Business Advice Blog

Using Marketing to Re-Engage with Former Customers

Winning back lost customers

Businesses define “lost customers” in different ways. To some, these are customers or businesses that once purchased their goods or services, then stopped for any number of reasons (bad quality, inferior service, pricing issues, etc.). To others, the term refers to individuals or companies that, while no longer representing active sales, might be enticed to return under the right circumstances.

If your business adheres to the latter definition, this means you’ll willing to consider strategies to regain the trust of former customers. Fortunately, there are many ways to achieve this objective, and using marketing as a key resource might be the right tool for your business.

Here are tips on how to use marketing to re-engage with so-called “lost” customers:

Find out what went wrong. Knowing why a customer no longer buys your products or services is a good place to start. Assuming your database contains the email addresses and/or phone numbers of former customers, put together a brief email survey that includes something like the following:

  • Please tell us in your own words why you chose to no longer do business with us.
  • What can we do differently that would encourage you to take another look?
  • Would you like to learn more about how our offerings have changed since you left?

Some ex-customers will be delighted that you reached out to them and will let you know in detail why they left. Others will be more reluctant to respond. That’s why it’s a good idea to offer all survey participants a compelling reason to answer—a free download of a recent white paper, for example, or a discount on their next purchase.

Invite them to guide your business. Many companies have customer advisory boards or councils that help with product development, entry into new markets, “partnering strategies, merger and acquisition targets, marketing initiatives, branding and messaging,” notes B2B consultant Eyal Danon. The goal of such councils, he adds, is to “capture these actionable business recommendations, prioritize them and act on those that make the most sense for the business.”

Why not invite a former customer to participate in your board or council? These individuals might be flattered by this invitation and enthusiastically agree to take part. They might also have valuable insights and suggestions to offer. And—because you reached out in the first place—they might regain your legions of loyal customers.

Highlight product upgrades—and special offers—in your marketing materials. Ex-customers who take part in your survey or otherwise show interest in your products should receive customized marketing materials in return. Take what you’ve learned from the survey and craft a new message that highlights how your product or service has changed (for the better, of course) and how the customer will benefit from these improvements. As noted earlier, think about a special promotion that includes a one-time discount, as a way of “welcoming back” these former customers. Any personalized touch will carry more weight than more generic marketing efforts.

Promote a new commitment to customer service. You may already boast an exemplary culture of customer service within your organization. Or ex-customers may have “checked out” because they found your service lacking. In any case, when you reach out to these individuals, emphasize your commitment both to service and to communications. Promise to regularly solicit their feedback on the quality of your customer service but, more importantly, implement changes that demonstrate that commitment.

Better communications can stem the exodus of other customers. “By communicating effectively with customers you get the hints that there’s trouble with the customer relationship,” notes Yahoo! Small Business. “You can catch customer dissatisfaction and fix it before it leads to outright customer loss.”

Want to learn more about customer acquisition and reactivation? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

How to Market to Millennials

millennial

If your target audience includes men and women of the millennial generation and you’re selling to them the same way you sell to everyone else, there may be a reason your sales figures are slumping. Perhaps more than other generations, millennials “react differently to trigger points,” says social media consultant Christina Baldassarre, adding that they “connect dots in different ways, because some things are intuitive to them that are not intuitive to anyone else.”

As should be clear by now, millennial consumers live and breathe online. They rely on mobile devices to stay connected with each other and to conduct business. For this reason, marketing to this key demographic should start with optimizing your website for mobile use.

If not, your website “can be difficult to view and navigate” on a mobile device, which can frustrate prospective customers and squash their impulse to buy. “If so, chances are you’re losing out on a lot of business.”

Equally important from a business perspective is maintaining a strong presence on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, etc.). If you still need convincing, take a look at what ten veteran entrepreneurs have to say about social media and sales in general. The following tips presume that your business has an active social media presence and regularly interacts with your audience.

Here are other tips to keep in mind:

Cultivate relationships with millennial influencers. Millennials don’t care much for traditional advertising but instead rely upon the opinions of their peers and certain key social media influencers—that is, bloggers and other content-generators who’ve amassed a sizable online following. As we’ve noted previously, cultivating relationships with influencers in your industry can pay off in a big way. These action steps can help build a beneficial relationship:

  • Research influencers to ensure that you’ll connect with likely prospective customers.
  • Be clear about your goals (generating sales leads, boosting website traffic, etc.).
  • Incorporate the influencer relationship into a broader marketing strategy.

Attract millennials with mobile-alert sales discounts. Millennials are often willing to disclose their location on their mobile devices if in return, businesses send them news of upcoming sales discounts. If they happen to be in the area and receive word of a special sale, it increases the likelihood they’ll respond favorably and check out what you’re offering.

Offer content that’s informative and timely. Conventional hard-sell tactics won’t work with this demographic. What millennials are looking for is content that’s timely, informative, entertaining and easy to read on the run. Your social media feed should be pumping out links to valuable content on a steady basis, but it’s also important to stay attuned to what’s going on in the moment.

“If a company waits even a couple of hours too long to react to an event, they missed an opportunity to be noticed by a massive number of consumers,” says Business 2 Community, “and instead are brushed off for being late to the game.”

Invite followers and customers to share content with your business. Millennials like the idea of being part of a community. You can foster that connection by inviting customers and social media followers to contribute user-generated content and post it on your various social media platforms.

One effective strategy is sponsoring a lively contest focusing on the most creative (and favorable) ways someone can portray your product or service in photos or very brief videos. Get things rolling on Twitter and then get out of the way. You’ll be surprised by how creative and enthusiastic millennials can be, when they’re excited about something.

Want to learn more about marketing to niche demographics like millennials? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!