Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
It’s no secret that the Denver Metro has seen an explosion of population growth over the past several years. According to the Denver Post, in 2015 alone more than 100,000 people made their way to Colorado and stayed. Judging by the volume of traffic we all see on a daily basis, it’s a good bet that a lot of them settled in in the Denver Metro.
But that’s only part of the story. Sure, there’s a lot of new faces coming to the mile high metro area. But your customers…the ones you’ve worked so hard to earn loyalty from…are moving too. Depending on where you get your statistics, it is estimated that a surprisingly large percentage of the population moves in any given year. The US Census puts the number close to 12% a year. Whatever the true number is, the point remains: you lose customers every single year because they move away. Likely, far away from your business.
Another Denver Post article, from April 2016, noted that one in 10 Colorado households that filed a tax return in 2014 lived in another county or state the year before. Ten percent! The Denver Post went onto to point out that Colorado led the nation in that statistic, and that just over half of those moving were Colorado residents that crossed county lines. Put another way, they moved what is likely a significant distance away from your business and the personal relationship you worked so hard to build with them.
The point? Your customer base is not static. It’s changing constantly, and it’s changing to a greater extent than you might have realized. No matter how great of a job you do, and how hard you work to earn customer loyalty, you are losing a significant part of your customer base. Every. Single. Year.
The good news is that with all the new residents arriving in Colorado, you can certainly work to replace customers that move away. But those new residents have to know you exist, and they have to be constantly reminded that you want their business as they settle in and begin developing their shopping habits.
It takes time to build a social network when you arrive in a new community. An individual may only know a few people at work and the friendly neighbors that came across the street to introduce themselves. Their social media newsfeed, and the recommendations of their friends on it, represents the world they just left and not the one they are living in now. It will take them time to meet people, connect, and find new sources of information. They don’t know what they don’t know.
NOT a news flash to most of us: getting in front of anyone, new resident or otherwise, isn’t any easy proposition these days. Our attention has been fractured by the internet. Each of us is bombarded with messaging all day long – everything from radio to television to the increasingly annoying social media feeds. Text messages. News alerts. The latest Twitter tantrum. Consumers are drowning in information and it’s getting harder for a small business to get noticed.
Enter direct mail. Direct mail is tangible. It’s tactile. It’s something that we can easily hang onto because it doesn’t disappear in 1.7 seconds off the edge of a screen. And if you do direct mail correctly, you’re not lined up next to your biggest competitors for a high stakes game of eeny-meeny-miny-mo on a Google search result.
In a quality direct-mail magazine (yes, like the ones my company publishes), your ad is alongside feature stories, recipes, local event coverage and a diverse offering of consumer goods and services. You are pooling your advertising efforts with that of other small businesses, and as a result are able to reach each consumer household for a tiny fraction – usually around a penny per home – of what it would cost to do on your own in a postcard or similar format.
The best part is that your brand and offer is reaching the neighborhoods surrounding your business. You’re not only reminding existing customers that you want them to return, but you’re reaching new residents that are just beginning to explore the community and establish their new list of “go-to” businesses. You’re actively projecting a tangible presence and working to attract consumers to your phone, website, or storefront.
Through no fault of your own, you’re going to lose customers in the year ahead. What is your strategy to replace them?