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Create the Perfect Customer Lifecycle for Your Business

by Scott Martineau

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Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs don’t come out of the womb knowing how to build an effective marketing plan. It’s something I and my team see every day when working with small business owners. I have a hunch why, and I’d like to offer a simple solution to improve your marketing this year. It’s the Perfect Customer Lifecycle. Think of it as a marketing plan that marries simple with an eye-opening epiphany. We like to think it’s the framework every business owner and marketer of a growing company uses when thinking about their sales and marketing funnel for prospects and customers.

Limitless options causes overwhelm.
While some entrepreneurs are confident students of marketing, most report a feeling of overwhelm and uncertainty about what they should include in their marketing plan. The “menu” of available marketing tactics that I could do is ever growing.

  • E-mail marketing—How can I be using it better?
  • Social media—How do I interact with my fans?
  • Website—How do I make it more effective?

Incomplete plan leads to shut down.
At first, it’s exciting to think of all of the possibilities and tactics, but it soon feels more like chaos than strategy. When all of these mini-strategies don’t roll up to a comprehensive marketing plan, the end result is too often overwhelm and helplessness (i.e. We shut down and don’t actually do much of anything).

How this year can be different.
We created the Perfect Customer Lifecycle because we wanted you to have a free, simple guide that helps you take your marketing to a new level this year, and next.  The Perfect Customer Lifecycle was redesigned from the feedback we received on our Success Path. The Perfect Customer Lifecycle is a comprehensive framework that works for all business types.

First, it started out with this whiteboard sketch.

Perfect Customer Lifecycle - Whiteboard Drawing/Diagram

We thought about it much more and made tweaks to create more clarity.

Perfect Customer Lifecycle - V.2

And then our awesome marketing team got their hands on it to create the Perfect Customer Lifecycle in its final form. I’ll explain each step now.

Perfect Customer Lifecycle - V.3

There are seven distinct phases to the Perfect Customer Lifecycle:

  1. Attract Traffic
    This includes all of the work you do to generate interest in your business, like website traffic, foot traffic, etc. that comes from online/offline advertising, partners, etc.
  2. Capture Leads
    Smart businesses are very intentional about capturing contact information for interested leads as well as permission to follow up. You can’t follow up if they leave your site or store without giving you their info!
  3. Nurture Prospects
    Let’s face it, some leads are hot, and some are not.  Smart businesses have appropriate follow-up in place to educate & build trust with their new leads. Some take 5 minutes to warm up, some take five weeks, some take five years, but when you nurture well, you are the one they think about when they are ready to buy.
  4. Convert Sales
    Once prospects are hot, it’s time to turn them into customers. Whether you have a sales team, or you use automatic follow-up to get the job done, you’ve got to close the business.
  5. Deliver & Satisfy
    What are you doing to make sure that every new customer is completely wowed by you? In addition to delivering your core service, there are many small but powerful strategies for creating happy customers
  6. Upsell Customers
    We all know that it is significantly cheaper to resell a new product to an existing customer, but too often we aren’t systematic enough about offering additional products to customers who’ve already bought.
  7. Get Referrals
    Finally, there are never any better leads than those who come from referrals. What are you doing to ensure that your customers are referring you when they get asked the questions.

The key takeaway to think about is, “How does it fit in your business?” How can you benefit from incorporating this thinking into the way you operate your marketing and sales functions of the business? As I’ve watched business owners use this Perfect Customer Lifecycle guide to map out their marketing plans (many of whom actually stick it up on their wall in front of their desk as a constant reminder) here’s what I’ve observed:

  1. Chaos turns to order—Everything you are doing finally has a place.
  2. Goals become clear—Rather than doing stuff just to do it, each marketing activity has a distinct purpose.
  3. Gaps become clear—Now that the comprehensive plan is staring at you in the face, it’s simple to identify additional opportunities that you can jump on.
  4. Structure breeds innovation—Although counter-intuitive, the structure and focus you provide yourself while planning will free your mind up to powerful innovation.
  5. Printing and posting helps you execute—Those who print their one-sheet marketing plan and tape it to the wall where everyone can see it find that their ability to execute on the plan increases.

 

I’m excited to dig deeper on this and share best practices for each phase of the lifecycle. If you want to know more about the Perfect Customer Lifecycle, leave a comment with what you’d specifically like help with and what intrigues you the most about it.

