Effective nurturing goes beyond a first impression. It's a process that requires continuous engagement with your leads. Instead of going for the final sale right off the bat, why not help your leads who need more convincing that make that decision?
It's a smarter approach.
What’s a Customer Lifecycle?
It’s the different stages a potential customer goes through in a brand's marketing funnel. As a business owner, you’re expected to build relationships with customers at every phase, that way they can trust, believe, and stay loyal to your brand. [source]
The first step in building attraction is by letting the customers see your good side and why they should buy your product or service.
If you do a good job at it, this would be followed by purchases from the customer in what can now be referred to as a committed relationship.
There’s even more. The customer could speak for you, refer other customers to you and help you to market your brand.
We will look at the steps involved in the customer lifecycle and how you can nurture leads through each step.
The main aim of the customer lifecycle is to get to know the customers and keep strengthening your relationship over time.
You move the customers through several stages in the marketing funnel. This makes it possible for them to know and trust you. You will take them from not knowing who you are to being your ambassadors and marketers in a few steps.
Step 1: Attract and Engage the Leads
The main goal during this stage is to attract the customer’s attention and spark an interest. There are many ways of doing this including using media and print advertising, strategic PR campaigns and above all, content marketing.
The latter is the most important of them all. Using this method you can spark interest in many people and since this is often targeted, these prospects are more likely to buy from you.
Content marketing entails the use of engaging content to show (not tell) prospective clients who you are and what you can offer them, without being pushy with your message.
When effectively executed, content marketing can drive more leads than paid search, at the same cost of $1,000 per month.
There are many ways of using content marketing ranging from blog posts to social media marketing to guest posts on related websites. You can use images (infographics and memes), videos or even written texts to do this but you need to be very creative.
CSI Accounting used content marketing to boost consultations. Before this time, they had little traffic on their website and their key performance indicators were not set, measured, or analyzed.
To solve these issues, they improved their website design, developed an inbound marketing strategy, and used high-quality content to get significant results. This increased organic traffic by 300% and landing page conversions jumped by 369%.
Be informative and don’t make the content all about you or your product. Inspire the reader/viewer to see the possibility of fixing their problems. Persuade and get them interested in learning more.
Step 2: Grow and Nurture Your Contact List
This is a very crucial step because you will need the client’s contact information in order to stay in touch and keep talking to them. You can inform them of what you have to offer and over time they will make a purchase.
When you promote content online, have a clear call-to-action to leads your audience to a landing page with relevant information, which would encourage them to fill out the form and give you their personal details (mostly first name and email address).
It’s not just enough to capture the email address of your prospect, you also need to nurture them with great content via email. In the worlds of Bianca Schemankewitz:
“You want to be the brand subscribers feel really gets them. Their wants, their needs. A brand they share with their friends, family, colleagues. Whose emails they actually look forward to and engage with.”
A good example would be to create an informative post encouraging the prospective customer to head over to your landing page or homepage for more information.
Here’s a good example of a post on Leadpages where they included a relevant call-to-action within the article to drive new users to their tool.
You may not want to use the typical form on your page. Because if it’s too obvious, visitors to your page may not fill it.
You could use a popup that asks for their email address so you can send them helpful content regularly. Once they opt-in to your list, you have gained their attention and the nurturing process has just begun.
Helpful resources: 10 Automated Emails You Could Be Sending Your New Subscribers
Follow up the subscriber with several helpful emails. Bear in mind that you’re not really asking the client to buy your product at the early stage of the email.
Prove your expertise and build trust by giving away actionable advice via email, in the form of ebooks, videos, or give access to your software.
In your welcome email, you could ask questions (optional) and listen to your email subscribers. This is the time to get to know the prospective clients well. Ask what they need or look for in the things you offer and what they have been struggling with.
Your welcome email must be short and insightful. Here’s an example of a welcome email from AdEspresso:
Getting feedback is a great sign that you can now move on to the next step. After a few free or bonus content sent directly to the customer, you can now cut to the chase.
Step 3: Embrace the Evaluation Process
During this phase of the customer lifecycle, the customer is evaluating whether to be part of your brand or not and this is where you eliminate every objections or question.
Make it easier for them to buy your product or service by highlighting the benefits and value your product is known for.
Giving away free valuable content at this stage is important. It could be a workbook, swipe file, templates, or ready-made templates.
This free or bonus content should be followed by an offer funnel. During this phase, do not offer your main product as it would be too sudden.
Start off by giving offers on low-priced services or goods you offer -- also known as a tripwire.
An example is that of a fitness trainer. Don’t jump right in and offer people your personal training services. You could start by encouraging them to buy an inexpensive eBook you have written on the subject.
When the prospect buys this tripwire, only then can you be sure that they are the right people and you can proceed with the steps that follow.
For this to happen, you need to ensure that what you are offering them is beneficial and related to your tripwire.
