If you still feel slightly winded and your budget is lighter from all that work you’ve done to acquire new customers, consider this: it costs about five times as much to acquire those new customers as it does to keep the ones you’ve got. And the ones you’ve got — those so-called “loyal customers” — are not just cheaper; they’re the ones most likely to help you grow your business by recommending you to others.

If you don’t have a plan in place to keep your customers coming back for more, there is good news: there’s no chance your business won’t reap the rewards of a little shift in focus.

Customer relationship management

You’ve impressed your customer enough to convince them to try your product or service. A very short honeymoon phase follows where you both bask in the glow of that awesomeness. And then something very real happens: you’re in a relationship that requires some work. For your part the work can largely be automated. But you do need to set it up and check up on it.

You prove yours, then I’ll prove mine

You’ve probably heard of customer loyalty programs. But if you’ve wondered if they’re worth the trouble, there’s this statistic: 75% of companies that have a loyalty program in place generate a ROI from that program. And it turns out your customers want you to prove your loyalty to them. In fact, an overwhelming majority expect you to have a program of some kind in place to reward them for doing repeat business with you.

What would this look like? You might have gotten that 10th lesson for free or a percentage off at your local bookstore for a purchase of X amount. That’s the kind of thing that incentivizes customers to drive the extra mile or walk the extra few blocks to bring business back to you instead of a competitor’s shop they just passed.

Keep the conversation going

Many businesses pour all of their energy into marketing to their next customers and once they’ve won that new business, the conversation comes to a screeching halt. Don’t let that happen to you. Keep your customers engaged with your brand.


Create a customer lifecycle email campaign. You can build this out a few emails at a time as you learn what your customers need and what you want them to do, when.

If you have a blog or newsletter, make sure you’re updating your customers when something new is up. And we know you’d never blog just to blog. Remember the problems your customers came to solve when they found your product? That’s the kind of content they’ll find valuable and come back for.

Some businesses even ask for a personal detail like a birthday so that they can extend an offer when that day comes. This is pretty genius because it serves as an extra reward to repeat customers and as a reminder that you exist to customers who’ve fallen off.

Ask them what they really think

You might think once you’ve established a relationship with a customer that you’ll hear from them if they have a major gripe or if they think you’re the bee’s knees. But that isn’t always the case. Some customers need an invitation before they’ll give you feedback. But what’s on the other side can be extremely valuable to your business — helping you save relationships you didn’t even know were on the rocks or identify true advocates in customers you didn’t know were as satisfied as they were.

Some businesses send a simple, friendly email to gauge general customer satisfaction. Others put forth a more detailed survey and might extend a small gift or offer in exchange for the insights provided.

Others might get fancier on the “backend” and send a Net Promoter Score (NPS) email to try to nail down their customer experience performance. However you frame it, the effort can produce important business intel, quotes for your website, reviews, and other gold nuggets that help you improve.