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How to Create a Customer Activation Strategy (With 5 Examples) ?

How do you keep your customers coming back, and better yet, turn them into advocates for your brand?

Customer activation is the key – let’s talk all things customer activation strategy, its benefits, how to build one and how to leverage it for a favorable customer experience (with tangible examples of course).


What is a customer activation strategy?

A customer activation strategy is a set of steps and actions to take in order to incite your customers to move on to the next stages of their lifecycle as efficiently as possible.

Customer activation strategies target a variety of users, including:

  • Currently active customers

  • Previously active customers

  • Customers who have recently returned

Many times, these customers will naturally move throughout the customer journey without any help. However, a successful customer activation strategy helps move them more efficiently and in the right direction.

For many marketers, setting up a customer activation strategy is about creating an impression on their customers. Nonetheless, an impactful impression is achieved differently according to the attributes, needs and wants of each customer segment. There are three ways to incite your customers movement towards an actionable positive impression and one of the most difficult tasks is determining which move is best fit for which customer :

  1. Nudge them

  2. Push them

  3. Leave them

Three options might sound simple, right? – but when you’re dealing with hundreds, thousands, or even millions of customers with each being in a different stage of their lifecycle, with their own personal preferences, and unique experience with your brand, it’s not always easy to make to pick the right path.

Therefore, creating an activation strategy is the first step towards taking the best course of actions. A well mapped out strategy, leveraging your multichannel capabilities and connecting at the right touchpoint would help you set off the movement of your customers in the right direction.

Why is customer activation important?

Besides the obvious benefit of generating more revenue as your customers return or upgrade to repeat buyers status, let’s look at some of the other advantages that implementing a customer activation strategy can bring to your business.

1. Lower your cost of acquisition

Obtaining new customers costs 5x as much as re-engaging with your existing ones. Indeed, creating a customer activation strategy is a cost-effective way to bring customers back into your sales funnel. Furthermore, it allows you to move these customers through their lifecycle, whether they’re active customers or dormant ones. Therefore, adopting such a strategy means that you can spend less time and money worrying about acquiring new customers and leveraging the existing potential.

2. Raise your ROI

When you retarget existing customers with a customer activation strategy, you already have some insights into their behavior and interaction with your brand. Which inevitably makes deploying targeted and personalised offers to these customers a more efficient task. Therefore resulting in higher conversion rates and, ultimately, higher return on investment compared to other marketing tactics.

3. Increase your customer lifetime value

Over time, your existing customers will likely bring more value to your brand and make more purchases compared to new prospects. 

Therefore, the key is to keep your active customers engaged through an effective customer activation strategy. Moreover, enriching their customer experience will inevitably increase their lifetime value, prolong their customer lifecycle and bring your company more and more value.

How to create a customer activation strategy?

Activating and re-engaging with your customers is about more than just extracting value from the relationship customers entertain with your brand. It extends to their ability to obtain value from this relationship in return.

Fifty-eight percent of customers will pay higher prices for products and services from brands that offer exceptional customer service – but delivering that high level of value throughout their lifecycle can be challenging. Therefore, the main components of a successful customer activation strategy reside within taking the five steps below:

1. Know your customers

An impactful customer activation strategy starts with getting to know your customers. However, simply obtaining their information is no longer enough, the challenge resides in how to turn your customer data into something actionable?

The answer is quite straightforward: by creating and maintaining buyer personas for your different customer segments.

2. Create your buyer personas

Constructing a buyer persona is an approach through which you can gain exclusive insight into a particular customer segment. Indeed, each buyer persona you create should capture unique traits about the customers’ segment it intends to portray (wants, needs and motivations behind a purchase). Which can then be used to engage with and activate these customers behaviors and interactions throughout their customers lifecycles.

For your customer activation strategy, you’ll want to create a minimum of three buyer personas targeting the three groups we mentioned earlier: current customers, previous customers, and newly returning customers. Each of these buyer personas must be managed by your marketing team through relevant content to appeal to and engage with the buyer persona in question.

3. Identify customer online behavior

Establishing buyer personas used to rely on obtaining customers’ data and identifying behavioral patterns through their interactions with your marketing efforts. However, monitoring online behavior has enhanced marketers’ ability to predict their customers upcoming steps within the lifecycle through collected behavioral data . Therefore, making such insight crucial to conducting a successful activation strategy.

Indeed, identifying customers' online behavior allows marketing professionals to detect the most effective channels to reach their customers and spot the type of content they’re more likely to interact with. Thus, avoiding negative interactions as well such as unsubscribing or dislike for the brand.

