The beauty of digital marketing is in the details. The perfect example of this is Lifecycle Marketing, which is what I’ll be covering today.
This insanely powerful marketing strategy allows you to make the most out of every ounce of marketing and reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time.
Read on and I’ll cover:
- What is lifecycle marketing?
- The stages of lifecycle marketing
- How to market according to each stage
- Plus, powerful tips to dominate the lifecycle marketing process
Are you ready?
What Is Lifecycle Marketing and Why Is it Important?
Simply put, lifecycle marketing is meeting people where they are in the buyer’s journey in order to put the perfect marketing message in front of them and nurture them along from the beginning stage to the end stage.
Be it with informative content, emails, or ads, lifecycle marketing allows you to reach your target with the appropriate tone, context, and information, depending on their needs and level of interest/involvement in the process.
Lifecycle marketing is important because:
- It allows you to streamline your marketing process, making every marketing action more efficient and effective.
- Reaching your customers at each stage of the buying process allows you to nurture earlier stage leads into customers, rather than simply marketing to decision stage leads who are ready to buy.
- It keeps your customers happy and presents them with a marketing message that they’re most likely to respond to.
- It also puts an emphasis on delighting customers and continuing communication after the transaction occurs, ensuring a higher rate of retention and repeat buyers.
As lifecycle marketing is broken up into multiple stages, each requires a specific type of marketing to reach your target effectively. Let’s take a look at what that looks like.
Stages of Lifecycle Marketing and the Appropriate Marketing Messages
Lifecycle marketing is broken up into 4 main stages of the buying process, plus 2 subsequent stages that revolve around customer retention and generating repeat purchases. Let’s take a look at how to use each of these stages to effectively market to your target and nurture them through the buyer’s journey.
I’ll be explaining the different marketing messages and strategies you’ll want to use for each stage, plus examples of the different types of marketing you may want to employ.
The first stage we need to consider in lifecycle marketing is the Awareness Stage. This is the stage at which someone first realizes they have a problem or need, but hasn’t yet decided to pursue action or made a decision to proceed in any particular direction.
Lifecycle Marketing to your leads in the Awareness Stage involves:
- Customer problems and pain points
- Big picture, industry-focused content
- Social media
Awareness Stage Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:
Defining Your Ideal Buyer
The most important part of any lifecycle marketing strategy is to define your ideal buyer. By defining your ideal buyer, you’ll be able to more accurately appeal to their pain points and help them identify solutions to their problems.
The more you know about the people you’re selling to the better, and the more clearly you’ll be to pinpoint your target audience. Identify their demographics, behaviors, motivations, and interests in order to market to them more effectively.
Awareness Stage Content
Use industry focused blog posts and ebooks to attract awareness stage leads to your site. Remember, these are content pieces that deal with awareness stage issues. For example, a visitors bureau for the Grand Canyon might create a series of blog posts or a downloadable travel guide about the best places to visit in the American Southwest. They’re not promoting the state or exact location yet…that comes later.
Share this valuable content on social media to build your following there and to generate exposure for your brand on a more subtle level. You’ll begin to build a community in this way as well.
Using these types of helpful content to attract visitors to your site will allow you to start building a list of prospective buyers (leads). By exchanging said travel guide for an email address, the travel bureau would be able to reach out to their leads with similar content and slowly move them through the stages of lifecycle marketing.
By segmenting your email list according to stages, you’ll be able to target your leads with the most effective types of content to help them progress forward. Email marketing in this stage should be very passive, informative, and helpful. It should include recommendations of like content and other valuable resources to help them learn about the issue they’ve recently discovered.
By the time your leads have reached the interest stage, they know they have a problem or a need, and that they want to solve/meet it. What they don’t know is how to go about doing so. The interest stage is all about education and determining what options are available. Be the one that provides the information your leads need and you’ll begin to develop valuable trust.
Lifecycle Marketing to leads in the Interest Stage involves:
- Evaluation of buying criteria
- White papers
- Analyst reports
Interest Stage Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:
Now it’s time to educate your leads on their options.The visitor’s bureau for the Grand Canyon from the previous example may want to create content specifically around visiting the canyon at this point. They’d be able to showcase the specter of one of the wonders of the natural world and clue visitors in on all of the reasons why they might consider visiting.
By the consideration stage, your leads will understand their problem and how to solve it. At this point, they’re looking for their best option and doing research on each to ensure they make the right decision.
