Email marketing

How to build a loyal customer base through lifecycle marketing: tips for the 5 stages of the marketing funnel

Maddy Osman, October 27th 2022

Think about the brands you’ve interacted with this week—you may have browsed a few home decor websites for a new rug, tried an apparel brand for the first time after comparing prices on jeans, and placed another order of your favorite seltzer water that you’ve bought too many times to count.

With each of these brands, you’ve been at a different stage in the customer lifecycle journey.

Just the same, every business has many customers and prospects—all of whom are at different stages in the customer lifecycle.

For example, you’ll have window shoppers who are just getting to know your products. You’ll also have repeat customers who are loyal to your brand.

From prospects to brand advocates, you have different sets of target audiences at any time. So what does that mean for your marketing efforts?

It means you need to acquire new customers, keep your loyal shoppers happy, and win back disengaged customers—all at the same time. Not to mention, you also need to focus on bringing each set to the next phase in their customer lifecycle.

“Lifecycle marketing is how brands turn new customers into loyal and active customers. Now more than ever people want that connection—and this is how brands can achieve it,” says Aaron Blackmon, director of business development at Ballistic Agency. “By providing consistent value across the customer lifecycle, you become more than a store they bought something at. You become something they do life with.”

By providing consistent value across the customer lifecycle, you become more than a store they bought something at. You become something they do life with.
Aaron Blackmon, director of business development, Ballistic Agency

Does that sound like a lot of work? This guide breaks down how to build a successful lifecycle marketing strategy that engages your customers at every stage of their lifecycle.

Here’s what you’ll learn:

What is lifecycle marketing?

Lifecycle marketing recognizes that each individual in a brand’s target audience is at a different stage of their customer lifecycle—and that these audiences have different intentions, considerations, and motives when it comes to interacting with your brand.

So, businesses need to tailor their marketing strategies to suit each consumer’s unique preferences and mindset.

Here is a quick visual of what a typical ecommerce lifecycle marketing journey looks like:

What a typical ecommerce lifecycle marketing journey looks like which includes visit site, subscribe, view product, add to card, start checkout, purchase, use product, become a fan/promote, become a churn risk. customer research.

But, email or SMS marketing alone doesn’t make up lifecycle marketing (although they’re a very big part of it).

Lifecycle marketing uses content marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), paid advertisements, email marketing, and SMS campaigns in an omnichannel effort to engage with customers at each stage of their customer journey—and help move them to the next stage in the marketing funnel.

Thinking of narrowing scope slightly and tweeting mainly about what I call "modern lifecycle marketing".

Modern lifecycle marketing is NOT:
Not The same thing as email marketing
Not An RFM model
Not A "we miss you" email w/a promo code
Source: Twitter

“Lifecycle marketing is what happens from the moment a user opts into communication, and every milestone along the way that creates an opportunity to communicate with users,” says Cory Smith, director of lifecycle marketing at Bamboo.

Lifecycle marketing is what happens from the moment a user opts into communication, and every milestone along the way that creates an opportunity to communicate with users
Cory Smith, director of lifecycle marketing, Bamboo

“Lifecycle marketing should take a holistic view of these pieces of communication and understand the entire customer journey so that marketers can move their KPIs and so that customers can take advantage of what brands have to offer to their fullest extent.”

Why should you have a lifecycle marketing strategy?

Customers often evaluate a brand based on their overall experience. So, you need to make sure they have an excellent customer experience at every stage of their customer journey.

According to NTT’s 2021 customer experience report, 45% of businesses consider customer experience a top indicator of strategic performance.

This makes lifecycle marketing crucial—you have to create different experiences for customers at different stages in their journey in order to more effectively appeal to them. Someone who’s just getting to know your brand may want to know your business’s story, while a loyal customer may be looking for new product releases.

That’s why you need to tailor your customer engagement strategies based on a prospect’s position in the marketing funnel. Lifecycle marketing helps you effectively engage with customers while increasing your:

Conversion rate Customer lifetime value (CLTV) Recurring revenue Repeat purchases

“An understanding of the customer lifecycle is crucial to the success of all digital marketing strategies,” says Ashley Ismailovski, CRO operations manager at SmartSites.

