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Drive Business Growth with Customer Lifecycle Marketing

Learn how to drive business growth using lifecycle marketing. Discover effective strategies to attract, engage, convert, and retain customers for long‑term success.

In today's digitally connected world, getting your products in front of potential and existing customers is not a challenge.

However, with so many similar product and service options available to customers, converting a potential customer into a paying customer is becoming more difficult.

Let's face it: unless you are offering exactly what a customer is looking for when they find your products, chances are it will take some time for that customer to commit to doing business with you.

This is where lifecycle marketing comes into play, helping you market your products and services to potential customers using a variety of interrelated methods with the goal of converting those potential customers into repeat paying customers.

Regardless of the size of your business or the types of products you offer, understanding how to build and implement a comprehensive customer lifecycle strategy that is both flexible and successful can help drive business growth through brand recognition.

The purpose of lifecycle marketing is to recognize that not every visitor to your business site is at the same place along a journey that leads from first-time visitor to repeat customer, and may include those customers who have not interacted with your business in some time.

Each of these lifecycle stages should have a different marketing strategy that is personalized to the customers at that stage.

Whether you are familiar with the ideas of lifecycle stages and the customer journey or you have no marketing experience, the goal of this guide is to demonstrate how effective lifecycle marketing can be for growing your business.

What is lifecycle marketing?

Lifecycle marketing involves grouping individuals who interact with your business into one of a number of categories that define the customer lifecycle.

Using these lifecycle stages as starting points, you can tailor your marketing strategy to move those individuals along a path leading from a first-time visitor to a repeat customer.

Rather than approaching marketing to customers as if they are all the same and want the same thing, understanding where in the journey someone is enables your business to provide potential customers with reasons to become first-time customers, and first-time customers to become repeat customers and build a lasting relationship.

Lifecycle marketing can also be used to address those customers at risk of being lost, and retracting customers that have not been in contact for some time.

Use lifecycle marketing to drive growth

Applying customer lifecycle marketing to your overall marketing strategy can drive your business growth much more effectively than using the same marketing technique for all customers, regardless of their relationship with your business.

By changing how you approach marketing to someone based on whether they are visiting your site for the first time or if they have been purchasing your goods and services for years, can not only help you acquire new customers but also reward and retain those customers who have become a key part of your business growth.

In both instances, you can drive the growth of your business through the use of lifecycle marketing.

Below, we provide some ideas for using this marketing strategy and how to tailor your specific strategy to your business needs and customers.

Keep in mind that any marketing strategy needs to be developed with a specific business in mind, and a lifecycle marketing plan needs to also consider the differences among customer types and stages.

While the information below can serve to help your marketing team develop a comprehensive strategy, we are available to help further tailor your initial plan to meet specific goals and business needs.

Map out your customer's journey

Anyone who lands on your business website can be considered a "customer". Understanding the various lifecycle stages of each website visitor can help you develop a marketing strategy to interact with those individuals at each stage of their journey.

While there are multiple ways to define the stages between the first time someone visits your website and that same someone is placing their one-hundredth order, below is a general outline of defining the customer journey:

First-time visitors

These are visitors who may have found your site through a search engine or a direct referral. They are new to your site and may spend a few minutes clicking around your site without committing to making a purchase or registering with your site.

Returning visitors

This group represents visitors that are taking another look at your site. They may come across your site through a different search or may return organically to take another look at what your business has to offer.

Registered users

These visitors have registered with your site and can be considered users. They have taken one of the first steps to becoming customers, sharing their contact information, either as the first step toward making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter.


Defining a user as a customer means they have gone ahead and made a purchase of your products or services. Whether that is a single purchase or multiple purchases is important to define, and you will want to treat first-time customers differently than repeat customers.

Churning customers

A customer may have made one or multiple purchases and then stopped. These customers may transition between being at risk of churning to actually churning, and you will want to tailor your marketing strategy to limit this transition while working to reactivate those customers who have churned.

Tailor marketing efforts to each stage of the customer lifecycle

Becoming a successful business requires more than relying on organic growth alone.

To help potential customers find your website and become repeat paying customers, it is necessary to implement a marketing strategy that is aimed at the customer lifecycle.

Directing your marketing efforts in the most effective way can be accomplished by developing a plan based on the following marketing tips for each of the above customer lifecycle stages, providing a starting point for tailoring your marketing strategy.

First-time visitors

Regardless of how a visitor found your business, you would like to convert them from a visitor to a customer.

At this stage, your marketing efforts should be focused on getting them to at least register with your site, if not make a purchase.

To do this, you will want to use what information you have about them, such as how they found your site and the products or services they are viewing, to show targeted on-site pop-up marketing messages and ads.

Returning visitors

For this group, you will want to employ a marketing strategy similar to that of first-time visitors.

However, because these visitors have returned to your site without previously becoming a customer, your goal should be to build on the previous information you have gathered.

Adding any new information you can glean to show targeted information that will resonate with them with the goal of converting them from a visitor to registered users or customers.

Registered users

Once a visitor registers with your site, they have given you additional information about themselves that you can use to enhance the personalization of marketing to better target them as individuals.

By registering, these users will provide you with some form of contact information, which you can use to send personalized emails that begin to build a relationship, with the goal of converting them from a user to a customer.

Again, using the information you have gathered about them, including the products or services they have viewed on your site and their personal background information, you build a personalized marketing strategy to make them feel comfortable with and welcomed by your business.


Your customer lifecycle marketing strategies for first-time customers should be different from the strategy aimed at repeat customers.

