Marketing Automation 101 for Local Businesses

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While marketing automation has been a hot topic for some time, a recent survey found that 98 percent of small businesses owners are shopping for marketing automation software for the first time. Searching for the right automation tool as a small business owner can be overwhelming, because it may not be clear what a quality or cost-effective marketing automation tool looks like.

Fear not. Consider this an brief introductory course on marketing automation; it will cover the basics of what it is, it’s different functions, and how to get the most out of the software you choose.

What Is Marketing Automation?

On the surface, the phrase is deceptively simple. Everyone knows what marketing is and  everyone knows what automation is, but if you ask someone to define the concept you’ll probably get a different answer every time with a lot of discrepancies in-between.

At its core, marketing automation is about recognizing that there are numerous touch points between initial contact with a prospective new customer (creating interest) and the ultimate conversion (turning that interest into a sale). This is where marketing automation comes in. For a local business owner who is focused on delivering quality products or services, collecting customer data and emailing them to generate new and repeat business is a non-starter. So rather than endlessly typing out e-mails, posting on Facebook, and updating Excel sheets, local business owners should look to implement a technology that automates these tasks.

What Can Marketing Automation Do?

Approximately 50 percent of qualified prospects are not ready to immediately make a purchase. Automated campaigns help push these customers closer to a sale by deepening their connection to your brand and giving them the information they need to make a purchase decision.

For example, Signpost’s e-mail and SMS marketing campaigns automatically grow subscriber lists and send potential leads special offers and other information to encourage them to make their first  or next purchase. They also track clicks and engagement so small businesses can easily measure the effectiveness of their campaigns.

Other functions include:

  • Creating detailed user profiles for personalized targeted offers
  • Promoting reviews on Google+, Facebook, and Yelp to improve your online presence
  • Sending the right offer emails at the right times to drive new and repeat business

Best Practices

Once you’ve figured out what you’re looking for from marketing automation software, it’s important to get the most out of it. Surprisingly, 59 percent of companies don’t fully utilize the marketing tools at their disposal.

The first step in maximizing the utility of your software is to ensure all of your customer contacts have been added to your customer relationship management (CRM) system, or in other words, a database that houses all of your customer information. This ensures that customers receive a consistent experience (email messages) throughout the entire journey with your business. Check out completely hands-off technologies like Signpost which help you automatically aggregate and centralize your customer data.

Next, establish your priorities. Everyone wants more revenue growth and conversions, but what specific metrics are you looking to improve? Are you focused on increasing new customers or repeat business? Signpost allows you to do both! Automated remarketing ensures that your new customer base continues to grow and your repeat business keeps coming back.

Bottom line: Marketing automation allows you to keep your brand in front of the new customers you worked hard to get. The beauty of a marketing automation software like Signpost is that you don’t have to lift a finger. Once the Signpost engine starts, you can simply let it run.


The Future of Local Advertising: 2016 and Beyond

BIA Kelsey, the leading research and advisory company focused on local advertising and marketing, recently launched one of its two annual local advertising forecasts for 2016. This provides a complete overview of U.S. local advertising trends. While BIA/Kelsey’s forecast is primarily based on data gathered from large companies and advertising agencies, there are key takeaways for small businesses. Below are some highlights released from the forecast that local businesses should note as they plan their marketing efforts for 2016 and beyond.

Digital is Growing. Fast.

unnamed-6While BIA/Kelsey’s findings show that print and television media currently still make up the largest segments of local ad-spend, the firm estimates that over the next five years online/digital advertising ad-spend will grow by 11.7 percent, while traditional media spending will decline by 0.1 percent. The forecast reports an increase of 28 Billion US dollars in local digital ad-spend. This shows that In the age of the internet, digital forms of advertising are and will continue to be the best way to reach local audiences.

Don’t let your local business get left in the dust. The digital advertising world can seem overwhelming to small businesses, but there are tons of solutions out there that help keep SMBs up to speed. Signpost, for example, uses its unique CRM and email/sms remarketing platform to drive measurable outcomes for small businesses, automatically.

