For too many companies the sales and marketing funnel is thought of as a one-way street. Get in front of a prospect; convert them to a lead; qualify the opportunity, and close the deal. The marketing team and the sales team are equally guilty of this one direction thinking. Acquisition is all that matters, retention will be left to later.
If your marketing funnel has a start and finish, you’re missing the real revenue opportunity.
Everyone needs to acquire new customers to grow their business. However, if you forget to include your current customers in your communications strategy, you’re missing significant revenue opportunities.
Extending the traditional sales and marketing funnel
Typically marketers thinks about what it will take to engage a prospect as they’re researching a new purchase. The marketing team will look at how to help the prospect answer their key questions and convert that prospect into a new customer.
Great, you have a new customer but now what? If you don’t keep your customers engaged then you’ve put all of this effort in for nothing.
The number one thing missing:
Including loyalty and renewal in your communications strategy
Did I make the right decision?
– your Customer
In their article “It’s Cheaper to Keep ‘Em” Inc. Magazine talked about the issue that many companies face as they grow. As they build up their customer base, their acquisition costs also tends to increase. This means to be profitable these companies need to be able to retain these customers longer to recoup the acquisition costs. So the old adage ‘it cost more to acquire a new customer than it does to keep an existing one’still rings true.
How to build retention into your sales and marketing funnel
Think about your lead nurturing as a process not just to acquire a new customer, but one to help you retain and upsell existing customers. This means you need to develop a long-term communications strategy that is integrated with the entire customer lifecycle from prospective buyer, to new business, to loyal customer.
Check out these easy steps to engage customers in your marketing funnel while leveraging content you’re developing for your prospects:
Create a “best of the blog” customer communication
Newsletters can be time consuming to create so leverage the work you’re already doing by sharing your great blog content in summary format. If your customers find it interesting, they can click through to read the full articles.
Give them your latest and greatest
Provide your customers with easy access access to your new premium content pieces as you release them. If your using a marketing automation system like HubSpot you can use the “Smart Tools” to give your customers access without requiring a form completion.
Invite them to join you
Many companies understand the importance of creating content and developing their thought leadership. If you’re holding a webinar, speaking at a conference or teaching a seminar, let your customers know. They may be interested in attending as well.
All of these activities combined will keep your customers engaged in the value you create, and the new offerings you’re releasing. You’ll find that more than a few of your current customers will be interested in looking at that new demo.
So remember your current customers are actually the most likely to buy again so nurture them as well.