Traditional marketing isn’t doing so hot these days.
Don’t get me wrong, mailers and radio ads play a role in marketing. But if you’re a business owner on a budget, there are much more effective ways to find new customers and keep them coming back again and again.
Enter: lifecycle marketing, the business owner’s best friend.
With lifecycle marketing you don’t just throw money at ads and hope people end up buying. Every time a new customer enters your funnel they are taken through a well planned sales process that guides them towards a buying decision. If they don’t buy at the end of the process, it’s no sweat! They just go into another sequence that will help move them towards a buying decision again.
So all the money you’re spending on marketing stays in your business. It doesn’t fall out any holes, because they people you’ve invested in become email subscribers, social media followers or other types of warm leads.
So how does lifecycle marketing work?
Step 1: Attract Traffic
Let’s be honest, people don’t like ads.
There is a time and a place for ads, but it will cost you a small fortune if it’s your only form of marketing.
People want to be entertained, educated and engage with others; which is exactly what your marketing should do. Attract people to your website and social media with information that your best customers will find valuable and interesting, whether it’s via blog, videos or other types of content. This is the first, and perhaps most important step, to finding leads and raving fans.
Step 2: Capture Leads
Now that you have eyeballs on your content, it’s time to get those people to decide if they want more content and information from you, or not.
One of the easiest ways to capture names and email addresses is through a newsletter signup form. But people can be pretty protective of their information, so you have to give them a reason to click subscribe.
If you’re finding you have a good dose of traffic, but people aren’t making the jump from visitors to leads, it’s time to do some analysis. Walk through from the perspective of your visitors. Are you asking for too much information? If your content compelling enough? If not, what can you do to improve things?
Step 3: Nurture Prospects
The truth is, most buyers don’t see marketing and immediately purchase. They buy when they’re ready to buy. But to reach them, you need a systematic approach for developing trust and converting leads. The not-so-secret weakness of small businesses is that they don’t follow up with leads as well as they should.
So having consistent, valuable follow-up messages can prove to be a huge competitive edge. The trick is to have a plan of where you want leads to go in your process and to make sure you’re guiding them every step of the way.
Step 4: Convert Sales
You can attract, capture and nurture all the leads you’d like. But eventually they need to become paying customers, or your business will suffer.
Depending on your business type and set up, you’ll likely either use an online shopping cart or salespeople (or both). No matter which method you use, have a system in place to sell to these customers when they’re ready for it.
Step 5: Deliver & Satisfy
If you’ve ever received bad customer service (and who hasn’t?), you won’t be surprised to learn that most companies spend more acquiring new customers than keeping existing ones happy.
Winning lifelong customers requires the ability to not only get a prospect to buy again, but also to be happy while they do it. The benefits go far beyond inspiring loyalty and repeat business. Happy customers become brand cheerleaders, which can drive more referrals and increase sales.
Step 6: Upsell Customers
Unfortunately, a lot of business owners stop at step 5. Which means they’re devoting all this time and money on marketing without getting the full return on their investment.
Happy customers already know that you can deliver, so they’re likely to come to you when it’s time to purchase again.
Make their lives easier while continuing to build a relationship with the help of lead nurturing. This just means putting them into a long-term sequence where you’re constantly keeping in contact, so they remember you for next time.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to build a sequence around upsells. Let customers know when updates or additional products are available. Software like InfusionSoft or AWeber allows you to build out an email sequence, so you can just drop customers in there when they’re ready. Then they just go through the automated follow-up sequence at the frequency of your choosing, so they’re getting the best possible content and upsells for their needs.
Step 7: Get Referrals
Now that you have all your systems in place there’s one last step, to get referrals from your happy customers.
People are much more likely to do business with someone when they’re introduced by a friend, family member or coworker. Which is just another reason to stay in touch with happy customers.
It may feel weird at first, but simply ask your happy customers for referrals, or who they know who might benefit from your service. Just don’t forget to reward your customers and their referrals with a thank you of some type. Even if you can’t afford a gift card, something a simple as a handwritten thank you card can go a long way.