Mobile is on the Rise

One of the biggest local advertising trends BIA/Kelsey predicts for the future is a growth in mobile advertising spend, particularly in location targeted advertising. BIA/Kelsey predicts that mobile advertising will grab 11.5% of local media revenue by 2019. This stems from a year in which mobile search and browsing is heavily on the rise, as mobile search numbers have surpassed desktop

The projected rise in mobile search is great news for local businesses, as it means there will be more and more ways for businesses to connect with potential customers who are right near their door. But it also means that it’s more important than ever for local businesses to maintain an updated presence on sites and directories which are heavily frequented on mobile.

Because of its integration with Google maps, Google+ is a particularly important mobile network in this regard. Google search and Google maps are the  4th and 6th most frequented smartphone apps in the U.S., with the next most popular mobile map application (Apple Maps) trailing far behind at 11th. Luckily, marketing automation services like Signpost can help make sure that your business’s pages on Google+, Yelp, and Facebook (the most frequented mobile app) are up to date and glowing with positive reviews.  

General Local Ad-Spend Will Be Up

In general, BIA/Kelsey expects local advertising revenues in the U.S. to reach $146.6 billion in 2016, up from $141.3 billion this year. This represents a growth rate of 3.75 percent, and indicates an overall confidence in the local space, which is good news for small businesses and local advertisers alike. It also presents unique challenges for getting above the noise. One of our customers at Long Island Carpet Cleaners felt this same pain point. Here from him here!

Want to learn more about how Signpost can prepare your business’s marketing efforts for 2016? Schedule a demo today.



Testimonials: Ask and Ye Shall Receive

To quote social media expert Brian Solis, “Welcome to a new era of marketing and service, in which your brand is defined by those who experience it.”

The digital age has made it easier for consumers to research information on their own. As a result, consumers rely on their own research abilities rather than waiting for a company to relay information to them. Most of these consumers, regardless or age or background, look for user-generated content to help them make up their mind about a business. This is why encouraging consumers to leave testimounnamed-5nials and spread the good word is essential to your small business’s growth. According to the 2013 B2B Content Marketing Report, testimonials are more effective than any other content marketing tactic, including case studies, in-person events, or even video. 89% of survey respondents indicated that testimonials top the list when it comes to changing a customer’s mind about doing business.

Below are three key factors to getting customers to provide testimonials:

1. Ask for feedback right away.

If you know your customer has had a positive experience, ask them for feedback right away. The next time someone tells you via email, during a phone conversation, or especially in person that they’re happy with your services, tell them how much you would appreciate their testimonial online.

You’re much more likely to get customers to agree to spend the time to write a review right after their experience versus months down the road when the memory of how happy they were has faded. Using a solution like Signpost can make this easy, by helping you identify which customers you should target for testimonials and automatically prompting customers to share their thoughts after they’ve engaged with your business.

2. Make it as easy as possible for your customer to comment.

If you think your customer is going to search around your website to leave a review, you’re wrong. Instead, you need to make it as easy as possible for them to post their reviews by adding links in multiple places on your website and in emails. Using automated email campaigns can help track active customers, so asking for a review is easy for you—and takes virtually no time for your customers.

3. Thank your reviewers.

Track the customers who leave reviews for you and respond to them in timely manner. Include this in your customer profiles and allow Signpost to make notes of the customers who are doing your business a favor. Consider rewarding them for their time with a discount code, freebie, or even a simple thank you email.

What makes a good, and effective, testimonial? Below are a few considerations:

  • Think about what your potential customers are wary of. Try and gather testimonials that speak to your prospects’ concerns. If they typically worry about price, ask for testimonials that address how your service costs less than the competition quotes. Or if their big worry is getting access to you, the business owner, have current clients talk about how you were there every step of the way with them.
  • Make sure the comments are specific. The more relevant details included in the testimonial, the more useful it will be in convincing other prospects to invest. Having a customer say that their car detailing was so terrific that it ended up adding $500 in value at trade-in is better than saying you made their car shiny.
  • Focus on the before-and-after impact. Testimonials that speak to what life was like before buying from you and what it’s like now hit home the hardest. How has doing business with you transformed your customer’s life?
  • Don’t over-edit. The best testimonials are conversational in tone; it’s more believable and authentic that way.

