Re-engage past customers

3 ways to re-engage old customers before the high season

Posted by Sara Napier Burkhard on Jul 18, 2017

At TrekkSoft, we work with companies in a variety of fields. From active brands guiding snowboarders along the Swiss Alps to boating excursions that bring customers on a new adventure in the sea.

But no matter what your company does or which season it thrives in, there's one thing you all have in common: a high season! A time when travelers are flocking to your destination and looking for new experiences.

From tourism to retail, most businesses know to place emphasis on new customers. But what about existing and former customers? Today we're going to go over three simple ways to re-engage with past customers just in time for your busiest season.

1. Understand who and where they are

In Marketing, we talk a lot about data and research. So much so, it can be easy to neglect the fact that customers are simply people. While there are a lot of behaviors you can study, it all comes down to individual needs.

That's why it's important for any successful company to know who their customer base is. The best way to do that is to look at who's already purchased something from you. When you break down your customers by who they are, you start to get better at knowing what they want. 

Today's traveler looks different than they did even five years ago. Today they are more likely to book one or two days before they take a trip and many tourists will wait until they're in their destination to book an activity

When you reach out again, stay with the speed of your customers and keep it short. You shouldn’t be wasting anyone’s time. Just thank them for their most recent business with you and tell them about your new offer. 

Personalize your conversations a bit more and don't be forceful. Instead of saying something like book this new offer today” opt for a friendlier approach like since you enjoyed __________ tour, you might enjoy this one next time". 

This helps to catch them in the dreaming stage of their travel journey, even if they live in the neighborhood. It puts the idea in their head about an activity they can enjoy during a long weekend or spontaneously on their next day off.  

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2. Give them a call

Phone calls are a controversial marketing tactic. Once upon a time, I was 18 and out of a job. At school, I had an unusual schedule and needed something I could easily do during the hours I wasn't attending classes. So, I took up a gig selling travel packages and vacation rentals as a reseller. Some days I cold-called upwards of 40 people each day. 

I didn't know these "potential customers" at all. They were just names on a list and as I'm sure you can guess, they weren't too thrilled to hear from me. I was lucky to make more than one sale each day. Unsurprisingly, I didn't last long.

But this isn’t about me and my adventures in telemarketing. It’s really to say that I understand why companies are reluctant to make unsolicited phone calls. And they’re right to have that instinct.

You should never call random people about your offers. It hurts your credibility and annoys potential customers. They might completely write off your business without even giving you a chance. But this doesn't work the same way for return customers, especially if you've been smart about staying in touch with them. You are 4.2x more likely to connect with someone you've established a connection with. 

Rather than blindly calling a customer, send them an email first. Contact them within the first 30 days of their tour with you and set up a time you can chat with customers to learn how they felt about their trip. Let them express what they liked or didn't like. Then close the call with a promotional offer. Even if it's something as small as 10% off, customers will feel valued because you listened to them and offered them something they didn't expect. 

Take it from someone who used to annoy at least three dozen strangers a day with unwanted phone calls, cold calls don't work but an ongoing conversation does. You should keep a dialogue if you can. Here are some short and sweet guidelines to keep in mind:

Return customers - Infographic

Deal with negative feedback

Nobody loves negative feedback, but sometimes you might have a customer that wasn’t happy with your services. Remember to be mindful of any customers who may have had that experience. Unless you think they would be willing to give your company a second chance, avoid including them in this and any of your re-engagement strategies.

 

3. Prioritize email marketing over social media

Over the years, we've found email marketing to be a valuable tool (trust us, we've sent out a few!) Not only is it 40x more effective at acquiring customers than Facebook or Twitter, customers are far more likely to read your emails once they've tried your services and are familiar with your business. 

On social media, they'd have to follow you and even then, you can't be sure your message will reach them. 90% of your emails will be delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans will see your posts. 

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Quick tips for email marketing

When customers book with you, you should require an email address from them. You should use this to send over their receipt and itinerary. It can also go into marketing purposes, so on the form where they enter their email address, allow them to indicate if they'd like to receive promotions from your company as well. 

Offer them something valuable. Promotional emails tend to be quite effective. More than three in five shoppers actively seek out coupons in preference to other types of promotions. If you offered a promo code giving a percentage off of bookings, you could successfully re-engage with customers that might otherwise fall off the radar.

Finally, your emails should always link directly to your website. Make it as uncomplicated as possible for customers to book with you directly. This includes any device they're using, so make the website is optimized for mobile.

This won't be nearly as effective if you don't have an attractive website and it's impossible if your site can't take sales. Remember to put as much care into your site as you would for a store front. Customers should always be able to make their selections and book their activities directly on your website

 

Looking to connect with past customers? It all starts online.

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Sara Napier Burkhard

Written by Sara Napier Burkhard

Sara is a writer from the American West Coast. In recent years, she's written for companies like Hipmunk, iTourMobile and Mylikes. She now resides in Zurich, Switzerland where she finds new adventures and attempts to speak German with minimal success.

Topics: Marketing tips, Summer tips

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