Treating a customer’s lifecycle journey as a continuous, ever-evolving voyage helps boost a brand’s sales and turn customers into advocates!
Many businesses—amidst their expensive marketing initiatives and campaigns—struggle to keep the excitement high throughout the entire buyer journey. At times, they fail miserably at keeping customers hooked which leads to higher churn rates and lower retention. Best they could hope for is to try again with new buyers and users, only to realise that it costs more to attract them than to keep existing customers satisfied. It’s no secret that it’s easier to sell to an existing customer (60-70% more likely) than it is to a prospect.
Now, it may seem counterproductive to anticipate a customer’s exit, but it’s a common (if not natural) part of a customer’s journey. Accepting that, however, doesn’t equate to passive resignation. Marketers do what they can to keep that from happening, extending the customer journey in order to inspire continuous patronage.
One way of doing this is through the Customer Lifecycle Marketing (or CLM). Customer Lifecycle Marketing is a type of marketing that considers the customer's journey from the first point of contact to their eventual exit. As a marketing tool, its end goal is to not only observe a buyer's journey and act accordingly, but to also stop said journey from culminating altogether. They do this by peppering all stages of customer engagement with enticing offers and great experiences. This way, the customers keep coming back for more, their journeys never really over.
In this article, we give you an overview of the five stages of a customers’ lifecycle journey. All the pocket stages of a customer’s lifecycle journey are vital to converting customers into repeat buyers.
Customer Lifecycle: Parts of Their Journey
The customer lifecycle journey includes five major parts. Some sources would cut it down to three or four major “stop-overs”, but here we are looking at five of the widely used within the industry:
Customer Lifecycle Stages from Saasquatch
Each journey starts at that first point of contact or the acquisition stage. Also referred to as the awareness stage, this point is crucial in that it’s here that customers build their first impressions about your product or service. It determines whether customers take active measures to actually interact with your brand. Here, your customers observe aspects readily available to them—what your services comprise of and whether these satisfy the needs they want taken care of. It’s also here where they collect information about your brand, which can include liking and following your social media assets, subscribing to your email list, downloading your app, etc.
During the activation stage (or engagement), your customers are starting to see the benefits and value of your brand but are still not sure whether to make that purchase or not. So, they actively collect information about you in order to see whether your brand provides value for them or answers their needs. Aside from looking at your social media assets, it’s in this portion that your customers consider others’ reviews and testimonials, or even compare you to competitors. This stage paves the way for their purchase, so it’s crucial that you start nurturing them this early into the funnel.
Finally, we get to the revenue stage. Users at this state have decided to trust you and have finally completed their first purchase. At this stage, they've added something to your overall revenue; they are now legitimate “paying customers” and it’s now your chance to turn them into repeat buyers. Loosening your grip once a purchase is made is one of the biggest mistakes you can do. Instead of thinking that a transaction is a done deal once a customer finalised a purchase, you need to make sure that these customers come back and commit by magnifying your efforts at the next stage—retention.
Your next goal is for your customers to remain and make subsequent purchases or upgrade their buys. Pound the retention stage with campaigns or loyalty programs that make customers feel like they’re an important part of your whole strategy, therefore inspiring their continuous commitment and loyalty. Brand advocates make repeat purchases, which is statistically proven to be very lucrative for brands across industries.
Finally, users in the referral stage are loyalists who advocate on your behalf, refer others to your company, and leave positive reviews to entice others to commit to you, too. It’s the cheapest form of promotion, but also one of the most lucrative since people are likely to trust organic reviews and promotions through word of mouth. Not only is this vital to encouraging others to make a purchase, this stage also helps promote your community-building efforts. Crafting a separate strategy to hook the people your advocates brought in is another topic but is equally crucial to boosting their eventual conversion and retention.
A customer lifecycle doesn’t stop after your customers make a purchase.
Look at your customer’s journey as circular, not linear. Thinking that a journey ends when a process is made is a grave mistake. Remember, you are not just getting your customers from point A to point B; it’s your duty to treat your customer’s lifecycle journey as an evolving, repeating process that inspires continuous purchases and patronage. Guided by this outlook, marketers must ensure that all parts of this journey are convenient and aligned with their customers values.