Finally, once you have a testimonial, make sure your prospects can’t miss it. Use it in as many places as you can think of, including on your business’s website, advertisements, sales packets, and social media.

Make collecting testimonials an ongoing part of your marketing process. Using services like Signpost, you can streamline the testimonial process and make sure active customers willing to leave reviews don’t fall through the cracks. If testimonials are the most effective marketing tool around, investing a few minutes on a regular basis to generate them will be very good for business.


4 Tricks for Building Relationships with Your Customers

unnamed-4Customer relationships are the foundation for any company in need of growth and profit. After all, 78 percent of consumers  do not complete a transaction if they’ve received poor service. But cultivating these relationships, and giving customers want they want, can be tricky.

In order to set your business apart from competitors, you need to develop a partnership with your customers. Among many factors, you need to know precisely what they’re looking for, what makes them happy, what’s likely to turn them off and why your service or product is right for them.

For many local business owners, the challenge is how to uncover this type of in-depth knowledge about your customers quickly and efficiently. Here are a few tips and tricks for how to learn more about your customers.

1. Communicating is key

First, talk to your customers. This one simple, but often overlooked. People respond better to open dialogue, because it helps form the relationship. Whether it’s in person, on the phone or electronically, never forget the importance of a personal connection. Having direct conversations with clients or potential clients shows that you have a strong interest in providing better service. The great thing about using a marketing automation solution, like Signpost, is that you’re able to track all interactions with customers, including phone calls, so you’re always up to date on what happened during your last interaction or when you need to follow up again.

2. Harness the power of feedback

Getting direct feedback from your customers is a surefire way to see what customers want, allowing you to build an even better business. After receiving feedback, don’t forget to respond in a friendly, upbeat manner and your conversations will give you the sense of who your customers are. It’s especially important that you pay attention to negative feedback and do your best to respond appropriately and fix concerns. The more customers tell you, the more you can accurately target them in your marketing. For that extra push, employ a marketing automation system like Signpost, which can prompt your customers to give you feedback and conveniently collect and forward it to the business owner.

3. Understand the current landscape

Staying abreast of your competitive landscape might help you tune into what customers want. This can be an opportunity to create a custom solution that could make for more satisfied clients and help you rise above the noise. Think about what these companies offer that you don’t and where you show up on search results by comparison. Services that can help you stand out from the crowd, like Signpost, improve your business’s listings on important sites like Google+, Facebook, and Yelp. Use these social profiles to promote your competitive advantages.

4. Use customer data software

Using customer relationship management (CRM) software to consolidate customer data helps you build new business and strengthen old relationships through your local marketing efforts. CRMs, like Signpost, capture and analyze customer data and use that information for personalized offers in emails and text messages, as well as other future remarketing.

In order to maintain a successful local business, it’s important to demonstrate to customers that you not only have what they need, but that you are invested in a partnership. This high level of personalization continues to remain an important factor in local marketing techniques. Customers will reward you by remaining loyal and by generating positive word of mouth about your company to their network of friends, families and business contacts.


Strategies for Boutique Marketing Agencies

Screen Shot 2015-11-04 at 3.44.42 PMWhen it comes to the digital age, boutique marketing agencies actually have the leg-up against larger, more traditional firms. That’s because boutique agencies usually have much more agility in adapting to technological advances and new consumer expectations. As Michael Litman, a senior social strategist told Mashable, it’s like comparing “an oil tanker to a small dinghy”– though perhaps less safe or established, a small dinghy is much easier to move.

