Starting up your own business is one of the most exciting (and scary) things you can do with your life.
Taking the leap and becoming your own boss is one of the bravest decisions you can make. Get the formula right, too, and you could be the next Branson or Gates; a permanent fixture in people’s lives, with the rewards that follow that success.
Life as a startup can be tough, though. It’s estimated that four out of ten small businesses cease trading after the five year mark in the UK. It can feel devastating closing your doors but there should be no shame; at least you tried.
And you can try again, too. Thanks to the reach of the internet, it’s now easier for small businesses and startups to attract new customers than ever before. The key is to strategise properly.
What is Customer Lifecycle Management?
It’s our mantra; a solid, well thought-out digital strategy complementing all other areas of your business is the best way to not only keep trading but to grow in the future, retain customers and excel in your industry.
It’s important not to confuse your strategy with your business plan, though. No business is the same, and each strategy should not only be bespoke for your creative needs, but also be the most beneficial for your customers.
Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and one of the most common and popular strategies revolves around the idea of Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM).
It’s popular because it works for a lot of businesses. The idea is that each of your potential customers fits into these five stages:
Reach – Acquire – Convert – Retain – Loyalty
The goal for serious growth is to attract customers at the reach stage and turn them into long-term loyal customers.
Marketing to each and every one of those customer stages online as well as running your own business can be a tricky ask, though.
A marketing agency experienced in online business growth can help devise and automate a creative CLM strategy that attracts customers while leaving you to focus on growing your brand.
Owning the CLM lifecycle
The nature of the internet opens businesses up to new customers like never before, while putting some budget into paid media allows brands to target the customers that really matter to them.
So, how can businesses market to each stage of the CLM cycle?
Aim: Attracting the attention of people who are likely to shop with you, tell their friends you exist and become long-term loyal customers. You need to be creative with your campaign to differentiate yourself from the competition, and provide incentives to get people to visit and explore your website.
How: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket when looking to attract new customers. Study who you want to target and build creative campaigns incorporating social media, content marketing and SEO. Investing in paid search and paid social can deeply target people based on keywords, their lifestyle and more.
Aim: Now that people are visiting your website and discovering you, it’s time to build a rapport with them and encouraging them to make interactions with your website. Once customers begin interacting with you they usually move onto the conversion stage. Ideally this should be an interaction that can be tracked.
How: This can fall under the category of data collection complemented by creative content marketing. Encourage visitors to sign up for a newsletter, take a survey or download a guide through a lead magnet. Beginning conversations with people and interacting over social media can also be beneficial.
Aim: The most important part for a lot of businesses; to encourage conversions you need to build trust and make your payment process as easy as possible. Leads that are visiting your site and interacting with you need to be nurtured so they associate your brand with the products they’re purchasing.
How: Leads can be nurtured through creative content through email and social campaigns to build that trust and encourage them to buy your products. Streamlining your website, the customer journey and the shopping cart experience to make it as easy as possible is also essential to improving conversions.
Aim: Once somebody has made a purchase through your website, it isn’t over. You want to carry on building that trust so they purchase with you again. This can be trickier to track and isn’t necessarily bound by time; if you sell high-value items, people may take longer to make another purchase.
How: You shouldn’t just be nurturing leads to get people to buy from you. Set a time window for customers to come back and use the data collected from their last purchase to reach out to them with incentives and creative content. Strike up conversations over social and email to let them know they’re valued.
Aim: When all those stages work in harmony then they should become loyal customers who feel a connection with your brand. That loyalty, though, needs to be rewarded, not just to say thanks but to encourage them to tell their friends and family.
How: Consider reward schemes after a certain number of purchases are made. Send them special pieces of personalised content with email marketing such as vouchers, free merchandise or other reward. Social media referral schemes can also help to incentivise the rewards/loyalty process, too, while building your social following.
It may sound like a lot to consider but the key to success is to keep it simple and creative. Marketing automation can also help to streamline the effectiveness of your campaign and improve results.
Always remember to focus on your customers and to try to attract the right ones. The internet’s a big place. Profile who you want to sell your products and your services to, think of them first and success should soon follow.
If you’d like to find out more about how strategy, content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, web development, SEO and more can help your small business attract and retain customers, contact Webpresence’s online marketing specialists today.