Retention Marketing has become one of the most strategic marketing initiatives in the past few years. After all, it is 81% less expensive to upsell to an existing customer than it is to acquire a new one. In addition, customer retention deepens the relationship between the vendors and their clients and creates larger customer life time value in return.

But what are the secrets and best practices that marketers can put in place to create customers for life? Here are five recommendations for success. These five tips are gathered collectively from strategies employed by some of our most successful customers and their use of Birst for retention analytics.

1. Identify customer tipping points
Use analytics to understand customer life cycle. Create cohorts of customers such as new, early, expanded and mature stages, and learn customer behavior in each stage. Integrate data from product usage, customer feedback, support cases and payment information to identify early signs of churn signals.

2. Create a frequent communications calendar, programs and
loyalty incentives

A programmed sequence of letters, events, phone calls, rewards, special offers, follow-ups and magic moments creates positive energy, communicates your value to the customer again and again and reinforces the reason they’re doing business with you in the first place.

3. Align marketing with product, customer service and support teams
What you say vs. what you do has a huge impact on your company’s long-term success and customer retention. The design, quality, reliability and serviceability of your product or service must meet the standard your customers expect. Work with your product and services teams to deliver on the value that you (as a marketer) are promising to your customers.

4. Create communities
Bring your customers together. Annual user conferences are one of the most successful venues for your customers to share ideas and expand on the value they have been getting form your products. Online communities and social networks also create active forums to increase customer advocacy, trust and loyalty.

5. Sell and sell again
Contrary to popular belief, selling is not about throwing your product over the wall. Selling is about allaying your customers’ fears and being actively engaged with them in each step of the way to victory. Instead of chasing yet another sale, strike while the iron is hot. Demonstrate that you care – and do care. Create a customer success team who is on a mission to stay engaged, understand customer pains and offer solutions. That is the only way to deepen your relationships. At Birst, to do that, we follow these six principles.

There are plenty of success stories to share here, but a great example of retention analytics at work is the leading digital document management software and how Birst helps them analyze user behavior within each customer segment to identify profiles that are likely to churn. These insights have empowered their executive team to put in place new ways of mitigating risks and preventing churn.

To learn more about this use case and other marketing analytics use cases check out our “10 Ways to Put Your Marketing Data into Sharp Focus” e-book.

This article originally appeared in Digital Marketing Magazine.