Below are some digital-savvy strategies boutique marketing agencies can encourage their clients to use to help them flourish in the digital space:

1. Digital Footprint Monitoring

While consumers don’t expect brands to monitor their social media around the clock, they do expect immediate responses to customer inquiries. A business should try its best to respond to a customer within 24 hours of that customer posting.

There are several technological tools that can help automate some of this monitoring. Signpost, for example, uses email remarketing that prompts a business’s customers to leave feedback and put positive reviews up online.

2. Automate Word-of-Mouth

Perhaps unsurprisingly, people trust recommendations from friends, family, and peers more than any type of advertising or marketing. In the digital age, this trust extends to forums like Google+, and Yelp, where consumers are constantly reading and writing reviews for products and services.

A good word of mouth marketing campaign has been known to generate exponential sales and growth for brands. Direct your clients to a marketing automation platform like Signpost, which can send automated referral offers to a business’s best customers, prompting word-of-mouth marketing that generates loyalty and new customers.

3. Aggregate Your Clients’ Most Important Asset.

Your clients’ most important asset is their customers. So, encourage them to make use of a CRM system, which can compile all of their customers’ data in one centralized location and provide them with useful analytic tools. A CRM like Salesforce may be much more expensive and complex than necessary for the needs of the average SMB, so look to solutions like Signpost, which are streamlined, highly automated, and all encompassing.

To learn more tips and strategies for how boutique marketing agencies can help their clients survive in the digital age, Click here to download Signpost’s new agency eBook, “5 Strategies for Boutique Marketing Agencies.”


How to Respond to Negative Feedback

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Signpost automatically collects feedback from your customers–everything from glowing praise to the occasional complaint. And while it’s never fun to hear that a customer had a bad experience with your business, even the best companies in the world have a critic or two. Fortunately, there are tried and true strategies for re-engaging or at least pacifying an unhappy customer.

First: Apologize

The best way to defuse their anger is by showing your willingness to accept responsibility. It doesn’t matter whether you think you’ve been judged unfairly. When it comes to customer service, the customer is always right. If you’re replying to the customer over email, lead with a line like: “We’re very sorry to hear that you had a bad experience.”

Next: Find Out What Went Wrong

Maybe one of your employees had a bad day. Or, maybe the customer had unrealistic expectations and their complaint says more about them than it says about the quality of your service. Whatever the case, you should ask the customer for details so you can determine whether it is a larger issue that requires your attention. More importantly, the customer will appreciate being listened to, which can go a long way towards repairing their opinion of your business.

Last: Offer a Credit or Discount as a Token of Goodwill

After apologizing and exploring the source of their complaint, you may decide to offer them 5% off their next purchase, a $10 credit, or another form of encouragement to work with you again. The idea is to demonstrate that your interest in retaining them as a customer is sincere. Remember that saving a customer is worth much more than his or her next purchase. By softening their anger, you are reducing the chances of them writing negative reviews online and discouraging their friends from doing business with you. These are real costs that must be taken into account as you weigh your response.

Sample Emails:

Here is a sample email you can send to customers who submit negative feedback:

“Dear {Customer},

We’re very sorry to hear that you had a bad experience at {Your business}. It’s our goal to deliver the highest quality of service to all of our customers so we’d love to learn a little bit more about what prompted your feedback. We’d also like to offer you a {credit or discount} as a small token of thanks for being a customer and for sharing your thoughts with us. We look forward to speaking with you.


{Your Name}”

Here is a sample message you can post in response to a customer who submits a negative review on Yelp, Facebook, or Google+:

“Dear {Customer},

I’m very sorry to hear about your experience and it’s our goal to make sure every customer receives the best possible service. We’d love to make this up to you. We’ll message you privately to get additional feedback, and I can assure you we’ll do everything we can to resolve the matter.


{Your Name}”


How to Build Your SMS Marketing List

unnamed-2To many, giving away your phone number may seem more personal than handing over an email address. But businesses that are able to convince customers to sign up for SMS marketing messages can enjoy engagement rates up to eight times higher than traditional email marketing. And text message marketing has a 20% average redemption rate, according to Moto Message.

