Knowing your customers’ buying journey is important for every business as it’s crucial you understand what a lead goes through when considering your offer, purchasing, and then using your product regularly.
When you have a clear picture of what this process looks like, you can create content that will effortlessly move your leads and paying customers through every lifecycle stage. This will increase the likelihood that someone purchases your product, uses it, and also retains their subscription.
But the question is, what kind of content should you be creating exactly?
Luckily, you don’t have to guess at this. In this article, you’ll learn the various stages of the customer journey as well as the best content to create that corresponds with each one. This will help you identify opportunities to improve your existing content and help you spot areas where you’re lacking.
What Do Lifecycle Stages Look Like?
In general here’s how you can think of lifecycle stages that would align with the buyer journey. It consists of three main phases, which will be broken down in the next section of this article. For right now, let’s focus on those three phases, which include acquisition, engagement, and retention. We need to first understand the purpose of each one before moving forward.
In the acquisition stage, you’ll need to outline your buyer persona to better understand your target audience. This will help you to create quality content that will generate brand awareness for your company. It’ll also play a role in qualifying your customers to ensure the right people are engaging with your content and ultimately purchasing your product.
Moving into the engagement phase, your priority will be keeping customers interested in what you have to offer. After they’ve purchased, you can’t just disappear on your customers. Instead, you need to help them with onboarding and activating your product. You’ll also want to provide them with educational resources that will help them get the most out of their purchase.
Then, in the retention phase, the goal is to keep your customers coming back for more. You don’t want them to discontinue their subscription. This will be when you’ll want to encourage them to renew and address any obstacles that might prevent them from remaining a subscriber. Once you’ve mapped all of this out and created the appropriate content, it’ll be easier to move customers through each stage.
How to Create Content for Every Lifecycle Stage
In the SaaS market, there are three core lifecycle stages. As mentioned above, those stages include acquisition, engagement, and retention. Each stage can be broken down into two separate steps. In this acquisition stage, you should be focused on generating awareness and conversions. In the engagement stage, you want to support your customer after making a purchase and during the activation stage. And finally, the retention stage is focused on getting them to renew their subscription and send referrals.
From there, it’s easier to see what kind of content your company can create to efficiently move customers through each lifecycle stage. Everything you need to know is broken down below so you can determine which types of content to prioritize and what you may be missing in your strategy.
Step 1: Awareness
First and foremost, the most crucial lifecycle stage is awareness. To put it simply, you can’t attract and convert leads without people first discovering your company. This means you need to be proactive about putting yourself out there and positioning yourself as an authority in your field at the same time. And the best way to do this is through consistently publishing high-quality content.
Luckily, there are several ways you can do this depending on your company’s strengths and what resonates with your target audience. For instance, you can create blog posts, YouTube videos, and podcast episodes, and also establish your presence on various social media channels. Free resources that a lead can access by signing up to your email list would be beneficial as well.
Once you’ve nailed down the content channels you’ll focus on, it’s important to map out an editorial calendar that will help you be consistent with publishing content. After all, regularly putting out fresh content gives you more opportunities to spread awareness for your company. It also helps you establish relationships with potential leads because your content is what will attract them in the first place.
Step 2: Conversion
Once someone has shown interest in your company by consuming your content or signing up to access a free resource, they’ve moved into another crucial customer lifecycle stage. This stage is about the all-important conversion. You want to take this opportunity to educate people on your product and provide them with ways to learn more about what you have to offer.
For example, you could host a live webinar where you introduce people to your product. You can cover the benefits it offers and even showcase a demo of how it works. Then, the webinar can be made available afterward by providing a recording to those who sign up to your email list. If video isn’t your strong suit, you might decide to create an informative ebook instead. Either option would be great!
Another smart move during the conversion stage is to offer a free trial of your product. People love to test things before they commit, so a free trial will provide a hands-on experience. Leads can put it to the test and see how it performs in their everyday lives.
Essentially, you want to make the conversion stage all about demonstrating the value of your offer. You want people to see how easy it is to migrate to your product and you want to allow them to try it out for themselves. That’s what leads them closer to the next customer lifecycle stage.
