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7 Amazing Ways to Build Long-Term Relationships With Your Customers Repeat business is essential but in the rush of doing everything it's easy to lose customers without even realizing it.

By Serenity Gibbons

entrepreneur daily

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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If you've been in business a while, you've likely learned how difficult it can be to win a new customer. You can spend quite a bit of money and time marketing to consumers in the hopes of landing even one sale, depending on your industry. Even when a first-time customer completes a purchase, there's no guarantee that person will be back to buy more.

The segment of your customer base who regularly buys from you could be the biggest asset your company has. By adjusting your marketing spend so that you target not only new customers but also nurture your existing audience, you could enjoy far greater profitability. Here are seven ways that you can ensure your company has a sizable share of long-term customers.

Engage them

Long-term customers generally do far more than buy a company's products. They connect with the business itself, which incentivizes them to keep coming back. Through your website, email messaging, and social media posts, make sure you're engaging the customers and increasing their personal connection.

Hull provides software that helps businesses personalize their interactions with customers. With the right tools in place, you can gather information and put it to use in making them feel as though they have more of a one-on-one relationship with your brand.

Related: You Can't Be Everything for Everybody, So Stop Trying

Allow them to experience your brand.

Nothing can replace the experience of interacting with a company in person. When customers can meet you and your team, while also seeing your products live, they'll feel a stronger connection than if they'd only purchased from your website and read your email messages.

Find opportunities to meet your customers in person, using experiential marketing techniques to announce, invite, and follow up afterward. AnyRoad allows you to leverage these experiences. They process the entire customer journey - from scheduling and registration to closing the loop after the experience to gather feedback. While you're letting fans experience the brand, the platform (called an Experience Relationship Management platform) also gathers data on each registrant, which can be used later for long-term relationship building.

Understand their relationship with your brand.

In order to better serve your customers, you need to know as much as possible about them. Analytics tools can help with that but for those who are visually oriented, heatmaps may be an even better solution. Crazy Egg offers heatmapping software that allows businesses to see which areas of a website are getting the most attention. If certain features get more clicks than others, you can note that and make sure you're focusing on those aspects of your site.

Related: How to Calculate the Lifetime Value of a Customer

Explore their social media influence.

When it comes to getting the word out about your brand, not all customers are created equal. Some will have a large online following, while others will have an inactive social media presence. Nurturing relationships with your more engaged customers can pay off if they mention you online.

Using Klout, you can check a customer's social score and determine their level of influence.

Provide value

Your goal is to introduce new customers to the products you provide. A consumer's goal is to find products and services that add some type of value to their lives. As you develop a strategy to build customer loyalty, keep in mind what the average customer would hope to get out of such a relationship.

Through your content and brand experiences, you can make connections that will add value to your customers' lives, which will in turn make them want to keep buying from you.

Related: 3 Steps to Determine Product-Market Fit

Make them feel special.

No customer wants to feel as though he or she is just a number. This is one benefit that small businesses have over much larger corporations. As your business grows, though, it can become far more difficult to know each person. In your database, include the date of the customer's first purchase and a notes section where you and your staff can input small details that come up.

MongoDB tracks each interaction to create a history that representatives can call upon when they need to personalize a conversation with a customer.

Respond to every concern.

Even the most loyal customer can have problems. When someone calls for help, it's important to offer the same friendly, attentive service no matter how many times they've bought from you. But if a long-term buyer has an issue, it's important to flag the call for immediate attention to avoid losing someone who regularly makes purchases.

Make sure you're monitoring for online mentions of your brand, as well, to capture customer complaints that are posted on social media or review sites. This type of criticism can not only cause you to lose the customer doing the complaining, but it could also scare off any new shoppers who are thinking of buying.

Businesses work hard to win repeat business from new customers. But it can be easy to lose customers without even realizing why they're choosing not to return. Using the right tools, brands can learn more about the buyers they're attracting in order to come up with better marketing strategies.

These tools can also help a business ensure it provides great service moving forward, both to brand new customers and those who have been buying from them for years.

Serenity Gibbons

Equal Rights Advocate, Promoting Amazing Companies Across the Globe

Serenity Gibbons is a former assistant editor at the Wall Street Journal and a New York University alumna living in California. She is the local unit lead for NAACP in Northern California with a mission is to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and to eliminate race-based discrimination. She enjoys writing and interviewing people who are making a difference in the world. 

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