A business can’t survive without customers. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business. If you do have customers, you need to make sure that the customer lifecycle goes along with your business. But before you do that, you need to know what the customer lifecycle is and why it’s so important for your business:
What Is the Customer Lifecycle?
From a business point of view, the customer lifecycle is a way to show how relationships with customers change over time. It includes every step, from bringing on new customers to building brand loyalty over time in people who already buy from you.
When looked at as a cycle, these interactions show how important it is for a business to keep getting new clients and keeping the ones they already have. Customers move through the stages, drop out at different points, and then start the whole process over again.
Companies that use the customer lifecycle strategy to plan and organize their marketing often move customers from one stage to the next. It can also be used for CX (customer experience), which helps organizations make sure that customers always have a great time.
Differences between Customer Lifecycle, Customer Journeys, and Conversion Funnel
There are a lot of different words for how customers and businesses work together, which can be confusing. People often use words like “lifecycle,” “journey,” “funnel,” and “life stage” interchangeably, but each one has a different meaning.
The journey of a customer is always determined by the choices they make, which tend to be unique. On the other hand, a customer lifecycle is a business’s overall view of how customers behave, based on a lot of observations of all customers. Customer lifecycles are not made up of business decisions made at random.
The idea of the customer lifecycle is more like a conversion funnel than a customer journey. In contrast to the conversion funnel, the life cycle of an Ecommerce customer is a loop rather than a straight line. It looks at the whole relationship between the buyer and the company, not just the steps of getting a client and keeping them.
Stages of the Customer Lifecycle
A customer goes through the different stages of a business cycle from a business point of view.
This is the first time the customer hears about your business. This could happen because someone searched for you online, saw your ads, read a review or article about you on a blog or in a magazine, or heard about you from someone else.
Companies may have a hard time getting a customer’s attention in a world where people have short attention spans and markets are crowded. To get their attention, you have to be in the right place at the right time with the right thing to say.
Strategy for marketing to raise awareness:
Creating a plan for raising awareness should be a big part of your marketing plan. At this point, your canvas is mostly blank, so you can try different things and see what works.
Start by getting information about your customers so you can build marketing campaigns around their goals and interests. It helps to know the basic demographics of your target audience, like their age, gender, and income, as well as the stores they shop at, the websites and online platforms they use, and the brands they like.
Find out what people are already aware of and work to make them more aware. You can do this by asking visitors how they heard about you in places like your e-commerce checkout, newsletter signup form, or account registration page. A lot can be learned from a single multiple-choice question.
If your business is just starting out or you’re just starting to think more strategically about your customer lifecycle, you might want to take a trial-and-error approach and set aside money to try out different advertising and marketing strategies like social media advertising, PPC, friend-to-friend promotions, and online ad networks.
During the consideration stage, if a buyer knows more about your company and what it offers, he or she can make a more critical decision about it. They are starting to figure out how valuable you are and how you compare to your competitors. They will also think about how well your products and services meet their needs and how well they fit into their everyday lives.
They may go back to some of the information sources they used in the awareness stage and look at them in more depth. They may also add some new ones. Reviews, ratings, first-hand accounts, customer testimonials, product pages, and specs can all be helpful.
Think about your plan for marketing:
Your client is trying to get information and understand it. You can help by answering their questions and giving them more information. You can help them by giving them information that makes it as easy as possible to compare options and understand features and benefits. Customers might use tools on your e-commerce website to compare products that are similar to one another.
You can also encourage and reassure them by giving them case studies and testimonials that let them put themselves in the shoes of a client who had similar problems and needs.
At this point, a more personal approach might work. If a potential customer has created an account or signed up to receive emails from you, make sure to address them by name and show that you know what they’re interested in by making personalized content like discounts, special offers, product updates, or value-added content like how-to articles and tutorials.
This is also a great time to answer questions directly through chat or AI chatbots, which should be easy to find on your website or social media pages.
When they give you money in exchange for goods and services, they become your customer in the truest sense of the word. But even when people are ready to buy, things can still go wrong, and deals can fall through at the last minute.
Marketing to get people to buy:
To make sure that purchases go smoothly, you need to know what could go wrong. Use data from past customers to figure out where people quit the buying process, then ask for feedback to find out why people left their carts.
You can give people who have abandoned their shopping carts a second chance to finish their purchases by emailing them. A website says that “you’ve left something in your basket” messages can bring back 10% of the sales you might have made. Customers who are signed in, have given you their email addresses, and have chosen to give you the required marketing permission for your location may automatically get these messages.
Contextual help from on-page chat software can also help your customers get past problems with their purchases, like technical problems or questions about shipping or refunds. You might also be able to get feedback from customers who didn’t buy because they were worried about price or quality through these channels. This will help you figure out why they didn’t buy and share that information with the right departments in your company.
After the first purchase, the constant connection stands out more. Will they buy from you again? If you do everything you can to keep the relationship going, you may help increase the odds.
At this point, you might think about customer feedback, relevant promotions, loyalty programs, and content that is interesting to the customer.
Plan for marketing to keep clients:
The best way to keep new customers is to give them great service and help that is tailored to their needs.
Tell them you’re there to answer their questions and help them with the products or services they’ve bought. You could also put FAQs and how-to guides on your website to help people help themselves.
If they have complained or talked about problems with any part of the customer experience so far, this is a good time to reach out and ask them what they think about their recent purchase.
As your relationship with a customer grows, you will learn more about their interests and preferences. This will let you give them personalized suggestions and discounts on the products they are most likely to like.
At this point, a customer who has bought from you before has formed a strong, positive association with your brand and is naively telling others about it.
Customer advocates will take time and work, and they will only make up a small part of your customer base. To keep them here, make sure to treat them well and notice what they’ve done.
A plan for advocacy marketing:
Customers who are ready to spread the word are valuable. Give them recognition through tiered loyalty programs that give them both tangible and prestige rewards based on how much they spend. Loyalty programs may be a type of gamification that keeps customers interested and encourages them to move up and earn more rewards.
By setting up a referral program, you can also thank them for being willing to tell other people about you. This is a formalized way to get people to promote your business. You can give your customers discounts or bonuses for recommending new customers in the awareness stage, and you can also measure and calculate the value that each new customer brings.
Lastly, closing the loop when a customer tells you about a bad experience is a good way to reward loyal customers and keep them coming back. You can fix and even improve your relationship with your most important customers by giving them personalized answers and solutions.
Management of the Customer Lifecycle
It’s important to be able to step back and look at the client lifecycle as a whole, as well as optimizing each stage of the cycle on its own. By doing this, you can figure out how many of your customers are in each stage and if there are any patterns in how people move from one stage to the next. Some consumers may get to the purchase stage but not the retention stage, for example.
From a big picture point of view, you might want to give each step of the lifecycle a set of metrics to track how it’s changing. Some of these might be:
How much it costs your business to get a new customer as a result of the marketing and advertising you did in the Awareness stage.
Conversions and views of ads
You can check how well your digital marketing and advertising is working by seeing how many people have seen an ad, clicked on it, and then gone to your website or downloaded your app.
On average, how much do people buy? Does this get worse or better as you move from the buying stage to the retention stage?
How often do your customers buy while they are in the retention and loyalty stages? Does the frequency go up or down over time, or does it stay the same? Are there any big changes from year to year?
Some customers who are in the retention stage or the advocacy stage may be more likely to do business with you. Do they read your emails often? How often do people who follow you on social media “like” or comment on your posts?