Fortunately, there are many creative ways to encourage your customers to opt into an SMS marketing list—and you don’t have to add them manually. Signpost automatically captures phone numbers from your customers and remarkets to people who subscribe to your lists. Additionally, having a phone number list also comes in handy when tracking interactions and building relationships with customers. After all, you want to keep track of phone calls and notes from those calls so that you can build out efficient customer profiles.

Below are some tips on how to build up your SMS marketing list, so it can start generating new business for you.

1. Offer a discount

Everyone loves to save on purchases from their favorite businesses. One easy way to encourage existing customers to join your SMS marketing list is by offering a coupon or special offer to those who join your subscriber list. Businesses can also nudge customers to their next purchase by letting them know when limited time offers are happening, such as a flash deals. A marketing automation service like Signpost can make this even easier, by automating SMS discounts that are targeted to the right customers at the right time.

2. Keep them in the loop

Some business owners find that offering useful tips to customers who use their products or services via text can be a great way to get them to sign up. For instance, a seller of baby products might send alerts to remind parents when it’s time to get needed vaccines or an accountant might send notices to clients that important tax deadlines are approaching. The more useful and well-targeted the messages, the more likely customers will stay subscribed.

3. Make the most of public appearances.

If you do any public speaking to raise the profile of your business, offer interested participants a chance to try out your services by text message at the end of your presentation. For instance, if you’re a social media consultant who is speaking at the local library or a business group’s monthly meeting, offer a free, 15-minute phone consultation to people who text the word SOCIAL to you.

4. Hold a contest

Many people love the thrill of competing for prizes. Offer those who join your SMS marketing list a chance to win a gift certificate to your business. Giving away a $25 prize every month will only cost you $300 a year but could bring in many times that amount of revenue from customers who buy from you as a result of your SMS marketing.

5. Provide valuable content

If you’ve written a white paper or eBook to show your expertise, offer a free download to those who join your SMS marketing list. People who take the time to download material that showcases your subject-matter expertise probably aren’t doing so casually. That bodes well if you’re on the hunt for customers who are primed to buy—and what small business owner isn’t?

To see how Signpost can help your small business automate its SMS marketing, schedule a demo today.


Everything You Know About Local Advertising Is Wrong

If you’ve taken a peek at our website, watched our video, read our best practice guides, or even spoken to a Signpost sales rep recently, you may have heard about our “outcomes” guarantee*—an industry first for local businesses.

What are outcomes?

Simply put, outcomes are defined as measurable results. For local business owners, there are several key results that matter, and Signpost automatically drives the ones that matter the most:

  1. Reviews: A customer writes a positive review on Google+ or Yelp as a result of our automatically generated prompts.
  2. Testimonials: A customer responds to an automatically generated email asking for feedback on the business.
  3. New Customers: A customer claims an offer from a automatically generated new customer email.
  4. Referrals: An automated email is generated to encourage word-of-mouth traffic.
  5. Loyalty: A customer clicks “claim this offer” on an automatically generated loyalty email.  

Outcomes Should be the Only Metric That Matters

unnamedWhile outcomes can be defined as any of these different interactions, they all share one common characteristic: each should ultimately result in real returns on your investment in our platform. Why? Most simply, unlike generating a certain number of impressions or contacts, which similar small business marketing technologies will guarantee, Signpost’s outcomes are concrete indicators that your business is developing strong relationships with its customers, which is essential in creating new and repeat business. As this report shows, businesses which excel in developing relationships with customers at every stage of the sales funnel generate 50% more sales with 33% less cost.

Let’s Change Our Thinking

To really understand why Signpost’s outcomes are significant, it’s important to first understand why traditional advertising and marketing metrics such as impressions and contacts are not.

