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How the customer lifecycle works and why you should care

When it comes to growing and scaling your business, you may think the only way to get there quickly is to increase your prices or the number of people who are buying from you. But, did you know that businesses who nurture their current leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than those who only focus on bringing in new leads?  

In fact, there are 4 uniquely different ways to grow a business, each dependant on an appreciation for the customer lifecycle. We have a great video in our exclusive Laptop Ladies Facebook Group that explains all 4 ways in detail. Click here to join and see the video.

So, what IS this customer lifecycle? And how can you use it your advantage? In this blog post, we’ll take a deep dive into the different stages of your client’s journey. You’ll not only learn about the benefits of knowing and automating your customer lifecycle but will also walk away with concrete ideas on how to get started right away. Let’s get to it! 

What is the customer lifecycle and why you should care about it

Think of your customer lifecycle as the journey your audience takes through your business. 

First, a prospect hears about your brand and the problem you can solve for them. Then, they might express their interest in working with you or buying your product. Ideally, over time, this prospect will convert from a stranger seeing your content for the first time into a paying customer. Now, you’ve got the chance to provide value by delivering on what you promised and can even upsell them to other services and products. If you complete all of these steps successfully, and when your clients are all around happy, they may even refer you to their friends and family, automatically bringing in new warm leads for your business without the expense of converting cold prospects.

This last piece is really important and why the customer lifecycle is best portrayed as a flywheel. You don’t want your customers to simply buy once and leave. Instead, through creating beautiful customer experiences you can turn your one-off customer into a raving fan who brings new leads into your business for you. 

Now you have a complete sales cycle that’s working for you 24/7. But let’s look at this in more detail.

The benefits of knowing and automating your customer lifecycle

When you fully understand and leverage your customer lifecycle, you will be miles ahead of the competition, because not many business owners truly understand the value of creating a seamless nurturing and upselling system. They get distracted by the promise of more money if they focus on new customers, powering through their marketing budgets and then wondering why they aren’t seeing any positive impact on their bottom line. 

If you’ve ever wasted hours and hours trying to bring in new customers when you have an untouched email list in your database, you’re literally leaving diamonds buried in your own backyard. 

Often, we see entrepreneurs focussing on one or two aspects of the cycle. These might bring some results in the short term, but only if the whole customer lifecycle is completely optimized will your business truly perform up to its potential. 

Working on your customer lifecycle is a marathon, not a sprint. And these are the benefits that are reserved for those who persevere:

You provide a better customer experience

As a business owner, you are responsible for your customer’s experience. When you go through other company’s lifecycles as a customer yourself, it might be immediately obvious to you at what stage they fail. 

Were you ever interested in a product or service, but then something just put you off, and you didn’t end up buying? Or you bought the product or service, but the aftercare was so subpar that you decided not to purchase again. These are typical examples of failed customer experiences. 

Imagine for a second how your own prospects and clients experience your business. When every touchpoint is well thought through and planned out, nothing is left to chance, and everything is focused on providing a great customer experience, how much happier would your clients be? How much better would your business perform?

“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos

You get more marketing bang for your buck

Where are you concentrating your marketing efforts right now? Are you spending all your budget on Facebook ads? You are not alone. Most businesses focus on the first few stages of the lifecycle – building awareness for their brand and getting new leads into their business. 

But did you know that acquiring a new customer is as much as 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one? Pair this information with a study by Salesforce, which showed that 55% of respondents spend very little or no money on customer retention, and you have a highly unused opportunity. Maybe your marketing budget isn’t allocated all that well, and you could achieve a much higher ROI by distributing it more evenly across your customer lifecycle. 

You grow your sales

Every business owner wants to increase sales. Period. Leveraging your customer lifecycle achieves exactly that. How? First of all, by ensuring that your clients don’t leave the cycle. At every stage, with every interaction, there’s the chance that the lead falls off the bandwagon. Maybe because expectations aren’t met or it’s simply not clear how to go to the next step. When you carefully design and automate your lifecycle, you’re significantly reducing the likelihood that this happens. That means that more people will make it through your entire cycle, generating more sales for you. 

In a fully optimized customer lifecycle, customers return for repeat business and refer new leads which also become customers, which in turn … you get the point. Your business turns into an automatic sales machine that’s running smoothly and won’t stop generating money for you.

The customer lifecycle stages explained

Let’s get into the weeds of the different customer lifecycle stages. Each stage is unique and requires a different approach. It might seem intimidating at first, but no worries. We’ve got you covered!

Attract interest

In the very first stage of your lifecycle, you need to give potential clients a way to discover your brand. This is often referred to as “creating awareness” and “top-of-the-funnel”. 

You’ll want to go where your target audience is and provide them with highly shareable and easy to consume pieces of content. Those could be short videos and posts, as well as pictures. 

Facebook ads are a great way to attract and engage an audience. Also, guest blogging and working with the right influencers for your market can help you get noticed.  

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • What product or service do you offer?
  • Which problem is it solving for your audience?
  • Why should they care about your solution?
  • Where do your ideal customers hang out? (Facebook, Instagram, certain blogs, etc.)
  • What keywords is your audience searching for that relate to your product or service?

