feature

Every moment in the customer lifecycle is a make-or-break moment. Make sure you’re adding value at every turn. For brands that just can't make that happen... well, there's a cost.

Every moment in the customer lifecycle is a make-or-break moment. Make sure you’re adding value at every turn.

WHY LIFECYCLE MARKETING MATTERS

If you remember one thing from this crash course on lifecycle marketing, let it be this: Research shows that being consumer-centric pays. And it makes sense. Having an ongoing practice of customer lifecycle analysis—looking at the bigger picture of who your users are by attributes, such as age, location, and interests, and where they are in their customer journey (from lapsing to active or loyal)—allows companies to create meaningful campaigns, which lead to engagement, retention, and, ultimately, greater profitability.

Having the full picture of your customer’s experience requires taking the time to collect the right data from the start of and throughout their journey, having the right technology in place to capture and react to this information (likely many systems that need to speak to each other and share data efficiently and in real time), and ongoing analysis.

If you don’t have a framework like this in place? Well, there’s a cost.

If a mastery of customer engagement lifecycle strategy can bring in more business, what happens when your team doesn’t fully take customer journeys into consideration or doesn’t have the marketing technology in place to do so? Failing to have a lifecycle-centric view of customer engagement can lead to these negative KPIs: poor engagement, low conversions, spotty retention, and reduced lifetime value.

TURNING THINGS AROUND (ADOPTING A WINNING CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY)

Imagine you’re a new employee within the marketing team of a subscription-based fitness training company called CoachingLive and on the first day on the job you’re called into a meeting with the Chief Financial Officer, who presents a challenge: “We’re acquiring users, but because the subscription revenue they’re bringing in is so low, we’re losing money. We’re paying too much for advertising, and not earning enough. What can we do?”

Feeling inspired with your knowledge from this crash course, you analyze the company’s audience by its main segments—30-day free trial users, light plan members ($5.99 ad-based monthly subscription), full plan members ($9.99 ad-free monthly subscription), and add-on purchasers, who opt for services like live, on-demand, one-on-one coaching sessions. After looking at the data, you notice that the company has a large audience at the top of the funnel at the awareness stage. These people have signed up for an account, but have not yet activated their free trial. From there, you crunch the numbers and see that converting even a small percentage of free-trial users to light plan members, or light plan members to full plan members, or getting a slight lift in add-on purchases from any of the user groups could help the business become profitable. So where do you take things from here? We’ve got campaign ideas to get started.

CUSTOMER LIFECYCLE MARKETING CAMPAIGN IDEAS

Awareness Campaigns

Other than sending a confirmation email upon sign-up, the company hasn’t been creating engagement campaigns specific to users who’ve never activated their free trial. Here are some campaigns they could try:

  • Holiday & Cultural Tentpole Marketing: Think seasonal, brand-relevant messaging tied to specific days of the year. CoachingLive could leverage its in-house coaches to share New Year’s resolution tips with advice for a starter training program available to those with a free trial.
  • Daily Briefs: Think any kind of updates that happen on an ongoing basis. As new training content, training staff, user testimonials, and add-on purchase options are added, CoachingLive could share these updates with a call to action to try them out with the free trial.

Consideration

For free trial users who’ve never upgraded to paid accounts, CoachingLive could try these engagement campaigns.

  • Cart Abandonment Notifications: Nearly 70% of people who start off making a purchase quit before they complete the transaction. Companies that attempt to follow up can help recoup lost sales.
  • Paywall Subscription Prompts: As many content-based companies do, CoachingLive could give a preview of programming only available through paid subscriptions, and follow up with prompts to sign up to continue viewing the training videos.

Satisfaction

The satisfied customer, who could be converted to a loyal advocate who evangelizes CoachingLive to new customers, is not one to be ignored. Consider these campaigns that could help spread the good word and bring down ad costs:

  • Ratings & Review Prompts: Think reviews happen organically? About half of app reviews are the result of in-app asks from brands. For best results, use segmentation and other tools to target only loyal, active, and satisfied users for these messages.
  • Refer-a-Friend Campaign: Timing makes all the difference. Don’t ask too soon. You have to earn the right to ask, and it helps to sweeten it with a reward.

Retention & Loyalty

Renewals mean everything in the subscription business. And that requires a base of committed users. What are some campaigns that can help?

  • Reward Programs: We’re impressed how Walgreen’s takes a truly consumer-centric view of rewards. This loyalty program’s members get perks for making purchases and healthy choices, like exercising. Fictional CoachingLive and real-life brands could take a cue.
  • Gamification / Milestone Messaging: Behind every workout logged, level advanced, and new program attempted is an accomplishment that should be acknowledged, and, since this is the stuff of humblebrags, CoachingLive should lay the groundwork for social amplification with built-in social sharing.

GRADUATE TO ADVANCED LIFECYCLE MARKETING

Congrats, consider this your passing grade for Customer Lifecycle Marketing 101. If you’re ready for the next level, go on ahead to our deeper dive guide: Lifecycle Best Practices: 33 Campaigns to Drive Customer Engagement.

May Kearl

Mary Kearl is a writer and digital strategist, who has led email, social media, and content marketing for several brands. She has helped launch six mobile apps and one niche social network and is always up for a good Netflix/Hulu/Amazon Prime binge recommendation or travel tip