Everything You Should Know About Flywheel Marketing

Brianna Anderson
Stephanie Gray
Published: Jan 10, 2024
Last Updated:
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The Internet has made it easier than ever before for customers to crowdsource product recommendations and discover companies. According to a 2023 survey by PYMNTS, 43% of consumers browse social media platforms to find products and services. Many customers also read online reviews, forums, and other user-generated content before purchasing products. 

Flywheel marketing helps companies make the most out of digital word-of-mouth. This approach focuses on creating positive experiences for clients so they organically become advocates for your brand. This strategy can lead to self-sustaining business growth as happy customers continually attract new customers to your brand community. 

What Is Flywheel Marketing?

Researcher, writer, and teacher  Jim Collins developed the flywheel concept to explain why some businesses grow quickly and others fall short. The metaphor is simple: Picture your business’s growth as an enormous, heavy wheel on an axis. At first, the wheel may only budge a few inches, no matter how hard you push it. However, once the wheel starts turning, it gradually gains momentum until it’s spinning quickly with minimal effort. 

The flywheel is a community marketing strategy that uses customers as the engine to drive growth. In other words, satisfied customers become the energy that makes the wheel spin as they buy your products and promote your brand. As the number of happy customers grows, the wheel spins faster and faster, creating a self-sustaining growth cycle. 

How Does the Flywheel Model Work?

The flywheel metaphor is a helpful way to think about business growth, but what does this model look like in action? 

Flywheel marketing views customers as a vital asset for business growth. This approach aims to deliver value throughout the customer journey to increase brand loyalty and create lasting relationships. To accomplish these goals, marketers follow three basic flywheel stages.  

1. Attract

Building positive relationships starts by drawing in prospective customers. Producing quality content is one of the most effective ways to attract new leads. Begin by considering the needs and interests of your target audience. What problems do they need to solve? What innovations, trends, and shortcuts do they want to learn about? 

Next, create engaging content that delivers fresh insights and solutions. For example, you could develop a series of free webinars exploring your industry's latest technologies. Or you could write blog posts that propose clever solutions to common challenges your customers face. You can mention your brand in this content, but this isn’t the time to make a sales pitch. Instead, focus on providing helpful information and building trust. 

2. Engage

The next phase of the content marketing flywheel aims to convert leads into customers and strengthen your relationship with existing brand users. There are many ways to engage customers, including: 

  • Personalized email campaigns: Segment customers based on their needs and preferences and email them tailored content, such as exclusive discounts and product recommendations.
  • Loyalty programs: Create programs that reward customers for making repeat purchases or engaging with your brand. For instance, you could offer exclusive discounts for customers who follow you on social media or refer new customers.
  • Virtual events: Host webinars and other virtual events that educate attendees about your industry and products.

These strategies let you build meaningful connections with customers and deepen their understanding of your brand. 

3. Delight

The final stage involves providing consistently outstanding and memorable experiences to customers. There are many ways to surpass client expectations, such as: 

  • Offering friendly and responsive customer service
  • Delivering personalized content
  • Providing exclusive educational content 
  • Engaging with clients on social media
  • Inviting and responding to customer feedback 

Client delight is critical to a successful flywheel approach. Satisfied customers can become your brand’s biggest cheerleaders and share their experiences with their community. This advocacy can lead to exponential growth as current clients draw in new leads organically. 

By contrast, customers who interact negatively with your brand can lose trust and loyalty. If many clients don't feel engaged and delighted, your spinning flywheel may lose momentum as your retention rates plummet and business growth slows. 

Funnel vs. Flywheel: Which One Is Better?

The flywheel approach is a relatively new alternative to the sales funnel. There are several factors to consider when comparing these two methods. 

