Lifecycle marketing is the secret sauce to good marketing. It allows any business, no matter their industry, to define and build a journey for their customers to continually delight them. Delighted customers are long term customers. And that is very good business.
But there's much more to a lifecycle than getting potential clients to your website and then selling to them. Especially as that approach doesn't have good success rates. Lifecycle marketing is the direct result of the philosophy that marketing is all about delighting your audience so they turn into delighted customers.
Lifecycle marketing is the opposite of the ego boosting approach of telling anyone who will listen how amazing you are, how amazing your products and services are and how anyone who doesn't work with you is a stupid head. No one likes a blowhard. It's annoying when your friends do it so why on Earth would anyone want a business to do it?
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What is Lifecycle marketing?
So, first things first. What actually is lifecycle marketing? Lifecycle marketing is the process of attracting, engaging and wowing your customers.
It's providing them with everything they want and need in order to move them from prospects, to customers and then finally delighted customers who advocate for your business.
The Circle of Life(cycle marketing)!
As if there was any other GIF to use...
It always surprises me when I come into contact with businesses who claim to use lifecycle marketing but when I look at their processes and workflows, they've skipped entire stages and, more often than not, what they've created isn't a isn't a cycle at all.
The name is very deliberate. Life. Cycle. It's a closed loop of business and customer interactions that helps you to keep your customers for longer because they feel continually - cyclically even - rewarded for doing so.
It is not meant to be fire forget.
Lifecycle marketing is a four stage process designed to build long lasting relationships built on value and trust.
It consists of Attract - Engage - Sell - Wow.
Lifecycle marketing: What is the attract stage?
Engagement is arguably one of the most important aspects of digital marketing right now - but before we can engage with an audience we need to be able to attract them first.
In order to do this effectively (and to communicate to them at later stage) you need to invest real time in getting to know and understanding your audience. Basically it's understanding what your customers and potential customers will find attractive and giving it to them.
This is the marketing equivalent of walking into a bar and turning heads. Or getting a getting a two syllable day-amn.
In order to know how to build a relationship with customers - you need to know who they are, and what really matters to them.
Lifecycle marketing: What is the engage stage?
Assuming you've done your homework and created an accurate profile of your audiences then you can get down to the business of creating great content that will engage them.
It's really important to recognise that content can be anything from a blog to a YouTube video. It really doesn't matter what you create as long as it adds value by answering questions or providing useful, relevant information.
The key words Infusionsoft Software, Inc. use are educate and nurture. Get it right and your customers will feel understood, valued and they will naturally start to trust you because you know what you're talking about. (Hopefully you do know what you're talking about...)
Just remember to be authentic, add (lots and lots) of value and don't steal anyone else's content. Because...reasons. Legal ones.
A word to the wise on authenticity - if you're trying to be authentic then chances are you're not. Authenticity comes from who you are as an organisation - it comes from your sense of purpose. If you don't know why you do what you do then it's definitely worth spending some (a lot) of time figuring that out.
It's also really important that you put some measures and process behind your content so you know which customers are responding to what content. This way you're building up a clearer and clearer picture with every piece of content your audience consumes.
Lifecycle marketing: What is the sell stage?
Once you've engaged your audience with your knowledge via sweet emails, beautifully crafted blogs, jazzy YouTube videos or breathtaking infographics, it's time to hit them with the offer.
By this point they should have crossed the anonymity threshold - a slightly poncy way of saying they completed a contact form or downloaded a lead magnet. Either way, you know how they are and thanks to tools like Infusionsoft® you also know what content they've consumed and services they've expressed an interest in.
Equipped with the insight gathered from the engaged with content you can offer your lead the service or solution that takes away their pain or addresses their need.
This is the really magical part of the whole process. The hard sell is dead. By the time you have a conversation with your client over the phone or in person, you already know what their challenges are and they are already fairly confident you can help.
This is badass.
Lifecycle marketing: What is the wow stage?
Wowing your customer is the best. This is the part where you deliver what you've promised and knock their socks off in the process.
Never be afraid to go that extra mile and really make your customer feel valued. A tiny amount of over delivery may eat in to the profit margin but repeat business from a delighted customer will more than make up for it. Especially if they refer you to their network of contacts.
But wowing your customer and delivering amazing work is what gives you the leverage to up sell, cross sell and ask for those all important recommendations.
So many businesses make the mistake of pushing for the extra business the moment they see the opportunity. If you know the client well then you can get away with it but in the majority of cases a new client has just made a huge show of faith by trusting you with their money and their business.
Wowing you customer earns you the right to ask for more business and for a testimonial while you're at it.
This is where most businesses stop, give up and move on, shifting their attention to the next cash rich, problem addled prospect in their pipeline.
This isn't wowing anyone. This both lousy customer service and an incomplete cycle.
Close the life cycle marketing loop
To have truly effective (and accurately named) Lifecycle marketing you need to bridge the gap between your Wow and Attract stages, closing the loop and creating the cycle.
The good news this is much easier than attracting the client in the first place.
They already know and trust you. You already know them and you will have already identified other areas in which you can help them. At least one would hope so.
The truth is that the 'offer more' stage of the stage feeds directly back in to the Attract stage and realising this actually makes the entire process so much easier.
Before you offer them more services or push for the cross sell stop and review what you understand about them from the Attract stage of the cycle.
Which persona do they fall into? What information will educate and add value to that client in order for them to feel ready to have a conversation?
What can you learn about the other challenges that client is having in order to provide them with the best possible solution?
Just because you've sold to them once doesn't mean you don't have any more content to give them or there's nothing else to learn about them.
Your existing knowledge and the relationship you have successfully nurtured thus far makes it significantly quicker and easier to get to the sell stage but it's still important to engage them and add value just as before.
It strengthens the trust you share and it makes the decision much easier for them.
The more times you repeat this cycle with your customers the deeper that relationship goes meaning they will stay your customer for longer.
Failing to do this will leave your customer feeling a little jilted. Or worse if they only hear from you when you're struggling to make target and need to drum up some extra cash.
Your Lifecycle marketing should perpetually nurture your customer so they feel consistently valued and they - as a result - feel the same way about you.
Lifecycle marketing is just that, a cycle. It's circular. It need to encompass all aspects of the customer journey, to help retain customers and continually keep them. It's a four stage process designed to build long lasting relationships based on value and trust. It consists of Attract - Engage - Sell - Wow.
Your Lifecycle marketing should perpetually nurture your customer. It should make them feel loved and valued. As a result they will feel the same way about you.