We all know the importance of marketing in helping your business flourish and attract the right customers.
Various strategies appeal to customer bases; showing the range of tools and techniques that can be used. Traditionally, marketing focuses on targeting customers and advertising your products to them on the platforms they use.
However, what makes a customer today has changed and includes multiple different types of people.
Everyone that interacts with your business has different needs and preferences, requiring a personalized marketing approach. Furthermore, it’s often the same customers who, throughout their journey with your brand, look for different things in your B2B marketing strategy.
Targeting your marketing to these customers and adapting it throughout their journey can be challenging, requiring B2B customer lifecycle marketing to be the best it can be.
Over time, you have more contact with individual customers and build a relationship between them and your brand. B2B customer lifecycle marketing focuses on building this relationship by interacting with customers at significant points.
The customer lifecycle begins with their first impression of your business and extends beyond making a purchase, potentially lasting for years depending on your ability to retain their interest in your brand and products.
Various lifecycle marketing models emphasize different stages, and the customer needs at each. Whatever template you use, the idea is to recognize how your marketing needs to adapt to your customers and how it can best support them through all the stages of their relationship with your business.
This requires different techniques and an understanding of their evolving perspective to harness this in your marketing.
Your marketing strategies and focuses should vary as customers go through their lifecycle. Using VoIP (voice over internet protocol) calls to create impressions and raise awareness isn’t going to work as well as it might with existing customers or those already interested in purchasing.
Dividing your marketing strategy according to different customer stages makes it more targeted, working on the relationship between your business and customers.
1. First impressions
The first stage of customers your business interacts with is your potential customers and B2B clients. With these customers, you are raising awareness of your business and creating first impressions for them.
Your potential customers are still strangers to your business, being unfamiliar with your services, values, and how your business functions. At this point, they are showing no desire to work with your business or buy your products.
With first impressions, your marketing goal is to introduce potential customers to your brand, convincing them to spend more time engaging with your content and following your updates. To reach potential customers, your marketing needs to get to new spaces through search engine adverts, guest posting for other business blogs, or using paid advertising on social media.
This presents potential customers with your brand and attracts them to your channels and platforms.
2. Anonymous visitors
While still relatively new to your brand, anonymous visitors have expressed some engagement with your channels though not making an obvious commitment to follow your business. Perhaps there’s still some way to go to introduce these viewers to the content and products that are relevant to them and their business needs.
Often, anonymous visitors are seen as interested viewers of your website and social media profiles, leaving without interacting too much.
By collecting data on their browsing history, you can start targeting them with more personalized adverts, making them less anonymous and recommending more relevant products to them. Similarly, by segmenting these interested viewers with customer personas, you can gain insight into why they show interest in your business and how you can act on this.
It’s also important to highlight how your products suit their role’s needs in their business.
Although not necessarily having purchased, subscribers have shown an interest in your brand and made some effort to continue to stay connected with it. It could be through following your brand profile on social media, signing up for an email newsletter, or interacting with your online content.
Through these channels, you can more directly reach out to subscribers to start a conversation about how your products can supply their business needs.
At this point, you may want to look at phone systems for small business options to engage subscribers in conversations with your sales teams. It can help to individually address their needs and inform you of their budget and start creating solutions that are tailored to their situation.
Having these conversations can build relationships one-on-one with the customers, convincing subscribers to purchase and ensuring they buy the right product for them.
When interacting with purchasers, there’s a key window of opportunity your marketing can use to increase your average order size through upselling and cross-selling. This group of customers has already decided to purchase by adding products to the online cart or making arrangements with your sales team.
They no longer need convincing to engage with your brand but could be persuaded to add to their purchase.
Recommending similar items, bundles, or different versions of the products they have added to their cart using B2B cross-selling and upselling tactics can convince purchasers to buy more. Done well, this anticipates the other needs of your customer and their business, using your products to supply these too.
Even if the purchaser doesn’t immediately add these products to their basket, it gives them an awareness of the other options available for them to return to.
5. Previous Customers
Just because a customer has purchased before doesn’t mean you can ignore them with your marketing. Previous customers provide the opportunity to make repeat sales to them and secure their loyalty to your business.
After they’ve bought from your business, your marketing should continue building the relationship with them, retaining their interest and alerting them to new products or services that would be useful to their business needs.
Keep in contact with previous customers by recommending your email newsletter, sending them product updates, and asking them to complete feedback forms. It gives you the chance to reflect on the customer experience and make improvements to ensure it’s always positive while showing this progress to your previous customers.
It also shows you value the opinions of your customers, using them to inform your business decisions.
Engaging your B2B customers isn’t a one-time thing. It’s a process of constant adjustment and seeking to market to their specific circumstances. The more you want to retain your customers and create a loyal relationship between them and your business, the more effort you need to put into targeted advertising throughout the customer lifecycle.
It shows your commitment to your customers and recognizes that customers' responses vary at different stages.
By dividing your marketing strategy according to the lifecycle stages of a customer, you can more effectively reach them, knowing the content and marketing tools that will provide the most relevant results. Consider how you use different platforms and the types of marketing you create.
How well these are received will depend on the stage that your customers are in and how your marketing relates to the specific needs and preferences.
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