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Lifecycle Marketing Tips for SMBs

A conversation with marketing pro Robbie Kohli

Welcome to Everything You Want to Know About Marketing, where we pose some of your most frequent questions to our community of certified Mailchimp experts.

This time, we’re talking to Robbie Kohli, Mailchimp partner and founder of Deep Focus, a New Delhi-based digital marketing agency, to ask him about lifecycle marketing and how you can use it to attract and retain loyal customers through every stage of their customer journey.

Here’s what he shared with us.

What is lifecycle marketing?

Robbie: It’s doing business from the customer’s point of view. It helps businesses stay competitive by keeping them on track throughout the entire customer journey, because as the customer’s needs evolve, the strategies also need to evolve. So, lifecycle marketing guides decisions by helping businesses decide when to pivot and when to change. It's like a moving target: You constantly need to change strategies to address new issues.

How can an SMB attract customers and keep them coming back?

Robbie: Center your communications around what is valuable to your customers, not just you. When that happens, you almost always see your customers engage with you in a very different way.

Whether you’re selling coffee, fishing lures, or fabrics—they’re all great products, but you have to start giving something of real value to your customers in your content, too. Once you start focusing on a content-first approach, it can help your marketing evolve to a whole new level.

What are some top tactics of your lifecycle marketing strategy?

Robbie: If you’re not doing SEO (Search Engine Optimization), you’re missing an opportunity. It’s a marketing tactic that can help you get higher returns, month after month.

Also, look at your email marketing ecosystem, and if you don’t have an abandoned cart email, make it the first thing you get. It’s one of the most low-effort, high-impact techniques to help generate revenue.

My team is also doing very well with remarketing [a digital marketing strategy that targets people who have already visited your site or engaged with your brand]. When Mailchimp introduced Google Remarketing Ad Campaigns to help recapture the attention of people who browsed your website or landing page, our team caught on to it immediately. Many of our clients are getting more and more revenue through it. It can also help you replenish your list of subscribers. While most of our marketing efforts are directed at converting our leads into customers, remarketing is one strategy where we can generate fresh leads, too.

Can you share an example of a good remarketing strategy?

Robbie: You might target website visitors after they’ve been on your site a bit later with a promo ad saying, “Hey, do you want to receive some exclusive discounts, exclusive content, or products that are reserved for email list subscribers?” And then, you can include a call to action (CTA) for them to subscribe.

At this point, you’re not selling anything except the idea for them to subscribe. These ads only show up for website visitors, so it’s not very expensive compared to other forms of marketing, and the conversion rate can be significant.

Once you have your customers in your ecosystem, how do you turn them into brand advocates?

Robbie: If, for example, you’re an e-commerce or product-based business who’s selling products online, you could run a photo contest or share customer reviews. You can offer your customers a coupon, a surprise gift, or something like that.

The customers engage because they’re getting something in exchange. These photo contests then become the meat and potatoes of the next social media campaign. And when customers give a good review or post about their product experience or unboxing experience, you can then put that on social media. It’s something you can use to build loyalty.

The other thing that you could start introducing is reward points. Customers can convert purchases or transactions into points that they can redeem in their next orders. It builds loyalty because the customers feel they’ll get more points if they keep buying more.

With a couple of my clients, their email open rates went up when we implemented rewards. You know why? Because people opened the emails just to know their points. So, this strategy kind of gamifies their experience.

It’s all about coming up with techniques and strategies to keep giving customers value in the form of content, which in turn becomes a hook to help increase sales.

The more you know your audience, the better you can target them; the better you target, the more you know about them. It’s an actual cycle, right?

Robbie: It never stops. As my agency has grown, I feel my role has shifted from a point-A-to-point-B-person to more of a guy who can sit and talk to the client and understand where they are right now, where they want to go, and what their obstacles are. I assess all of these things and then tell them, “Look, I think this is the best thing we can do right now.”

The takeaway: Robbie Kohli’s top lifecycle marketing tips

  • Start with SEO
  • Think like your customer
  • Deliver real value in your content and always reward engagement
  • Use abandoned cart emails to re-engage site visitors
  • Keep customers engaged with rewards programs

Robbie Kohli is the founder of Deep Focus, a New Delhi-based digital marketing agency. Since launching in 2007, Robbie has helped small businesses find, engage, and retain customers at every stage of their journey.

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