How Lifecycle Marketing Helps Small Businesses Thrive
:: By Greg Head, Infusionsoft ::
If you read all of the advice and articles on growing your small business online and with social media, the marketing game can seem exceptionally complicated these days. Between CRM and countless marketing technology tools, and the ever-multiplying number of communication channels, it can be easy for a business owner with limited time to feel overwhelmed. In an era of expanding marketing options, it’s hard to know which strategies will pay off or leave you thousands of dollars in the red.
The heart and soul of marketing is still the same – and boils down to connecting with customers. Over the last few years, the landscape in which those relationships are established and nurtured has significantly changed. The complex nature of online engagements can brand you a hero one day, and evil the next. In order to close deals and create long-term relationships, every business must foster meaningful engagement with its leads.
The secret? A simple roadmap that can unleash powerful results, called Lifecycle Marketing. This seven-step process drives growth through effective strategies and a tailored approach to each prospect, lead, and customer. The end results are higher conversion rates and greater profits.
Stage 1: Attract Leads
The first stage in Lifecycle Marketing is attracting people to your business. Posting valuable SEO-friendly content is always a key element, particularly reports and webinars that offer practical information and establish thought leadership. Using Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads such as Google AdWords and Facebook Ads to promote links to your website are also useful tools to help drive traffic.
Stage 2: Capture Data
Stage 3. Nurture Prospects
Many of your leads aren’t ready to buy right now, or won’t buy ever, so you’ll need to follow up and qualify to find the real buyers. Nurturing leads is a delicate process that must be done right; overwhelming leads with too many emails will likely alienate them and cost you a potential sale (or worse - a SPAM complaint). For a successful nurture program, develop personalized campaigns based on past behavior and offer special deals that appeal to their interests. Timing is also important, so contact prospects often enough to stay fresh in their minds without overwhelming their inboxes.
Stage 4. Convert Sales
Once you have qualified and interested prospects in your funnel, it’s time to ask for the order. This could be an in-person meeting or a phone call, or it could be an online offer. Making offers related to the current purchase, or offering a discount on products the customer viewed but didn’t buy are both effective tactics that can boost sales.
Stage 5: Deliver Satisfaction
You’ve probably heard that it costs five to seven times more to acquire a new customer than retain an existing one. It’s true, which is why keeping current customers happy is important to generate repeat business and increase customer lifetime value. A great buying experience should be followed by a great experience as a new customer. Excellent customer service must be embedded within every interaction to maintain positive customer relationships.
Stage 6: Upsell Customers
Here’s another common statistic you’ve probably heard: 80 percent of your profits come from the top 20 percent of your customers. This supports the rationale behind upselling and cross-selling existing customers. Look at their past purchases to let them know about appropriate products and services they might enjoy, and create special incentives to reward their loyalty.
Stage 7: Get Referrals
Trust is the foundation of business, which is why people are more likely to buy from a vendor recommended by a friend. Ask your best customers for referrals, and be sure to thank them with a gift or a simple acknowledgement of appreciation for the lead. As third parties who market your product on their website and via social media, partners and affiliates are another source of referrals. They only receive payment when they generate sales or leads, which makes them a great traffic driver with minimal investment.
Marketing your online business doesn’t have to be complicated. Lifecycle Marketing offers a powerful foundation to drive growth and ROI. By following the seven stages above, you can focus on intelligent strategies that develop authentic customer connections and ultimately take your business to a new level of profit and recognition.
Greg Head is the CMO of Infusionsoft, where he brings 25 years of software industry experience. He oversees the company's marketing strategy, communications and partner programs. Greg’s passion for helping emerging technology companies grow into global brands is supported by his track of record of success creating winning products, brands and businesses.