Winning back inactive customers

Convincing customers who’ve strayed or dropped you completely to come back around is absolutely possible; in fact, it’s still easier than trying to acquire an entirely new customer. Start by setting a time period to focus on to define the lapsed customer pool and then create targeted campaigns. A quick way to do this is to determine the average frequency with which committed customers do business with you, noting how long it’s common for them to go between purchases. If loyal customers tend to make a purchase once every two months, then setting the cutoff point to define a lapsed customer at one month doesn’t make sense, but focusing on customers with 6 months of inactivity does.

Once you have a time frame to target, find where in the relationship things went off road, and pinpoint what you need to do to repair that relationship.

Look at the data

Customers leave for multiple reasons. Figuring out why helps you target your reactivation campaign so it’s effective and adjust business practices as necessary to avoid current customers from becoming inactive in the future.

Sometimes, your records will hold the key: did a loyal customer leave a complaint on a review site and never return? Did a price increase on products or services correlate to a mass exodus of customers? Was there an alteration to your content campaign that turned them off?

If you can’t pinpoint the reason with the data available to you, reach out to your targeted group with an incentivized survey. Keep the questions short and sweet, and offer something compelling in return for participation. A free product, service, or consultation from your business seems obvious, but responses increase most when there’s a cash offer, such as a gift card, on the table.

Now that you have a better idea as to why your targeted group left, review those customers’ past purchase histories and habits to start wooing them back.

Reactivation tips and ideas

Once you know what your inactive customer base wanted in the past and why they left, break the group you’re working on into smaller subgroups to create custom, actionable offers. Below are some tried and true methods, but remember to target these to the specific customers – the more personalized you get, the better your success rate will be.

  • Send an email asking them to update their contact preferences and leave an open comment field or multiple choice question so they can tell you what kind of content they’re looking for
  • Offer a discount on the service or product they previously purchased, one that is currently popular with your active customer base, or something that, according to your data on them, they might need or want
  • Offer value based, not sales based, content that fits their needs and search histories
  • Humanize your brand by sending happy birthday wishes, congratulations on the customer’s recent successes, or even a short, sweet “we miss you” message
  • Let them know when a product or service that ties into their last purchase is available

Don’t expect immediate results – studies show that reactivation campaigns can take up to two months. But even if customers don’t open or engage with your first communication, that initial contact increases the chances that they’ll open and respond to subsequent contact. You’re in it for the long haul, and if you tailor your campaign and remain patient, you’ll increase your loyal customer base.



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