Impressions refer to the number of times an advertisement is displayed online. While exposure is never a bad thing, lots of impressions aren’t really a strong indicator of actual results for your business. We think it’s a “fluff” metric. Think about it. How many advertisements do you see online on a daily basis? Now think about how many of those advertisements you actually read, let alone click on. For the most part, people have been trained to tune online advertisement out. In fact, an estimate shows that it can take on average 1000 impressions of an ad to yield just one click (and a click doesn’t even necessarily result in a purchase). So guaranteeing impressions, or that an advertisement for your business will be shown online any given number of times, doesn’t amount to much.

There’s a similar problem with guaranteeing a certain number of new contacts gathered each month; while it’s great to have a large lead database, simply collecting a potential customer’s email or phone number doesn’t indicate that the person will ever interact with your business. Turning leads into paying customers requires a huge time commitment. In fact, it usually takes about 5 follow-ups to convert a single contact into a customer. Following up on hundreds or even thousands of leads, without an automated system like Signpost in place, is something that’s nearly impossible for a small business owner to find the time for when they have to focus on all of the aspects that go into running their business.

Real Indicators

By comparison, all of the outcomes that Signpost guarantees are real indicators that repeat and potential customers are engaging with your business and are primed to buy. Here’s why:

  • Reviews: Studies show that 81% of consumers conducts online research and 88% of consumers are influenced by online reviews when making purchasing decisions, and so a positive review on Yelp or Google+ will attract new customers to your business and help them choose you over the competition.
  • Testimonials: feedback submitted from one of your customers, whether positive or negative, will give you insight on how your business is performing, allowing you to address the concerns of unsatisfied customers and improve your services.
  • Claimed New Customer or Loyalty Offers: which Signpost can automatically generate through email and SMS (text messaging) and target to the appropriate contacts, show that customers are reading your messages and have the intent of transacting with your business.
  • Claimed Referral Offers: not only show you that new customers are ready to transact, but also that your repeat customers think your business is worthy enough to recommend  to a friend or family member, creating coveted and essential word of mouth traffic.

For all of these reasons, Signpost is proud to be the first and only automated marketing platform to guarantee outcomes for small businesses.* Are you as excited as we are? Do you want to learn more? Schedule a demo today.

*Certified by BIA/Kelsey



Do You Know Your Audience?

The old adage “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” applies to the business world too. One strategy for always staying ahead of the competition is diversifying your business. The better you can diversify your product lineup, the more you open up your business to new markets and revenue streams.

By offering a different type of product or service to a new audience, you create fresh growth opportunities. Your different offerings can potentially complement and enhance one another. They also lessen the risk of changing tastes or industry-specific contractions ruining your business.

But before you can explore new markets, you must first identify your potential audience, analyze them, and connect with them. To identify these key segments, you need to implement a strong marketing plan.

Below are a few steps to cater to different audience segments:

1. Define your new audience

This sounds simple, but it can actually be the most difficult part of the process. To accurately define the audience for your new product or service, you have to figure out how it’s distinct from your original offering, how that change affects the type of consumers who will buy it, and what characteristics this new set of consumers will have.

unnamedAs an example, let’s say you sell premium athletic equipment. You decide to diversify your business by offering equipment on the cheaper end as well. So now, the question is, who’s buying the cheaper equipment rather than the high-end offerings? Is it people that can’t afford the more expensive equipment, or simply hobbyists that are less serious about athletics?

Let’s say it’s hobbyists. Now, what separates hobbyists from more serious athletes? Are they younger or older? Typically male or female? What’s their average income? The more you know about your potential customers, the easier it is to define segmentation and send them targeted offers through automated e-mail tools, such as the kind Signpost offers.

The great part about asking these questions is you can refine your understanding of your original customers’ needs. After all, it’s important to make sure there’s not significant overlap, or else your new product or service could end up just cannibalizing sales from the original.

2. Find out what they value

Perhaps the biggest mistake companies make is thinking they can tweak small aspects of an existing service and be able to engage an entirely new audience. This doesn’t usually happen. Building a new customer base takes fresh approaches that address different audience needs, values, and priorities. You may need to rethink every aspect of your offering.

