Retention marketing has become one of the most strategic marketing initiatives in the past few years. After all, it is 81 percent less expensive to upsell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. In addition, customer retention deepens the relationship between vendors and clients and creates larger customer lifetime value in return.

But what are the secrets and best practices that marketers can put in place to create customers for life? Here are five recommendations for success. These proven tips are gathered from strategies employed by some of the most successful businesses and their use of analytics for customer retention.

1. Identify customer tipping points

Use analytics to understand customer life cycle. Create cohorts of customers such as new, early, expanded and mature stages, and learn customer behavior in each stage. Integrate data from product usage, customer feedback, support cases and payment information to identify early signs of churn signals.

2. Create a frequent communications calendar, programs and loyalty incentives

A programmed sequence of letters, events, phone calls, rewards, special offers, follow-ups and magic moments creates positive energy, communicates your value to the customer again and again. Most importantly, it reinforces the reason they’re doing business with you in the first place.

3. Align marketing with product, customer service and support teams

What you say versus what you do has a huge impact on your company’s long-term success and customer retention. The design, quality, reliability and serviceability of your product or service must meet the standard your customers expect. Work with your product and services teams to deliver on the value that you as a marketer are promising your customers.

4. Create communities

Bring your customers together. Annual user conferences are one of the most successful venues for customers to share ideas and expand on the value they have been getting from your products. Online communities and social networks also create active forums to increase customer advocacy, trust and loyalty.

5. Sell and sell again

Contrary to popular belief, selling is not about throwing your product over the wall. Selling is about allaying your customers’ fears and being actively engaged each step of the way. Instead of chasing yet another sale, strike while the iron is hot and build lasting relationships with your customers. Demonstrate that you care – and act on it. To do so, create a customer success team that is on a mission to stay engaged, understand customer pains and offer solutions. That is the only way to deepen your relationships.

With these five tips you can turn one-time customers into lifetime customers. Finish off the year with these strategies in mind so you can build customer allegiance and reap the benefits in the months to come.


By Farnaz Erfan, Director of Product Strategy at Birst. 

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