How to Create an Online Marketing Strategy for the Customer Life Cycle

Online marketing for an eCommerce website must address all areas of the customer buying cycle to be as effective as possible. The customer buying cycle follows the general stages of awareness, consideration, purchase, service and loyalty. While many will recognise that it is important in online marketing to ensure a brand is visible on many platforms, consideration must also be given to the continuing relationship a customer has with the brand, to achieve not only sales but a rise in popularity for the brand.Awareness: The awareness level of online marketing includes the most basic internet based ads, where users can find a brand without actually searching it out. However brand awareness can also be achieved through more sophisticated internet marketing techniques, such as using social media to create a word of mouth effect, giving credibility and a sense of desirability to the brand.Consideration: Online marketing must also account for the customer’s tendency to research products and brands online before a purchase is made. Once again, social media is useful in building a popular image for your brand, and for propagating customer reviews. Your internet marketing cannot possibly control every representation of your brand that is present on the web, but encouraging a strong online presence builds an image of your brand as reliable and trustworthy. Featuring in-depth blogs that educate the buyer on your website are another effective online marketing technique.Purchase: The customer has made the decision to actually visit your online store and make a purchase, but your internet marketing strategy is far from over! Full consideration must be given to the usability of the website, encouraging quick purchases. Make online forms easy to fill out, with directions for the user clearly set out. Ensure that all terms of sale, such as delivery costs and return policies, are visible and not deceptive in any way.Service: Many products may need ongoing service, and while this is often looked on as a nuisance a good internet marketing strategy views it as an opportunity to build an ongoing relationship with the customer. Help services can be conducted through online messaging or email, both of which encourage the buyer to return to the website.Loyalty: Customer loyalty can be built through online marketing techniques such as blogs, newsletters and social forums. The aim in this area of online marketing is to construct an interactive community of fans, who will in turn contribute to the continuation of the cycle, by increasing awareness of the brand.