It’s common knowledge that it costs more money to acquire a new customer than it does to retain the business of current customers. While there’s always an excitement in finding new customers, retaining current ones and turning them into brand loyalists is far more profitable and a good use of time and energy.

Online retailers often try to figure out what will keep buyers coming back for more. Content marketing is a great way for ecommerce stores to increase customer loyalty and retention. While often thought of as a means of landing new customers, data suggests that content marketing is just as effective at retaining current customers and boosting the average lifetime value of a customer.

Besides its usefulness for crafting a marketing message and sharing helpful information, content marketing can also help data-driven companies gain many valuable insights about their customers. By tracking what content customers consume, companies can get a better idea of what customers are interested in. This will help companies create more relevant content around topics that interest customers and retain their business.

Customer lifetime value (CLV) for ecommerce is a measurement of how much shoppers will spend in an online store for as long as those customers continue to shop at that store. There is a strong relationship between CLV and customer loyalty. An online store with a low average CLV is likely not good at retaining customers, which might indicate a problem with product selection, customer service, or some other aspect of the business. Similarly, stores with a relatively high average CLV might be better at getting shoppers to return and make an additional purchase or even purchase more each time they buy. Ross Paul, LemonStand’s Vice President of Growth, suggests that ecommerce companies can encourage customer loyalty and increase their average CLV by creating quality content.

In an August 2016 article Paul wrote: “Great content brings customers back after a purchase and makes your brand useful beyond just having products to buy. This helps you generate repeat purchases and increases the lifetime value of your customers.”

The data seems to back up Paul’s assertion. According to Demand Metric, 80 percent of customers surveyed appreciated “learning about a company through custom content.” About 57 percent of those surveyed read some form of content marketing at least once per month, and some 82 percent of respondents felt “more positive about a company after reading custom content.”

Producing good content increases brand loyalty, because customers appreciate when companies are not constantly trying to sell them something. People want to be given value. By providing customers with helpful information or content about topics they are interested in, companies will make them feel valued and gain their trust. They will in turn pay closer attention to marketing messages and be more open to accepting future offers.

Once a customer is repeatedly visiting your store and seems satisfied, it’s important to let the customer know she is not forgotten. Keep customers engaged with a mix of content for every stage of the buyer journey. From videos on social media to email newsletters to blog posts to white papers, make sure you craft content that is focused on their needs and interests so that your store becomes a resource and trusted authority for them. This will help you retain their business and their loyalty.

And since satisfied customers often talk to their friends, your efforts to stay in touch with your current customers are bound to bring in some new customers as well.

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