Timing is one of the most critical elements for successfully performing outreach to prospects, leads, and customers. Customer Lifecycle Marketing (CLM) is an eight-step outreach approach that will help your business deliver the best message to the right audience at the most opportune time to convert them into a customer — or at least move them one step closer to making a purchase. This two-part post explains how you can start leveraging the CLM framework to dramatically increase your company’s revenues across a number of key metrics — everything from improving conversion rates for new customers, to longer customer lifetimes and increased brand loyalty, to larger orders (or bigger contracts) and the higher revenues per customer that come with them.
Here are the first four steps of the CLM process. The second four will be explained in the next post.
- Define Your Target Audience: The first step is to identify what groups of people make the best prospects for your company. There are two main ways to do this, depending on whether or not you already have a large customer base or not. If you have a large group of customers or clients already, rank them in order from most profitable to least profitable, and then out of the top ten identify the top three to five who are the best to work with. These are your ideal customers, both in terms of cultural fit and profits, and you want to find more like them.If you do not already have clients, you will have to do market research to identify whom your best potential customers are. Try posting short surveys on craigslist and your social media profiles asking for input. Believe it or not, people love to feel like their opinion matters, and you can often get respectable response rates even if there is no incentive for participation. People like to feel that their feedback is important, because it makes them feel important themselves. In addition to surveys, look at your competitors and try to find out who their best customers are. For more help defining your audience, see our post on http://www.ohioafp.org/.
- Attract Attention: Once you know who your audience is, you need to get their attention about your product or service and draw them to your website or wherever you plan to capture their contact information to turn them into leads. Anything that puts your company’s branding and a call to action in front of your target audience can be effective. You could use Google AdWords, flyers at a local networking event where your prospects meet, guest posts on blogs your prospects read, traditional media advertisements, a social media contest, and anything else you can think of.The ultimate goal of this step is to get your prospects interested in what your company does and have them visit your capture page. To do this, make sure that your materials all have the same call to action sending them there. Also make sure that you approach your marketing from the perspective of the prospect and explain why they benefit from what you offer. In other words, make sure to focus on the benefits and not the features.
For example, if you were selling a sports car, saying it has 500 horsepower is not a good message. That’s a feature. Instead, describe how the car will pin you back in your seat when you hit the accelerator and make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. The adrenaline rush of driving fast is the benefit, which is what will get your prospects excited, and the only reason to mention the 500 horsepower feature is to show proof that the car can deliver the benefits that you promise.
- Capture Leads: After you get your prospect’s attention, you need to capture their contact information and enter them as leads into your customer database. This is a critical step because once you have their contact information it allows you and your marketing and sales teams to reach out to these interested prospects regularly to build a relationship, create demand, and lead them closer to a sale — which is what happens in the next step. To create a capture page that has a strong conversion rate, follow the instructions in our post essays on body image.
- Qualify and Nurture Leads: Once you start building a growing list of leads, you need to qualify them and then nurture them to increase their trust in your brand and create demand for your products and services. Qualifying leads means finding a way to determine if the person is truly interested in what your company offers and has a high likelihood of purchasing or not. In a more direct sales process, the sales team usually contacts the prospect and offers to send more information about the products or services they are interested in. Leads who reply that they would like more information are marked as qualified leads, since they were curious enough about the company’s offerings to request more information, and that suggests they have a higher likelihood to buy.In a B2C context, you will most likely be using email marketing as the primary method for nurturing your leads. One way to determine the quality of a lead this way is to set a threshold for their open or click rates. If a prospect falls below a certain percentage of opened emails, maybe they only open one out of every ten, then you drop them off of your quality leads list and put them into another group for dormant leads.
Once you have your criteria for quality leads, it’s time to start building your relationship with them. You can send them exclusive free samples, how-to instructional content, or trial offers to increase demand for what your company does and also prove that you can deliver on your promises. You can also share testimonials and case studies to give them the perspective of your current customers about how you were able to help them achieve increased success, and also provide social proof that your business is worth buying from.
Now that you’ve created a pipeline of leads and are building up demand for the products and services that your company offers, you’re ready to start closing sales and then leveraging those customer relationships to create even more revenue for your business. http://coolbars.com/ to find out exactly how to do this using the final four steps of the CLM process.