“Consumers at the top of this funnel still need to be nurtured and warmed up to the brand in order to be persuaded to make their first purchase, while those at the bottom of the funnel need to be re-engaged and converted into brand ambassadors with a different set of incentives altogether.”

Consumers at the top of this funnel still need to be nurtured and warmed up to the brand in order to be persuaded to make their first purchase, while those at the bottom of the funnel need to be re-engaged and converted into brand ambassadors with a different set of incentives altogether.
Ashley Ismailovski, CRO operations manager, SmartSites

How to kick off a lifecycle marketing strategy

A few keys to lifecycle marketing include:

  • Understanding your business
  • Knowing what a successful customer interaction looks like, from beginning to end
  • Calculating the length of your typical customer lifecycle

For example, a CPG company selling $20 products that consumers use frequently is going to have a different lifecycle than an apparel company selling $50-200 items or a fine jewelry company offering investment pieces over $500.

This is because consumers often take longer to make a purchase decision on a higher-cost item.

Your business model and the purchase behaviors of your customers may also affect your lifecycle marketing strategy.

Aura Bora, for example, offers one core product (sparkling water) that comes in various flavors. A 12-pack of their waters costs $30, which means they cater a shorter customer lifecycle than other ecommerce stores might.

This brand’s approach to lifecycle marketing is going to be different than, say, a bedding company that offers one core product (like a mattress) at a high price plus accessories (sheets, pillows, etc.), a beauty brand that offers a product line with 10 items, or an apparel company that has hundreds of SKUs.

In fact, the Aura Bora team has a specific endgame in mind, according to Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce: “As an omni-channel brand, lifecycle marketing is continuing to provide a unique value proposition for our DTC consumers. For us, thats our limited edition flavor strategy.”

As an omni-channel brand, lifecycle marketing is continuing to provide a unique value proposition for our DTC consumers. For us, thats our limited edition flavor strategy.
Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce, Aura Bora

“Its an opportunity for us to truly understand our consumer’s behavior between those monthly flavor drops to keep them engaged with the brand,” Faist adds.

Text message from Aura Bora announcing limited edition flavor, Honey Pumpkin.
Source: Aura Bora

Once you determine the goal or goals you have based on your business, and what the ideal customer lifecycle looks like, you can better begin to craft a lifecycle marketing strategy.

The stages in the customer lifecycle

As mentioned, there are different stages in the customer lifecycle, and it’s your job to bring people from one stage to the next through various marketing efforts.

“Lifecycle marketing requires a fundamental understanding of the different stages of the customer buying cycle and tailors appropriate messaging to each stage,” says Andrew Rosensweig, strategist at Electric Eye. “This is incredibly important for ecommerce brands to elevate their customer experience in order to anticipate and address customer needs in a scalable way.”

Lifecycle marketing requires a fundamental understanding of the different stages of the customer buying cycle and tailors appropriate messaging to each stage.
Andrew Rosensweig, strategist, Electric Eye

But to better understand lifecycle marketing, you have to explore the customer lifecycle journey from the consumer perspective.

Awareness

In the awareness stage, a person recognizes a need or problem to solve.

For example, someone who’s just joined a yoga class needs a comfortable yoga outfit. Now that they’re aware of the need, they start looking at potential solutions.

During this stage, the consumer is receptive to information that’ll help them identify potential solutions. For example, the person looking for a yoga outfit might do the following during the awareness stage:

  • Search online for yoga outfits
  • Walk around a sports store
  • Ask friends and family for recommendations

The awareness stage ends when a person identifies potential brands. Next, they move to the acquisition stage, where they’ll engage more deeply with the brands they’ve shortlisted.

Acquisition

During the acquisition stage, a person tries to understand more about each brand they identified in the awareness stage. They compare the products and the benefits of choosing each brand.

For example, between yoga outfit brands A and B, they might compare the products’ quality, durability, delivery speed, and shipping charges.

