How To Use Lifecycle Marketing To Reach Potential Customers (2024)

How To Use Lifecycle Marketing To Reach Potential Customers (2024)

Sometimes, you may see the same company use slightly different messaging on different channels. It may have eye-catching, even cheeky, billboards, and Facebook or Instagram video ads featuring convincing testimonies of satisfied customers.

Intrigued, you might head to the brand’s website, where you find it has a more educational tone, with use cases, research, and how-tos. You subscribe to its email list to receive a 10% discount, and the tone of the first email you receive is warm and friendly.

This process is called lifecycle marketing, and it guides potential customers through the buyer journey.

What is lifecycle marketing?

Lifecycle marketing is a marketing strategy that tailors your business’s messaging to each step in a customer’s journey, from initial awareness and contact to repeat purchasing.

Instead of applying the same marketing tactics to your entire audience, the lifecycle marketing model acknowledges that customers in different stages of the sales funnel will benefit from different messaging. Lifecycle marketing meets customers where they are, by choosing the right message for the right channel at the right time.

Stages of lifecycle marketing

There are many ways to map the buyer’s journey and match it to the appropriate marketing strategy. In general, the customer’s journey (and the corresponding marketing efforts) will look something like this:


Potential customers in the awareness stage may know about your product or brand, but that’s about it. The awareness stage is also known as “top of funnel” (ToFu) in a sales or marketing funnel model, because it represents the largest group you will market to.

One of the best ways to reach buyers at the top of the funnel is through content marketing, which involves creating high-quality content for your target audience and then sharing that content on your blog and/or social media platforms using search engine optimization (SEO) best practices to maximize the chances of customers finding your content.

Once a potential customer is on your site, you want to learn more about them. Consider offering something of value (like a discount code or digital product) in exchange for signing up for your mailing list.


If a buyer has viewed the same product page multiple times, clicked on an ad, downloaded a digital product from your site, or signed up for your newsletter, they may be in the consideration stage, also known as “middle of funnel” (MoFu).

When a shopper provides you with their contact information by signing up for your newsletter, for example, they then become a lead—someone who may be interested in your product.

Leads can be qualified or unqualified. Segmenting customers this way is more common in business-to-business (B2B) enterprises:

  • Qualified. A marketing-qualified lead is someone in your target audience who has indicated interest in your product, which means they are more likely to purchase something in the future. When a lead seems ready to make a purchase, they become a sales-qualified lead (SQL) and are passed from the marketing team to the sales team.
  • Unqualified. Unqualified leads have not been vetted and may or may not be interested in your products. They require further assessment or need to engage with your marketing efforts more before you can consider them a potential customer.

If you have a prospective customer’s contact information, you can send a welcome email series. Email marketing is a great way to connect with people in the consideration stage.


If a buyer knows about your product and has visited your site but hasn’t made a purchase yet, they’re in the conversion or bottom-of-funnel (BoFu) stage. What are they waiting for?

“Consumers take time,” Neil Hoyne, Google’s chief strategist for data and measurement, says on the Shopify Masters podcast. “They want to build that connection with a product.”

At this stage, continue your email marketing efforts, and consider addressing potential objections with case studies or testimonials. Once they make a purchase, try cross-selling, or encouraging them to make another or a larger purchase at checkout.

Post-purchase support

“A misconception is that a transaction ends with a dollar amount being exchanged,” Jeremiah Curvers, CEO of mattress company Polysleep, says on Shopify Masters. “In my opinion, that’s just one single element among the many transactional aspects that happen throughout a sales cycle.”

After a customer makes a purchase, they enter the post-purchase phase. This is actually a great opportunity to deepen your relationship with your new customer.

“It turns out that after they give you the money, that’s at the height of trust,” Neil says. “And then what do we do as companies? We give them a thank you page with an order number that nobody writes down, telling them that their email will have all their information inviting them to close that window.”

Instead of sending shipping details and then disappearing, consider asking questions like, “Where did you hear about us?” The answers can help you improve your marketing strategy. Give customers tips on how best to use their new product and let them know about your referral and loyalty programs. Send lapsed customers a discount code to win them back.

