Trying out a new marketing strategy always works if you understand your customers. That understanding usually comes from existing customers, but that doesn’t always mean it’ll work for new customers, as well. That’s why customer lifecycle marketing is a good approach and answer to this dilemma.
Customer lifecycle marketing basically breaks down a customer’s journey into lifecycle stages. Each stage represents the customer’s interaction with your product, company, or service over a period of time.
The idea is to map out their entire journey from awareness, to becoming a paying customer, to becoming a loyal customer, to becoming brand advocates. Each of these stages provide the company with a unique opportunity. For example, the further down the sales funnel you go - the more valuable your customer becomes.
By realizing and fulfilling customer requests, needs, and requirements at each stage, you get more value with each interaction. This means when you present them with messages, CTAs, incentives, and resources, they are more likely to engage.
Creating a customer lifecycle marketing strategy based on this information involves understanding the customer lifetime value you provide, especially to repeat customers. It’s imperative to use such marketing campaigns to build customer loyalty, encourage repeat purchases, expand your customer base, and increase customer acquisition.
Luckily, to come up with a strategy, you don’t need to be a product champion or expert. The best way to approach lifecycle marketing is to incorporate it with email marketing.
If you’re unsure how email marketing can help streamline the buyer’s journey and improve the customer experience, I’ve compiled a list of examples to get inspiration from.
Let’s do this.
1. REI – Welcome Email
REI is an outdoor essentials company that provides products like gear, footwear, and clothing for cycling, backpacking, and other outdoor activities.
Onboarding emails are very important if you want to build good customer relationships from the get-go. It’s a prime customer engagement tactic, and makes readers and potential customers feel welcome. This email accomplishes just that for their outdoor retailers Gearmail camp.
Their email addresses customers in a very personalized way, making them feel like the brand is personally welcoming them to the community. Furthermore, it outlines what you can expect and can discover when going through REI gear inventories.
The CTAs are there to help customize the user experience even more. Since personalization helps build trust and customer retention, the CTAs usually take the customer to a page where they list down their preferences, what they like to do in terms of outdoor activities, and what they expect from REI.
This helps the company get the necessary customer data they need to further refine their marketing efforts.
Another good practice is that REI sends a 15% discount coupon along with the email. It’s kind of a push to the next stage in the customer lifecycle - especially if the customer is genuinely interested.
The design of the email is also made in a way that the first thing you notice is the discount, i.e. displayed in large, bold font. This reels the reader’s attention in, subconsciously making them interested enough to read more.
2. Banana Republic – Re-Engagement Email for Mobile
Banana Republic is a clothing brand that is known for its versatile and classic-modern designs.
Re-engagement is extremely important since it ensures that customers come back after their first purchase. Furthermore, it’s cheaper than retargeting, especially if you’re offering something like a loyalty program with your re-engagement tactic.
Similarly, re-engagement emails are follow-up marketing messages for people getting out of touch with your brand. It’s important that the message you use is targeted and that you have a data-backed marketing approach. Otherwise, there’s a good chance that the customer will just unsubscribe when they get reminded of your brand.
Banana Republic always uses a savior image that helps the reader imagine themselves in a certain piece of clothing. It’s mobile-optimized so the image tends to take up a good part of your screen to get your attention.
The main engaging messages are in a large and bold font. Such as the ‘Come Back’ message, which immediately tells the user what the purpose of the email is, and what they can expect from it. The second message is about a 20% discount, which immediately gives the user exactly what they expected.
This essentially drives them back to the purchase stage of the lifecycle. For an e-commerce business owner, this is the best way to bring back old customers.
Finally, it’s imperative to stay true to your brand’s essence, meaning you should make the background layout, the colors, and any depictions engaging, as well - just like Banana Republic uses a well-dressed model with a simple, yet serene background.
3. Booking.com – Customer Journey Email Strategy
Booking.com is an online accommodation booking service that lets you book flights and hotels in over 85,000 destinations across the world.
