Achieving success for your small business is all about your relationship with customers and clients. Managing this relationship can be complicated, but one concept that helps simplify things a bit is known as the customer lifecycle. Different businesses define the lifecycle differently, but below we will offer a basic and commonly used version consisting of six phases.
- Awareness — in the first stage of the customer lifecycle, potential customers learn about your business and your products/services through advertising, branding, or other marketing efforts.
- Knowledge — in this second stage of the lifecycle, potential customers learn more about your business and your product, while possibly researching your competition as well.
- Selection — this is the point of sale: the moment in which customers choose your business, and select the products or services that they wish to purchase.
- Satisfaction — will your customers be satisfied with your product or service? In large part, the answer to this question will be determined long before anyone ever makes a purchase, as it is the result of product or service development.
- Retention — even customers who are satisfied with their products must be convinced to return and buy again, which is why retention is an important step in the customer lifecycle. This is the moment where one-time customers can be turned into regulars with the right strategy.
- Advocacy — your happiest and most frequent customers could even become brand advocates, bringing in more customers through outreach and recommendations.
Each and every one of these steps discussed above is important, as they all contribute to the long-lasting success that every business owner aspires too. However, the first three stages of the customer lifecycle — a group that we could call customer acquisition — is probably the most important.
Without these fundamental first steps of awareness, knowledge, and selection, the entire process falls apart. This is why customer acquisition should be your number one priority — if you cannot bring in new customers, you will never get the opportunity to complete any of the final three steps. So to conclude this article, we will offer three quick tips on how you can improve your customer acquisition skills.
- Use the internet to your advantage. From building an informative company website, to creating an easy-to-use e-commerce platform, to running a wide-reaching social media marketing campaign, there are many ways you can use the internet to drive customer acquisition. If you are not currently using all of the methods listed above, you should consider investing more into your online efforts.
- Be genuinely helpful. When dealing with potential customers, the best approach to take is to focus on being genuinely helpful rather than on making a sale at any cost. Whether this means training your sales team to having a profound knowledge of your industry, creating a blog that is focused on delivering quality information, or adding in-depth product descriptions to your website, the bottom line is that customers can tell when a business has their best interests at heart — and they are likely to value that greatly.
- Especially for B2B companies, networking and relationship-building are key methods of acquiring customers and/or referrals. So head out to that next industry conference, LinkedIn meetup, or community event — your bottom line will appreciate it!
For more info on customer acquisition, sales, and company growth strategies, visit Direct Call Solutions online today!