Identify Your Customer Lifecycle Stages: 6 Main Steps
Any business evolves and grows. All well-known brands have gone through every stage of their lifecycle from a promising project to a full-fledged, successful business.
As businesses grow, they get more customers, and customers also have their lifecycles. Your customers interact with your products or services. They hear about your brand, they make their first purchase, and then they continue to stay connected to your brand, learning about your new offerings and, perhaps, purchasing new products or services.
Creating an effective customer lifecycle is very important and beneficial for any business. If you take into account the lifecycle of your customers, you will significantly increase the return on investment of your marketing campaign. You will also be able to develop an effective retention strategy, increasing your sales and saving acquisition costs.
Customer Lifecycle and Customer Lifecycle Marketing
A customer lifecycle is the journey of your target audience, including their first purchase, transformation into loyal customers, and the end of their relationship with your brand. Of course, no one wants their customers to reach the final stage of this lifecycle. Therefore, the main goal of a business is to circle customers back to the previous stages of the customer lifecycle so that they can continue to be active.
Different types of businesses have different customer lifecycles. For example, such companies as Walgreens or Starbucks have very short customer lifecycles: after making a purchase, customers are expected to come back soon. However, real estate agents and auto dealerships have much longer customer lifecycles, and their goals are also different. In this case, marketers aim to turn customers into brand ambassadors, encouraging word of mouth.
Customer lifecycle marketing offers numerous benefits. First, it allows you to increase the lifetime value of your customers. Their value shouldn’t end after a purchase. For example, Starbucks customers have an average value of $24 per week, while their loyal customers become worth almost $15,000 in 20 years. Another big advantage is the increased ROI of your marketing efforts because you have a 60%-70% chance to sell to the existing customers, while with the new customers, this probability decreases three times. According to statistics, you may also spend up to 25 times more trying to acquire new customers than retaining the existing ones.
Customer Lifecycle Stages
This is the first stage of the customer journey. Future customers learn about your brand and products or services. Quite often, people become familiar with companies long before they visit websites. At this stage, they learn about your business from ads, social media, and word of mouth. This is where you can also use influencer marketing strategies. You should have highly shareable and engaging content. We also recommend that you focus on low-competition keywords to help potential customers find your brand.
After customers purchase your product or service and enjoy their purchase, they may want to connect with your brand. Those who didn’t make their purchasing decision yet, want to learn more. At this stage, it’s important to make sure that your customers can easily engage with your brand via various channels, including social media, blog, emails, etc. Email marketing allows you to share your new offerings, while an active social media presence will enable you to have an open dialog and to build a community. The main goal is to drive people to your website, using stronger calls to action than at the awareness stage.
All customers go through this stage. They read customer reviews and compare your brand to the competitors, in order to determine the brand that offers the best quality and prices. Your mission is to provide customers with all the necessary information. “Instead of pushing your customers to buy, use evaluation-based content to help them make the right choice. It makes sense to focus on niche marketing, providing detailed information that highlights the benefits of your brand,” explains Jane Chaffey, a marketing expert at College Writers.
This is a very important stage where customers make a buying decision. You still must support them because as much as 83% of customers require some support when making their decision. More than 50% of customers won’t make a purchase if they don’t find the answers to all of their questions. Thus, you need to provide quick response, using live chats and informative content.
The biggest mistake would be to abandon your customers after they buy a product or service from you. Instead, you should increase the value of their purchase by providing personalized content. Your goal is to sell again and turn your customers into loyal customers. Focus on improving the customer experience, promote additional features, and products. According to statistics, 62% of consumers abandon brands because the latter fail to provide high-quality customer experience.
Loyal customers can not only purchase more from you but also promote your brand. You can achieve it by building strong relationships with your loyal customers. They should feel special and stay connected to your brand. Encourage them to leave reviews and to share your content on social media.
Customer lifecycle includes all the steps of the customer journey, from the first time people hear about your brand to the moment when they become brand ambassadors. If you build your marketing strategy based on the customer lifecycle, you’ll be able to increase the lifetime value of your customers while also saving costs that you would spend on acquiring new customers. Customer retention and strong relationships with loyal customers offer numerous long-term benefits for your business, so we recommend that you never forget about your customers after they make their first purchase.
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