Step 3: Purchase
Many companies make the mistake of thinking their job is done once someone has made a purchase, however, this isn’t the case. You still want to support your brand new customer as they officially adopt your product and incorporate it into how they do business. Ask yourself what you can offer to them to make this transition even easier. What would be helpful for a new customer to know during this time?
Once they’ve purchased, you can provide them with an onboarding manual that walks them through all the basics of getting started with your product. This will instill confidence in them, making it easier to get everything up and running. Having a FAQ page on your website to address common issues is helpful as well. However, you’ll want to take it a step further with your customer support team.
Make it known that your team is available to answer any questions customers may have. Don’t leave them out in the cold, but rather, offer your support in any way you can. Publicize office hours so customers know when your team is online and available to answer questions. Then, use live chats on your website, email, and social media to address their concerns as effortlessly as possible.
Step 4: Activation
How many times have you purchased a product and then failed to use it? It’s probably happened a few times in the past, and odds are, you’ve noticed it happening with some of your customers as well. As a company, you don’t just want people to buy from you. You want them to also use your product often. And when it comes to a product that is sold based on monthly or yearly subscriptions, ensuring people use your product is essential to retaining them as a customer.
Now the question is, how do you do that? Well, it can be done easily when you create the right kind of content! To keep customers engaged with your product, offer educational resources that showcase what it’s capable of doing and how it can be transformational for them in how they do business. When they understand the multiple facets of your product and see what it can do, they’ll want to stick around.
A great type of content for this lifecycle stage would be to create an exclusive email newsletter for customers. This could be sent out on a weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly basis. You can offer insights into your product, such as helpful tips and tricks. And it’s important to remind your customers that you’re available for support should they experience any issues or have questions. Another option would be to host a monthly webinar where you give demos and answer questions while you’re live. Or you can create a Facebook group for customers, giving them a place they can go to for support.
The key during this stage is merely to keep your customers interested and engaged with your product. You want them to use it daily or weekly so they see the value in it and stay subscribed for the long haul.
Step 5: Renewal
When a customer’s renewal date is coming up, there’s always the concern that they might cancel before getting billed again. To increase the odds of them renewing their subscription, you’ll want to address any concerns that may have them on the fence. That’s because retention is crucial, yet only 18% of companies are focused on customer retention.
A smart way to go about this is by writing different emails that could be sent days before their subscription renewal. For example, you could send out an email reminding customers of the top features of your product in case they haven’t been taking full advantage of what it can do for them. Or you can collect testimonials from other customers where they share how they use your product. This gives insights into how others implement your product into their business and can spark new ideas.
Don’t hesitate to reach out personally via email to ask your customers if there’s any way you can support them. Answer questions and address objections so you can keep them on board. Not only will they appreciate the offer of support, but it shows you care about your customers and their success.
Step 6: Referral
Another important customer lifecycle stage is getting more people on board with your product. After all, generating more customers is what keeps your company afloat! The best way to do this is by getting referrals. To start, collect testimonials from existing customers and use them across your website and social media. The best part of this kind of content is that it requires minimal effort on your part. All you need to do is reach out to your customers to get their feedback. Then, you publish it!
But if you want, you can take things a step further by also implementing a referral program, which can give existing customers a reason to stick around. A referral program would allow them to promote your product with a unique URL and whenever someone makes a purchase, they earn a commission. Not only will this make them more likely to stay on board as your customer, but they can generate a profit or credits toward their next subscription renewal, making it even more worthwhile.
Should you choose to have a referral program, it would be wise to develop exclusive content for your customers that teaches them how to effectively generate sign-ups. After all, not everyone is skilled at being a brand advocate. Teach them how to best promote your product with post ideas that they can easily create and share. This will help them secure referrals with ease.
Mastering Every Customer Lifecycle Stage
Now that you have a clear idea of the types of content to implement at every customer lifecycle stage, you can easily see where your company can make improvements to its content strategy. Whatever you’re currently missing, make a plan to create that content so you can effortlessly move leads through each stage to generate sales, retain customers, and secure referrals.
Don’t forget to also track the success of your content by monitoring traffic, open rates, click-throughs, and more. It never hurts to ask your customers for their feedback so you can see where to make changes. And remember that strong content will help you stand out from your competitors.