As the old bit of dating advice goes, “If you love someone, let him go. If he returns, he’s yours; if he doesn’t, he never was.” Well, no offense to old sayings, but this advice should never, ever be applied to marketing—especially when it comes to reengaging lapsed customers.

Even though dating insights don’t hold strong in this industry, losing or being ghosted by a customer can feel like romantic rejection. Didn’t he have a good time? Doesn’t she like the way we look? Has he gone over to a different brand?

While a marketer may never learn exactly why a customer’s interest waivers, it is possible to reignite his or her initial enthusiasm for your brand.

The advent of the digital age of marketing has made this easier than it has ever been before—marketers simply send “we miss you, here’s a coupon” emails to lapsed customers and hope for a response.

While this was an effective strategy for a while, it’s one that almost all digital marketers have adopted, leading to a flood of marketing materials in consumers’ inboxes. Recent statistics now indicate that only about 14% of marketing emails are ever seen by consumers and this number is rapidly declining with the help of email filters.

Marketers often come to EQ in search of a newer and more effective digital approach to re-engaging lapsed customers. The following tips will help you get ahead of competitors.

Place pixels
Placing pixels is more of a preventative measure than an active one and is a popular choice for brands pushing boundaries in the digital space.

Pixels act as invisible cameras that can be placed on pages of your website that capture information about who has shown interest in your product. This allows you to capture valuable data and serve customized ads directly to individuals who haven’t touched base with your website in a predetermined length of time.

This way, you won’t just reconnect with lapsed customers, but also lapsed potential customers. It’s that simple—no email sign-ups, no previous purchases and no pushy call-to-action required.

Choose cross-device
As this century progresses, so does the surfaces on which we are able to market and advertise. Now, we are constantly looking at a screen—whether it’s our phones, televisions, laptops or wearables. Almost everything is a computer, which means almost everything is a marketing opportunity.

In order to benefit from this upward trend, marketers should learn how to properly advertise across a single consumer’s devices without being redundant.

A few of EQ’s clients have been concerned about customers who have downloaded their app, but never use it. Technology now allows us to target these customers with a browser ad, on any of their devices, that will reengage them with the forgotten app. This has proven to be a successful, inconspicuous method of reminding lapsed consumers about your brand.

Steer toward social
More than anything else, consumers are spending their online time on social media. These platforms are great tools for interactivity and engagement. While the email addresses of lapsed customers can be used to fill their inboxes, they can also be used to serve social media ads.

Recently, an EQ client that sells large appliances wasn’t sure how to take advantage of this process as appliances are rarely needed more than once a decade. We found that the best strategy was to serve former customers with ads offering a warranty and add-ons to already-purchased products.

This campaign proved to be very successful in allowing the client to continue the relationship with the client.

This article originally appeared in the January 2017 issue of Direct Marketing.

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Nesh Pillay

After obtaining a Master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Nesh Pillay begun her career as a writer in New York where she covered all things marketing and advertising. Currently, she resides in Toronto and leads EQ Works’ marketing team, spreading the good word of cutting-edge marketing strategies.

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