4. Create your customer journey map

Constructing your customer journey map starts with defining an overall goal for your actions such as “customer activation”. A customer journey map should evidently revolve around a single buyer persona for increased efficiency of your marketing activation efforts.

This essential step to every successful customer journey map comes as a second to establishing your buyer personas. Defining the buying process and customer touchpoints beforehand helps to determine which actions your customers are to take, and the channels used to do so. Therefore, it allows you to address their pain points and create a multichannel customer journey map.

5. Identify customer stage and speed

Customer’s stage and speed are two essential elements for a more in depth understanding of your customers and influencing their behavior throughout their life cycles. 

Identifying the stage at which your customers are allows you to prompt their movement within the sales funnel whilst taking into consideration their buying habits and frequency. Therefore, allowing you to increase their speed of movement throughout the lifecycle to achieve the status of “advocate”. The best way to obtain such results is by creating content and engaging in marketing campaigns along the customer journey map.

5 ideas and examples of customer activation strategies

Customer activation strategies enable marketers to build and sustain better customer relationships, boost conversions and efficiently manage customer interactions with your brand throughout the lifecycle. Customer activation strategies will vary according to the stage you customer is at. Below are 5 different customer strategies, illustrating the different approaches to be adopted at different customer stages:

1. Welcoming new subscribers

An effective workflow for new subscribers sets the tone for a lasting relationship and lays the foundation for your prospects’ future interactions with your brand. Considered as some of the highest performing brand activation strategies, the opening rate for these campaigns is around 29.7% with a signficantly high average conversion rate. These customer activation scenarios are often times triggered by new subscriptions which instigate: 

  • A welcome campaign that re-establishes your brand’s value proposition, sets your customers expectations with regard to your content’s quality and frequency 

  • A promotional email if for example no interactions happened within the three weeks time frame. This could either be a coupon or a bonus piece of content exclusive to your target segment.


2. Engaging with first-time buyers

Existing customers who have successfully made their first purchase can either be  the easiest or the hardest to move to the next stage of their lifecycle.  Many companies mistakenly concentrate their efforts on long existing customers or on new leads. However, it’s of the utmost importance to building a sustainable and successful customer relationship to keep the new first-buyers engaged as well.

As per the scenario below, it’s very important to keep the conversation going through different interactions at different touch points of the customer lifecycle. Based on the buyer persona and preferences of the customer in question, you may map a successful customer engagement strategy through multi-channel interactions using the most adequate content.

Second purchase

3. Boosting previous customers

Multi-channel marketing can prove to be quite handy when it comes to boosting engagement with previous customers that are yet to reinstate a favorable purchasing behavior towards your brand. 

An incentive for coming back might be necessary in such cases according to the buyer persona. However, One thing is sure: a well-thought out customer activation strategy in such cases must include different interactions through different channels providing different advantages (personalisation, interesting content, etc.) at different touch points

4. Endorse recurring customers

Customers who have repeatedly interacted with your brand are proof of a successful activation marketing strategy. However, this success can both be maintained and capitalized on through inciting these customers to become brand advocates. 

As shown in the example below, interactions at this stage may include frequent conversations about updated features, on-going interesting deals, and early sneak-peeks into interesting content or releases

Engagement reward

5. Uphold loyal customers

Achieving a larger base of loyal customers is every brand activation strategy’s end goal (and every marketer’s dream). Loyal customers are the best brand advocates, but by no means the least important ones to activate. Indeed, for this customer stage to be sustained in the long term and to grow in terms of adherents, considerable marketing efforts need to be mapped out according to a well thought-out customer activation strategy. 

These efforts however are much different then those deployed at other stages of the customer journey. Maintaining a successful customer relationship with loyal customers comes down to answering different needs such as appreciation, acknowledgment of loyalty, personalized interactions and even exclusive ones. 

For more customer activation strategy ideas, be sure to check out our guide on customer activation scenarios!

Efficiently interact with your customers through their lifecycle with Actito

You cross paths with your customers and prospects at different touchpoints all throughout their experience with your brand.

Each time this happens is an opportunity to turn a potential customer into a recurring one and a recurring one into a brand advocate. Actito is a platform designed for customer activation at its core that can help you get a full view of your customers interactions, map out their journey, and create a customer activation strategy to move them through their lifecycle faster.

Do you need help activating your customers?

About the author


Isabelle Henry

Head of Inbound and Growth

Always on the lookout for new skills and always ready to launch new marketing projects at Actito, I rely on my personal experiences but also on everything that is happening in the digital world to continue to learn, educate and share with you through inspiring content. My little extras? Video editing and photography!