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How to create a powerful lifecycle marketing strategy in 5 simple steps

Today, marketing isn’t just about conversions—it’s about relationships. And to build strong and lasting relationships with your customers, you need a smart lifecycle marketing strategy. 

But what exactly is a lifecycle marketing strategy? Simply put, it’s the process of nurturing customers throughout their entire journey with your brand—from awareness to consideration, conversion, and retention. This holistic approach allows for deeper connections and customer engagement, creating a loyal customer base.

In this guide, we’ll cover five simple steps for mapping out your customer lifecycle strategy, including:

  1. Define your audience
  2. Find your aha moment
  3. Create the right content and messaging
  4. Leverage your data
  5. Iterate for improvement

Let’s get started!

The lifecycle marketing process: What is it, and why is it important?

The customer lifecycle refers to the stages a customer goes through during their relationship with your brand. Typically, there are four stages: awareness, consideration, conversion, and retention.

Each stage presents an opportunity to engage and nurture customers, build stronger relationships, and increase customer lifetime value. In turn, you’ll be empowered to:

  • Develop more targeted and effective marketing strategies
  • Identify key touchpoints to engage and nurture your customers
  • Optimize and improve the customer experience at each lifecycle stage 

Recommended reading: Your guide to lifecycle marketing

What does lifecycle marketing include?

Think of lifecycle marketing as building a relationship with your customers; there are different conversations you’d have when you’re getting to know someone compared to when you’re longtime pals, right? That’s the goal of lifecycle marketing: ensuring every interaction is just what your customers need at any given moment.  

To achieve this, your lifecycle marketing strategy should include the following components:

  • Real-time personalization based on data and insights: Use customer data to create personalized experiences and tailored messaging at each lifecycle stage.
  • Omnichannel approach: Reach customers across multiple channels, including with lifecycle emails, SMS, push notification, and in-app messaging.
  • Consistent branding and messaging: Ensure all touchpoints align with your brand’s voice and values, creating a cohesive and recognizable customer experience.
  • Continuous optimization: Regularly analyze your lifecycle campaigns and make changes to improve the effectiveness of your strategy.

5 steps to developing your customer lifecycle marketing strategy

Now that we understand the importance of a robust lifecycle marketing strategy, let’s dive into the steps for creating one tailored to your business and customers.

1. Define your audience

Knowing who you’re targeting is the first step in any successful marketing strategy.

Think through the characteristics of the people you’re talking to. What are they like? What do they need? Consider including demographics, behaviors, and attitudes.

For example, if you’re marketing a time management app, you might target busy professionals looking to bring calm to their lives. Or, if you’re a fintech budgeting app, your audience might be younger adults looking for financial guidance.

What roles exist within your audience?

Your customers are not all the same. It’s essential to understand the different roles that exist within your audience, such as: 

  • End-users: The individuals that use your product or service.
  • Influencers: The folks who may not use your product or service directly but can influence others to do so.
  • Decision-makers: The people responsible for making the final purchasing decision.

What problems does your product solve for your audience?

The key to a successful lifecycle marketing strategy is understanding the value you bring to your audience. Now that you know your audience, put yourself in their shoes. What problems are they trying to solve? What needs do they have that your product can fulfill? Understanding how your business fits into your customer’s life is critical for creating targeted and effective marketing campaigns.

Real-life success story: How RushOrderTees addresses customer needs in real-time

RushOrderTees knows that one of the main reasons customers turn to them is for fast, free delivery of high-volume custom t-shirts.

But with high-volume and rush order processing, every minute counts. To keep pace with their customers’ needs, the team at RushOrderTees created data-driven campaigns triggered by orders within—and shortened the production and delivery process by two days. That’s a huge win for everyone and reinforces the value RushOrderTees delivers to its customers.

Read how RushOrder tees made it all possible with

2. Find your aha moment

An aha moment refers to a point in time when a customer realizes the value of your product or service. This can happen at any stage of the customer lifecycle, and it’s crucial to identify these moments for each audience segment.

For example, Facebook’s revelation of needing “7 friends in 10 days” showcased how crucial early engagement is for user retention. Your aha moment should be just as explicit and measurable—a clear signpost that signifies value recognition from your users. It’s a cornerstone for driving growth because once you know what clicks with your customers, you can strategically nudge them toward those experiences.

