This morning I woke up with an email in my inbox from Alamo Drafthouse, a local cinema chain that I love that started in Austin, Texas. I am obsessed with Alamo Drafthouse, and it has the kind of cult-following that a lot of great brands enjoy. The email’s subject was perfect. It read, “Your next pizza is on us.” The viewable text of the email said, “We can’t wait to see you back at the Alamo Drafthouse.” This is a prime example of an incredibly thoughtful and personal customer retention strategy. I was blown away. I love when companies do this!

I was so touched by the email that I opened it. The email was clear and focused. They had noticed that I hadn’t been to Alamo Drafthouse in awhile and wanted me to come back. It’s true. Life has been busy recently, and I haven’t gone to the movies in a few months even though I was going quite often before. They probably noticed this. My habits had changed, and they wanted to retain me as a customer. This is customer retention strategy at its finest.

Everyone has a soft spot for their favorite brands. Think about a few of the companies that you just love to love. For me, I think of Nordstrom, Apple, National Geographic, and now Alamo Drafthouse. As a marketer, it also just so happens that I am obsessed with the great email marketing that is produced by these companies. Incredible companies are masters of customer retention. They know that investing in their customers is going to pay off in the long-run (and even in the short-run). It’s cheaper to invest in your current customers than spend tons of money acquiring new customers. Your loyal customers are also some of your biggest advocates, so they can do some of the marketing for you.

Let’s talk about some of the things you should be thinking about to develop an incredible customer retention strategy.

Be relationship-focused, not transaction-focused.

If you treat your customers like they are just dollar signs to you, then, trust me, they’ll know. We all know the feeling of a business clearly not caring about us other than the fact that we are buying something at their store. That’s the worst! If you are just focused on making money, you are clearly not even considering the happiness of your customer.

The first step to beefing up your customer retention strategy is having a relationship-focused mindset with your customers. This is easier said than done though. It really takes the effort of all of your employees, at every level.

One of my favorite customer retention strategies is celebrating special events with your customers! I especially love when businesses give me a free product or item for my birthday. It’s good business because it makes me come into the store to pick up my item or go to their website to redeem a code (which will most likely lead to me spending more money buying other things), and it also makes me feel valued as a customer.

Ideas to Help You Build Relationships with Your Customers

Make your customers feel like your friends. Here are 3 other cute ideas to build your relationship with your customer:

  • Use your customers’ names whenever you can. We love to hear our name. It makes us feel special. Put some effort into remembering their names and use them when you can whether that’s in an email or at the store.
  • Celebrate their anniversaries! Did your customer make their first purchase at your store a year ago? Surprise them with a discount for their one year anniversary with your brand.
  • Learn your customer’s preferences and use that knowledge to surprise them. If your customer loves rom-coms, send them email updates recommending rom-coms you think they would love!

Read also: Reduce Churn Rate in 7 Easy Steps Now

Pay attention to customer analytics, and track trends.

Customer retention is all about learning about your customer and building a marketing strategy specific to their behaviors and needs. Customer analytics are at the heart of discovering these patterns in your customer’s habits. Be sure that you invest in tools that can help you collect data and track trends. This data will also help you create buyer personas and customer segments. These tools are going to be invaluable in order to build a personalized and strategic relationship with each customer.

It might sound overwhelming now to think about tailoring messaging and content to each customer, but this is where data will help you more than ever. You don’t need to create a strategy for each person, just each of your segments. Using customer analytics will help you identify customers who are losing interest in your brand and continue to nurture loyal patrons. All the answers are in the data.

Read also: Mobile App Analytics and You: 3 Keys to Success

Personalized content will do wonders for you.

I am just going to say this: content marketing is the key to a great customer retention strategy. In the age of inbound marketing, content is your ticket to your customers’ hearts. Creating content is cheap, and you can easily personalize it for each of your buyer personas. Building a relationship with your customers is all about creating a give-and-take. They give you something, you give them something. Content is a great way to build this relationship. Using customer analytics, you can track what content is really resonating with your customers.

A great way to deliver personalized content is by creating a newsletter, but establishing different tracks for your different personas. This way you can package personalized content and execute specific and unique messaging for each of your segments. Email marketing is the easiest way to engage in delivering personalized content to your consumers, so building out an email marketing program and utilizing an email automation program is a must.

Utilize technology at every turn.

Technology is making it possible to interact with your customers in new ways – maybe even ways you never even imagined. A good customer retention strategy is all about creating multiple touch points where you can engage with your customers. Software that allows you to automate SMS messaging, emails, and push notifications is an incredible way to communicate with customers like never before. With this kind of automation system you can:

  • Send a text message to your customer to remind them of their reservation or booking.
  • Activate a push notification when your customer is in your vicinity. Offer them a discount to ensure that they make it to your storefront!
  • Email your customer when it’s around the time of her monthly appointment. Make it easier than ever for her to book a seat at your salon!

This just gives you a little taste of the possibilities when you utilize technology that can get you on the screens of your customers’ mobile devices. Your messaging will be right in front of them making it easier than ever for them to build a relationship with your brand. A good customer retention strategy is all about making your interactions with your customer seem effortless and natural. You want to constantly provide them with value and contribute to the relationship in a meaningful way – ensuring that your efforts will pay off in the long-run.

Build a customer retention strategy today

Hopefully, this blog post gave you some things to think about when building up your customer retention strategy. Remember, it’s all about creating an authentic dialogue with your customer. Keep these things in mind, and you will have no problem building a happy customer base who will keep coming back for more.