If you make an account while making a booking, you won’t exactly receive a welcome email but a booking confirmation. The long and detailed email will have all the booking details, best practices, and will also suggest potential changes you can make. They explain everything related to your hotel reservation and their rules, along with the website’s rules in case of cancellations, changes, or returns.
After that, you receive a lot of discount offers, mostly near or related to the booking you made. You will also get a referral link to give out to friends and family, providing further discounts to both parties if someone uses it. Furthermore, they explain in the email how the referral process works and why it’s important.
Continuing the support experience stage, they send even more offers and booking reminders. They also provide details and suggested attractions of the city you’re going to.
After your booking ends, they move on to the bonding stage and send you an email asking for a review or testimonial. The review includes a lot of questions including what more the website could have done to make the trip better. You then receive a thank you email after submitting your review.
The process of sending new offers starts again after a while, thanks to marketing automation.
4. Just Eat – Utilizing All Customer Lifecycle Stages through Email
Just Eat is one of the largest online food delivery companies, cater to more than 20 countries, and has a market valuation of more than $5 billion.
Just Eat is a great example of a company that utilizes all forms of customer lifecycle marketing strategies. When you sign up with them, you immediately receive a detailed, yet engaging welcome email with your login credentials. It also provides a list of potential eateries near you, details on how to order, and other minor details.
After your first order, you receive an email confirmation of the order with its details. The details include restaurant information, the food you ordered, the time of delivery, and the delivery address.
It also has a CTA that takes you to a real-time food tracker.
After your order is completed, you will receive an offer email before the typical mealtime.
A day later, at most, you will receive an email asking for a review. The marketing teams make sure you can provide a review not only for the restaurant, but also for Just Eat’s services.
Ultimately, reviews are a great way to increase the conversion rate of one-time customers.
5. Evernote – Promotional Email Marketing
Evernote is an online note-taking app that lets you note down and prioritize to-do lists, checklists, ideas, projects, and reminders.
Evernote’s content marketing team has combined upgrade offers and referrals into one promotional email. It acts as both a reminder to come back and use Evernote, as well as, a means to invite more people. According to their offer, anyone that uses your referral links also gets their Premium service, so you know the rewards are good.
The design of the email is simple, but well organized to the point that readers end up devoting their attention to it. It clearly divides both options in the email and explains what each option entails.
The colors used are supposed to feel trustworthy and the text used is keyword-specific to Google.
A combination of good offers and a soft reminder works wonders in retaining customers.
6. Litmus – Capitalizing on the Last Stages of the Customer Lifecycle
Litmus is an online tester for emails and is designed to build, test, and analyze campaigns so that your email marketing brings out the best results.
When Litmus was hosting an Email Design Conference, they needed to raise awareness, promote it, and drive ticket sales. They also wanted to make the hashtag #LitmusLive common among the community.
Rather than go to social media or try other digital marketing tactics, they did what they do best - email. Since their audience consists of email marketing enthusiasts, Litmus hid five ‘Golden Tickets” in their promotional emails.
Users had to screenshot an external CSS stylesheet and tweet it with their hashtag. In the end, they not only successfully promoted their event and hashtag, but also managed to make more email marketing fans as well as achieve a greater level of bonding.
7. Bodybuilding.com – Simple Customer Lifecycle Marketing Emails
Bodybuilding.com offers a large selection of gym equipment, supplements, fitness articles, and exercises.
When you sign up for their newsletter, you receive a thank you email. In simple steps, it shows you how to browse through their featured products, what new content they have, and helps you find a training plan.
A few days later, they send you another email with a news update with information on nutrition, training, and other motivational content. It usually also includes a promotion by the end.
After that, the next email is purely sales-related. It usually has a lot of relevant products displayed along with discounts on each of them.
The cycle continues after that, resulting in a simple lifecycle marketing process that works.
Deciding On a Customer Lifecycle Marketing Strategy
You don’t need to go out of your way to develop a unique customer lifecycle marketing strategy. You just need to make sure you successfully engage your audience by catering to all the necessary touchpoints.
It’s also wise to use this opportunity to help with your SEO efforts.
All in all, just make sure you personalize your approach and provide value to your customers to reap maximum benefits and returns.