The product should be of high quality so the prospects know that you will give them quality when they later give your main product a chance.
Be sure to state that this is an offer so the prospects do not regard the product as cheap and avoid buying it totally.
You should not just send one email selling your first product to your contact list. Send at least five emails or videos from different angles with a time period in between, which gives the prospects time to decide. Research shows that 80% of sales happen after five follow up.
Tell them what the product is, how it will benefit them, what they stand to lose by not having it. A weekly email is the best approach during this evaluation process.
More importantly, if you use marketing automation to nurture prospects, you should expect to generate 451% more qualified leads. [source]
Step 4: Convert the Lead into a Customer
A prospect who buys the tripwire product is a good lead and since they have seen what you offer in terms of quality, they are good candidates for conversion into customers. It’s time to introduce them to your core offer.
You need to tell them why they should become your long-term client and trust your services and/products.
Your focus at this consideration stage is to convert leads to customers. Atlantec Online increased Sales-Qualified leads by 355% simplifying their offer and add a relevant CTA to their blogs and pages. This inspired their leads to become customers.
Additionally, you could even show them the behind-the-scenes videos or pictures of your product creation. If they’re able to see the work that went into creating your product or service, they’ll appreciate it more.
Sharing teaser photos is equally important especially on Instagram or Facebook, similar to this post from Adidas:
If you can’t do that, there are better ways of driving sales. If you’re an e-commerce store, for example, tell your potential customers how shopping on your online store is easier and more affordable than going to the grocery store nearby.
Will you bring the goods to their doorstep? That is convenience and you need to tell them how that’s good for them.
Other than informing them about the benefits they will gain by buying from you, encourage them to talk to you about the problems they face.
They will trust you more and the next stage will be super easy for you.
Step 5: Introduce Customers to Your Main Product
You already know what challenges your prospects face and you need to use these to make sales. Introduce your main product and tell them how it will solve their problems.
Have a clear calls-to-action, this time, nudging them to go ahead and make an order.
By now, your prospects trust you and they will be willing to give you a try. Be very convincing and clear in your messages that you want them to buy without being too salesy.
Do not seem as if you are begging. Just pitch your product highlighting its strongest benefits and you’d win the customer.
Help the client to make an informed decision -- so highlight all the benefits including the minor ones because you never know which one will help your customer more.
Showing honest reviews and customer testimonials are powerful social proofs that can grow your revenue.
In recent research by Search Engine Land, 88% of customers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, and 39% enjoys reading reviews on a regular basis. In fact, only 12% of those surveyed don’t regard or read reviews at all.
See how Fugoo creatively promotes review content and lifestyle images of customers using the speaker on their Facebook page.
By leveraging reviews and insightful content, American Family Insurance increased their SEO visibility of its agents while promoting greater consumer trust in insurance.
Step 6: Delivering to Customers with Great Customer Service
When the lead becomes a customer and decides to make a purchase, it’s your time to impress with awesome customer service.
Your customers expect more than a great product. After all, they're primarily buying the experience that comes with it.
It’s like in dating; when a girl agrees to be your girlfriend you need to show her that you deserve her and keep her happy. Likewise, assure the customer that they have made the right decision.
Give the customer high-quality services and/or products delivered in the best way possible. Ensure that your customer service skills are top-notch. Handle the client in a friendly and professional manner answering all their questions about the product.
Educate them on how to use it through video tutorials, reports, workbooks, and encourage them to use the product purchased plus any other free resources you may be offering.
After the sale, stay in touch with your customers encouraging them to share their experiences in order to build a good relationship.
Step 7: Delight Customers and Build Long-Term Relationships
This final phase of the customer lifecycle involves developing loyalty and a long-term relationship. Introduce them to additional products and/or services you offer.
Encourage the customers to make what you offer a part of their life and to keep purchasing frequently.
One way you can do this is to go beyond your product delivery.
Rackspace is a good example of a brand that delights customers. An employee of the company made an awesome good impression on a client during a service call. While the client was telling someone in the background that they were getting hungry, this Rackspace guy overhead it and ordered a pizza 30 minutes later. It was delivered to the client--while they were still talking on the phone. Impressive!
Have new and fun ways to keep the customers engaged and interested in your business. You could organize live events (e.g., webinars) and invite them or offer them free products that add value to your core product.
With a good relationship, you can now ask and encourage your customers to refer others your way. This will be good for your business because it’s free advertising.
All you have to do is make a good impression and maintain a good relationship with your customers.
Before you know it, they will be telling family and friends about you. Your customer base and sales will grow. You could even throw in a discount for referrals.
The customer lifecycle is a very important part of nurturing leads. It’s one of the funnels that actually work. Executed correctly, this funnel could greatly grow your business in just a short time.
Are you struggling to create high-converting marketing funnel to effectively acquire, nurture, and convert leads to customers?