Imagine you’re fishing, a fish starts to nibble the end of your hook, and from the sheer excitement that you might have something on the end of your pole, you quickly tug it, and the fish quickly vanishes, never to be seen again. The customer lifecycle can be quite similar. Start assuming your customer is ready to buy before they are actually ready to, and you might just find yourself with an empty pole.
Your customer lifecycle is an active process driven by your marketing and sales team. Segmenting possible customers into different stages. These stages are used to adjust marketing and sales techniques to maximize your conversion. Altogether, these lifecycle stages create marketing and sales funnel. As customers go through the stages, fewer and fewer people complete each stage. Creating a “funnel” effect: Many subscribers = fewer quality customers. Altogether, the lifecycle stages create your marketing and sales funnel.
Customer lifecycle stages
There are 7 stages in your customers lifecycle, and they are:
- Subscriber — When customers are aware they have a problem, they will start off with research. They come across your brand and become a casual subscriber to your periodic content newsletters, blog posts.
- Lead — If what you have offered them in the subscriber stage was found to be of value to them, they will provide you with information about themselves, most likely found through your content marketing, or other useful content you offered them such as a downloadable pdf offering solutions to their problem, or more information of how your business is the solution to their problem.
- Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) — based upon your customs engagement with the pre-marketing materials that you have given them, your customer is now ready for your marketing messages. They are the most likely out of any of your other leads to becoming your customer.
- Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) — This is where the transition happens! All your hard work is starting to pay off because it’s where your customer goes from being marketed to, to being sold to.
- Opportunity — You’ve done your job well! They are now ready to buy and are receiving sales correspondence.
- Customer — Your customer has now purchased your product or service, and are now delighted they have solved their problem.
- Evangelist — Your customer is shouting your name off the rooftop of their house! Okay, maybe not quite that lively, but they’re telling their friends, family, people on social media how great (or – shudders- not so great) your service/product helped them. These are the customers who make for great testimonials, case studies, etc as they have been through a complete lifecycle with your brand. If their experience wasn’t so great, don’t write them off. Instead, use their experience as a way to better your product/service and once you’ve made the changes needed, offer for them to give your brand another go.
So, as you can see the customer lifecycle goes on forever, it’s important for you to understand it, and how to utilize it effectively within your marketing.