Why Your Customers Don’t Return

We all like to think that our business is so loved by our customers that they spend time thinking about how they can come and spend money with us again. Unfortunately, they, like the rest of us, have so many other things on their mind – their work, their kids’ schoolwork, soccer schedules, piano practice, getting to the gym, grocery shopping…. The list is endless. You can’t trust that they will return automatically.

Retaining your customers and preventing them from ending up in the “where did they go” list means you need to remind them of your business, its products and services, and your value.

We all like to think that our business is so loved by our customers that they spend time thinking about how they can come and spend money with us again. Unfortunately, they, like the rest of us, have so many other things on their mind – their work, their kids’ schoolwork, soccer schedules, piano practice, getting to the gym, grocery shopping….  The list is endless.

According to the book, “Lessons from the Field” by Howard Feiertag and John Hogan, there are six reasons a business will lose a customer and that customer will never return.

The six reasons are:

  • death (1%)
  • they move (3%)
  • they make a new friend in the business (5%)
  • they defect to a competitor (9%)
  • they are dissatisfied with the product (14%)
  • they experienced a lack of interest from the company (68%).


That means that 68%, almost 7 out of 10, of the customers walk in your door and never return because of our lack of follow-up.

Just Because You Built It...

We like to think that when someone does business with us, they think the experience, the product and the service was so amazing, they’ll come running back as soon as they can.

You can’t trust that they will return automatically. That’s what we call the “hope based” marketing method. You “hope” that they come back again. (Hint: it doesn’t work)

All of your marketing needs a reason to come back, an IRRESISTIBLE OFFER to lure people to return – and it needs to be accompanied by three specific elements.

If your marketing doesn’t have these elements, then it will not be as effective as it could, or should, be.  You’re just putting your name out there with the hope that sometime, somewhere down the road it will convert into some business. 

You need to create a reason for them to come in, something to entice and influence them. They need an offer they can’t refuse. Shake things up, surprise them, poke them with a stick (not literally) – get them out of their routine and into your business.


At Royalty Rewards® we do this using the techniques of direct response marketing – the foundation of our program.  It’s the most cost-effective and fastest way for independent businesses to grow their sales. Larger brands and chains tend to focus on brand or image marketing, hiring large marketing firms to assist. It’s impossible for smaller businesses to compete with that, which is another reason why direct response works so well for businesses like yours.

Direct Response Marketing:

Direct marketing is targeted to a specific person, designed and intended to create an instant response to influence the audience to take a specific, measurable action in a certain time frame so it pays for itself.”

Brand Marketing:

“Refers to a type of marketing whose goal is to increase awareness of your business with a set of expectations that helps people identify a company, product, or individual in the hope that people will remember you when they’re ready to buy.

This means that much of your direct marketing efforts are focused on your existing customers, people who know and trust you and who need only a small nudge to return more often. It also means that your marketing dollars are more effective because you are targeting an audience you have a stronger influence over, instead of trying to lure in new customers who take a lot more convincing (and expense).

All Marketing Needs An Offer.

To be complete, every piece of marketing needs an offer. However, your response will be the highest if you make that offer so irresistible that anyone reading the ad will say…

Why wouldn’t I do this?

Why wouldn’t I go into that restaurant at that time to take advantage of that? Why wouldn’t I take my car into that Auto Repair Shop to get that?

A free offer is irresistible if you do a good job of selling it and people see value in it. Just because it is free, or you put a lot of work into something, doesn’t mean that people will want it. You have to determine what is irresistible for your customers, it will be different for every business.

Keep in mind that creating offers for new customers vs. existing customers will be very different. New customers will need MUCH stronger offers.

Existing customers have already been convinced that they like you, they trust you, they know where you are and what you provide. They just need to be encouraged to return more frequently – because much as we’d like them too – they do not wake up every morning wondering how they can support your business. They have busy lives; your business easily slips off the radar due to distractions.

