To scale any business effectively, you must capitalize on all momentum and maintain a consistent, self-sustaining improvement cycle. We know this as the flywheel effect, based on the idea that small wins lead to more significant results over time.
What Is a Flywheel?
A flywheel is a mechanical energy storage device that uses momentum to maintain its rotation. It is often compared to a wheel on a railcar that helps propel the vehicle forward by building up speed.
In business terms, the flywheel effect is the idea that small wins often lead to more significant gains down the line. Through consistent effort and determination, each small win can create momentum that builds up and carries the business forward.
For example, providing exceptional customer service may lead to word-of-mouth referrals and increased sales, leading to higher profits and further growth opportunities. 86% of buyers will pay more for a great customer experience, according to research.
You may have heard of the “customer lifecycle.” This represents how a customer moves through the “flywheel” of your company’s marketing and product offerings.
Automating the customer lifecycle will enable you to focus on creating more value and improving the customer experience. As a result, you can reach more customers, increase retention, and generate more profits.
Funnel vs. Flywheel
We often compare flywheels to funnels, but they’re not the same. Funnels are linear, while flywheels are circular.
Funnels focus on short-term gains and often have a narrow focus; flywheels look toward long-term success and are more holistic.
When creating your marketing and product plans, it’s best to think of the funnel as the initial contact, while the flywheel is the cycle of customer experience, growth, and profit.
It’s like the difference between a one-time transaction and a long-term relationship. A funnel is a single tool used to drive a purchase, while a flywheel is a continuous cycle of connection, satisfaction, and loyalty.
While a funnel is like a first date, a flywheel is like a marriage—it takes effort and commitment to keep it going!
How Does Flywheel Marketing Work?
The idea behind a marketing flywheel is simple: capitalize on the momentum and maintain the cycle.
To get the most out of a flywheel, you need to focus on four key steps:
- Provide exceptional value: Provide value to your customers and prospects by offering incentives, discounts, and content that will increase the likelihood of them becoming loyal customers.
- Measure success: Track your metrics and use them to identify areas where you need improvement.
- Analyze and optimize: Find problems and optimize your processes.
- Iterate and repeat: Keep going! Small wins may be obvious or subtle, but they’ll add up to create larger, more significant wins.
Content inertia states that the more content you produce, the larger your flywheel will become, and the easier it will be to maintain a steady flow of content and ideas that will fuel your momentum.
For example, let’s say you create a blog post that covers a specific topic. Repurpose the post as a video, infographic, or story. Then, share the content on social media, email it to your list, and use it in campaigns.
Creating more content can generate more interest and keep people coming back to your site. As you continue to create and post content, your flywheel can become bigger and stronger.
Levels of Friction
Ensure the cycle runs smoothly to get the most out of your flywheel. This means removing any sources of friction in the customer journey.
By addressing any pain points or potential roadblocks, you can ensure that your flywheel will spin more efficiently and generate more value for your business.
For example, if a customer has to fill out a long form or wait for approval before making a purchase, you’re adding a level of friction that can deter them from completing their purchase.
Or, if your website is slow or difficult to navigate, visitors will probably abandon the site before they ever get to the point of conversion. A site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate 3x higher than a site that loads in 5 seconds.
Even crazier, a site that loads in 1 second has a conversion rate 5x higher than a site that loads in 10 seconds. Removing friction makes an enormous difference!
Finally, the size of your flywheel will make a big difference in the overall impact of your efforts. A larger flywheel can generate more momentum and help your business reach new heights.
For example, if your flywheel consists of just one customer, you have limited potential for growth. However, if your flywheel includes a diverse set of customers, prospects, and influencers, its growth potential is much greater.
You could also consider using automation to add more potential customers to your flywheel. For example, automated systems like email campaigns can help you reach more people and keep them engaged with your content and products.
The average ROI through email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent. To maximize your return on investment, leveraging automated systems to reach a larger audience and maintain their interest is essential.
Converting Your Sales Funnel Into a Flywheel
Although funnels and flywheels serve different purposes in a business context, you can combine them to get the best of both worlds.
For example, your sales funnel might look something like this:
Awareness –> Interest –> Consideration –> Purchase
To turn this into a flywheel, you can add additional steps to encourage repeat customers, like this:
Awareness –> Interest –> Consideration –> Purchase –> Loyalty –> Advocacy
Adding steps to your funnel can create a flywheel that converts one-time customers into loyal, repeat customers who advocate for your brand.
To give a real-life example, take a look at the customer flywheel of Amazon:
- Awareness: Amazon’s visibility and customer experience create a positive brand image.
- Interest: Amazon’s Prime membership and continuous discounts keep customers interested and wanting more.
- Consideration: Amazon’s product selection and reviews help customers compare products and make informed purchasing decisions.
- Purchase: Amazon’s easy checkout and secure payment system make it effortless to buy products.
- Loyalty: Amazon’s rewards program, Prime membership, and personalized recommendations keep customers coming back.
- Advocacy: Amazon’s social sharing tools and customer reviews give customers the power to support the brand.
As you can see, customers now have the power to become advocates for Amazon.
Using Amazon’s social sharing tools, such as product reviews, customers can share their experiences with the brand and build trust with potential customers. This inevitably leads to increased brand loyalty and more sales.
Examples of Flywheel Marketing Content
Here are some examples of content you can use to feed the flywheel and keep it spinning:
Blog Posts and Articles
Create targeted content to answer customer questions, highlight product benefits, and offer valuable tips and advice.
Answer any customer questions in the comments section to foster an inclusive, customer-focused community. For instance, you can create content on how to use your product, such as a tutorial video or a blog post that answers frequently asked questions.
Videos are an engaging medium for showcasing products and services and different aspects of the customer journey.
You can also use videos to tell stories and provide visual demonstrations of features.
A product demonstration video can help customers learn how to work with a product. And a story video can illustrate the company’s values and commitment to customer service.
Social Media Posts and Ads
Social media is essential for any successful marketing campaign. Create content that adds value, entertains, and engages with followers. You can also use social media ads to attract new customers and nurture existing ones.
It’s like putting out a fishing line, where you’re trying to lure in and keep customers with content that speaks to their interests and needs. A social media ad acts like a tasty, irresistible bait, ensuring that your line catches a few more fish each time.
Webinars and Live Events
Webinars and live events are excellent ways to build relationships with customers and prospects. They offer the opportunity to engage with a large audience in real time, allowing attendees to ask questions and get answers at the moment.
They provide an opportunity to build trust and credibility with potential customers by providing valuable content and expertise.
For instance, an expert in the industry could host a webinar on social media marketing, and attendees could learn valuable tips and strategies while also getting to know the host in a more personal way.
Creating an email newsletter is a great way to stay in touch with customers. Use the newsletter to share helpful information, special offers, and product updates.
An email newsletter allows you to reach a large audience quickly and cost-effectively. It also helps to build relationships with customers and keep them up to date on what your company is doing.
Plus, it’s easy to track and measure the success of your email campaigns. For instance, you can measure open and click-through rates to see which emails are most effective in engaging your customers.
Wrapping Up Flywheel Marketing
A flywheel effectively creates a customer-centric cycle that keeps customers engaged and loyal. Creating an effective flywheel can turn one-time buyers into repeat customers who advocate for your brand.
To create a successful flywheel, you need to invest in content creation and use automated systems to help you reach and engage with a larger audience. You can combine your funnel and flywheel to get the best of both worlds.
With the right combination of content and automation, you can boost your return on investment and create a loyal pool of customers. John Sculley, a former CEO of Apple, once wrote: “As a brand marketer, I’m a big believer in ‘branding the customer experience,’ not just selling the service.”