Nurturing across the customer lifecycle – Part 2
Part two of our two-part series to courting customers.
Welcome to part two of our look at nurturing across the customer lifecycle! In the first part we discussed (with tips!) how to nurture a customer across the life cycle [check out part one here].
This time we are going to look in detail at lead nurturing. Similar to any other relationship in life, building a solid rapport with your customers takes time and effort.
You meet and get to know each other, maybe even flirt a little, before you decide to make a commitment and start introducing them to your wider circle.
The pay-off is a fruitful, long-lasting and mutually beneficial relationship.
This is essentially how lead nurturing works – you make the first moves by delivering relevant and engaging content to a group of prospects or customers in order to drive a certain message, or simply to move them from one customer lifecycle stage to the next.
When done well, lead nurturing can be highly effective, and aligning this strategy to your company’s customer lifecycle will allow you to deliver information and interactions that are specific to the phase and need of the individual customers, producing more sales-ready leads while lowering the cost of interaction at the same time.
If you haven’t already mapped out the stages of your customer lifecycle, don’t worry – just check out this blog post so you can start your nurturing approach with the right foundations in place. If you have, then read on.
Using the customer lifecycle to nurture leads
To continuously strengthen customer relationships, there are five generic (B2B or B2C) stages of a customer lifecycle:
- Refer and/or repurchase
Each phase requires a considered, personalised communication that provides the customer with the information and tools to act on purchasing your products or services, ideally across all channels if you’re trying to achieve an omni-channel experience. And this is where lead nurturing comes in.
Lead nurture can provide guidelines around how and what you communicate to your customer and when you do so within the lifecycle.
At this stage the customer is new to the brand, product or services on offer and is likely weighing up or evaluating myriad potential choices. Your aim here is to catch their attention and turn them into qualified leads using an authentic, consistent tone-of-voice. Content marketing tools such as articles, use cases, videos, lead magnets and free e-books are great for this, and you can also trade value for contact details by providing gated content.
During the consideration phase, the customer is narrowing their focus on your brand. They are becoming educated on the benefits of the service or product, which is key. Providing personalised communications that allow them to see comparisons, key benefits, pricing and opinions are ways to help with the evaluation and considerations. Once the customer has decided they’ve learnt enough to purchase, they’ll generally delve a little deeper and make their way through your acquisition channels.
This point is where the focus shifts from leads and prospects to customers, now the focus should shift to ensuring they are getting a high level of service and value. Nurture your customers by encouraging them to use your product or service and give them tips and tricks on how they can get the most from the purchase. This could be in the form of a free product or guide, a video tutorial or support information.
During this stage, your product or service is being used. Taking your customers along the journey to the next step, retention, starts by finding out how the customer feels about your product or service. Check in with them to ask how they’ve enjoyed their new product or service. Ask them to fill out a quick customer service survey or rate your product online. From there, it’s about cementing your relationship. What can you offer your customers that will value-add and also build brand loyalty?
REFER AND/OR REPURCHASE
If you’ve been able to lead nurture effectively to this point, your customer will become an advocate. When someone talks about your product or service to others, or makes a repeat purchase, your marketing approach becomes self-sustaining. Help them spread the word by offering a promo code, or ‘refer a friend’ deal.
A winning combo
At its very core, lead nurturing is a mechanism that delivers relevant content to a group of prospects or customers, with the intention of meeting a specific business objective. By combining lead nurture with your customer lifecycle, you can effectively deliver your company message, while unpacking an engaging story that keeps the customer interested and intrigued.