Relocating your business is a complex process, with a million and one details to take care of. Among other things, you have to contact service providers to discontinue service at the old location and start up at the new one. Then there are changes to your letterhead, stocking up on new business cards, updating contact information on your website. As you pack up old records and everything else you have in storage, one detail nags at you. What is it you’re forgetting?
That’s right—doing everything you can to retain your valued customers before, during and after the move is complete.
Customer retention should be your top priority when the time comes to relocate, but in the rush to take care of everything else, some essential tasks can be overlooked. Now’s a good time to compile a check-list of actions that help ensure you keep existing customers and acquire some new ones, while you’re in the process of moving the business to its new (and hopefully better) location:
Start letting people know now.
In advance of the actual move date, start communicating to your valued customers and others. There are many communications resources to draw on for this all-important message—every tool you’ve used in the past to alert customers about sales or new products should be tapped for news about your pending move as well:
- Eye-catching direct mail pieces
- Email alerts
- Press releases to local publications
- Announcements on the home page of your business site
- Changes to your “About Us” and “Contact Us” web pages
- Ongoing mentions in your business blog
- Brief note to accompany your invoices
- Frequent reminders to your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn followers
Every message you distribute about the upcoming move should contain the business’s new address and telephone number, as well as easy-to-understand directions on how to get there.
A couple of options: If you anticipate the move will mean your store is temporarily closed for business, mention this in your communications along with an apology for any customer inconvenience (don’t forget to include your actual opening date!). Also, if the relocation is due to an expansion, thank everyone you contact for their valuable support and reaffirm your commitment to serving them in even better ways at the new location.
Update your online and community listings.
Make sure search engines accurately reflect the change in your business address. Update listings on Yelp, Trip Advisor, Google + and all other sites that include your location.
Get in touch with your local Chamber of Commerce and other business networking groups. Ask them to include a brief announcement about the move in their neighborhood newsletters.
Consider a grand opening event.
You don’t want a momentous occasion like this to take place in a vacuum. Hosting a grand opening (or grand re-opening) is a great way to stir up excitement among your customer base, as well as a good reason to get in touch with former customers. Plan a gala event with entertainment and refreshments. Think about special discounts or giveaways that add more sizzle to the event.
Issue a press release about the grand opening to local TV and radio outlets. You never know when you might attract some media attention, combining free publicity with the possibility of drawing even bigger crowds to your event.
Relocating your business is a big deal. If you do things right, it’s also a fantastic, once-in-a-lifetime marketing opportunity.