New customers need far more convincing. It’s said that it takes 8 times the cost to convince them. They don’t know you, may not think about needing what you offer, or already have a solution to the problem you solve (even though yours is better, they just don’t know that). You need an offer so powerful that it wants that person to get off the couch, make a phone call to book an appointment, order from your business, book a reservation, or get in the car and come to your business. It needs to be so strong that it overshines all the other marketing messages your customers are bombarded by, your competitors they drive by, their existing solution that’s easy, and get them to act. People consistently underestimate the effort and the message that it takes to get someone to do that.

Give me a good, compelling reason to come to your business right now. If you have any confidence in what you do, then you know you can create repeat, loyal customers and retain new ones that come in and get added to your customer list. That’s where you make the money – on the repeat business.  

An Offer Is Not An Offer Without An Expiry Date.

If you don’t have an expiry date, then the customer can get what you are offering anytime.  It’s not special at all. What an expiry date does, is create a sense of urgency. Typically, at Royalty Rewards® it is a month out. Sometimes it could expire when quantities run out. This can also create a sense of urgency. What the expiry does is tell the customer that if they don’t act now, they could miss out.

Expiry dates also allow you to give them reminders before the expiry date if they haven’t yet redeemed the offer.  At Royalty Rewards® we do this by text, email and their Rewards App. People have busy lives, and they forget – a great marketing piece followed by reminders increases response rates and gets them coming back to spend.

You have to give your customer a reason to get off the couch, stop watching Netflix, get in their car and drive by all the other options available to them, to come to your business now. Because if they wait, they will miss out.

Answer The Reader’s Question, “Why Are You Sending This?”

It doesn’t have to be a particularly strong reason, just a reason.  In celebration of the 4th of July, St. Patrick’s Day, Your Birthday, your accountant is on holidays… are these things are all valid reasons. It doesn’t have to be fancy or complicated. 

This is where your personality or company culture can be demonstrated. Write about your offer in the same way you speak and sound like a friend (not a salesperson).  Start sentences with “and”, use jargon and words the audience might use. Don’t necessarily worry about proper grammar, and don’t use stiff, formal, elevated language.

Tell a story that compels the audience to keep reading. Humor is always good, as is sentimentality, or connection. Create a bond with the audience to show you understand them and their life. Be empathetic.

Make Them Take Action

This is something that is frequently left out. Generally, your customers will be remarkably good at following directions. You just have to tell them exactly what to do.

Do they have to call to make reservations or an appointment, go to a specific website to order, bring something in, respond by text, visit your website, or give you their credit card number?

If they have to cut out a certificate and bring it with them before the expiry date, then you have to say that exactly in your marketing.

“Bring in this certificate before September 30 to get your XXX.”
“Click Here to receive your FREE XXX before they are all gone!”

In clear, unbroken, elementary English. Leave no room for misunderstanding.

If people are confused, they will not respond.

Next time you are creating marketing to entice either existing customers or new customers, keep in mind that you want an irresistible offer, and it needs all these components to be effective.

An irresistible offer needs:

  1. Expiry Date
  2. Compelling Copy
  3. A Call To Action.

An irresistible offer is one that is so good, people can’t refuse it. Something your target audience really wants.  Once you test a few, it will become clear what works and what doesn’t – so you can keep the winners and improve the losers.  Get creative and use strong offers to lure your customers in again and again.

All of the marketing at Royalty Rewards® can be targeted to any segment of your customer list, most frequent, least frequent, biggest spenders, specific product buyers, lost customers, by geography, the options are endless.  Then we craft each piece of marketing to include all the components necessary to get great returns. It is all measured down to the penny, so you know what works and what doesn’t.  Find out how this marketing can be put to work for you by booking a marketing consultation call.

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It’s so frustrating when you have a frequent customer who suddenly disappears.

Where did they go? Did you do something wrong? Did they move away?

We share a real-life example of how we helped a client re-engage their lost customers with just one targeted email campaign.

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