So, all of your digital marketing efforts have paid off, and you’ve started gaining customers. Relieved, you can save some of the money you’ve been spending on Marketing, as sellthrough is going well and – in a perfect world – your customers will be with you for life.
And then… they’re not.
Often through no fault of the merchant, customers sometimes go astray. They forget where they purchased, they try another product, or sometimes – your competition lures them in with their own digital marketing activities. If you offer a recurring or subscription-based service, measuring lost customers is even easier, as you can track the number of canceled subscriptions.
Harvard Business Review has stated that “acquiring a new customer is anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining an existing one”, and second only to retention is to regain the ones you’ve lost.
Why focus on lost clients?
With all of the untapped potential markets in the world, why would we suggest you should focus on the ones who have already purchased from you?
Here are three reasons to focus on winning back lost clients:
- They’re warm leads – these customers have already purchased, and have demonstrated their need for your product or service.
- They know you – they’ve already purchased from you and recognize your brand, so you can save the time of educating them and establishing yourself in their mind amongst the market.
- You know them – if you’ve been tracking customer purchasing or subscription behavior, you’ll have a good picture of how they’ve used your product and, hopefully, you’ll be able to craft a good offer to entice them to come back.
What are some ways to reach lost clients?
Depending on the nature of your business (products, services, subscriptions, etc.) this answer could be different. Below is a list with a range of ideas to suit a range of business types.
- If you have an emailing list and can see which customers haven’t purchased for some time, reach out to them to make contact. Say hello, and invite them back to shop in your store.
- Create an incentive for “dormant” customers – those who haven’t purchased for some time. Offer them a discount for a purchase made, through a discount code. Be generous while offering an expiry date to really incentivize them to come back soon.
- Make special announcements. If you’ve recently gone online (as so many businesses have this year), or added to your online product catalogue, get the word out! This has an added benefit of appealing to new and current customers as well.
- If you had a misstep, acknowledge it. Sometimes businesses make a decision that doesn’t land well with customers – like changing ingredients, suppliers, or shipping companies. You’ll know it wasn’t the right choice as, typically, your customers will tell you. If something like this happened, know that it’s completely okay! It’s not what happened, but what you do about it: make an announcement acknowledging the slip-up, and telling customers briefly how you’ve rectified it. This builds trust through humility.
- In the case of subscription-based businesses especially, it’s easy to see who has left through canceled subscriptions. Reach out to these former customers to politely and directly ask why they left. Show them that you noticed that they’ve gone, and that you are genuinely interested in why.
- Use social media to your advantage! Post often, and post engaging content. If it’s an option for you, try soliciting votes or interactions from your audience. Considering stocking a new product, and it comes in multiple colors? Try asking people what their favorite is. Being present on social media not only helps you to find your way back to some lost customers, but will help you to gain awareness amongst future customers as well.
- Speaking of social media, don’t be afraid to invest! Use your mailing lists and customer data to your advantage by targeting sponsored and relevant posts to your contacts.
Be sure to learn from your customers – the ones who stay, and the ones who go. By learning what keeps people buying from you or what causes them to look elsewhere, you can build a stronger and more informed business to serve your customers well. Remember, it’s easier to keep a customer than to find a new one, so turn your attention to retention as well by staying engaged and listening to customers’ needs.