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August 24, 2015

5 Things to Consider When Reactivating Lost Customers

broken_heartYou’ve invested your time and marketing dollars on finding new leads and building relationships with your customers, but somehow you seem to have lost some along the way. 

According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, but the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%. Reactivating those lost customers may be a good way to improve your marketing results, and increase your sales.

But, before you go off reselling to everyone who’s ever severed the connection with your brand, there are a few things you must consider so you don’t end up throwing your marketing dollars out the window.

1. Where did things go wrong?

When deciding whether or not to pursue a lost customer, it’s important to look into how the customer was lost in the first place. How was the relationship broken – were you at fault, or was it something out of your control? Trying to mend a relationship that suffered because of a mistake on your part (especially a mistake that was not acknowledged or repaired) can be a major waste of your time and marketing budget. Be sure to look into whether repairing the relationship is actually worth the effort, and whether or not the lost customer is likely to be receptive to your marketing efforts.

2. What time is the best time?

Reactivation should be a part of your everyday marketing strategy, just like lead generation and prospect nurturing. Keeping information on lost customers (those that are worth reactivating in the future) can be helpful when trying to reach them later on. Some things to keep on file are demographic traits, contact information and if they were lost to a competitor, when they are available for reactivation communication. Having this information readily available can be a great tool for building a timeline for reactivation candidates.

3. What kind of relationship would you like to have?

Evaluating the initial lifetime value and buying traits of the lost customer will help when determining what kind of relationship you would like to have after reactivation. By examining the customer’s previous behavior and setting realistic goals for future behavior, you will be able to decide which communication tactics will be most effective, and whether or not they are worth your marketing efforts. Some lost customer buying characteristics to look into could include:

  • Number of prior purchases
  • Length between purchases
  • Average purchase amount  

Looking into the buying characteristics of lost customers will help you set realistic expectations of what you may gain from reactivating the customer, and determine whether or not reactivation is really worth the effort. If the relationship isn’t mutually beneficial, then it may not be a good idea to reactivate.

4. How well do you really know your lost customers?

Losing a customer usually means a break in communication. It’s important to look into things (such as buying styles and demographic traits) that may have changed since the breakup. When you’re trying to reach a lost customer, it’s important that you have current contact information so you know you’re reaching the right person with the right information.

5. What should be said now?

Before going rogue, it’s important to establish a communication plan for your lost customers, because let’s face it – you did lose those customers for a reason. Doing some research (as mentioned in the previous consideration) is also important when deciding what you’re going to say to your lost customers. Maybe buying preferences have changed, or maybe there’s an interest in a different product than before. Profiling your customers is a great way to determine buying traits, and will help you communicate with them more effectively down the road.

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