Most experts in the Sales and Marketing industries are already familiar with the Customer Lifecycle—the step-by-step process a consumer goes through when considering patronizing a business. At Signpost, our goal is to make your marketing as simple and effective as possible so that you can focus on other parts of your business. To help attain this goal, we’ve incorporated aspects of the Customer Lifecycle into the automated side of our marketing platform.
Why is paying attention to the Customer Lifecycle important?
Consumers have different needs at different stages of the Customer Lifecycle. While creating a general marketing strategy is a great first step toward building a relationship with your target audience, going one step further by paying attention to where they are in the Customer Lifecycle—and targeting them accordingly—can deliver even more benefits for your business. Some of these benefits include:
- Establishing Relevance. Using a more targeted strategy ensures that you are delivering the right type of message to the right customer at the right time.
- Building Respect. When you improve the relevance of your messaging, customers feel valued and think highly of your business, driving them to repurchase and refer friends.
- Increasing Revenue. Repeat business and referrals generated by your happy, loyal customers bring in more money to your business.
- Improving ROI. Increased revenue helps you build your business while your marketing strategy pays for itself.
What are the stages of the Customer Lifecycle?
The model for the Customer Lifecycle varies across the board, containing anywhere from four to six stages. The version that Signpost focuses on contains five stages:
- Awareness: this first stage occurs when the consumer discovers a business by seeing an ad, encountering an online listing or storefront, or hearing about it through word-of-mouth. Within your Signpost account, awareness is generated by ensuring that your online presence pages are up-to-date. Adding a Google AdWords or Facebook Ads package to your account can also help spread awareness.
- Acquisition: once the consumer becomes aware of a business, they’ll seek more information to evaluate whether it will meet their needs by visiting the website or contacting the business directly. Signpost’s software tracks emails through your connected email accounts to identify consumers in this stage. If you have a forwarding number enabled, we track calls and texts to that number as well.
- Conversion: if the information that the consumer acquired meets their needs, they are likely to complete their first purchase. Having a New Customer Offer enabled in your Signpost Merchant Center helps steer consumers toward your business over your competition, leading to their first purchase from you. Adding our Signpost Payments package through our processing partners helps seal the deal.
- Retention: once a consumer has converted to a customer, it’s important to continue building a relationship. Ensuring that the customer is satisfied builds good rapport and increases their likelihood to repurchase. Mia, Signpost’s automated marketing assistant, sends Feedback Requests for you to help achieve this goal. Sending out Repeat Business Offers or Custom Campaigns can also help propel contacts through this stage.
- Advocacy: if a customer is retained by indicating that their needs have been met and/or purchasing again, they’ll be likely to support the business further by leaving an online review or passing their information along to friends. Mia takes care of this step for you by sending Review Requests and Referral Requests to encourage this type of behavior.
Which Customer Types exist in the Customer Lifecycle?
When referencing the Customer Lifecycle to strategize for your marketing plan, it’s important to identify and recognize the different types of customers that exist within it. The most basic categories of customers are:
- Prospect: a contact who has not purchased from you yet. These customers appear in the Reach, Acquisition, and Conversion steps of the Customer Lifecycle.
- Active Customer: a contact who has recently made a transaction or interacted with a campaign. These customers appear in the Retention and Advocacy steps of the Customer Lifecycle.
- Inactive Customer: a contact who has made a transaction or interacted with a campaign before, but not recently. These customers have fallen out of the Customer Lifecycle completely.
- Unknown: an unspecified contact. Since we don’t know anything about them, we don’t know what stage of the Customer Lifecycle they’re in.
Using The Customer Lifecycle in your Signpost Account
Signpost helps you incorporate the Customer Lifecycle into your marketing strategy by allowing you to designate your contacts as one of the Customer Types above. Each Customer Type has its own automation logic—rules that Mia follows regarding which campaigns should be sent automatically—so that Mia knows who is in which stage of the Customer Lifecycle, and which automated campaigns they should receive.
- Since Prospects exist in the Reach, Acquisition, and Conversion steps of the Customer Lifecycle, Mia will send them New Customer Campaigns to drive them to make their first purchase.
- Since Active Customers exist in the Retention and Advocacy steps of the Customer Lifecycle, they will not receive a New Customer offer—Mia will send them Feedback Requests to gauge satisfaction, followed by Review Requests, Active Customer Campaigns, and Referral Requests to promote advocacy.
- Since Inactive Customers have done business with you before, Mia will send them Win-Back Campaigns, Review, and Referral Requests to remind them of your business and try to reel them back in.
- Since we don’t know what stage of the Customer Lifecycle Unknown Customers are in, Mia will send them Feedback, Review, and Referral Requests. She will also send them your New Customer Campaigns if they’re unresponsive or indicate they haven’t done business with you before.
These Customer Types and their associated Settings guarantee that the contacts in your Signpost Merchant Center will receive the messaging that is most applicable to them. If you decide you would like to target your contacts in different ways, these default Settings can be modified to your specifications. Either way, your contacts will appreciate the more targeted nature of your marketing strategy.