Often, someone who visits your site and purchases a product or service will not become a repeat customer, so your marketing campaigns should take the approach of providing good reasons for customers to become repeat customers.

Simply converting a site visitor from a one-time purchaser to someone who returns for a second purchase can greatly improve the conversion to additional visits and purchases from your business.

Repeat customers

Once a customer has returned to your site and made multiple purchases, your marketing strategy should shift from encouraging them to continue using your services to recognizing them as the valuable customer they have become.

This is not to say that only repeat customers are valuable, but by using your marketing campaigns to explicitly recognize those repeat customers who rely on your business, you can help prevent those customers from drifting toward the churning state.

Churning customers

No business wants to experience high levels of customer churn, and having a marketing strategy in place to prevent customers from never visiting your site or purchasing from you again can greatly reduce those churn levels.

Once a customer begins to be a churn risk, the strategy should focus on re-engaging with them, trying to determine why they have not maintained that customer relationship, and what will entice them to renew their relationship with your business.

For customers who have not worked with your business for some time, you can tailor your marketing to win them back using personalized incentives based on the data you previously collected.

Once a customer has returned to your business, it is important to treat them just as you would a first-time customer, working to (re)build a relationship with them that will transition into one of a repeat customer who frequents your business site.

Why should you measure and analyze the success of lifecycle marketing efforts?

How do you know if your marketing campaigns are effective?

Regardless of the strategy, you do not want to continue doing something that is not beneficial. The very nature of customer lifecycle marketing means that you will have more individual strategies that need to be evaluated.

However, looking at metrics related to customer feedback, which can be sales data or specific customer responses, for each stage of the customer journey will allow you to understand which approaches are working for which customer type.

Because customers at different stages have different needs and wants, being able to understand what is driving them to move along the path (or not) can help you further refine your tailoring to keep customers moving along their journey.

Tips to help you implement lifecycle marketing

There are different ways that your business can utilize the different lifecycle stages and cater your marketing to customers at different points in the customer lifecycle.

Small businesses are going to have a different approach than large businesses. Companies selling products will differ from those selling services.

Committing to implementing a lifecycle marketing strategy is just the first step. Using the below tips can help your marketing team build an outline that can be further refined not only for your specific business but also for your customers based on their needs and wants (their buyer persona) and what works to move them on their individual journey.

Create buyer personas and segment your target audience

Utilizing the buyer persona of an individual visiting your website, whether they are a potential or repeat customer, can help you tailor your marketing campaigns to that specific individual.

Building different personas that can be used to describe types of visitors is the most effective way to group customer data to help define a general customer lifecycle strategy that can potentially be modified for specific individuals. Using the same customer journey stages introduced above is one way that your marketing team can segment your target audience into persona groups.

Craft personalized marketing messages for each stage of the customer lifecycle

A key part of customer lifecycle marketing is the personalization you make depending on the relationship you have with someone visiting your site. Each stage outlined above employs a different approach to communicating with customers.

For first-time site visitors, your goal will be to create personalized messages using the very limited information you have about them, with the goal of transitioning them from a visitor to a customer.

For customers, your communications should be focused on converting them into repeat customers, and those repeat customers should be individually recognized for their commitment to using your business.

Each of the different lifecycle stages will have its own customized template for communication. That template can be further customized using customer information, either explicitly gathered through things like site registration, or inexplicitly gathered, such as pages viewed or how they came to your site.

Regardless of how much your business customizes a specific message to an individual customer, the communication methods for customers at different stages in the lifecycle need to be at least personalized to the customers at that stage.

Utilize customer lifecycle marketing automation tools

In our digitally-connected world, marketing automation tools can make customer lifecycle marketing easier, but knowing how to use them best will ensure they are used effectively to drive business growth.

It is certainly possible to map out a customer lifecycle marketing strategy using the individual stages introduced above and build customized communication methods for customers in those stages.

However, this can be time-consuming and may not be cost-effective. Utilizing automated marketing tools can help you to collect customer information about the lifecycle stage they are in and leverage those same data to customize a unique marketing strategy for that customer.

Whether your business is new to developing marketing strategies or just new to developing lifecycle marketing strategies, marketing automation tools can simplify the process of mapping lifecycle stages.

You can use these tools to build tailored communication plans for individual groups of customers at various stages. These plans can then be further refined to market to specific customers based on moving your relationship along the customer lifecycle.

Continually test and optimize your lifecycle marketing strategy

If you are familiar with marketing strategies, you understand that you cannot just implement a plan and let it go. You will need to gather feedback data about how effective the plan is and use that data to make changes, which will be tested and refined.

All of this is a continuous optimization buying process. The process is the same for lifecycle marketing, but because of the inherent customization to individual customer lifecycle stages, the scope of optimizing the strategy is much larger.

To be successful at lifecycle marketing, your team will need to maintain a close watch on what is working at each lifecycle stage overall, and for specific customers.

Knowing that customers at different stages along the lifecycle journey will respond better to different marketing strategies is one thing. Being able to use data to develop automated custom communications for individual customers, regardless of where they fall in the journey, is what will help ensure success.

Testing different strategies will help in refining your overall lifecycle marketing. Changing and optimizing the plan as customer and business trends change will help keep the plan relevant.

Lifecycle marketing can be a powerful way to drive business growth, especially when implemented effectively. You can use this guide as a starting point for developing a strategy for your business.

For more specific information related to ideas that may best suit your marketing needs, we can work with you directly to help create a plan that meets your business needs and customizes a lifecycle marketing strategy to drive business growth in new and exciting ways.

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