What does it take to create customer loyalty, the kind of commitment that makes customers stick with you, even when your competitors become more aggressive, and price competition intensifies? Here are some tips from the experts.

1. Profile your customers.

Customers aren’t all the same. They have different needs and different motivators for shopping with you. Creating customer profiles based on your existing customer data tells you who these different customers are and what they need from you. The more you understand these groups of customers, the more you will be able to create a plan to keep them.

2. Use your data to create offers.

Do you know which offers will keep your customers coming back to purchase? Using your existing data, you can create custom offers to those different customer profiles. If they have a pet dog, they won’t have a need for an offer for cat food, but they would love to buy more dog toys or a leash. Customizing the offers based on their previous history and profile will increase your overall conversion rate and purchase frequency of loyal customers.

3. Make it personal.

Changing from generic communications that go out to everyone to personalized content that speaks directly to your customer can make a huge difference in the outcome of your campaign. This should go beyond “Dear <<name>>” and include content driven by demographics, demonstrated preferences or past purchase history. The goal is not just to let your customers know that you know their names, but to increase the relevance of your communications and let them make a personal connection with your brand.

4. Increase in frequency.

Frequency/Timing should be based on the buyer’s purchase history and/or their path to purchase. Use your analytics to figure when they should be close to purchasing again and send mail at the right time. Timing is a huge influencer on response.

5. Reward loyalty.

When customers are loyal, let them know that you appreciate it. Send them a thank you once in a while. Send them “loyal customer” discounts, personalized to their unique habits and preferences.

Retaining customers takes planning. It requires an intentional, focused effort to keep those customers you’ve worked so hard to have. What’s your plan?