Lifecycle Marketing to leads in the Consideration Stage involves:
- Case studies
- Vendor Comparisons
- Implementation data
Consideration Stage Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:
Now that the Grand Canyon Visitors Bureau has created content about the region and the canyon itself, it should give decision stage leads information on the specifics. Things like where to stay, where to eat, how to get there, and what to do once they’ve arrived. It might include prices for each item and information to help them budget. This is the kind of information people need to make decisions.
Your company may consider creating comparison videos of your product and its competitors, taking advantage of video in your lifecycle marketing.
Email in the decision stage is stronger and focused. It’s much more sales driven, but should still be helpful and deliver value. These are the emails that offer free trials, discounts, samples, and previews.
Trials, Discount Offers, Previews/Samples
At this stage your lead knows what’s available, they just don’t know if they want to buy from you or your competition. For this reason, many companies offer a free trial of their service, or a preview or sample of their product. These businesses are confident in their ability to deliver and understand that sometimes all it takes to close a new customer is a taste of what’s on offer.
At the purchase stage, your lead is converting to a customer. It’s time to let help them be sure they’ve made the right decision in choosing your company.
Lifecycle Marketing to leads in the Purchase Stage involves:
- Beginning implementation
- Delivering on your promises
- Making the contract process easy
- Live training
- User webinars
- Kick-off events
Purchase Stage Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:
Helpful Bonus Content
A great way to delight your customers is by sending them some super helpful user content. If your company sold dog bark collars, you could include a well made, super helpful video that explains exactly how to use it most effectively or an ebook that was all about “How to Get Your Dog to Stop Barking in 7 Days Flat.” The point is to deliver on your promise and then go above and beyond.
Now that your lead has converted, delight them by including them in a spectacular webinar on how to use your product or service to solve their problem most effectively. Show off how great your product is and the level of amazing customer support that comes with it.
Lifecycle Marketing to leads in the Post-Purchase Stage involves:
- Continuous learning
- Loyalty/Advocacy programs
- Customer communities
- Feedback loops
- Checking In often
Post-Purchase Stage Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:
When someone has recently purchased from you, you know they like you and what you sell. For this reason, the post-purchase stage is the perfect time to ask for referrals from your customer. Incentivize the request with a discount or freebie for them and the referred lead when they buy or sign up.
This is also an excellent time to upsell your recently converted customers. They’ve just bought something, so you know a bit about what they like. Why not step them up to the next level of service or offer them the perfect accessory for the outfit they just purchased? Whatever you sell, make a habit of upselling your new customers to make the most of the fire you’ve been stoking.
Now that they’ve bought from you, your customer should have the opportunity to join like-minded individuals and stay up to date with the goings on of your brand and products. You can build communities when your customers congregate around your blog or social media.
It’s always a good idea to stay in touch, and that’s especially true in business. Once you’ve converted your lead, your job isn’t over. In fact, it’s the beginning of a new stage in your relationship.
Now is when you give them the insider scoop on all of your best deals, exciting industry developments, and more. The point is to keep your brand at top of mind and sneak in a few sales heavy emails when you’re running a sale or offering a product they may be interested in.
The repurchase stage is one of the key benefits of lifecycle marketing. By following your customer through the cycle and continuing the marketing conversation beyond the close, you can expect to see customers become repeat customers time and time again.
Lifecycle Marketing to leads in the Repurchase Stage involves:
- Staying in touch
- Looking for opportunities to upgrade
- Expanding product use
- Adding new products
- Phone calls
Repurchase Stage Lifecycle Marketing Strategies:
I’m not talking about the email CRM, but I am talking about email and phone…and smoke signals, if you need them. It’s vital that you stay in contact with your customers. Keep your brand at top of mind and shower them with exclusive insider content, tips, and discounts.
These are the things that are going to keep your customers happy, loyal, and coming back to buy from you again.
New Products/Expanded Usage
If you add new products to your lineup or expand the features or versatility of an existing one, your customer needs to be the first to hear about it. Give them the opportunity to try out your new item before anyone else and you’ll be developing an air of exclusivity around it. Imagine how special they’ll feel as one of your most important customers.
Now That’s What I Call Marketing!
Lifecycle marketing is powerful. By now you get that, so get out there and get started. You may want to refer to this guide, so be sure to bookmark it and come back to it when you need to check in.
When you get started, be sure to you know who it is that you’re selling to. Create content and tweak your strategies for that ideal buyer. Nurture them through the lifecycle and be sure to keep them coming back for more. Don’t log this information for a future date. Start your lifecycle marketing journey today!