In the words of CRM expert, Paul Greenberg, “Customer engagement is the ongoing interactions between company and customer, offered by the company, chosen by the customer.”
Customers choose to interact with businesses that offer them value and service them throughout the customer lifecycle.
While some may believe email marketing is dying, it is actually the backbone of digital marketing. It shows up at every step of the customer journey and the customer life cycle. The more customer centric and personalised the emails the higher the engagement and conversion.
Kath Pay, consultant at Holistic Email Marketing, shares her wisdom and gives insight on how lifecycle marketing can optimise customer engagement.
Kath is well-known for her conversion-focused approach and is a huge fan of testing and optimising. She introduced the principles of consumer psychology and behavioural science into email more than five years ago, and this, combined with conversion-centred design; are applied throughout the customer journey within Kath's holistic approach to email marketing.
What is lifecycle marketing
Lifecycle marketing is a form of personalisation. It provides our audience with the specific communication and experience they need depending on where they are in the customer journey and or lifecycle.
There are four stages to lifecycle marketing:
Each cycle is made up of its own specific focus and objectives and is delivered through email with the intention to meet the immediate needs and expectations of the prospect or customer. Each email or series of emails is engineered to lead the customer to reach that objective.
For example, in eCommerce, when people come to our websites to look around, they are prospects. We don’t know who they are or where they have come from until they choose to subscribe or make a purchase. In signing up for emails they give us permission to contact them with first purchase or onboarding emails plus offers and updates. This is the acquisition stage of lifecycle marketing.
When these prospects make a purchase for the first time they move into the conversion stage and begin to receive a series of second purchase emails. In this particular segment the aim of the emails is to encourage and incentivize the customer to make a second purchase and then a third and then a fourth because our desire is for them to become regular, reliable buyers.
Essentially, lifecycle marketing is recognizing, either overtly or covertly, that everyone in our email database is at a different stage depending on their actions or even in-actions. If someone hasn’t purchased for a while, they will be in the reactivation stage. Our aim is to keep moving prospects and customers through the lifecycle to get to and remain at the retention stage.
How to win at customer lifecycle marketing
Kath stressed the importance of creating a strategy before jumping into any tactics that are already springing to mind because to win at customer lifecycle marketing you have to know and fully understand the customer journey.
Kath strongly advises that the strategy is based on the business objective and what you are trying to achieve. This leads to establishing clear marketing objectives for each stage of the lifecycle. The purpose is to identify what you want to do with each segment in order to help you achieve your business goal.
Once the business goals and marketing objectives are established, then we can begin to set and implement the tactics.
The idea is simple and yet powerful. Strategy first, tactic second.
In allowing the strategy to guide the tactics we keep our business grounded and prevent the tendency we all have to jump from one new and shiny tactic to the next latest one. Hopping around not only means a disjointed strategy for the business but also a disjointed customer experience.
A connected customer journey is critical for generating engagement. Giving the customer the gift of a connected journey means we start with them. Focusing on our strategy means we’re staying focused on the customer.