Want To Increase Profits By Up To 95%? See How Customer Lifecycle Marketing Could Help Your Ecommerce Business

08.02.17 Ecommerce

By Dion Fanthom
Share Article

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.

The Benefits Of Customer Lifecycle Marketing

  • Studies by Bain & Company have shown that a 5% increase in retention has the potential to increase profits by up to 95%; so focussing on customer lifecycle marketing offers long-term profitability for your business.
  • If you are marketing with relevance, with specific individuals in mind then you can expect a higher response rate which in terms of business, grants you a higher conversion rate.
  • By segmenting your customer into different stages of a lifecycle, your business can benefit hugely. In essence, you are dissecting your customer activity, allowing you to see how well your business is actually performing.
  • Want happy customers? That is what you’ll get if you really invest your efforts into CLM; your customers don’t want unnecessary marketing material thrown their way when it has no relevance to the stage of the life cycle they’re in; strategically marketing to your audience means you will benefit from happy and loyal customers.

Customer Segmentation

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.

  • Prospects: These customers may have made the initial step of providing you with their email address but they are yet to make an order. At this point, you should be thinking about how you can encourage them to make their first purchase.
  • Active Customers: This group of customers would be individuals who have made one or more purchases with you; this segment can be broken down even further into one-time purchasers and repeat purchasers. As you would expect, at this point you should consider how you can turn these customers into long term and loyal ones.
  • ‘At Risk’ Customers: This stage may include someone who has failed to make another purchase in the time you’d expect them too; you’d work this out based on an average repeat rate of purchasing activity. It’s vital that you target these customers sooner rather than later otherwise you see them convert into a ‘lapsed customer’.
  • Lapsed Customers: This stage includes customers that have unfortunately failed to make another purchase after the time they were expected to. There is no rule when it comes to defining the time frame of a lapsed customer, it is entirely up to you and sometimes determining this time frame can prove a difficult task. Your aim when it comes to marketing to customers at this stage is to reactivate them into active customers.
Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 16.17.01

Effective Marketing Tactics

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.

  • Welcome Series: After you’ve acquired site visitors you may get lucky and obtain contact details such as an email address. With this information, you can design a campaign that introduces your brand to an intrigued guest. Not only will it build brand loyalty but it has the power to inspire and encourage the first purchase.
  • Retargeting: If someone has shown an interest in your site and the products or services you have on offer then you should take full advantage of this factor. Cart abandonment retargeting is beneficial at this point because you are directly targeting those who have shown an interest in particular products. You can draw them back in through retargeting via email and social marketing.You can find out more on dealing with cart abandonment here. Another effective way of getting the visitors back on your site is through SMS marketing, statistics show that 82.1% of people who receive texts, open every single SMS message.
  • Personalisation: As consumers, we want to feel special and relevant to a brand when it comes to spending money with them. That is why personalisation is key in your marketing efforts and you should adapt it into your strategy if you want to stand out and be remembered by your customers. According to Aberdeen, personalised emails improve click-through rates by an average of 14% as well as conversions by 10% and eConsultancy have found that 74% of marketers say that targeting through personalisation actually increases customer engagement.
  • 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.

    ASOS-email

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.

Share Article