Build a Long and Fruitful Customer Life Cycle with Email Marketing
A customer life cycle can also be thought of as the length, arc and nature of a customer’s relationship with your brand or company. Much like a “human life cycle” or a relationship between two people, this customer life cycle is marked by ups and downs, different phases and different periods of activity. For businesses, it’s always not easy to build a long and loyal relationship with customers. Not like in real life communication, one-on-one communication is not available for today’s many businesses. Then how can you maintain the relationship with your customers, email marketing is a good option to fulfill your relationship building need.
Different Periods of a Customer Life Cycle
- First period - Prospective customers. In this period, customers are not actually your customers. They are simply prospects who may be interested in your products. What you need to do is to make them aware of your product, brand or company.
- Second period – Active or loyal customers. Customer who have paid or registered. This kind of customers may have paid more than once, and have loyalty on your brand and business. But what’s the next? You want them to have a long term relationship with you, and make them feel they are important to you.
- Third period – Lapsed or abandoned customers. When a customer has gone a significant amount of time without interacting with your brand or company or purchasing a product, they are referred to as a “lapsed” customer. And some lapsed customers may have reasons and eventually turn into inactive or abandoned customers.
Acquiring Prospective Customers with Informative Emails
Many times, prospective customers or leads may not be ready to make a purchase, but they will have an interest in information that is relevant to their lives and related to your field of expertise. For example, if you sell farm equipment, potential customers may not have an immediate need or comfort level purchasing a tractor from you. However, those potential customers or leads may have a significant interest in valuable content that is related to farming, such as crop prices, weather predictions or updates on legislation about agriculture.
To use email marketing to convert prospects or leads into active or paying customers, one of the email marketing best practices is to offer a free newsletter or auto responder series that provides valuable information along with promotion of your product in the body of the email newsletter. The key to successfully using an information-based newsletter or auto responder series to convert customers involves two elements:
- The information you provide must be useful, engaging and valuable to your subscribers
- You must integrate product promotions into your emails in a way that will convert without being obtrusive to the subscribers
Increasing Active Customers’ Value with Email Marketing
Now you have known how to utilize email marketing techniques in order to help acquire new customers or to turn leads into active users or customers. But then, how to use email through the active customer life cycle (before you need to focus on retaining or winning-back a customer) in order to optimize their value and build brand loyalty? Here are some most common points you can follow.
- Use post-order follow-up email. Implementing an email program that will email customers within a week of a purchase or action can have great impact. Include in your email both a solicitation to provide feedback or the product or the customer’s experience with your company. Then, of course, offer an incentive for a repeat purchase or another product that they may enjoy or be interested in.
- Send cross sell emails to active customers. You can utilize your email (and a well-segmented database) to send cross sell and up-sell emails to your customers. If you know that a customer has purchased a great deal of a specific brand of product that you offer on your website, be sure to email them with other products by that brand manufacturer that they may like.
- Sales and special offers for active customers. The most obvious way to use email during the active customer life cycle is to send your customers and clients sales and special discounts and offers. These could be standard alerts of clearance items or regular monthly sales.
Retain and Win Back Customers
One of the most important marketing metrics that you’ll ever need to memorize and learn is that it is cheaper to keep or win back customers than it is to acquire a new customer. It’s because with an existing customer, even if he or she is lapsed or abandoned, you already have customer information. With a new customer, you need to go through the process of finding and collecting information such as a name, phone number or email address.
To develop a successful win-back bulk email marketing program, you’ll need to evaluate your customer data, identify customers if they will be able to win back or not. Then you’ll need to map out a plan and test a variety of offers, messages, and techniques to incentivize customers to continue, resume, or come back to purchasing with you.