Three Steps to Reactivating Old Customers

By David Wrobel
January 17, 2006

David Wrobel's experience has been in the direct sales industry building a company with a partner from two people to more than 500 and $15 million in annual sales in five years. He brings a unique perspective to the day spa and health club industry through his marketing and business coaching. David has authored two books: Life Balloon and 45 Little Known Marketing Strategies That Will Have Your Health Club/Day Spa Leap Frogging Over the Competition.

When a person walks through the doors of your day spa for the first time, he or she has overcome one of the first obstacles you have in securing them as a customer. After trying out your products or services, they will have a good idea about what you offer. But how do you get them to return again and again? Every business, especially day spas, has a long list of past customers that for various reasons have not returned for months or years. Here are three steps to reactivate your old customers and pump up your profits for the new year.

1. Update your list. Review your records all the way back to the day you opened(I hope they are on your computer and not on index cards) to find anyone who has not returned in the last five months. If you do not have your list on your computer, enter the data into an easy-to-use program such as Microsoft Excel. Once you have your list together, run it through Microsoft Direct Mail Manager to verify and update addresses.

2. Write your letter. To generate immediate cash within a two-week period, send your former clients a letter from the owner asking them to come back and see you. An invitation is not always enough, so make sure you give them a product, service or offer they can’t refuse such as a free facial, massage or one-time discount. The most important question to ask yourself before deciding what to give away is: “How much is one customer worth to me in a year?” Why is this so important? If you don’t know how much a client is worth to you, you will have no idea how much you can afford to spend to get them back as a customer. To be successful in your advertising efforts, this information is essential.

3. Follow up. This last step is the most important and one most businesses leave out: follow-up letters. After the first group has responded to your offer, mail a second letter to everyone who didn’t respond (two weeks from the first mailing) and a third and final letter to everyone who didn’t respond to the first two letters, (two weeks from the second mailing). Generally, your response rate will go something like this: a 2 to 3 percent response to your first mailing, a 4 to 5 percent response rate to your second mailing and a 4 to 5 percent response rate to your third mailing. An actual case study of day spas using this technique and letters realized a 16 percent return. The sequence of three letters should take place in a 30-day period. (If you would like a copy of the actual letters, e-mail me at dave@successcafe.com.

Now that you have reactivated your old customers, it is vital that you update their information, including their e-mail addresses and make them an offer to come see you again within a two- to three-week period. I don’t have to tell you how important customer service will be in getting them to return again and again. A follow-up call within three days of their first visit will almost cement them in as a lifetime customer.

How to Get the Best Response Rate From Your Mailings

1. Personalize the envelope. People sort their mail into two categories. One pile has bills, subscriptions and letters from friends.The other pile has anything that looks like junk mail or a direct sales letter. To get your letter in the first pile rather than thrown directly in the trash can, hand write the envelope and put a stamp on it.

2. Use an attention- grabbing headline. Try something that will stop them dead in their tracks such as "I Have a Free Gift Waiting for You.”

3. Use an attention- grabbing graphic such as a black and white picture of a present.

4. Have a great offer. You must offer them something to get them to return. If they have been visiting another day spa, you have to realize 10 percent off may not be enough to get them back.

5. Have a call to action with a deadline. You must tell them what you want them to do and when you want them to do it. For example, "Call today to book your service, and reserve your free gift."

6. Remind them of the special offer and deadline, or use a testimonial.