What is Lifecycle Marketing: Definition & Strategies

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Have you ever wished you could connect with customers at every step of their journey with your brand, from the moment they discover you to the exciting point where they become your biggest fans?

Well, guess what? There’s a way to do exactly that! Lifecycle marketing is your secret weapon for staying connected with your customers, and in this article, we’ll break it all down.

We’re going to dive into what lifecycle marketing is, explore the different stages involved, and share some proven tips to take your lifecycle marketing efforts to the next level.

Let’s get started!

What is lifecycle marketing?

First, let’s get one thing out of the way… one-time sales are NOT lifecycle marketing.

What’s the difference? Traditional marketing tactics often focus on a single transaction, while customer lifecycle marketing is all about building long-term relationships with your customers. 

It involves guiding customers through various stages of their journey with a brand, from curious newcomer to loyal brand advocate.

The key is understanding your customers’ ever-changing needs and preferences at each stage of their lifecycle.

A lifecycle marketing strategy hinges on nurturing relationships and providing value throughout the customer journey, ultimately leading to increased customer lifetime value.

What are the stages of customer lifecycle marketing?

To craft a winning lifecycle marketing strategy, you first need to understand the customer journey. Let’s break down how you can build long-term customer relationships.

Lifecyle marketing stages

1. Awareness

The first step of a customer lifecycle marketing strategy is the awareness stage. This is where you grab the attention of potential customers who might not even know your brand exists. 

Strategies include creating informative and engaging content, leveraging social media platforms to build a presence, and implementing search engine optimization (SEO) to improve your website’s visibility.

2. Acquisition

You’ve gained their awareness, and now it’s time to move on to the next stage of customer lifecycle marketing: acquisition. Here, you want to nurture their interest and guide them towards a purchase.

This might involve providing educational content that addresses their needs, using quizzes to generate personalized product recommendations, or offering free trials or consultations.

3. Conversion

The conversion stage is where the magic happens—your prospects become paying customers! 

This is where you optimize your website for conversions and offer a seamless user experience. To do that, you have to be aware of any friction in the buying process and remove it.

You might also offer incentives like discounts or free shipping and implement cart abandonment campaigns to win back hesitant buyers.

4. Retention

You’ve converted them, but that’s not the end of the story. Retention is all about keeping your customers happy, increasing customer satisfaction, and making them come back for more. 

At this stage, you can use lifecycle marketing strategies like personalized email marketing campaigns, implement loyalty programs, and offer relevant upselling or cross-selling opportunities based on customer behavior and preferences.

5. Advocacy

Here comes the final—and probably the most rewarding—lifecycle stage, which is when your customer becomes your advocate.

In the advocacy stage, satisfied customers become brand champions, spreading positive word-of-mouth and referring others to your business. 

Encourage this by creating shareable content, offering incentives for referrals, and actively engaging with advocates on social media or community forums.

How to get started with a lifecycle marketing strategy?

Are you excited to build those long-lasting customer relationships through lifecycle marketing? 

Let’s see what you need to do.

1. Map out the customer journey

Let’s take a step back, shall we? First, you need to have a good understanding of the customer journey.

This involves identifying all the touchpoints where customers interact with your brand—your website, social media, email communications, or even in-person interactions. 

By mapping the customer journey, you gain valuable insights into the different customer lifecycle stages they go through, from initial awareness to post-purchase engagement. 

This is essential knowledge if you want to create targeted marketing messages that resonate with potential customers. 

2. Segment customers

As human beings, we’re all different. That’s no less true when it comes to your customers.

To truly connect with your audience, you need to segment them based on various factors. 

This could include:

  • demographics (age, location), 
  • psychographics (interests, values), 
  • purchase history (what they’ve bought), 
  • and engagement behavior (how they interact with your brand). 

By dividing your audience into distinct segments, you can craft tailored marketing campaigns that resonate with each group’s specific needs and preferences. 

Recommended reading: Top 9 Ecommerce Segments & How to Help Them With Popups

3. Personalize marketing messages

We can’t talk about effective customer lifecycle marketing strategies without talking about personalized marketing messages.

Once you’ve segmented your audience, it’s time to craft personalized messages and offers that resonate with each group.

This could involve using dynamic content that adjusts based on customer data, offering personalized product recommendations, and delivering targeted promotions that address their specific needs and pain points. 

Imagine a website that showcases products relevant to a customer’s past purchases, or emails with birthday discounts. Personalization creates these impactful experiences at every touchpoint along the customer journey, making them feel valued and understood.

Recommended reading: The Ultimate Guide to Website Personalization

Marketing strategies for each stage of the customer lifecycle

It’s time to kickstart your customer lifecycle marketing plan by exploring specific marketing strategies you can use at different stages of the customer lifecycle. Let’s go!

1. Awareness stage

Jump on social media platforms and get your brand out there! Be active on platforms your audience uses, create engaging content, and consider collaborating with influencers they trust.

Targeted ads can also help reach new people at this lifecycle stage. 

Think of companies like AG1, who uses influencer partnerships and targeted ads to effectively spread brand awareness.

AG1 lifecycle marketing model includes influencer partnerships and targeteds ads run by the AG1 marketing team.

In the awareness stage, you shouldn’t forget about search engines.

Optimize your website and content with relevant keywords so people searching for your solutions find you easily. Look at Bearaby, who has a massive SEO game plan.

