As you might know, repeat customers are truly the foundation of your business. They account for significant chunks of the overall business earnings, and research shows that the average revenue per visit increases exponentially with each repeat visit. While these existing customers are already advocates for your brand, requiring less convincing to make another trip or purchase, with so much competition in the marketplace, special attention and personalized communications are essential in retaining them over a lifetime.

So where should a business start when it comes to converting a one-time purchaser to a repeat purchaser, and ultimately seeking to maintain that life-long relationship? Let’s start with how this valuable segment should be communicated with. Your best customers want to be treated as the best, and certainly differently than prospects. They are already familiar with and are fans of your brand, so avoid bombarding these contacts with generic, database-wide promotions that you would send to non-customers that you know nothing about. Keep them interested to avoid losing them as a subscriber and customer by making them feel special. Start by simply speaking to (not at) your best customers as you would greet a regular in your physical business: by utilizing their known information to personalize the conversation.

Whether thanking a customer for a recent purchase with a triggered email, providing special offers to high value customer segments or sending a general message of gratitude for reaching a company milestone (such as 1 million twitter followers), simple recognition goes a long way. As the relationship grows over time, take it a step further by customizing your email creative to cater to your customers’ preferences, geographical location or known engagement in specific marketing channels. Provide your best customers with reasons to repeat their visit.

Collection and maintenance of your customer contact information is essential in gaining this information about your customers. Be sure to collect every actionable data value that is relevant to your business in order to identify key patterns and segments that you can target with customized messages pertaining to their behaviors and preferences.

Creating these distinctive and memorable experiences for your customer will develop trust over time, increase your repeat purchases, and drive referrals as well as build long-term loyalty.