 Traditional Marketing Funnel:Flywheel Approach:Approach:A linear model that focuses on converting leads into sales A cyclic model that continually attracts, engages, and delights customers Focus:Prioritizes continually generating new leadsEmphasizes building long-term relationships with customers and turning them into brand advocates Key Performance Indicators:Conversion rates, click-through rates, sales revenue Customer satisfaction scores, social media shares, user-generated content  

Your business goals can help you determine which approach works best. The traditional marketing funnel can be effective for companies with short sales cycles. For example, businesses selling seasonal products or big-ticket items like cars may focus on attracting new leads instead of getting repeat business. 

However, companies that rely on continuous customer engagement often prefer the flywheel method. For instance, a software firm selling subscription services might prioritize long-term customer satisfaction and retention. The flywheel method is also helpful for companies that value community engagement marketing and organic lead generation

Why Should You Use This Inbound Marketing Strategy?

The flywheel model is a powerful community marketing strategy with many benefits. 

Get High-Quality Leads

This customer-centric approach makes it easier for your sales team to attract and identify leads with a strong interest in your offerings. People who attend your webinars or follow your content on social media are more likely to convert to sales than those who stumble across your website randomly. Focusing your marketing efforts on these high-quality leads can increase your sales.  

Build a Loyal Customer Community

Customers will return to your brand if you satisfy them and offer many avenues of engagement. They’re also more likely to refer their colleagues, friends, and family to your company. As users spread the word about your business, you’ll create an ever-growing community of enthusiastic followers.

Achieve Sustainable Growth and Sales

According to McKinsey & Company, companies that use the flywheel method convert over 4% of their online traffic into sales. Additionally, users generate over 75% of content about these brands. These interactions can lead to a positive feedback loop of customer engagement and advocacy that helps companies achieve growth and increase sales. 

Examples of Winning Strategies for Each Flywheel Model Phase

Many companies have already embraced the flywheel approach. Let's take a closer look at case studies for each phase. 

Attract Phase: Create Valuable Content

Sniffspot is a website that allows dog owners to rent private property for safe, off-leash exercise. The company attracts potential customers by offering hundreds of educational blog posts on dog training, enrichment, and other topics. This valuable content helps pet owners learn more about their dogs and introduces them to the Sniffspot brand. 

Engage Phase: Form Strong Relationships

The ride-sharing platform Uber uses many marketing techniques to build positive relationships with riders. For example, the Uber Rewards program lets customers earn points for every purchase they can redeem for rewards. The company also uses in-car tablets in some cities to show customers personalized infotainment and advertisements. These strategies can make riders feel valued and incentivize them to return to the platform.

Delight Phase: Play a Key Role in Helping Them Achieve Goals

The Walt Disney World theme park has developed a loyal fanbase by providing exceptional guest experiences. The park uses guest feedback to improve its services continually. The company also offers many opportunities for guests to engage with cast members individually or in small groups. These strategies promote customer success by enabling guests to have memorable experiences they can share on social media. 

How Do You Measure the Success of This Inbound Strategy?

The flywheel aims to help organizations achieve self-sustaining business and community growth. But because this approach emphasizes long-term goals, it doesn’t always lead to an immediate spike in sales. 

However, marketing professionals can use many metrics to measure the impact of this inbound strategy. Flywheel analytics include: 

  • Customer retention rate: Track engagement by monitoring the number of customers who return to your brand.
  • Product reviews: Online reviews reveal if your customers are delighted or disappointed by your offerings.
  • Referral rate: Assess customer advocacy by tracking how many inbound leads come from referrals from existing clients.
  • Social media engagement: Likes, follows, and shares can help you check the level of community engagement.

These key performance indicators can help you evaluate your success and identify areas for improvement.

How Compose.ly Can Help You Attract Your Customers

If you’re ready to get your flywheel spinning, you can start by creating valuable content for potential and existing customers. 

Compose.ly is here to help you develop winning content that connects with your audience and encourages engagement. Our skilled writers create a broad range of content, including blog posts, eBooks, emails, and social media posts. They'll use their experience in your industry to generate the content you need to boost engagement and grow your business. 

Contact us today to learn more about how our services can help you attract new leads, raise brand awareness, and meet your goals. 


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