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“The grass is always greener.” The saying applies to many situations in life and marketing is no exception. Today, there’s so much focus on customer acquisition, but in many cases, merchants already have the most valuable players in their current networks. While bringing in new business will always be important, successful brands are focusing more on delighting existing loyal customers vs. attracting new ones.

To see this, one only needs to look at the numbers. A whopping 44 percent of companies have a greater focus on customer acquisition, while only 18 percent focus on retention, according to Invesp. Additionally, research from Bain & Company shows that increasing customer retention rates by only five percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent. The best part is, not only is it more cost-effective for brands to re-market to existing customers, but they are more likely to spend more and try new products – a win-win.

Because email is one of the most effective (and economical) digital marketing tactics for customer retention, here are three email marketing strategies that brands can use to create more loyal, long-lasting customers.

Treat Email Campaigns like a Diet
With the advent of machine learning and personalization, marketers are now able to mine data to uncover what consumers are buying, as well as their personal tastes, which evolve over time. The emails you’re feeding your customers are akin to a diet – and the goal is to create a balanced one. Make sure there is a variety of themes that align with the customer’s purchase history and preferences – and don’t spam them about the same blue sweater already sitting in their closet.

For example, an outdoor apparel company was sending out a traditional newsletter with six themes – three for men and three for women. The company now sends out 70-80 varying email themes each week, specifically tailored to the customer, enabling it to better serve them while simultaneously expanding the exposure of its product catalog. This has contributed to a 32 percent increase in click lift and up to a 35 percent lift in revenue per send. Overall, thanks to this new approach, the retailer experienced a significant increase in customer engagement and shopping across categories.

Map Out the Customer Journey
It’s important for brands to take a holistic approach when mapping out the customer journey. Brands should look at transactional data, product data and web data from the customer to understand purchase behavior. Once this is complete, brands can focus on the dynamics of a customer journey, including how quickly a customer is moving through the sales funnel, what products they gravitate toward (or away from) and how they engage with promotional offers and other marketing content.

By taking a deeper dive into the customer lifecycle, brands can optimize multiple email offers for a particular customer that are aligned with both the customer’s trajectory and the company’s business goals – whether that be highlighting a new product or deepening exposure into their product catalog.

Don’t Be the Proverbial “Annoying Salesperson”
It’s no secret that consumers are just as quick to delete irrelevant promotional emails as they are to leave a store after being chased down by an overly-aggressive salesperson. If you’ve done a good job of mapping out the customer journey and providing a balanced “content diet”, this shouldn’t be a problem. But, what some email marketers do is email blast a coupon for dog food when a large portion of their email list owns only a cat. If this is the case, it’s time to focus on audience development. Whether it’s the content or the offer itself, the email should include something that is relevant and interesting to each recipient.

By focusing on a more customer-centric approach, brands have a huge opportunity to improve email outreach and strengthen relationships and engagement with their lucrative existing customer base.