As a business owner or marketer, you likely face a similar set of challenges every day.
- How will you attract new customers?
- How can you keep your customers engaged?
- How will you create a sustainable model for revenue growth?
- How can you add automation throughout the entire marketing process?
In today’s ever-changing consumer environment, it will take all this and more to retain your customers for life. One of the most effective models for how you can make this happen is called customer lifecycle marketing.
What is Lifecycle Marketing?
In a recent whitepaper, Sales Force defines customer lifecycle marketing as “a method used to inspire customers with ongoing content, offers, and messages that will drive sales, revenue, and most importantly—customer loyalty.”
The whitepaper goes on to discuss: 1) how lifecycle marketing needs to be handled for maximum effectiveness and 2) the importance of delivering content to customers how they want it and when they want it. (I can’t underscore the importance of this customer-centric approach.)
Though lifecycle marketing can be done a number of ways, a true lifecycle marketing campaign always includes the following ingredients:
- A plan to turn potential customers into subscribers
- A plan to engage subscribers and keep them interested in your brand, products, and services
- A plan to impress new subscribers as soon as they join and ways to reward them as they stay with you
- A plan for building a strong relationship with each of your subscribers, so they remain loyal.
Now that we’ve covered the basic definition of lifecycle marketing let’s dive deeper and talk about how you can use this method to create more success for your business.
Step #1: Attract New Subscribers and Customers
If you want website visitors to subscribe to your list, you need to entice them with a strong offer. There are a few tactics you can use, but we’ve found the following three to be especially useful.
Pop-up forms. Some business owners refuse to use pop-up forms because they think they’re too intrusive. And while they do interrupt your visitor’s experience, they provide a significant advantage because they force your website visitors to make a decision. If you can create a pop-up form with a strong, visually appealing call-to-action, you will get more subscribers.
Premium content offers. Have you ever given away your email address for a premium content offer on a website? You likely answered yes to this question – as would virtually all of your customers. Try giving away a short ebook, a video, or an in-depth guide that will prove helpful to potential subscribers.
Social Media Opt-in Offers. Take the opportunity to turn existing social fans and followers into email subscribers. They will be more likely to join your email list if they already follow you on another platform, thus increasing your customer base.
Step #2: Keep Your Subscribers Happy
Building a large list of subscribers is a worthy endeavor, but if the majority of those subscribers stop opening your emails, stop visiting your website, and stop responding to your communication it’s almost like not having any subscribers at all. To avoid this, you have to serve your subscribers content that speaks to them.
As you nurture your list of subscribers, you need to conduct ongoing research to determine what type of content they like, what they don’t like, and what keeps them interested.
You can do this by reaching out to various segments of your audience and ask them what their pain points are. For example, send out a short survey (try offering a free coupon or an entry into a drawing for a larger ticket item). You’ll be surprised at how much engagement comes as a result, and you will put yourself in the front of their mind as well.
Also keep a close eye on the types of content you’re already putting out that your subscribers are finding most engaging. You might identify content types that you wouldn’t have expected they would be interested in.
…it seems that all brands — no matter what category — should employ a mix of expert content, user-generated content and branded content to establish trust, educate consumers and help them navigate the decision-making process – Peyman Nilforoush – InPowered
Step #3: Impress New Subscribers Right From the Start
With every new subscriber comes an opportunity for more revenue. If you don’t wow your new subscribers from day one, they will eventually take the path to the land of the unsubscribed. (Or they’ll just ignore your emails.)
If you want subscribers to stick around, you need to provide them with useful offers that will incentivize them to remain in your fold. Also, don’t be afraid to get personal. Try sending a customized email to subscribers that share your content, visit your website often, or buy products and services from you.
Another great concept from SalesForce’s whitepaper: the key is to make new subscribers feel like a part of your family. Give them the inside scoop on everything you have to offer.
Step #4: Focus on Subscriber Retention
The end-goal of lifecycle marketing is to retain as many subscribers as possible and win back any subscribers that have gone inactive.
When re-engaging inactive subscribers, try to incentivize them with special offers that cater to their interests. You can also reach out and ask if they’d like to see changes on your end, which may prompt them to be honest with you about your communication.
If all else fails, give them the option to unsubscribe from your list. Even though you may count it as a loss, it’s an advantage because you’re able to determine who your real potential customers are.
Customer lifecycle marketing is a proven method of attracting new subscribers, keeping them interested, and turning them into long-term customers that will contribute to your bottom line.
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