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Benefits of lifecycle marketing

Here’s how a successful customer lifecycle marketing strategy can benefit your business:

Customer engagement

Customer lifecycle marketing campaigns can improve engagement by ensuring your target audience receives relevant and timely messaging. When content is relevant and appropriate to the customer’s lifecycle stage, they are less likely to unsubscribe or unfollow.

Lifecycle marketing is all about providing the most value possible by meeting customers’ specific needs at each stage. If you’re doing it right, it should increase engagement.


If you focus your marketing efforts solely on attracting new customers, you could miss out on repeat business. Attracting new customers typically is more expensive than retaining current customers.

Lifecycle marketing emphasizes the importance of customers at each stage of the funnel, including customers who recently made a purchase and customers who haven’t in a while. 


In addition to increasing customer lifetime value (CLV), a well-executed customer lifecycle marketing plan will harness customer data to have greater influence over customer behavior.

Lifecycle marketing is a targeted approach, meaning you’ll use different marketing strategies at the ideal time when they are likely to have the most impact. You’ll then use data to tweak your approach as needed. This strategy can increase your return on investment (ROI).

Lifecycle marketing strategies

Here are some tips for improving your lifecycle marketing efforts:

Create buyer personas

Segmenting customers into steps in a journey or phases in a funnel can feel impersonal. Creating buyer personas will help you better visualize who you’re targeting.

“It’s kind of like that saying, ‘If you stand for everything, you stand for nothing,’” says marketing guru Nik Sharma. “It’s the same with marketing and thinking of who your customer is. You have to really think of no more than four people that you’re trying to sell to.”

Focus on loyalty and referrals

Your loyal customers are your best source of revenue. Continue to support existing customers with relevant content, surveys, promotions, contests, and loyalty programs.

Existing customers can also be a great source of leads. Consider setting up a friend-referral program. Polysleep, for example, worked with loyalty program software provider Friendbuy to encourage referrals.

Give customers time

Just because a buyer moves into a new phase of the customer journey doesn’t mean it’s time to bombard them with marketing materials. According to Neil, “Advertisers that immediately start messaging, emailing, serving up advertising to customers as soon as they leave the website actually see a decrease in the interest of those customers in buying the products.”

Invest in customer relationship management software

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you keep track of different customers and where they are in the funnel and help you better personalize your marketing.

CRM software can provide you with analytics like predictive lead scoring, which can be especially helpful for larger B2B companies, and it can track the rate at which customers move through the different stages of the customer journey.

Track key metrics

Use tools like Google Analytics and Shopify Marketing Insights to identify and fix conversion funnel leaks (points in the journey where customers drop off) and find the most effective marketing channels to re-engage prospective customers.

You can also use A/B testing for email marketing campaigns. This involves testing different versions of emails on small segments of your email list to determine which is the winner to send to the rest of the group.

A post-purchase survey is another great way to determine what’s working in your lifecycle marketing strategy. Include questions like “Where did you first hear about us?”

Prioritize personalization

Any company can collect customer data. But how do you use that data to provide the best customer experience? “Don’t collect information just for the sake of collecting it,” Neil says. “Think about how you might use it to personalize your emails or their experiences, or deliver better value to them.”

For example, Hoyne says that including a subscriber’s first name in the subject line of an email increases the likelihood they will open that email.

Set up automation

Creating different marketing messages for each stage of the customer journey and personalizing each of those for individual customers is a lot of work, but marketing automation can be a tremendous help.

Consider creating email templates that automatically populate and send to customers when triggered by an event, such as signing up for your mailing list or leaving an item in their cart for 48 hours.

Lifecycle marketing FAQ

What are lifecycle marketing channels?

Any marketing channel can be part of a lifestyle marketing strategy. Customer lifecycle marketing particularly excels with channels that use first-party data, such as email and mobile marketing.

What is an example of a lifecycle marketing campaign?

A lifecycle marketing campaign uses different messaging and platforms for different stages in the customer journey. A customer in the consideration phase, for example, may receive a welcome email when they subscribe to a brand’s newsletter in exchange for a discount code.

Is lifecycle marketing effective?

Lifecycle marketing can be an effective marketing strategy. It’s a way to ensure you deliver the right message at the right time and nurture customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness through post-purchase support.

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