The prospect may lean toward a specific brand and share their email address or phone number with them to get more information, showing that they have an interest in the brand. They may also:

  • Browse the brand’s website
  • Complete quizzes to get product recommendations
  • Follow the brand on social media
  • Look up product reviews

Even if a person engages with the brand during the acquisition stage, they might not make a purchase right away—or at all. But if they’re happy with the brand, they’ll move on to the conversion stage.

Conversion

When they enter the conversion stage, many prospects have enough information to make a purchasing decision. But they could take different paths at this point—they might make a purchase, wait for a better option, or hold out for a price drop.

Prospects might continue to browse the brand’s product pages and add items to their cart. However, they may want to wait for an offer or explore a competitor’s products. And some customers abandon their carts for any number of reasons—shipping fees, a slow check-out process, or simply indecisiveness.

This is where browse abandonment emails and abandoned cart emails can be incredibly important.

Prospects may need more information at this stage before they make a decision. More information about the product’s quality, manufacturing process, and advantages could help convert them into customers.

When a customer completes the purchase stage, they move to the fulfillment stage.

Fulfillment

The fulfillment stage starts when a customer places an order, and ends when the product reaches their doorstep.

While they look forward to the product’s arrival, some customers might doubt their decision and deal with post-purchase anxiety. They might try to reconfirm their choice by figuring out the product’s value and how to get the best use out of it.

They might also contact customer support and keep tracking their shipment. Here, order confirmation emails and shipping confirmation emails play an important role in your post-purchase nurture stream.

Once the customer receives the product, they move from the fulfillment stage to the loyalty stage.

Loyalty

After the customer receives their order, they start using the product. During the initial days, they might be critical of the product and their overall experience with the brand. Some may reach out to customer support to ask for help or report an issue.

If they love the product, they’ll likely come back for repeat purchases. On the other hand, they might find the product or brand underwhelming. In that case, they might search for alternatives or stop using the product all together.

Here’s what customers might do at the loyalty stage:

  • Write product reviews
  • Upgrade to a higher-tier product
  • Try products from different categories
  • Recommend the product to others
  • Join the company’s loyalty program
  • Start a subscription

Retention marketing strategies start to play an important role at this stage.

Now that you know what a customer goes through during each stage of their customer lifecycle journey, let’s go over effective marketing methods to engage with them at each stage.

Engaging with your customers at each stage of the customer lifecycle

Now that you better understand the customer mindset at each stage in the marketing funnel, let’s see how you can use your owned marketing channels—such as email, SMS, and your website—to create a successful lifecycle marketing strategy.

mage shows the 5 stages of effective lifecycle marketing: awareness (introduce your brand), acquisition (earn contact details), conversion (build trust and win sales), fulfillment (deliver on promises), and loyalty (reward and grow loyalty).

Stage 1: awareness—get your prospects’ attention

In the awareness stage of the marketing funnel, your prospects are looking for solutions to a problem they know they have—or maybe one they don’t yet realize. They have many brands to choose from. Your top-of-the-funnel marketing strategy should set your brand apart from others.

The focus here should be on getting your brand in front of potential customers and giving them reasons to choose it over others. A few marketing tactics to try at this stage are:

  • Optimizing your content to rank high on search engine result pages (SERPs)
  • Implementing paid ads to rank on SERPs
  • Advertising on social media
  • Marketing through influencers or brand advocates

Before investing in paid ads on search engines and social media, consider a few points:

In 2022, the average cost-per-click (CPC) across social media was $2.27. The average CPC for Google Ads was $2.61 in 2022. The iOS 14.5 privacy changes have made it more challenging for brands to target users on Facebook and Instagram due to a lack of available consumer data. Google plans to eventually phase out third-party cookies, which will make it even more difficult to effectively target consumers.

Now, instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall with paid ads and hoping it sticks, marketers have to be more strategic about how they’re creating thoughtful experiences to bring people through the funnel early on.

For example, Jones Road Beauty creates brand awareness by having founder and beauty icon, Bobbi Brown, show scrollers how her product works on different skin tones.

But the top-of-funnel marketing magic doesn’t stop there—the Jones Road marketing team is especially smart about switching up their creative and content to create brand awareness across different marketing channels.

This ensures they’re always top of mind for customers who are in the market for new cosmetics.

Metrics to measure success at the awareness stage of the marketing funnel

  • Brand-name Google searches
  • First-time website/blog visitors
  • Customer behavior on your website (time on site, number of pages viewed)
  • Social media impressions, likes, comments, and shares

Stage 2: acquisition—keep your prospects interested

Your potential customers are somewhat familiar with your brand and products when they enter the acquisition stage of the marketing funnel. But they likely need more convincing to make a purchasing decision.

Your middle-of-the-funnel marketing should focus on engaging closely with potential customers through your website and owned channels, like email and SMS—which means it’s crucial, at this stage, to get your prospects’ contact information.

During the acquisition stage, tell your prospects about your brand’s story, product quality, unique manufacturing processes, and competitive advantages.

Here are a few tips for engaging with your customers during this stage:

Curate strategic landing pages

As discussed, there are a lot of different ways a shopper might find your brand. For this reason, it’s important to consider what type of experience they receive when they decide they want to learn more and venture to your website.

“If someone comes into our funnel through an influencer marketer or a paid promotion versus searching for Aura Bora on Google, the level of buyer intent is different,” Faist points out. “We look at each opportunity to communicate our value propositions in all of those journeys and not necessarily lead with a price promotion or a campaign.”

If someone comes into our funnel through an influencer marketer or a paid promotion versus searching for Aura Bora on Google, the level of buyer intent is different.
Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce, Aura Bora

Often, serving people the right content on your website once they do find you is a smarter strategy than overengineering how they find you in the first place.

Give careful consideration to which page prospects should land on after they find your brand.

Here’s an example: When you search “best sheets for hot sleepers,” one of the Google Ads is from Brooklinen.

google searched for "best sheets for hot sleepers" comes up with a paid search ad for Brooklinen

When you click this link, Brooklinen doesn’t just take you to their homepage or even the category page for their sheets. Instead, they have a purposeful landing page set up for this exact search intent that describes why their sheets are made specifically for hot sleepers.

In this way, Brooklinen manages to more effectively answer the shopper’s unique problems instead of giving them a blanket solution.

When you click Brooklinen's paid search ad, they have a purposeful landing page set up for this exact search intent that describes why their sheets are made specifically for hot sleepers.
Source: Brooklinen

Optimize your website

When a prospective customer explores your website, they’re trying to get a better feel for your brand and products. A confusing or unclear homepage will put them off. Make sure your website is well-organized and easy to navigate.

Optimize your website so your product pages load quickly. Also, your website’s look and feel should convey your brand’s personality.

For example, Omsom’s vibrant homepage aligns well with its promise of “proud, loud Asian flavors.” They make it very clear what they sell, what it’s for, and how to use it.

Omsom’s homepage makes use of bright yellow and orange colors, punchy copy, and collage-like design to convey the brand’s bold personality.
Source: Omsom

Omsom also makes it easy for shoppers to better get to know the brand with the video chat that features one of the brand’s founders. This is a clever way to address any frequently asked questions while also adding a little personality.

Tweet: Please do yourself a favor and go to 
@omsom
's website and experience the joy that is their video-based chat box 

One of the brand's co-founders 
@kim617
 walks you through different FAQs and it's truly delightful
Source: Twitter

Build trust in your prospective customers

At the acquisition stage, prospects are looking for reasons to invest in a brand. So, your marketing strategies should work toward building their trust. According to a 2022 BrightLocal survey, 77% of people browse online reviews while searching for local businesses.

Product reviews, customer testimonials, case studies, and other social proof are powerful tools for building trust in your brand.

For example, the Nooz Optics website builds customer trust by featuring reviews on its homepage.

Image shows a screenshot of the Nooz Optics website, which shows recent 5-star reviews from real customers in order to help build trust in the brand.
Source: Nooz Optics

Prospects also look at negative reviews and how you respond to those. BrightLocal’s survey also found that 89% of customers are highly or fairly likely to use a business that responds to all online reviews—not just the glowing ones.

Find creative ways to collect Customer-First Data™

With the new consumer privacy rules, collecting data directly from your prospects and customers is the best way to get to know your customers better and continue building relationships with them in the future.

This Customer-First DataTM (the combination of zero- and first-party data) helps you understand your potential customers’ interests, preferences, and needs.

Businesses often use pop-up forms on their websites to capture customer contact information like phone numbers and email addresses. But that’s not the only way to collect this type of information on your website.

Your marketing team can go beyond traditional website sign-up forms by also adding:

  • Additional sign-up form fields with questions about shopper preferences
  • Surveys that ask shoppers what they’re looking for
  • Quizzes that give product recommendations

For Aura Bora, surveys have been an opportune way to collect Customer-First Data.

“It’s pretty phenomenal to see the capture rate we have when we just ask people questions—it blew my mind how much response we’re getting,” Faist says.

It’s pretty phenomenal to see the capture rate we have when we just ask people questions—it blew my mind how much response we’re getting.
Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce, Aura Bora

“We’re trying to go beyond the traditional pop-up with a discount that everyone has right now, and start to further qualify shoppers through a quick survey that asks them about their intent of coming to the website,” Faist adds.

Based on whether shoppers are looking to re-order or if it’s their first time to the website, for example, as well as where they discovered Aura Bora, Faist can set up personalized user experiences according to how people answer.

“Purchase intent tells you so much,” Faist points out. “I don’t want to throw the entire kitchen sink with 20% off plus free shipping at the person that’s just perusing. But if someone’s on their third visit from a lower funnel, such as a ‘best sparkling water’ Google search, then they should get put into a whole different series of automations to convert them.”

“Based on the trigger of how they enter into the funnel and what they purchase, that informs the lifecycle journey that we create through our Klaviyo automations,” Faist explains. “Wwe know what their first experience was like and then how we can up- or cross-sell them in the future.”

Similarly, oOlution collects customer data by offering a free skin diagnosis quiz. While this is a great way for customers to learn more about the brand’s solutions and receive their own skin diagnosis, oOlution can also use these responses to personalize their email and SMS automations with Customer-First Data.

Results of a skin diagnosis quiz from French skin care brand oOlution.
Source: oOlution

Engage with your customers through a personalized welcome series

After you’ve collected a prospect’s email address and phone number, a welcome series is the next step to continue educating them on your brand and products.

Your welcome series might offer value to the potential customer through:

  • More information about the brand and founder
  • Education about the product, how it’s different from competitors, or how it’s made
  • Visibility into best-selling products or new arrivals shoppers may not have seen yet
  • Links to useful resources, like webinars, white papers, podcasts, or other content
  • An invitation to follow the brand on social media or to sign up for text messages
  • Reviews or testimonials from other customers
  • Incentives such as discount codes, contests, or giveaways

For example, Isle de Nature’s welcome email provides value through a discount code and an invitation to participate in a giveaway, enticing new shoppers to further engage with the brand.

Example of ecommerce business Isle de Nature’s welcome email, which encourages subscribers to enter to win a prize package that will help them start the new year mindfully.
Souce: Klaviyo Showcase

Metrics to measure success at the acquisition stage of the marketing funnel

Stage 3: conversion—make that first sale happen

At the conversion stage of the marketing funnel, your prospects have interacted with your brand. They’ve also received your welcome email series, offers, and baseline product information. But they might still be reluctant to make that first purchase.

“Most people are slow buyers—they take 60-120 days to decide to buy something,” says Scott Flear, founder of Rugby Warfare. “Those are often the forgotten people because businesses think you have to sell to someone within a short time or they’ll never buy. That’s not true.”

Most people are slow buyers—they take 60-120 days to decide to buy something. Those are often the forgotten people because businesses think you have to sell to someone within a short time or they’ll never buy.
Scott Flear, founder, Rugby Warfare

Just because consumers don’t buy immediately doesn’t mean they won’t after thoughtful nurturing. Bottom-of-the-funnel marketing should focus on persuading prospects to complete the buying process.

Here are a few lifecycle marketing tactics that’ll help you do that:

Use Customer-First Data™ to convey the “why” behind your product

Customer-First Data™ tells you a lot about your prospective customers. For example, it helps you determine your customer’s needs and what they look for in a perfect product.

Using this data, divide your potential customers into different segments. Send them personalized marketing emails showing why your brand is an ideal fit for their needs.

Here are a few examples of ways you might want to segment your subscribers by leveraging Customer First Data:

  • By demographic (location, age, etc.)
  • By acquisition source
  • By product interest (based on purchase history, browsing history, etc.)
  • By purchase recency
  • By spend (average order value, lifetime value, etc.)
  • By whether someone has or hasn’t purchased
  • By engagement (email clicks, SMS clicks, website visits, etc.)

Faist, for example, has “been hyper-focused on analyzing purchase recency. What’s our customer’s time between orders? What’s their reorder cadence? What’s someone’s AOV on the second order versus the third order versus the fourth?”

“Once we understand our customers’ purchase recency, we can set up automation and campaigns to reduce the time between orders,” Faist explains. “This way, we’re closing the gap between that interval and injecting new creative or testing out new cadence of deliveries of automation to get those people to come back as frequently as possible.”

Once we understand our customers’ purchase recency, we can set up automation and campaigns to reduce the time between orders.
Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce, Aura Bora

Klaviyo helps you segment your email subscribers based on their preferences and behaviors. You can then create automated email flows to convince your prospect to make their first purchase.

Send browse abandonment and abandoned cart emails

Sometimes, a prospective customer might browse through your website but not make a purchase. They might also add products to their cart but not complete the check-out.

Browse abandonment and abandoned cart emails encourage customers to complete the purchase by:

  • Nudging them to give the product a second look
  • Providing a discount coupon
  • Offering free shipping
  • Reminding them about unused loyalty credits

For example, Dana Rebecca Designs attributes 22% of its 2022 revenue to Klaviyo’s abandoned cart email flows. The jewelry brand uses Klaviyo’s segmentation abilities to group customers based on their browsing and purchasing behavior.

“In Klaviyo, you can cater your messaging based on if they’re a first time customer or they’re a repeat customer,” says Blair Peterson, VP of strategy for Dana Rebecca Designs. “That allows you to get really personalized with your messaging and make people feel like they know that they’re already a part of your brand.”

In Klaviyo, you can cater your messaging based on if they’re a first time customer or they’re a repeat customer. That allows you to get really personalized with your messaging and make people feel like they know that they’re already a part of your brand.
Blair Peterson, VP of strategy, Dana Rebecca Designs

Meanwhile, Faist uses Aura Bora’s abandoned cart series to further inquire with shoppers who haven’t bought after a certain period of time.

Faist sends out a survey asking cart abandoners what’s keeping them from purchasing, with options around price, flavors, and shipping expectations. He uses this information to inform what the next automated email in the series will be.

“If they respond that the price is too high, we offer them a more traditional first user discount. If they couldn’t find the flavor they were looking for, we encourage them to apply to the loyalty program and to subscribe to our SMS club, so they get first priority when we launch a new flavor. For shipping expectations, we send them messaging around how to reach our free shipping threshold,” explains Faist.

“We’re trying to learn as much as we can from those who haven’t purchased as from those who have.”

Aura Bora abandoned cart email which includes a call to action for a survey with the copy "We wanna hear your thoughts! Take this short survey and we'll give you a treat. Take a survey"
Source: Aura Bora

Metrics to measure success at the conversion stage of the marketing funnel

  • Conversion rate
  • Delivery rate
  • Open rate
  • Click rate
  • Revenue per recipient

Stage 4: fulfillment—create a positive customer experience

There are few things more satisfying than making a sale, so congratulations if you’ve reached the fulfillment stage! That means your prospective shopper has turned into a customer. But your work isn’t done yet.

The fulfillment stage of the marketing funnel spans between a customer receiving an order and your brand delivering it. It’s an excellent opportunity to create a great impression on your customers.

Let’s take a look at a few tips for successful lifecycle marketing at the fulfillment stage.

Keep your customers informed

When a customer places an order, they expect to know its status. So, in the fulfillment stage, focus on transactional messages to keep your customers informed.

Creating the following email or SMS transactional automations will help you engage with the customer while they wait for their product to arrive:

  • Order confirmation
  • Shipping confirmation
  • Delivery confirmation

Don’t forget to include a tracking link in your order and shipping confirmation emails. If you’re expecting delivery delays, it’s best to let your customers know. Transparency builds trust in your brand.

Take a look at how Celtic Serenity informs customers about a possible delay in delivery and suggests an alternative to make up for it.

Email from Celtic Serenity that informs a customer about holiday delivery delays.
Source: Klaviyo Showcase

Being honest with your customers about any issues, problems, and obstacles that may affect their shipment is the best way to provide a positive customer experience—no matter what unforeseen circumstances may arise.

Reduce buyer’s remorse

Even after hitting the “Submit order” button, some customers might second guess their purchase. Fulfillment is an excellent time to reassure them that they made the right choice.

Customer support should be available to address any questions. You can also consider sending these email flows while the customer waits for their order:

  • Product details
  • Product compatibility
  • Product usage

Ask for customer feedback

Asking for a product review tells your customers that you value their opinion. A few days after delivery, send an email or SMS requesting their feedback. Using Klaviyo, you can trigger a review request email after you fulfill the order.

It’s easy to customize the number of days you want to wait or the content of your review request email.

Review request flow in Klaviyo, with a 14-day time delay after someone fulfills an order.
Source: Klaviyo

Klaviyo’s integrations with review platforms like Stamped and Okendo enable you to collect more sophisticated reviews.

Stage 5: loyalty—turn your customers into brand advocates

Getting the first order from a customer is a huge milestone. But then, you need to focus on customer retention and building a relationship with them. Doing so is more likely to result in repeat purchases and a high CLTV.

As the name implies, lifecycle marketing at the loyalty stage should focus on building customer loyalty. Here are a few strategies for turning a first-time customer into a brand advocate:

Make the most of positive and negative reviews

If you’re following our advice so far, you probably have it on your to-do list to ask customers for reviews in the post-purchase stage.

But when it comes to loyalty, Faist recommends using your reviews, customer experience, and email automation tools together to further build customer relationships.

“If someone leaves a review that’s 3 stars or less, we have an event that triggers to Gorgias, so our customer support team can follow up with the customer directly,” Faist explains. “We can try and win back that customer and assess any potential issues that we have with the product or the supply chain.”

If someone leaves a review that’s 3 stars or less, we have an event that triggers to Gorgias, so our customer support team can follow up with the customer directly. We can try and win back that customer and assess any potential issues that we have with the product or the supply chain.
Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce, Aura Bora

“On the other hand, if we’re seeing a loyalist in the making with someone who left a 5-star review, we thank them with 15% off their next order,” Faist continues.

“From there, we’re looking at their CLTV over time. There’s a potential for that person to be a high-value customer, so we put them into a flow that’s selling more of the brand, the subscription, and the buy-more-save-more type of value propositions.”

Bonus: Positive reviews also make for great content to target to prospects who are still in the considering stage.

Continue to educate customers about your products

To help the customer get the most out of their purchase, engage with them through marketing emails and let them know about the best ways to use your product.

Show them creative ways to use your product, and cross- or up-sell related products that can add more value to their purchase.

For example, Dossier, a premium perfume brand, sends emails to educate customers on how to make their perfume last longer. While this isn’t information someone needs to know in order to enjoy the product, these kinds of tips and tricks can go a long way in helping shoppers get the most out of their purchase and improving a new customer’s first impression with the brand.

Email from Dossier explaining how to make their perfume last longer.
Source: Dossier

Create loyalty programs for VIP customers

Customers love it when you make them feel special. That’s why creating a customer loyalty program is such a great marketing tactic. When customers cross a certain purchase threshold, invite them to enroll in a loyalty program or exclusive club.

