Relationship Marketing and the Art of the Post-Purchase Marketing Funnel
The art of lead generation has always been critical for businesses. According to a 2021 HubSpot study, marketers pinpointed lead generation as their top priority. For many years, marketing has been all about generating interest with the end goal of closing sales.
Today, however, it’s more about customer engagement, meaning customers don’t just passively consume marketing content. They interact with your brand. When customers are involved in two-way communication, it drives the brand loyalty that companies need for long-term success.
This interaction doesn’t end with the sale. With the right customer engagement strategies, brands keep customers returning to buy again and again and even turn customers into advocates who share their enthusiasm with others. That word-of-mouth promotion is some of the most effective marketing and is great for cultivating more loyal buyer behavior.
Known as “relationship marketing,” this approach focuses on retaining customers by maintaining total customer satisfaction over the entire sales process and beyond. It offers a new take on the traditional marketing-sales funnel—one that pays more attention to what happens after the sale.
The 4 Stages of the Post-Purchase Marketing Funnel
The first stage of this approach is adoption. After the customer has made a purchase, your job is to make sure their initial use of your product or service goes smoothly.
Next is retention, when you can really strengthen the relationship with the customer. Reach out with offers that can help them make the most of the product over a longer period.
In the expansion stage, actively encourage customers to consider other offerings like add-ons, upgrades, or additional products. This stage can be the most critical because customers want to feel like a purchase has been a great investment. By successfully cross-selling—or upselling—you can be sure that they are getting the most out of your products.
Finally, if all has gone well, customers will enter the advocacy stage, where they act as loyal brand ambassadors for the long term. To ensure this loyalty, you must maintain that strong relationship with them over their whole customer lifetime. That doesn’t happen by itself.
5 Ways to Supercharge the Post-Purchase Marketing Funnel
To make the most of the post-purchase sales funnel, let’s look at several ways to nurture leads throughout it.
Be a problem-solving resource. Nurturing leads begins with articulating how you can solve specific problems. Solving customer pain points is an effective way to enhance brand loyalty. Analytics and SEO tools can help you understand buyer behavior so you can craft new content that will put your brand in front of customers searching for a solution.
Use social networking well. It’s not just about the traditional sites and channels. For example, in 2021, TikTok surpassed Google as the most popular domain on the internet. If you’ve ignored this channel, it’s time to revisit how you might leverage it. And remember that how and where people consume information changes frequently. Keep an eye on digital trends to make sure you know where your customers are spending time online. Find ways to meet them wherever they are and promote customer engagement.
Tell stories. People love stories. Use them to help prospective customers imagine how your product can improve their lives by solving their problems. One great way to do this is by posting engaging case studies on your website and social channels. This helps potential customers see how your brand can help them personally and adds credibility.
Communicate your values. People also gravitate toward values. Look for opportunities to let potential buyers learn more about your company’s values and culture. Let them know about your company’s involvement in the communities you serve. You want to communicate an inspiring vision of your company and local stakeholders working together to benefit the community.
Deliver exceptional experiences. The best way to convert leads into loyal customers and brand champions is to exceed their expectations. Partner with sales and customer success teams to identify emerging opportunities and barriers to delivering exceptional experiences. Remember, when it comes to providing outstanding experiences, your competition is not only within your niche, but also everywhere else your customers engage.
Start Building Your Post-Sale Funnel Today
A great post-sale funnel is about retaining customers and maintaining them—as brand advocates and enthusiasts for your products. Buyer behavior is greatly influenced by effective relationship marketing over the long term, so don’t squander the chance to keep customers engaged.
Start today by enhancing your presence on social networks, finding ways to reach out to customers and inspire them. All of this will pay off in the long run as your customers become loyal brand advocates for your business.
Lainie Johnson is a marketing communications manager at Jotform.