Lifecycle marketing is a strategic framework that a business can use to positively influence customer behaviour as a customer moves through each touchpoint of the business’s marketing cycle. This framework is broken down into three phases:
#1 – The Prospect phase whilst attracting potential clients and/or targeting people – and the process to support the conversion of them into clients.
#2 – The conversion process of that prospect into an actual paying customer.
#3 – Post-sale, once they become a customer, turning them into loyal repeat customers and raving fans.
“The 3 C’s”:
• Capture Leads
• Convert Clients
• Create Fans
We summarise these stages for easy reference by thinking of them as “The 3 C’s”. We start by capturing those contacts, move on to converting them to clients, and then finally we make sure we are creating fans.
#1: Capture Leads
The first stage of the first phase, Capture Leads is knowing where to find your Ideal Client, where are they hanging out or how are they finding you? And then, what are you doing to stand out from the crowd, differentiate yourself from your competition and offer enough value or information that they will give you their details. There are a number of different activities and places that you can utilise to ‘attract’ someone into your pipeline:
• Social media posts (make sure you are choosing a channel that suits your audience)
• Blogs and articles
• Testimonials & Case Studies
• Free webinars
• Lead magnets and downloads
• Email (direct marketing)
It’s essential that we don’t miss a trick in capturing these contacts’ details once we have the opportunity. We have found this to be one of the first gaps in a customer journey where contact details are not captured effectively and followed up with, perhaps on social media messaging channels, inbound phone calls, and web forms that don’t store data.
Next, you’ll need to consider the most efficient and effective way of making sure that every single person from those sources gets followed up … automatically.
Personalised automatic follow-up, doesn’t mean robotic!
A lot of people can get confused with “automatic” and “automated”. For example, if somebody calls up, the very first thing you say is, “Can I take your name, please? Can I take your email address? Can I take your phone number?” These should be automatic, whereas an auto-responder would be automated. In either case having a centralised place to store this information, like a CRM (our preference is Keap) is key.
Nurturing your potential clients
Capturing people’s details – including their source, where they’ve come from and why it is that they came to you – allows you to then segment them.
By gathering this data and segmenting it, you can make sure they’re being followed with the right message, not a scatter-gun ‘one size fits all’ approach, but the specific information that they wanted help with. Understanding right at the point of capture why that person has come to you means being able to customise what happens next.
This opportunity to nurture your prospects on their specific area of interest is key to developing the ‘like/know/trust’ required in building the relationship to support the conversion process.
#2: Convert Clients
Now that we have the contact’s details and what they are interested in. You need to understand the timing of when it is the right time to put an offer in front of the potential client. Establishing the points at which they engage with you, when they have enough information on the product, they have shown enough interest etc. consider how you are tracking your engagement metrics.
What might engagement look like?
Here are some ideas:
• Is it somebody who likes to post on social media?
• Is it somebody clicking on a link in an email?
• Consumed content like e-books, videos or blogs.
• If they have made an in-person visit or had a discovery call with you
A good idea is to understand what your engagement metrics are for your service or product, that the contact should reach before approaching them. So now that you have identified and educated and tracked them, they should now be ready for the next step: receiving your offer!
– People are going to be ready to buy when they’re ready to buy, not when you’re ready to sell.
– And if they are not ready you need to have ongoing valuable engagement, so that, if they first say no, you can keep them interested and find another point to make another offer so that you can now convert them.
What is your sales process?
What are the repeatable steps that need to be followed?
Depending on the type of product or service, the sales process can vary:
• Is it straight to cart and checkout?
• Is it one-to-one?
• Do you have a pipeline where you’re tracking who is at what stage?
• Are there multiple stages where somebody needs to have several calls before they’re actually fully converted?
• Do you send out a proposal (and do you have a template)
• What are the follow-up steps at the various stages?
Here’s a great tip: after you send your offer, send a series of educational emails answering frequently asked questions or direct your contacts to a specific blog that answers these questions. This way, you can get ahead of the game by overcoming objections, addressing concerns and other elements that can slow down the decision stage. You still want to keep the engagement, and share solutions through marketing, until they become a client! Without overdoing it you may want to pause outbound marketing emails if you have a set of sales follow-up emails.
#3: Create Fans!
The third phase of lifecycle marketing is to create fans, brand advocates, referrals and testimonials. Once someone has onboarded successfully as a customer! You should turn your attention to the delivery of your product.
You need to create a sublime experience so that your customers will want to refer you to other people. The whole experience from post-purchase to the delivery of the product to their doorstep should have a really positive emotional reaction.
Are you setting expectations? When customers part with their money, they want to know at what points they’re getting the value and their ROI. When these points are established, it makes it easy for you and your team to ensure the value is delivered as well as offering the opportunity to increase it and really impress them.
You want people to start sharing and talking about your business. Creating a great customer experience will reap its rewards so that by the time your contact hits the final stage of the life cycle, you are multiplying the efforts you’ve made with them through their referrals, testimonials and reviews.
Testimonials and Reviews
The biggest thing businesses miss with regard to testimonials and reviews is actually just asking for them. Don’t rely on your customers to simply leave you a LinkedIn recommendation or Google review. No – you have to ask for them!
By using automation, we are able to identify the points at which we want to ask people for feedback. Of course, when you do this, also make sure that it’s as easy and frictionless as possible. Consider using something simple such as star ratings or happy/sad faces and then allow them (those who are more elaborate) to provide more detail if they so choose.
Your existing customers can be a great source of new contacts and if they are having a great experience, they will love referring you on!
Lifecycle marketing is being able to create a process that turns a cold contact into a satisfied customer who leaves positive reviews and refers you on. It’s about making that journey and experience seamless, slick and effortless.
Want to learn more about how you can implement Lifecycle Marketing in your business?