks.