People want to buy from you. No, really! The phrase “shut up and take my money” gained viral meme status for a reason.
There are a lot of consumers out there who are able, willing, and ready to pay for your goods and/or services. Your job as a marketer is to find them and help them make that purchase decision with as little friction and trouble on their end as possible.
Think about it. How many times have you been thrilled at the prospect of acquiring something new and then proceeded to overwhelm yourself with the sheer volume of options and information available out there? How many times have you quickly transitioned from excitement and anticipation into mental fatigue and just wanting to pick one and be done with it? How many times have you had to talk yourself out of the deep, dark pits of buyer’s remorse as a result of choosing something that isn’t quite right for your needs?
For most of us, it happens more often than we’d like to admit, which is why savvy marketers are not afraid to “sound too salesy” or appear bothersome to their audience. A good marketer knows that the service they offer is helpful and invaluable to the right person at the right time.
Customer Lifecycle Theory and Management
The purchase decision is a long maze of research, false starts, and too much information that often winds up in wasted resources and frustration. Successful marketing strategies are designed to help mitigate this risk faced by the prospective consumer, guided by a concept commonly known as the customer lifecycle.
Different businesses will have different terms/metrics for measuring the process, but a customer will typically go through five distinct stages on their journey with a brand, as outlined below:
Knowing this, your job as a marketer is to help your leads move smoothly from one stage to the next without losing them to a competitor.
Think of yourself as a purchasing partner of sorts. Through each phase of engagement with your brand, you can craft timely marketing messages to help your leads make the decision to carry on with you and even request for more information.
A carefully considered marketing strategy that gives only as much information as is required and at the right time when the customers are looking for it will help win them over without the overwhelm factor and guide them towards conversion and ultimately brand loyalty.
How to use the Customer Lifecycle in your marketing
Because all your customers will typically work through similar stages when considering your product or service, you can plan for this in advance and create a strategy that puts out the kind of information that people are already looking for and making it as easily available and accessible to them as possible.
This is where it all begins. A prospective client identifies a need and starts to look for possible solutions.
Having an active and consistent marketing strategy built around your product with useful industry information will help you appear higher in the search results and portray you as an authority to your leads. This is where you attract qualified leads to you, as opposed to having to look for them yourself.
Your discovery content should be built around popular keywords and be simple enough that anyone starting out can easily understand what you’re trying to offer. This works best when you know your market well and can speak directly to their needs. You can offer a knowledge base with FAQs or something similar.
At this point, you have your prospect’s attention and you need to convince them that you are the one that they need.
The most reliable way to do this is by offering them some kind of free offer. Maybe it’s a consultation or a sample, an ebook or even a community of like-minded individuals. This will give them a reason to trust you. To see for themselves that you know what they need and you can provide the solutions they seek.
The conversion stage is where the sale happens. You’ve been evaluated and you’ve passed the test. Your leads are ready to buy and your job here is to make sure that process is seamless, to avoid issues like last minute cart abandonment.
This is where you think about your billing and order fulfillment system. Are they up to date? Will your clients be able to order and purchase without any issue?
No, your work doesn’t end when the sale has been made. Some might argue that it’s only the beginning because your prospects have just turned into paying customers, and now you need to figure out how to make them return.
Research shows that:
- Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer.
- Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%.
- The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%.
- One customer experience agency found loyal customers are 5x as likely to repurchase, 5x as likely to forgive, 4x as likely to refer, and 7x as likely to try a new offering.
- U.S. companies lose $136.8 billion per year due to avoidable consumer switching.
- American Express found 33% of customers will consider switching companies after just one instance of poor customer service.
Your retention efforts can include after-sales services like product usage information, customer support, offers for upgrades and other promotions that are relevant to the entry-level product or service.
Winning your customer’s loyalty is the most ideal outcome that will turn the process into a recurring cycle where they will willingly learn about new products and services from you and gladly purchase them if they are relevant to their needs.
A loyal customer is often one who will advocate for you to their friends and family, thus earning you new clients.
To make the most of this, you can ask for their feedback/reviews/testimonials, offer rewards for referrals or put some other kind of loyalty system in place where both parties can gain from the continuing relationship.
As you can see, the problem of “sounding too salesy” is really a problem of not knowing where you are with your prospective clients and giving them information that they are not ready to receive yet.
To fix this, you’ll need to prepare your marketing message in advance, and gradually guide your prospects through each stage, giving them the opportunity to digest and decide without feeling pressured or overwhelmed.