Many brands put much of their marketing efforts into obtaining new customers—and understandably so. But acquisition isn't enough. Customers who make a one-time purchase won't necessarily come back for more. If you want customers to return, you have to make your brand memorable by giving them the experience they feel they deserve. Taking the extra steps to make your customers happy is the secret to making them loyal.

You can build customer loyalty in various ways, but email marketing is one of the most effective. That may sound surprising and counterintuitive to those of us who don't like spammy marketing emails. Yet, email is the No. 1 activity on mobile phones, and strategic email marketing—done effectively—is one of the best ways to retain a loyal customer base.

Here are seven tips to make sure your email program encourages retention and loyalty.

1. Know your customers

The first step in creating emails that build customer loyalty is to know your customers, AKA your audience. As well-written and persuasive as you might think your emails are, you won't attract customers if your emails don't speak directly to your audience.

One of the most effective ways to understand your customers is to build buyer personas. Tough an abstract representation of your ideal customer, a buyer persona is based on actual customer data and market research. To make your buyer personas seem like real customers, you should consider giving them a name, a gender, a job, a salary figure, and other relevant attributes that your target customers possess.

Hubspot's MakeMyPersona tool is a useful platform for beginning your buyer persona brainstorming. Once you create those personas, you can tailor your email messages accordingly.

2. Start from a clean slate

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image of Yoav Vilner

Yoav Vilner is co-founder of Ranky, a startup marketing agency. He is also a tech blogger, growth hacker, and startup marketer.

LinkedIn: Yoav Vilner

Twitter: @YoavVilner