How to Wake Dormant Customers

How to Wake Dormant CustomersCustomers go quiet they just do. They may no longer buy a product or service, or they may have stopped interacting with the brand altogether.

But a business shouldn’t give up customers without a fight. Whether your customers have gone to the competition or just gone silent, they are worth your time and effort to woo them again. Here are five practical, easy to implement tips to engage dormant customers and expand your base of paying, active patrons.

Find Out Why They Have Gone Silent

There is a reason your customers are no longer interacting with your brand and uncovering the reason why is an important first step. One way to do this is to use online surveys and polls that are specifically crafted for this subsection of your business. Don’t be afraid to ask and be direct. This analysis will only make your business stronger.

Ask them what you could do better, how you could adjust your offerings, how you might better meet their needs, etc. Take the feedback seriously and make adjustments where possible. Then, let them know that their feedback was heard and implemented.

You might be surprised by how much goodwill this generates, and how the goodwill will bring them back.

Provide Them With Incentives

Some customers may require more than words to give you back their business. Offer them something your competitors can’t, such as discounts on key products or services, cash incentives, or personalized service.

Whatever you offer, make it unique to your business and valuable to your customers.  If everyone in your market offers free shipping, for instance, that won’t get you very far. You’ll want to consider incentives that truly stand out. For example, you might want to offer re-activation bonuses or one-time deep discounts on your most popular products or services. Or, you might offer a free hour of personal consultation.

Your offer will depend on your business, what others in the space are doing, and what your customers need.

Show Them – Don’t Tell Them

Your dormant customers may have become disengaged if they didn’t achieve the desired results from your product or service. Show them the advantage of buying or doing business with you by communicating the successes / satisfaction of your active customers are experiencing. If, for instance, you are an online retailer offering personalized shopping tips, show them a handful of happy customer quotes about your service.

Use Social Networking to Connect Where They Are

Meet your customers on common ground. Don’t wait for them to come back on their own. When you survey them (step 1), determine what platforms they are using and begin to engage. Use social media to connect with them where they are. Everyday 450 million people use Facebook – I bet your customers are there too. If you are B2B, reach out on LinkedIn. Become a part of the conversation with relevant information. Here you could offer instructional content, discounts, promotions, links to related content or conversations.

Be Persistent and Proactive

Look for persistent ways to stay in front of disengaged customers. For instance, a browser app can keep you top of mind for every customer that downloads the add-on. Use apps to share everything from content, functionality, social media resources, chat, video, RSS, and more. Dormant customers might be attracted to the versatility and accessibility, and you can easily keep them engaged with news, special offers, customer successes, and more every time they go online.


Adam Boyden Adam Boyden, President of Conduit, is responsible for marketing, business development and U.S. Operations. Conduit is a company that enables publishers to distribute their content directly and through its global network of publishers.

11 Reactions
  1. Adam,

    Your post highlights simple steps that small business can take especially contacting them to find out the reasons. It is often the case of us not keeping in contact and somehow expect customers to be the proactive one.

    Having what I call a customer care program in place helps this situation not occuring in the first place, although you will not keep all customers as some will leave and go to competitors.

  2. I think the hardest part is often spending the time to remember and nurture past customers. So often we get busy with new customer acquisition and servicing current customers that we forget about the customers who just faded into the background.

  3. Michael John Dale

    I know a lot of people don’t like to eat leftovers, but heating up your old customers is probably 10 times more likely to create a new sale than trying to work with cold leads.

    This article was featured in the DAILY TOP 10 ARTICLE BLOG at

    Great job Adam! We enjoyed reading it.

  4. Martin Lindeskog


    Have you listened to John Jantsch’s interview with Joseph Jaffe? Mr. Jaffe is the author of “Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones.”

  5. Great post Adam, and thank you.

    As some of your commenters have noted, it is far easier to sell to an existing customer, however distant in the past that may have been.

    I do also believe that many people equate persistence with pestering – personally, I believe that persistence is a positive attribute as long as its wielded well.

    The bottom line is to always treat people how YOU would like to be treated, if you do that, you cant go far wrong.

  6. I found this post very useful. It can seem like such a mystery when clients that used to contact your company for services all the time, suddenly disappear. Did they go to a competitor? Did you offend them in some way? What happened?

    I really appreciate the suggestions here and methods of re-connecting with those customers who have suddenly gone silent. Thank you for this article! 🙂

  7. I think people forget that it’s so much easier (and cheaper) to cultivate a past customer than finding a new one.

    In my DJ business, I follow up 1 month after their wedding, 6 months after their wedding, and then every anniversary they get something. It works!