Are you looking for ways to increase brand awareness at the top of your sales funnel? You are not alone in this search, but you may be barking up the wrong tree. In fact, a study published by the Gartner Group shows that 80 percent of your future profits will come from just 20 percent of your existing customers. That’s pretty astounding if you ask me. What’s even more astounding is how many marketers and organizations solely focus on lead generation at the top of the sales funnel, rather than focusing on their customer retention rate and ways to increase customer retention with lifecycle marketing.
Why the big spend on the top of the funnel? It is rather simple-the recent adoption of content marketing has lead many to focus on leveraging content to better educate and understand customers at its least difficult access point: within the top of the sales funnel. What some businesses may not know (especially businesses who are not utilizing marketing automation) is that the riches are in the niches. Often times the niches are buried behind marketing management analytics that have a tendency to only be uncovered during a deep dive and exploration of the entirety of the customer lifecycle.
So, how can you effectively and efficiently understand consumer behavior and marketing strategy to include content within each stage of the customer lifecycle? First, you must understand the most basic version of a customer lifecycle and then adapt to the behavior of your current customers.
There are five main stages within the customer lifecycle. They are named as the organization deems fit but focus on the following objectives:
Attract: Raise awareness and consideration amongst prospective customers.
Convert: Relate with and educate leads and prospects about brand value and practical application of products and services.
Close: Sales qualified leads become customers. New users get up and running with the product or service.
Delight: Find out how your product or service has impacted your customer. This is an important stage, and if you do not have the proper marketing management analytics set to capture useful data your customer retention rate may be on the line.
Expand: Data captured throughout the journey is evaluated and content is developed to bridge the gaps that may have lead to one marketing outcome over another. This is the stage where the entirety of the customer lifecycle and the inner workings of your content production come together and tell the truth about marketing performance.
At each stage of the customer lifecycle, there should be triggers (or data captures) in place that qualify customers, prospects and leads for the next stage of the lifecycle. Let's review some of the most beneficial marketing management analytics you can track through each stage of the buyer’s journey. This will better develop an understanding of consumer behavior and inform your marketing strategy.
Attract: This is generally the top of the funnel basic information capture. The most common way to attract customers would be to use landing pages with freemium content, organic link building, social media, and of course, blogging. At this primary stage of marketing, your goal is to collect basic visitor data like first name, last name, industry, and email address. You want to remember that your landing page conversion rates are very important at this stage, so asking for too much information upfront may not be the best idea. Again, this will be dependent upon industry and marketing initiatives.
Convert: Although the convert stage is still near the top of the funnel, you are beginning as an organization to sift through the leads you website has generated and begin to segment these leads with valuable secondary data. This data should be gathered from forms as well as from engagement and behavioral observations. Key data to collect within the convert stage includes phone numbers, professional title at the company, and company size—to name a few.
Close: Now we are into the bottom of the funnel—where open communication is crucial to maintaining or increasing customer retention rates. The data collected within the close stage of the customer lifecycle is a bit more abstract than that of the other stages. This is where you will need to put on your marketing hat and observe interactions, questions, comments as well as purchase-driven surveys, and continued website usage and behavior. Because each organization will operate under varied stages, it is important to remember to keep open communication and continue to build a relationship throughout the closing stage of the customer journey.Expand: This is the final stage of your customer lifecycle, in which you analyze data and identify products that may be value added extra or complementary to the products or services a customer is currently using. Open communication throughout the journey is important, but in the expand stage of the customer journey, it is crucial to brand success. This is not just about the single sale.
As with any consumer behavior and marketing strategy analysis, it's more important to listen than to spew fun facts about your brand. Any organization looking to build brand awareness should reevaluate their marketing approach to reach beyond the top of the marketing funnel. The opportunity for increased marketing return on investment (ROI) is more plentiful down towards the bottom of the funnel. Take advantage of this knowledge and build a brand presence with your current customers that can rival any brand, regardless of its size. Familiarity and reliability are vital to the success of any business. Listening and providing are the next steps to your successful content marketing initiatives.
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