By Ben Austin, CEO, Absolute Digital Media

Staying front of mind is half the battle won when it comes to maintaining a successful business online. Too many people focus all their efforts on winning new business, when strengthening your relationship with your existing customers actually makes more sense financially. These people already have a certain level of trust with your brand, leaving less work on your part for them to complete a purchase.

This does not, however, automatically mean you’ve got an easy ride. Retaining customers is a continual process, and one you need to approach from all angles. Luckily email marketing is an ideal way to do this. Here are five tips:

• Introduce a rewards programme. This is a great way to introduce yourself after the first purchase; it makes them feel included without being intrusive. A simple “buy 4 get 1 free” type of system works well and demonstrates to new customers that their loyalty will be rewarded.

• Promote products based on activity. Personalisation goes further than including your customer’s first name in an email. Monitor their activity on your website, look at their purchases and suggest similar products that they may find handy. Just remember not to overdo it, nobody appreciates the hard sell.

• Birthday freebies. Everybody loves to feel special on their birthday, and a quick message to wish them some happy returns and perhaps free delivery on their purchase is sure to go down well.

• Friendly reminder. A friendly nudge to remind customers that their membership or subscription is due for renewal is perfectly acceptable. More often than not your customer or client may not have realised the date was coming closer. If nothing else it simply places your brand at the front of your mind and lets them know you’re thinking of them.

• Target those about to leave. If a customer has not made a purchase for a long time, and this is unusual by their previous habits, don’t be afraid to send them a friendly email asking for feedback or offering a discount on their next purchase.