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Customer Lifecycle Marketing: A Simple Yet Powerful Concept

  • Written by  Lindsay Tjepkema, Emarsys

0aaLindsay Tjepkema EmarsysStudies show it costs nearly five times as much to acquire customers than to retain them over the long term. For marketers, this makes sense. Rather than spending valuable time and resources continuously searching for new customers, marketers can spend that time and those resources keeping current customers happy and engaged throughout the customer lifecycle.

And it works. Increasing those customer retention rates by as little as 5% can increase a brand’s profits by 25% to 95%. As a result, brands must create and execute powerful customer lifecycle marketing strategies to drive customer loyalty at every point of interaction, each bespoke and unique to the lifecycle stage in which the customer is engaged. Specific, intentional and well-planned marketing strategies for each stage of the customer lifecycle can help e-Commerce brands and retailers retain customers and create incredible brand loyalty.

1. Welcome and Double Opt-in Emails For New Registrations

Marketers should send a welcome message to newly registered users or, even better, use a ‘double opt-in’. Starting the relationship with recipients immediately after their registration or initial engagement with a brand will make them feel welcomed, and can provide them with valuable information about the brand or organization.

Welcome messages should include both registration details and other information on services the e-Commerce brand or retailer offers, as well as FAQ, privacy policy or details regarding other channels on which the registrant can engage. Marketers can use this opportunity to ask for and collect even more information on new users. In addition, industry experts agree that ensuring these messages are personalized results in an incredibly effective strategy. A personalized greeting line is the absolute minimum. In general, all content sections should be checked, and if possible tailored to individual recipients.

2. Abandoned Shopping Cart Campaigns

Shoppers abandon 76% of shopping carts, which means $18 billion in lost revenue for the retail industry. Of that number, 63% are recoverable.By carefully crafting abandoned shopping cart campaigns, marketers can aim to retain the customer and ensure that their organization isn’t leaving money on the table.

The most common revenue recovery practice is an email or ad campaign showing a customer the product that they abandoned, and whilst this is a smart and effective move for e-Commerce brands and retailers, it can be improved. Best practices for these campaigns include also providing similar product recommendations in case the item in the cart wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Optimizing the performance of recovery campaigns and adding predictive recommendations typically results in far higher recovery rates than standard abandoned cart campaigns. Some e-Commerce businesses experience significantly higher click-through rates with emails that contain such recommendations.

3. Post-Purchase Follow-Up

If a marketer thinks their job is done once the customer reaches the purchase phase, they are missing a huge opportunity. Post-purchase programs help automatically gather customer feedback and cross-sell opportunities. Marketers should ask their customers how they would rate their purchase and give them an opportunity to leave a review, share a photo or purchase other suggested products based on their previous orders.

But how should marketers capitalize on this retention opportunity, encouraging the customer to return for repeat purchases? Personalized marketing. Most marketers know that personalization is helpful when acquiring new customers, but it can also have significant impact when it comes to customer retention. How significant? According to Invesp, 56% of online shoppers are more likely to return to a site that offers personalized recommendations. Personalizing each step of the customer lifecycle helps customers feel like their business is valued, and that they are more important than being targeted via a mass campaign.

4. Treatment Programs

Another effective tactic is to construct multiple branches within the same program to engage with individuals based on their buyer status. For example, share exclusive offers with the most frequent buyers first, or give a bigger discount to someone who may be on the fence about buying. Again, treating the customer as an individual based on their behavior means they are more likely not only to buy, but to continue buying.

5. Multi-Channel Programs

Marketers have the important task of creating programs that combine email, text messages and social ads, but this doesn’t mean blasting the same message, at the same time, across all channels. Marketers need to take the time to plan and time various campaigns across multiple channels with the intent that they form a cohesive whole, both in terms of message and timing, to maximize the brand’s reach without spamming customers with mass messages.

6. Win-Back Campaigns

Marketers should reach out to customers after a set period of inactivity, to win them back to the brand or get them interested in browsing the site again. If someone hasn’t visited the site, logged in or purchased recently, it presents the perfect opportunity to send an email. For example, the email can say how they are missed, and at the same time recommend several products the customer would love based on their previous browsing history. Similarly, the email could share new and exciting updates that have been implemented since their last visit.

While reviewing customer insights within an e-Commerce marketing solution, marketers can determine where a brand could improve, such as more revenue if an additional channel was added to the mix. One area that usually offers a huge opportunity is that of defecting buyers.

By using the data collected at different points during the lifecycle, all of which can be incorporated within an automated marketing platform, marketers can target defecting buyers with a win-back email or an alternative message via another channel. For example, the customer would be targeted with ads, including Facebook or Google Ads. After three days, the customer would be removed from the campaign. The three-day window is to ensure they have been properly targeted. After that, they are fully removed from the defecting audience targeting campaign. The intent is that during the active campaign period, the customer is reminded of what they enjoy about the brand or product, potentially winning them back, along with their spending power.

Using these simple yet very effective tactics can allow brands to build loyalty through each step in the customer lifecycle. While it may seem time-intensive on the surface, an automated omnichannel marketing platform can help brands save their marketing teams time, while earning back customer money otherwise left on the table.


Lindsay Tjepkema is Director of Content at Emarsys. She oversees all of the company's content marketing, both internal and external, across multiple platforms and formats to drive engagement, leads, and positive customer interactions. Emarsys is a leading global provider of marketing automation software and the first marketing cloud for retail and e-Commerce. The Emarsys B2C Marketing Cloud enables true, one-to-one interactions between marketers and consumers across all channels — building loyalty, enriching the customer journey and increasing revenue. Machine learning and data science fuels customer intelligence in an intuitive, cloud-based platform, enabling companies to scale marketing decisions and actions far beyond human capabilities.

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