Their blog is optimized to rank for top-of-the-funnel keywords like “how to recover from sleeping too much,” “how to sleep on a body pillow,” and “pregnancy pillow.” This helps them get potential customers to their website.

Bearaby reaching new customers with the SEO efforts where they can gaid data driven insights

2. Acquisition stage

Time to get some customer engagement, right? Interactive quizzes are a fun and engaging way to guide potential customers toward the perfect product.

Create a quiz that asks questions about their needs and preferences. Based on their answers, you can offer personalized product recommendations.

The Farmer’s Dog does this brilliantly with their dog food quiz.

The Farmers dog marketing team choose interactive quizzes to enhance customer experience.

You fill in all the necessary information about your dog and answer some important questions about their needs and lifestyle.

They get potential customers engaged by asking questions about their dogs.

It doesn’t just recommend a meal, it considers the unique needs and health of each dog, even suggesting the right portion size!

At the final stage of the customers progress they get a personalized product recommendation.

That’s exactly what pet owners want, right?

You can create a similar interactive experience on your website for new visitors using popups. Check out our conversational popup templates:

Here’s another strategy for the acquisition stage: encouraging people to subscribe to your newsletter. Newsletters are a powerful tool for nurturing potential customers.

By offering valuable resources like downloadable guides or exclusive discounts, you can incentivize sign-ups and build a healthy email list.

Try these popup templates to get more newsletter subscribers:

3. Conversion stage

You’ve sparked their interest, now it’s time to make that conversion happen.

Free shipping is one of the best incentives you can offer, as people would happily give up drinking coffee if they could have free shipping for the rest of their lives!

Free shipping can remove potential barriers to purchase and encourage new customers to complete their order.

You can promote your free shipping threshold on a sticky bar like the ones below: 

Another common issue for ecommerce merchants is cart abandonment.

Let’s face it, cart abandonment happens. However, well-designed cart abandonment popups can help win back those hesitant buyers. 

Consider implementing the popup templates below to remind customers about their abandoned carts and encourage them to return and complete their purchase.

Fine-tuning your website for a smooth user experience is crucial. Continuously test and optimize elements like messaging, design, and overall usability to remove any friction from the buying process.

Let’s see a real-life example from Bukvybag.

They ran an A/B test on their homepage headline to see which resonated best with their target audience. This simple test resulted in a 45% increase in orders, proving the power of data-driven optimization!

Bukvybag increased their customer experience by running an A/B test to increase customer lifecycle.

4. Retention stage

The sale is just the beginning: this is when the real lifecycle marketing game begins.

If you want to boost customer retention, you’ll need to stay top-of-mind with existing customers. You can do that by sending regular newsletters filled with valuable content, product updates, and exclusive offers tailored to each customer’s interests and preferences.

Another way is to start a customer loyalty program.

Offer incentives like discounts, rewards points, or exclusive perks to encourage repeat business and advocacy. 

Urban Outfitters is a great example. Their loyalty program offers eight ways to earn points and redeem them for even more discounts and exclusive rewards. This encourages customers to keep coming back.

Urban Outfitters enhance customer satisfaction with their loyalty program.

5. Advocacy stage

Make your customers feel like they belong. Set up online forums, social media groups, or even host exclusive events to encourage interaction and conversation. This creates a deeper connection with your brand and makes them feel valued. 

Think of it like a virtual hangout spot for your fans!

Happy customers are your best salespeople, as earplug company Loop would tell you.

Loop uses an affiliate program to encourage content creation and sharing, building a community around their product. This shows how fostering a community can benefit both you and your customers.

Gain a higher customer lifetime value similarly to Loop with a good affiliate program.

Encourage satisfied customers to refer friends, family, and colleagues to your business by offering incentives for successful referrals, such as discounts or bonus rewards. This is a great way to turn loyal customers into brand advocates.

FAQ

Is lifecycle marketing the same as CRM?

No, but they are complementary. CRM (Customer Relationship Management) is a system for managing customer data and interactions. Lifecycle marketing leverages this data to personalize outreach and target customers with relevant messages throughout their journey.

What are lifecycle marketing channels?

These are the platforms you use to reach your audience at each stage. They can include:

  • Social media
  • Email marketing
  • Content marketing (blogs, articles)
  • Website personalization
  • Paid advertising

What are the benefits of lifecycle marketing?

  • Increased customer lifetime value (CLTV): By nurturing relationships and keeping customers happy, you encourage repeat business and boost overall revenue.
  • Improved customer loyalty: Lifecycle marketing fosters brand loyalty by demonstrating that you value your customers beyond the initial sale.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: Positive customer experiences can lead to positive word-of-mouth marketing and a stronger brand image.
  • More targeted marketing: By segmenting your audience, you can tailor your messages to resonate with specific needs, leading to higher engagement and ROI.
  • Data-driven decision making: Lifecycle marketing allows you to track customer behavior and measure the effectiveness of your campaigns, informing future strategies.

Is lifecycle marketing expensive?

Lifecycle marketing doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many free or low-cost strategies you can implement, such as creating valuable content or engaging with customers on social media. As you get more advanced, you might choose to invest in marketing automation tools or targeted advertising, as the return on investment (ROI) can be significant.

Wrapping up

By now, you probably have a better understanding of what lifecycle marketing really is. 

Customer lifecycle marketing isn’t magic: it’s just smart ways to turn prospective customers into loyal customers!

Ready to take action? If you need a valuable ally for your marketing efforts, then OptiMonk is here to help you. Get your free account now and start increasing customer lifetime value today.