If you have yet to pinpoint this moment, now’s the perfect opportunity to explore. Here are three techniques for helping uncover yours:

  • Analyze customer behavior: Look at data on how customers use your product or service and identify patterns that lead to retention or conversion.
  • Conduct user interviews: Talk to customers and ask them about their experience with your product. What made them stick around? What was the “aha” moment for them?
  • Test onboarding/welcome experiences: Test different onboarding flows or features to see what leads to higher retention rates. pro tips:

  • Use events to track your customer’s journey toward the aha moment. Events allow you to track specific actions or behaviors that customers take. Use this data to create targeted messaging and campaigns that nudge customers toward their aha moment.
  • Identify key experiences for different audience segments. Depending on their user role, customers may arrive at aha moments differently. Make sure to tailor your lifecycle marketing campaigns accordingly.
Lifecycle marketing strategy: Example of Segmentation within

3. Create relevant content and messaging

It’s essential to craft content that resonates with your audience at each stage of their journey. Whether it’s a welcome email, an in-app message, or a retargeted ad, your messaging should be personalized and relevant to each customer’s needs.

Start by mapping out the various touchpoints where you’ll engage with customers throughout their journey. Then, think about the most valuable content or information at each stage.

Here are a few lifecycle campaign ideas that can guide your content creation:

  • Awareness: Share educational resources or thought leadership content to introduce your product/service and its value proposition.
  • Consideration: Help customers get started with your product and understand its value.
  • Conversion: Encourage regular use of your product or service to drive conversions or repeat purchases.
  • Retention: Provide helpful tips, personalized recommendations, and loyalty incentives to keep customers engaged and satisfied. pro tip: Use Liquid to personalize messaging

Liquid is a powerful templating language allowing you to insert customer data into your marketing messages, such as their name or previous purchase history. This personalization can create a more meaningful connection with your customers and increase the effectiveness of your lifecycle marketing.

Your guide to intermediate and advanced Liquid

Real-life success story: How Chameleon improved retention by highlighting “sticky” features

Chameleon got to the heart of what keeps their customers coming back for more. They dug into the data to pinpoint the “sticky” features that the most devoted users can’t live without. They then launched targeted campaigns to showcase the features to users who had yet to discover them.

Read all about Chameleon’s strategy in our guide to lifecycle marketing for product-led growth.

4. Leverage all your data

Tracking and analyzing customer data is crucial for understanding how to best engage with your audience. Data can not only help you define your audience and know if they’ve hit an aha moment, but it will also help you inform your lifecycle marketing strategies. 

Think of all the puzzle pieces that make up a detailed picture of your customer’s interactions with your brand. By tracking attributes like renewal dates or account creation, events such as opting into a newsletter, page views on your help articles, or even the type of device they use to check out your service, you start to see patterns that can translate into actionable insights.

For example, you may notice that customers who opt into your newsletter have a higher retention rate. This could indicate that this is a valuable touchpoint for engaging with customers and fostering loyalty. Or, you may see that mobile device customers tend to convert at a lower rate than desktop users. This could suggest optimizing your mobile experience or targeting these customers differently. pro tip: Tap into all your data with a customer data platform (CDP)

A CDP pulls your customer data from various sources—app usage, purchase history, customer service interactions, and more—into one cohesive, unified profile for each person. It’s not just about having more data; it’s about having smarter data that allows you to craft hyper-personalized lifecycle marketing strategies that resonate deeply with your customers. When every piece of their data informs how you engage with them, your marketing feels less like a loudspeaker and more like a conversation.

Recommended reading: What is first-party data, and why is it important?

5. Iterate for improvement

Start simple. By focusing on a specific segment, a specific aha moment, and a specific stage of the customer journey, you can pour your attention into crafting messages that truly resonate. Then, as you gain more data and insights, you can expand your lifecycle marketing strategies to new segments, stages, or conversion moments. Keep testing, learning, and refining to optimize the effectiveness of your campaigns and drive even better results for your business.

A great place to start is to ask yourself, “What action do I want my audience to take?” and then hypothesize, “What do I think will influence that action?” 

Incorporate various testing methods

Testing is essential to improve the effectiveness of your lifecycle marketing. Here are three testing methods you can use throughout your lifecycle campaigns:

  • A/B testing: Compare two message versions to see which performs better with your audience.
  • Cohort testing: An advanced testing method where subscribers are grouped by specific criteria to conduct nuanced A/B tests tailored to each segment’s unique preferences.
  • Holdout testing: Track the performance of customers who do versus don’t receive a specific campaign to measure its impact on key metrics like retention or conversion.
Lifecycle marketing strategy: A/B testing example from within pro tip: Remember timing!

The timing of your messages can significantly impact their effectiveness. With delivery time windows, you can optimize the timing of your messages to ensure they reach your customers when they’re most impactful.

The state of lifecycle marketing report download banner

A powerful lifecycle marketing strategy leads to strong customer relationships

Crafting lasting relationships with your customers hinges on genuine connections. Every message should be more than just words—a personally tailored handshake, a smile, or an affirmation that you understand and value each customer’s needs. That’s the power of a strong lifecycle marketing strategy; it considers each customer’s unique journey and guides them toward achieving their goals with your product or service.

If you want to enhance your lifecycle marketing and develop deeper, more personal connections with your customers, start your free 14-day trial of today!