This could include design, functionality, integration with other products or services, marketing strategies, even the means by which your product is sold. Diversifying companies often tend to struggle against smaller startups because the latter are creating an ecosystem from the ground up to meet the needs of the market, while the former are attached to previous mindsets geared towards a totally different audience.

3. Test and refine

Odds are you’re not going to get it exactly right the first time. Understanding a new audience takes time, so you’ll need to gather feedback on your products, marketing, and customer experience to see where you’re hitting the right notes and where you’re coming up short. Be sure to gather as much data as possible in the early days. Marketing solutions, like Signpost, can help you do that research by automating the feedback and reviews you need to understand your customers better.

The more you can understand and tailor services to your new audience, the better you’ll be able to do so for the old one as well. One of the underrated benefits of diversification is that it can often generate insights that lead to innovation in the original line of business.

Trying to meet the needs of a new audience might push you to develop new functionality or overhaul the customer experience in a way that would also work with the original target market. For companies that have gone stagnant, diversification can be a useful way to not just boost profits, but also to get the creative juices flowing and start innovating again.


How Identify Lapsed Customers (and Win Them Back)

A recent study from the Harvard Business Review found that customer relationships are now more important than traditional brand assets (trademarks, logos, etc).

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With the overload of advertising and information in the digital marketplace, loyal customers provide valuable data, opportunities for cross-selling, and referrals to bring in new business. Not to mention that 80% of a successful business’s revenue usually comes from 20% of its customers.

Given customers’ value, businesses of any size should be closely monitoring their customers’ habits to make sure these customers don’t become lapsed users. Unfortunately, many small businesses still rely on intuition or simplistic rules to define customer inactivity, which makes for imprecise targeting and lapsed users slipping through the cracks. A more rigorous approach will help your small business better track customers and keep them in the fold.

Step One: Identifying Lapsed Users

The simplest approach to identifying a lapsed user is to track the time since their last purchase. If they haven’t made a purchase in a certain number of days, then they count as lapsed. This approach is easy to implement, but far from ideal.

On the one hand, some valuable customers might choose to make large purchases spaced apart, so defining them as lapsed after a certain period of time could be misleading. On the other hand, if a customer that used to make a small purchase every few days hasn’t had any activity for three weeks, it might be time to include them in a re-engagement campaign.

A more sophisticated approach is to use RFM analysis (Recency, Frequency, Monetary). RFM classifies customers into tiers based on the date of their last purchase, the average frequency of their purchases, and the total amount they spend.

Originally created to help non-profits identify their top tier of donors to target with follow-up requests, RFM can also be extremely useful for small businesses to identify lapsed users that need to be brought back into the fold.

Signpost customer profiles can add a level of depth to an RFM analysis by automatically collecting data for every call, email and even spending behavior of every customer. Tracking these interactions can give you more information about a customer’s preferences, why their activity has declined, and how involved they still are with your business. The software also allows data to be cross-referenced in an automated customer relationship management platform to form comprehensive customer profiles.

Step Two: Regaining Customer Engagement

If data is important when it comes to identifying lapsed customers, it’s even more vital when it comes to targeting them for re-engagement. Knowing their past preferences will help you target them with tempting deals for products and services they might be interested in. Furthermore, advanced analytics can help you understand why those loyal customers left in the first place.

On top of data that’s been previously gathered, don’t be afraid to ask for more information. Encourage lapsed customers to leave feedback or take surveys regarding their experience. You can even offer special deals as an incentive to take these surveys.

The best way to carry out these campaigns is through a marketing automation system like Signpost. The right software can analyze the collected data to decide when a customer has lapsed, pick the right deals and means of communication (text, e-mail, social media) to target them, and create a holistic engagement profile. In the long run, this will reveal trends and habits between loyal customers who stay and those who leave.

Re-engaging lapsed customers can be an extremely effective way to drive growth on a limited budget. It costs between 4 and 10 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing customer, which makes your lapsed customers a valuable target market. Take advantage of a marketing automation system like Signpost to make sure you don’t lose these customers for good.