Loyalty memberships offer many benefits that’ll make your customers feel special:

  • Early access to new products
  • VIP discounts and special offers
  • Loyalty points on future purchases
  • Referral bonuses for spreading the word

ILIA Beauty offers customers a $20 discount on their next purchase if they refer a friend. For customers that just bought a selection of the brand’s beauty products and were planning to rave about their favorite products anyway, this is a win-win for both parties that will positively impact people’s loyalty to the brand.

Email from ILIA in which the brand promises to pay customers $20 for referrals.
Source: ILIA Beauty

Use segmentation for personalized product recommendations

After a customer makes several purchases, you’ll start to learn their likes and dislikes. Use this information to send marketing emails with personalized product recommendations.

Twinings explores up- and cross-sell opportunities by segmenting their customers based on their tastes. For instance, if a customer likes Earl Grey tea, Twinings sends them updates about herbal blends with citrus taste profiles.

CPG brands can also use this opportunity to recommend customers replenish the products they’ve bought before or sign up for a subscription.

“We look at how frequently our customers are coming back and what SKUs they’re ordering,” Faist explains. “If someone bought Cactus Rose 3x within a 90-day period, for example, we have an email automation with an up-sell to our subscription service where you can save 50% plus free shipping.”

“We’re continuously looking at the behavior of people that organically come back to the site and considering how we can provide value for them through automations,” Faist adds.

We’re continuously looking at the behavior of people that organically come back to the site and considering how we can provide value for them through automations.
Cameron Faist, director of ecommerce, Aura Bora

Use re-engagement and win-back flows for disengaged customers

While it’s not ideal, some customers might move away from your brand after a few purchases. You can try to bring them back using a win-back email flow. For example, you can send a personalized email with a coupon code to entice them to give your products a second chance.

If a customer doesn’t respond to win-back flows, it might be time to let them go. You might need to create a sunset flow and remove unresponsive customers from your email lists.

Monica Grohne, founder of Marea Wellness, points out this effective win-back email from Olive & June, which proves you don’t necessarily have to offer a discount to successfully re-engage lapsed customers. Sometimes, friendly copywriting is all it takes.

Email done right makes me so happy. Big ups to the Olive & June team 👏

Screenshot shows email from Olive and June with subject line "Just checking in" and copy "We're bummed you haven't opened the last few emails we sent your way but we get it—just let us know if you'd like to keep up with us or not!" and call to action "Stay on the list."
Source: Twitter

Metrics to measure success at the loyalty stage of the marketing funnel

  • CLTV
  • Repeat purchase rate
  • Email engagement

Use lifecycle marketing to build a loyal customer base

Lifecycle marketing is crucial to tailoring a customer’s experience based on where they stand in their customer journey. It helps marketers focus on customers’ mindsets and preferences rather than a one-size-fits-all marketing strategy.

Effective lifecycle marketing understands what’s most important for the customers at each stage of the marketing funnel and uses owned channels, like email and SMS, to engage with them.

“It’s no longer enough to email your customers—the messages need to be relevant,” says Matt Sanocki, founder of Mineral.io. “By understanding which stage your customers fall within, and by sending relevant content, you’ll not only increase the chances your subscribers engage with your emails, but the chances they look forward to reading them—a win-win for you and your customers.”

By understanding which stage your customers fall within, and by sending relevant content, you’ll not only increase the chances your subscribers engage with your emails, but the chances they look forward to reading them—a win-win for you and your customers.
Matt Sanocki, founder, Mineral.io

Klaviyo helps you capture Customer-First Data™ and create personalized email and SMS flows that appeal to customers in different stages of their lifecycle—ensuring you’ll remain relevant throughout every stage of the customer journey.

Ready to build an effective lifecycle marketing program?
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Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman
Maddy Osman is the author of Writing for Humans and Robots: The New Rules of Content Style. She's a digital native with a decade-long devotion to creating engaging, accessible, and relevant content. Her efforts have earned her a spot in BuzzSumo’s Top 100 Content Marketers and The Write Life’s 100 Best Websites for Writers. She has spoken for audiences at WordCamp US, SearchCon, and Denver Startup Week.