During my tenure in corporate marketing departments I learned that true marketing-oriented organizations budget for each of these elements as part of their marketing arsenal. This is what makes for long-term success. Though the numbers and budgets for these large corporations are far bigger than a small business can afford, the strategies and tactics are exactly the same and can be easily implemented to fit small business marketing needs.
Have a close look at the diagram. What do you see? I hope you notice that Acquisition surrounds all the other elements. This is because the Acquisition phase happens first in any new business, but also because in my years of working with hundreds of small businesses I’ve seen that oftentimes, the reasons a customer leaves you can be out of your direct control (they move, sell or go out of business, etc.) therefore, Acquisition should be an ongoing task in order to keep your pipeline full.
And, businesses should work at keeping their customers through great Retention Strategies as well. If your product/service is price-sensitive, then you stand a good chance of losing a recently acquired customer to a low-price competitor. A great retention program keeps customers tethered to your brand.
Finally, Reactivation strategies should be used to win back those who haven’t done business with you for a while. This too, could be for a variety of reasons, but a well thought out Reactivation plan can be very profitable.
Acquisition – All new businesses are in Acquisition mode. This is where you’ll acquire customers for the first time. To do this, you must use the right marketing techniques to let your target audience know you exist. This is typically the most expensive phase.
Retention – Once you have customers you must work to keep them because it can cost up to 10x more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, so consistent Retention practices should become part of any business’s marketing activities.
Reactivation – This is a sub-segment of the elements above. For myriad reasons a customer may stop buying from you (they moved, or entered a new life stage, etc.). Depending on what your product is and why they stopped, some portion can often be reactivated to become viable customers again.
To ensure your small business marketing success each of these three phases should be part of your marketing arsenal to ensure your success for the long haul.
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