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Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): The Top Priority for Marketers
SMS Marketing Best Practices

Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV): The Top Priority for Marketers

CLTV is how much a single customer will contribute to your business over their time purchasing with you. The higher your CLTV is, the more loyal and valuable your customers become.

June 24, 2022

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This quote by Maya Angelou is not only a great lesson for personal lives but a great one for business. 

We all want our brand to make people feel good. One brand that’s doing just that (and we have the tweets to prove it) is Trader Joe’s. 

Example #1:

Example #2: 

The goal is to give off Big Trader Joe’s Energy (but, of course, make it your own). 

How you make customers feel (aka customer loyalty) is the way to boost revenue and will continue to become an even more vital part of eCommerce marketing. 

What is CLTV? AKA Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value (CLTV) is a key marketing metric to track your customer experience and how your customers contribute to your company as a whole. This is the total amount spent by customers throughout the period of their relationship with your brand. It is more cost-efficient to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, so increasing the value of your current customers is important to the growth of your brand.

It’s anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one. With recent changes in the digital marketing ecosystem, such as the iOS 14 update, the costs of acquiring new customers are higher than ever. 

Many brands have mitigated these changes by developing brand loyalty and focusing on CLTV through a fantastic customer experience, loyalty programs, and marketing to existing customers. These efforts don’t go unnoticed. Research done by Bain & Company found that a 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25% to 95%. 

In a Starbucks case study, they calculated that a Starbucks’ Customer Lifetime Value is $14,099, which can be attributed to high customer satisfaction. 

Overall, CLTV is how much a single customer will contribute to your business over their time purchasing with you. The higher your CLTV is, the more loyal and valuable your customers become. 

How to Maximize Customer Lifetime Value 

“The CLTV side has never been more important. When you can prove that revenue over time, not the one-month period but over six months, you will see a repeat in your customers, you will see an increase in CLTV,” said Voyage SMS CEO Rev Reddy.

So how can you maximize your CLTV? Here are a few things to focus on: 

Making Your Customers Feel Special 

Making sure your customers feel special with every touch point is the best way to gain their loyalty. A great onboarding or welcome experience is the perfect way to connect with them from the get-go. You can add a little something extra to their order, such as samples, a note, or a coupon for their next purchase. Another way is to give your customers amazing and attentive customer service when needed, whether in-store or over chat/SMS. All these little things add up to an incredible customer experience. 

Focus on More Frequent and Larger Orders 

Depending on the nature of your business, you may have a limited average customer lifetime. So achieving more frequent orders or larger orders will improve your CLTV. Implementing abandonment campaigns to close sales, bundling products, personalized product suggestions, reorder reminders, etc., can improve order amounts and size. 

Build Relationships 

Consistent helpful and personalized communication with your customers over time will build loyalty and trust. Using SMS and email campaigns to celebrate your customer's birthdays or other special events, using segmentation to create personalized messages, and sending helpful and on-brand content will all build up customer relationships.  

You can also create a feeling of exclusivity with your customers by using loyalty programs or special VIP sales. 

Learn and Improve  

Your customer data and customer service information are important guides to improving your CLTV. Understanding what makes a high CLTV customer or what factors are deterring customers from purchasing again are actionable insights for your operations and marketing team. 

How to Use SMS to Increase CLTV

Text messaging is amongst the most sacred and effective communication channels today. Alongside group chats and one-to-one convos with loved ones, your marketing messages are amongst the most personal of interactions, getting in the literal hands of your audience. 

This highly personal, effective channel is the perfect tool to help you increase your CLTV. Here’s how: 


The importance of connecting with customers, especially online, has never been more critical. Despite online accessibility, brands face a lack of trust when customers shop digitally. People want human connection in these online interactions. This desire is changing the way consumers spend money and engage with brands.

This is why human-in-the-loop is so powerful. When you bring live SMS agents into high-value touch points with your customers, brands can see an incredible impact. For example, Thinx, a niche online underwear brand, used LiveRecover by Voyage agents to personally engage with customers to convert abandoned checkouts into sales. 

“Having live agents—not bots—recover our abandoned carts is super powerful,” said Brendan Hastings, VP of Digital Product and Engineering at Thinx. “They contact our customers manually to understand why they didn’t purchase, are able to answer their questions in real-time, and help them make a decision to buy.”‍ 

LiveRecover’s agents and SMS platform allow Thinx to have:

  • Their abandoned carts and customers’ contact details automatically sync to LiveRecover, meaning no admin time or input is required by Thinx.
  • Tailored, personalized texts are sent to customers 30 minutes after every cart is abandoned to understand why they didn’t buy.
  • Knowledgeable agents at the end of every text. They have the training and resources to answer all the common questions that make customers hesitate—such as shipping, fit or measurement, and other product-specific queries. 
  • Agents offer a small discount, typically in the form of free shipping, to seal the deal.

In just eight months of Thinx using live agents, they have recovered more than $450k of revenue

🔎 Click here to read the full case study.

74% of customers say they would rather interact with a person than a chatbot or automated text. From a customer's perspective, it is a much better experience to reach a live agent, especially if they are trying to resolve an issue or have a question. In fact, the majority of customers want to actively write back to businesses about customer support issues. 

Overall, live SMS agents help build a good rapport with the customer, which directly affects CLTV and customer loyalty. 

Preventing Let Downs

Utilizing SMS can help prevent customer disappointments that may tarnish your relationship. For example, instead of just having “sold out” on an out-of-stock item, allow your customers to sign up for back-in-stock SMS notifications on the product page. Doing this will turn a disappointment into a positive customer experience and will help you close dangling leads. 

👀 How Lokai Used Back-in-Stock SMS Notification and Saw ROAS of 916X

Another situation where SMS can prevent a negative customer experience is with recurring transaction reminders. By giving your customers a heads up on their upcoming transaction, you give them:

  • Time to pause or cancel their subscription, which prevents chargeback fraud and creates a better customer experience
  • A reminder that a charge will be on their card statement shortly, which prevents friendly fraud chargebacks
  • A chance to add more items to their order

Personalization Through Segmentation

Using your SMS platforms segmentation tools, you’ll be able to micro-market at scale based on customer attributes and event history. For example, Birthdate Co. creates one-of-a-kind astrology candles and books. To segment its customer base, Birthdate Co. created highly-targeted weekly horoscope SMS campaigns. As a result, they saw CTRs of over 20%.

Finding ways to interact with your customers through personalization makes them feel special and makes your marketing messages more effective. 

Communicating With Loyal Customers 

When brands use SMS and a loyalty program together, you combine the most personal marketing channel with your most loyal customers. Brands can easily segment customers and send targeted text messages based on loyalty status or other events. Powerful segmentation, filtering, and automation combined with loyalty and customer information creates hyper-personalized SMS messaging that drives repeat purchases and improves your CLTV.

Voyage’s Focus on Customer Lifetime Value

At Voyage, we understand brands measure performance not only in today's reach, ROI, and bottom line but also in the sustainable health of customer relationships and experiences. Creating a delightful customer experience for you and your customers is at the center of everything we do. 

If you like to learn more about the Voyage SMS platform and how it can improve your CLTV, request a demo today! 
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