Capture leads

Now that you have your audience’s attention, it’s time to capture leads and send them down the rabbit hole that moves them towards a sale. An important aspect of this is to ensure that the right people are captured. You want the leads that are closest to your ideal clients. It would be a waste of your time and resources to engage with prospects who are not a great fit for your business. 

(BTW, we do this with a Facebook funnel technique that automatically retains only the most engaged and qualified leads. Want to use it for your business? Talk to us!)

How exactly do you capture your leads though? 

Easy! With a lead magnet. A downloadable piece of content like an ebook, a checklist, or a guide, will add value and solve a real pain point for your ideal client. This is offered for free and serves multiple purposes: 

  • It’s a reward for trading their email address with you.
  • It builds your authority and trust. 
  • It leads to the next step in the lifecycle. 

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • What is the most pressing problem you can help your audience with immediately?
  • What do your clients want to achieve? What’s their ideal outcome?
  • What are the first steps you can help them take?

Nurture prospects

You’ve captured leads through your lead magnet, and they’re now sitting in your CRM database (like Infusionsoft by Keap). Great! At this time, your prospects might be wondering if you are the right choice for them. They are close to making a purchase but not fully there yet. Now is the right moment to start a nurture email sequence that’ll reassure them that they’re making the right decision and that gives them the last push. 

Remember, your relationship with your prospect is still fresh. But with just a few emails you can intensify it and add layers and layers of trust. In the end, you’ll present your offer to someone who is now excited and ready to buy.

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • What are some of the objections your prospects might have that may prevent them from making a decision?
  • How can you create urgency so that your prospects pull the trigger?
  • How can you take any risk away?
  • What social proof (testimonials, case studies) can you provide to show that your solution works?

Convert sales

When a prospect has gone through all previous stages of your lifecycle, he or she is pretty much pre-sold on working with you. They already know the benefits of your solution, how it will help them, and what they can expect. All you have to do now is to close the deal. 

One way to do that is via a sales call. Set up an automated calendar booking system such as ScheduleOnce or Calendly that allows leads to book themselves in at a date and time that works for them. Then, simply show up on time ready to discuss the needs of the person who booked in with you, add value and discuss the next steps to work together if it’s a good fit for you both. 

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • How can you give your leads an offer that they can’t refuse? 
  • What should a professional proposal and/or look like that outlines everything important to know for your new client?
  • How can you make the purchase process as smooth as possible? (Hint: by using an online payment provider like Stripe)

Deliver and satisfy

You’ve got yourself a new customer! Congrats to you! Now you want to deliver what you promised and delight them in a way that sets them up for the next stage in the lifecycle. Too often, clients are bombarded with marketing messages pushing them to purchase and then met with radio silence once the sale is closed. That won’t be you! 

Always stay in touch and provide your clients with something that helps them get even more value out of your product or service. This could be blog posts that address the most frequently asked questions or engaging social media messages and emails that help them use your solution in the best way. Regularly check in with them to find out if there’s anything you can personally help them with. This can be a great learning opportunity for you to find out what your clients are still struggling with. The perfect input for more content. 

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • How can I make using my product or service as easy as possible?
  • What additional information might my clients need to be successful?
  • How can I further improve my product or service?

Upsell customers

This is when you want to turn your clients into repeat customers. They’ve already bought from you once. If they are satisfied and trust you (and they should after you’ve implemented the tactics in the last stages), then they’re highly likely to buy from you again. 

Upsells are usually products and services which are of higher value. For example, if you’ve sold an online course, your upsell could be an exclusive mastermind group or a weekend retreat. You can also leverage cross-sells, which are other products or services you have on offer that are not necessarily related to the first purchase. 

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • How can I help my clients get to the next level in their journey?
  • How do I make purchasing again as easy as possible?

Get referrals

If you truly want to take your business to the next level, don’t only get customers. Build a following, a horde of raving fans, that has your back and loves your business. Your brand advocates are absolutely loyal to your business and happily refer you to their friends, family, and anyone else who would listen to them rambling about how great you are. 

It’s all about the long-term relationship and making your customers feel special. You can offer loyalty or referral programs and regularly ask for feedback (and take it seriously). Show that you care and continue to show up again and again. 

Here are questions to ask yourself when you are working on this stage of the lifecycle:

  • How can I provide ongoing value to my clients?
  • How can I intensify the relationship even more?

Now it’s your turn

Wow, we’ve covered a lot of ground here. Now you know every stage of the customer lifecycle and how you can optimize it. Are you still with us? Great! Because now it’s your turn. Working on your customer lifecycle is not something that is accomplished overnight. It takes some dedication and focus, but it will definitely pay off in the long run. 

Confused about where to start? Imagine you had someone who could guide you through every step of your customer lifecycle and tell you exactly what to do. Someone with a track record of helping entrepreneurs automate and grow their businesses. You could have a tailored step-by-step strategy that’ll include the exact steps and right tools to supercharging your customer lifecycle. Wouldn’t that make things much easier? 

Because you’re already here and reading this, we have a pretty good feeling that you’re ready to take action and transform your business to reach the next level. And for that reason, we’d like to invite you to join us for a FREE Business Automation Roadmap Call. Simply click the button below to secure your call, and we can get you on the way to more clients and revenue.

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