Scott

  • Kevinw

    I love the visual structure of the Mind Map. Finally, some order to the mental chaos!

    • Scott Martineau

      Kevin, totally with you. I think some of the clarity comes when you can finally see the big picture and know that there are a finite set of things to worry about. Plus, seeing the relationships between each helps as well.

  • http://www.poweredbysearch.com/ Dev Basu

    Scott thanks for putting this up. You’d think this is common sense but having it mapped out in front of you makes a world of different when mapping out follow up sequences.

  • http://www.poweredbysearch.com/ Dev Basu

    Scott thanks for putting this up. You’d think this is common sense but having it mapped out in front of you makes a world of different when mapping out follow up sequences.

    • http://twitter.com/scottmartineau Scott Martineau

      Dev, I think we all have experience and knowledge about most, if not all of the phases. Seeing it all together helps me get clear about the specific goal of the initiative I’m planning. Thanks for the feedback!

  • Michael Mills

    Scott – this is great and was amazing to see at InfusionCon. It gave me the “Big Picture”! It’s seeing the big picture that help us get where we want to be. I think seeing how others are laying out their M.A.P., or Perfect Customer Lifecycle, in simple and complex ways is extremely helpful and helps me see what IS is capable of. It would be nice to see more of these.

    • http://twitter.com/scottmartineau Scott Martineau

      Glad it helped. We’ll get better at giving digestible examples.

  • Simon

    Hi Scott – this is great and will help me out a ton. `could you elaborate on the “little” things we can do to wow our customers?

    • http://twitter.com/scottmartineau Scott Martineau

      Simon, one vendor sent us refrigerator magnets that stayed up for a few years. People would make them into words and every time I saw them I had warm feelings toward the vendor. Another sent cookies. These things may have cost a few bucks at most, but really made a distinction in my mind. Other free things to do are to follow-up on your service (and respond if people have had challenges), send helpful contact information 1 week after they become a customer so that they have it handy, provide them with helpful suggestions that they would appreciate. The great thing is that others do such a poor job at this that you really just need to do something to stand out!

      It’s probably worth asking a couple of your customers what they’d appreciate too. They often know best.

      Hope that helps.

  • Ian

    G’Day Scott.

    Love the simplicity. I alwys say “do the basics well and success will follow” and your diagram is a great tool to help us keep focused on doing the basics well

  • Laurence

    Hi Scott

    Thank you for this, very nice. Can you now create a sub-diagram for each of the 7 steps please, with some best practice ideas for each, or a support story perhaps.

    As I’m sure with many others I have so many tools to ‘help’ us with the Attract Traffic stage (twitter, blog, FB, YouTube, articles, video, apps, tests, forum etc) it becomes distracting and costly to manage, so as a result stages 2-7 aren’t done as well as they should be, even with IS’ help.

    You have a unique insight to so many small businesses, what have you seen that works, what doesn’t work? If you believe like I do that you get 80% of your results from 20% of your efforts and there are 10 things you can do for each phase, what are the 2 things in each phase that you are sure will guarantee the results.

    We all have a finite amount of time and resources, what 2 things in each phase can you tell us (and then help us implement, like your amazing Wizard tool) we MUST do.

    Perhaps you could dedicate a blog post series to each phase and encourage us to share our experiences of implementing your ideas/suggestions. Or you could build a website called the 7customerlifecyclephases.com and map it all out on there, where if we are an IS customer we can login to tools like the FUP Wizard and get access to pre-written content suggestions or ways to interact with IS and therefore implement your 7 phases into our businesses more seamlessly.

    Well you did ask for feedback ;- )

    Best wishes

    Laurence

    • http://twitter.com/scottmartineau Scott Martineau

      Laurence, great suggestions. We’ll be working on several articles this quarter that will help with the key elements that often get missed in each phase of the PCL. We’ll make sure to get notices out to the blog when these articles are made public

  • http://www.capitalsteelbuildings.com.au steel building design

    I believe glimpsing how other ones are laying out their M.A.P., or Perfect Customer Lifecycle, in straightforward and convoluted modes is exceedingly cooperative and assists me glimpse what IS is adept of. It would be pleasant to glimpse more of these.

  • http://twitter.com/janae_michele Janae Strange

    Excellent layman summary of customer lifecycle.  “Structure breeds innovation.”

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