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customer lifecycle marketing

Customer Lifecycle Marketing: How to Use it to Increase Engagement

Customer lifecycle marketing (CLM) is an innovative approach to customer communications. It involves integrating multiple communication channels to deliver tailored marketing messages to customers at different lifecycle stages with a brand.

Ultimately, CLM is all about creating the best possible relationships with customers. To do this, you’ll need to have a firm grasp of the different lifecycle stages that your customers experience. Once you’ve done this, you can create refined marketing strategies that deliver high-value results at every stage. The result is increased engagement, boosted revenues, and customer retention in the long term. 

Implementing a CLM Strategy

To be able to successfully implement a CLM strategy, you’ll first need to get a handle on the customer journey. This invariably requires mapping the entire process. You’ll need to consider first contact with customers and the ongoing management of the relationship between your customers and your brand. The latter is incredibly important as there may be many points where a customer disengages with your business.

customer lifecycle process
Source: smartinsights

You’ll need to identify all possible stages to establish the customer lifecycle. Concentrate on interaction points and how these inform subsequent steps. Once this is done, you can start tailoring communications and marketing strategies.

A personalized approach means you can effectively engage customers at all stages of the lifecycle. Furthermore, you can be confident you’re delivering high-value messaging that will drive your customers in the right direction. 

Why Use Customer Lifecycle Marketing?

A robust CLM strategy makes it easy to steer your customers from the first point of contact to make a purchase. However, it’s not all about securing a conversion. CLM is also useful for building brand loyalty and improving retention rates.

With CLM, you need to think about where customers are in their journey with your brand. Once you’ve established this, you can be more efficient with your marketing efforts. This builds a better relationship between the brand and the customer and saves you considerable time and money.

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Effective CLM brings considerable value to any brand. It can help you attract new customers and encourage them to make an initial purchase. CLM can then be used to target this market, transforming one-time purchases into long-term business. Depending on the nature of your business, you can also lean into upselling.

If your product line is expanding or your service is evolving, CLM is vital for retaining customers. It can also be used to interact with loyal customers, allowing you to gather valuable feedback that can be used for product improvement.

Finally, CLM can help you target disengaged customers. Remember, a lapsed customer isn’t a lost cause. Worried about the churn rate? In the United States, the customer churn rate stands at around 22% in the online retail sector. CLM is an effective tool for re-engaging customers and reducing churn rates. 

customer churn rate in the united states in 2020 by industry

Creating an Effective CLM Strategy

It’s important to acknowledge that customers will be at different stages in the lifecycle at any given time. Different customers require different approaches. To add value to customer engagement, you’ll need to identify the exact point in your customer’s journey. 

Raising Awareness

First, there’s the awareness or prospective stage. At this point in the lifecycle, prospects don’t qualify as a customer yet. There’s no pre-existing relationship and a would-be customer likely has little or no information about your brand.

At this point, your main aim is to acquire potential customers by showcasing your products and/or services. This involves far more than spotlighting competitive prices. Instead, you should be demonstrating the added value and unique benefits of what you’re offering.

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How do you raise awareness? Best practice search engine optimization will go a long way in bringing attention to your brand. A solid SEO strategy will ensure the right customers are finding your brand online.

You can also cast the net wider with other advertising channels. Social media platforms can be useful, but there’s no guarantee they’ll reach the right audience. If you’re exploring social media channels or conventional advertisement streams, make sure your ads are targeted to improve performance.

Sometimes, a more direct approach is called for. Traditional telephone communications and direct mailers add the human touch to marketing. However, these approaches are time-consuming. What’s more, if you don’t have a dedicated sales team already in place, it can be an expensive endeavour. For the best returns, direct marketing should be reserved for high-ticket prospects. 

Provide Prospects with Plenty of Information

Most customers will carry out in-depth research before completing a purchase. You need to ensure there’s a wealth of information out there to aid would-be customers in making their decision.

Does your brand currently have a blog? If not, now’s the time to invest in one. Blogs can be an invaluable tool for securing new leads. However, they can also provide instant answers and resources to prospects. When curating blog content, think about incorporating user guides. Alternatively, publish articles that spotlight new product features or services.

If you’re offering a raft of products, make it easy for customers to understand what sets them apart. For products and services with tiered plans, make life easy for your customers by providing comparison tables.

Finally, don’t overlook the value of customer reviews. For many consumers, reviews are the last port of call before deciding on whether or not to make a purchase. As many as 94% of customers admit that a bad review is likely to put them off. 

Maintaining Engagement

Once you’ve acquired customers, you need to focus on engaging them to secure long-term revenue streams. How do you do this? For starters, make sure you’re going above and beyond to keep your customers in the loop.

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Introducing a new product feature? Notify your customers with news of any changes. Make sure you’re directing them to further resources, be it a complete rundown or a blog article.

Announcements, just like any other type of content, can be tailored to the individual. Consider using this as a way to upsell and introduce customers to higher tiers. You can also spotlight premium add-ons that align with the features that customers are currently using.

It’s not all about selling. You can re-engage existing customers with lucrative discounts. Alternatively, gift your best customers with loyalty rewards to ensure they keep coming back for more.

It’s also important to target lapsed customers before they abandon your brand entirely. If someone has created an account with you but failed to follow up with an order or query, reach out to them. If a customer has re-engaged with your brand after a long time, target them with a personalized message to bolster brand loyalty. 

What’s next for Customer Lifecycle Marketing

Going forward, intelligent customer communications will be at the heart of Customer Lifecycle Marketing. In essence, the main goal is to deliver truly tailored communications to every customer. To do this, you’ll need to have access to in-depth customer data. With this at your disposal, you’ll be able to create emotionally intelligent marketing that hits all the right notes with your customers.

For smaller brands, this CLM strategy should be relatively achievable. Things become more complicated when managing such a strategy at scale. However, advancements in artificial intelligence are redefining campaign automation. Furthermore, micro-segmentation and predictive modelling will make it far easier to manage multi-channel campaigns.