In the B2B world, customer loyalty is the cornerstone of a successful company. That’s why the customer lifecycle was developed to help businesses stay focused on their customers at every touch-point – from the first time buyers learn about your company, to when they become your enthusiastic supporters.
There are five main stages that make up the customer lifecycle: Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention and Advocacy. Each stage is crucial and requires a coordinated effort to measure and manage the work. Here are tips to keep your customer lifecycle running like a well-oiled machine every step of the way:
Make yourself known
In order to acquire new customers, you first need to introduce them to your brand and site. This beginning stage of awareness involves getting the word out about your product and service offerings, and a great way to do that is through different kinds of content marketing. Gain an online presence by engaging in social media channels, using keyword advertising to generate clicks and publishing informative blogs that target customer interests. This type of marketing provides a great way to track the number of page views, unique visitors, followers and overall engagement to your site and other media channels. Plus, the information you capture can be used for future marketing campaigns.
Pique their interest
Once you get people to notice you, then you need to provide useful information to help in their consideration to purchase from you. To do this, make sure you have robust product information on your eCommerce site to help them make a purchasing decision. This includes value-added content such as product videos, customer reviews and related articles. Have customer service representatives available to answer their questions, whether they’re asking about products or payment terms. People will gain trust in a company that provides real-time, influential information.
Get them to buy
You’ve showcased your products by including enriched content and a wealth of information, but what else can you do to help a prospect make a purchase? Put your sweat equity into engaging with your prospect. Send them a limited time promotion or include them in an email campaign related to items they’re searching for in order to trigger a purchase. It may take a number of attempts to get them to bite, but this personalized outreach is a great way to improve your chances of making a conversion.
Turn them into a regular customer
Once your hard work has paid off and you’ve made that conversion, it’s now time to show your new customer you want to build a relationship with them. At the retention stage, customer follow-up is key. Send them a survey to ask them about their purchasing experience, or offer them a limited time promotion as a way to thank them. Understand their purchasing behavior so you can include them in an email campaign to trigger additional purchases through product up-selling and cross-selling. Make your new customer feel valued and it will hopefully pay off in the form of a regular customer.
Encourage them to be a fan
Your product content is informative. Your marketing content is relevant and insightful. Your customer engagement is second to none. Now, in the final stage of the customer lifecycle, you want your hard work to pay off in the form of customer advocacy. Encourage your loyal customers to spread the word about your company, employees and products. If your customer has a story to tell, ask if you can feature their experience on your website or social media in the form of a glowing review, case study or quotable blurb. Offer incentives to those who recommend your company to other customers. For your long-time customers who know your company inside and out, ask them to provide their insight and perspective at customer and industry events. Make them feel like you’re their biggest fan and they’ll return the favor.
The customer lifecycle, when followed properly, is instrumental in expanding the lifespan of your customers. Just make sure you have the right people working together at each stage of the cycle to ensure the best experience a prospect – and, hopefully, eventual customer – can have with your company.