Nurturing across the Customer Lifecycle

Image of the Customer Lifecycle created by Idea Science

Nurturing across the Customer Lifecycle

Part one of our two-part series to courting customers.

In a two-part blog series, we are going to look at how we can nurture our customers through their customer lifecycle and give tips on the best way to nurture effectively.

But first things first. Have you read up on the customer lifecycle basics? If you haven’t – don’t worry – just check out this blog post first so you can start your nurturing approach with the right foundations in place. If you have – then read on, my friend!

At the very core, a lead nurture is simply a mechanism that delivers relevant (and ideally engaging) content to a group of prospects or customers over time, with the intention of meeting a specific business objective. That objective could be to move them from one customer lifecycle stage to the next, or to drive a certain customer action or behaviour. To nurture effectively, the message should unpack an engaging story to keep the customer interested and intrigued. And the content in each communication should be relevant to where they are in the customer lifecycle.

Image of the Customer Lifecycle created by Idea Science

Going back to basics, the generic (B2B or B2C) five stages of a customer lifecycle are:

  1. Attract I think I have a problem but not sure how to address it.  The stage where we want to create awareness and capture their attention.
  2. Consider – I know the problem I’m trying to solve and am actively evaluating my options. The point when the customer is considering choices and we need to communicate our solutions to their issue or challenge.
  3. Convert I have researched my decision enough to make purchase. The customer has committed to the purchase so we need to meet and exceed expectations.
  4. Delight Post purchase I expect to get value out of my purchase, and support in using your product/service.  The period where we need to overcome any post purchase dissonance and reassure the customer about their product choice by building on customer service.
  5. Refer and/or Repurchase I’ve had a great customer experience and would recommend to my friends/family. The time when a customer becomes an advocate by making a repeat purchase or recommending your product or service.

How do you get started on nurturing across the lifecycle? Here’s our top four tips!

Image of a windy road curving through a woodland in autumn
The windy road of a customer lifecycle

1. Map your customer journey

The above stages are a great start, but every business is different and may require a level of adaptation or additional stages in the journey, such as an Onboarding stage. Each lifecycle stage is much more than its label – and the best marketers are able to really capture and understand their prospects’ perspective at each stage. So, try to identify how your customer thinking, feeling and doing at each of the stages. Also consider the questions that your prospects will want to have answered at each stage – these questions will help you shape the type of content you will need to find, adapt or create for each stage of your nurture journey.

For example, a prospect in the Attract stage of buying a car might be thinking about the pros/cons of a hybrid car, or buying from a dealership vs private owners. Some customers will be thinking about the different safety features that are important, or at the other end of the buyer spectrum they might have questions about performance or power. Thinking about your products, your audience, and their questions, will shape how you build a content strategy around answering those questions and ultimately connecting with your audience.

2. Define the stage transitions

As a marketer, your goal is to move your prospects through the stages of your customer journey or funnel, and ideally convert them into new customers. To be able to do that, you also need to define what it means to be in each of those stages from a data perspective so that you can track, measure and report on where your prospects are in the journey. How do you know that your prospect has moved from Attract to Convert based on the data you have collected on that prospect? Once you have your data points covered across your customer journey, you can start thinking about how you can reach your prospects.

2. Decide your channels

What channels will you be able to reach your prospects at each lifecycle stage. Different channels and tactics can work better at different stages. For example, calling a prospect in the Attract stage is more likely to have a more negative impact that calling them in the Convert stage. Why? Because they have only just acknowledged they have a problem and are likely to be in the early stages of their research. So don’t scare them off too early – use other channels instead such as social or email. So, consider which channels are going to be able to reach your prospects most effectively at each stage.

3. Content, content, content!

Great – you have your customer journey defined and also have a plan on how and where you can reach your ideal prospects. The last (and the most time-consuming) thing you need to address is what you’re going to communicate at each of those stages. Content is key, and can make or break your nurture – great content needs to be engaging, but more importantly it needs to be relevant. If you can create content that answers the questions they are asking at each journey stage (and most likely searching for online), you’ll be in a position to truly engage and connect with your customers, and ultimately drive better funnel and revenue numbers.

In the second part of our series, we will be looking in detail at lead nurturing and how to build a solid rapport with your customer by personalising your communications at each stage of the customer lifecycle.  There will be hints and tips on how you can use lead nurture to help your customers during the stages of their journey.