lifecycle-marketing-1The term ‘lifecycle marketing’ is likely to one that you’ve heard being used a lot in recent years. In fact, the lifecycle marketing model has widely become the blueprint for the majority of company’s marketing strategies. But, what is lifecycle marketing, and how does it relate to your email marketing campaigns? This article will aim to shed some light on that:

What is Lifecycle Email Marketing?

Once upon a time, an email marketing campaign would consist of, basically, collecting a lot of customer’s email addresses (usually through a sign up form on your website), then periodically sending out the same marketing email to all those subscribers. However, as customers generally demand a more personal approach nowadays, this marketing style has fallen out of favour. Rather than treating every customer the same, lifecycle marketing aims to address the needs of each of your customers as they change and evolve over time. This ultimately leads to a stronger and more nurturing relationship. Lifecycle marketing generally consists of 5 stages, and the email marketing campaigns you send at each stage should aim to smoothly move the customer on to the next one.

Here are the stages of lifecycle email marketing, and how you can use them in your campaigns:

1. Gaining Subscribers

Before you can marketing to anyone, you need people to subscribe to your mailing list. Most companies gain email subscribers through a sign up form on their website. This should be made as simple as possible for the customer, and should also offer the customer something they are interested in.

For example, a recent search for ‘Ugg sale’ yielded this result:

Ugg Sale

Rather than showing a blank page or error message, Ugg have decided to use their lack of sale items to their favour. With one click, the customer can sign up to be updated about their future sales. The customer gets the information that they want, and Ugg gets a new subscriber to their mailing list.

You can also use your existing subscribers to gain new ones. Many companies run ‘refer a friend’ campaigns with the people already on their mailing list. This approach can be hit and miss, although it is likely that friends of your subscribers may be interested in what you offer.

It’s generally best if you offer an incentive to your subscribers for referring a friend, like Tesco did recently:

Tesco Friend 1 Tesco Friend 2

They have also included step by step instructions in the email, making everything as easy as possible for the customer.

2. Welcoming Your New Subscribers

Once you’ve got your new subscriber, don’t wait too long before you ‘introduce yourself’ to them. They may forget that they signed up to your list and assume you’re spamming them. As the name suggests, a ‘welcome email’ is a great way to ‘welcome’ subscribers to your mailing list. This will serve the dual purpose of reminding them that they signed up to your list, and letting them know all the benefits that your mailing list offers. You can go into much more detail here than you can on your sign up form.

Chivas send their new subscribers this simple welcome email:

Chivas Welcome

As well as letting their new subscribers know what their mailing list offers, they have also given their customers the opportunity to invite a friend to their list, taking advantage of every positive marketing opportunity.

It’s also possible for a welcome email to lead to a sale. By including an easy to use discount code in the body of the email, like Dorothy Perkins do, your new subscribes could be motivated into making a purchase:

Perkins Welcome

In my next post, I’ll talk about the next stages of lifecycle email marketing, including how you can turn your subscribers into paying customers, nurturing your customer relationships, and winning back lapsed customers.