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In becoming a sustainable e-commerce business, you must consider the fact that loyal customers determine your success, so you should invest a lot of time in developing a marketing strategy that not only acquires new customers but works on retaining them. Remember… customers don’t appear overnight, you have to earn them and that is where customer lifecycle marketing (CLM) comes into play. If you’re unsure on what exactly CLM is, it’s the recognition that there are different stages of the journey when becoming a loyal customer and each stage requires a unique marketing strategy. It relies on you knowing exactly who your individual customers are and how they’re communicating with your business, when you have this data you can then work on curating campaigns that push them along the journey, from a new and ‘one-time’ customer to a loyal one.
A customer lifecycle is just that… a cycle, so you can expect to see customers at a variety of different stages on it. I’m going to talk about the different stages of a customer lifecycle and once you have these noted you can start to plan and execute campaigns that coincide with whatever stage your customer is at because there is a big difference between marketing to a brand new customer in comparison to marketing to someone who has been buying from you frequently for a long time. We can break down the customer lifecycle into 4 different stages: prospects, active customers, ‘at risk’ customers and lapsed customers.
You now know the different stages of the customer lifecycle and should hopefully have the knowledge to start segmenting your customer base. This level of structure will enable you to effectively market to your customers no matter what stage they’re at. With so many different marketing methods available, you might find it hard in deciding what’s best when it comes to targeting each step of the lifecycle but I’m going to break it down for you and give you some effective marketing tactics that can convert visitors into purchasers and one-time customers into loyal ‘fans’ of your business.
After The Purchase: You’ve made a sale? Great. But that doesn’t mean you’re done marketing. You need to maintain a relationship with your customer and keep them engaged with your brand. The same way you did with your prospect customers, you need to encourage more purchases. Emails can help with this part of your strategy; tell your customers of the latest product sales and launches… keep them in the loop and they’ll remember your brand name and hopefully, make more purchases in the future. Again you can involve SMS marketing into this stage of the marketing strategy as well as the incorporation of remarketing methods.
VIP Touch: When it comes to retention- just like the personalisation element we discussed earlier, you need to make your customers feel special. Exclusive offers and memberships can help with this and make your customers feel like part of the brand meaning they’ll keep you in mind when it comes to making another purchase in the future. You could send out emails to existing customers and entice them back with personalised content that details an offer especially for them. The VIP touch is sure to work in retaining customers.
Winning Them Back: In some cases, people lose interest and unfortunately may fail to make another purchase. This doesn’t mean you should stop marketing to them; you can always win them back and reactivate the lapsed and even ‘at-risk’ customers and convert them into active ones once more. Email marketing campaigns can be extremely effective at this stage as you can send exclusive offers that could encourage another purchase. See this 'win back' email from ASOS, a great example of how you can persuade past customers to come back again.
You now know how to break up your customer base into the different stages of the customer lifecycle, meaning you can strategically target them through effective marketing methods and turn your customers into loyal and long lasting fans of both your e-commerce site and your brand. Customer lifecycle marketing is a vital part of any strategy in ecommerce, so keep the points discussed in this post in mind when you sit down to put your next marketing plan into action.