5 Types of Emails That Improve Customer Retention

There’s no way to succeed in business today without focusing heavily on new customer acquisition. But in doing so, many marketers overlook an equally important goal: customer retention.

Having a strong customer retention strategy has a lot of benefits, such as:

  • Better customer experience: Ensuring customers are engaged and happy with your products/services after they buy is just good practice if you want to have a positive business reputation online.
  • Improving marketing spend: It costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Focusing on reducing churn can help you get more value out of your marketing $$$ than acquiring new customers.
  • Increasing customer lifetime value (CLV): A strong customer retention strategy gives you more opportunities to cross-sell and upsell other products, increasing revenue potential from each customer.

If you’re ready to invest more in customer retention, leading marketers say email marketing is actually the most effective platform for it, ahead of social media, content marketing, referral marketing, and others.

So, introducing a few key messages to your marketing emails is a great place to start. Here are 5 types of emails you can send that improve customer retention.

#1 Welcome Emails

Smart marketers always send out a welcome email right after someone signs up for their newsletter or subscribes to their service. Sending your audience an immediate reminder of why they signed up with you helps ensure they won’t unsubscribe or mark your emails as spam.

The welcome email is also an opportunity to offer a friendly introduction and explain more about your products and features.

Here’s a good example of a welcome email from e-signature tool HelloSign:


It offers a friendly introduction, directs subscribers to the Help Center if they have questions, and closes by highlighting some of the product’s features that subscribers might not know about.

#2 Friendly Reminders

Friendly reminders can help make sure your audiences buys and keeps on buying. E-commerce stores send out friendly reminders to shoppers all the time when they abandon their cart before purchasing. It’s also possible to remind previous customers to repurchase relevant products, such as a new set of razors, face cream, etc.

B2B and service-based businesses can use friendly reminders to upsell and cross-sell as well. For example, an agency already doing design work for a client could send out friendly reminders about their other services, such as marketing automation or SEO.

Friendly reminders are also great for subscription-based products, to remind customers about recurring payments. Here’s a great example of a friendly reminder from an email tracking tool:

Not only do they remind customers to upgrade after a free trial, but they also provide an exclusive coupon code to encourage them to convert.

#3 Rewards and Exclusive Offers

Most people sign up to receive emails from a brand to get access to special promotions. Reward customer loyalty by sending out special offers associated with significant events throughout the year, such as the holidays, a mid-month blow-out, a year-end special, the anniversary of a subscriber signing up for your email list, etc.

Here’s an example of an exclusive offer email from SEMrush specifically designed to encourage subscribers to get more out of their software:

SEMrush offers a free copy of a popular digital marketing book as a prize after subscribers set up some of the platform’s tools. It serves the dual purpose of offering value and encouraging subscribers to start using the software more, both of which result in better customer retention.

Regularly sending out rewards and exclusive offers can help ensure your audience stays engaged and continues to invest in your products or services.

#4 Review or Feedback Requests

Prompting your customers to provide feedback is a great way to show them that you value their opinion. This serves a dual purpose: keeping them engaged and providing you with constructive feedback that you can use to improve your business.

E-commerce businesses can do this by sending out product review requests, while service-based businesses can send out a quick survey to get feedback.

Here’s an example of a simple survey request email from a consultant and content marketer:

She uses emails like this to both engage her audience and collect valuable information to help make her marketing message more relevant to subscribers’ interests and needs.

Feedback request emails can also ask customers to provide reviews on public platforms such as Google My Business, Amazon (for e-commerce products), Yelp!, etc. Subscribers will feel more encouraged to act knowing their opinion will be seen by other shoppers. Meanwhile garnering positive public reviews is also good for your online reputation and SEO.

#5 Re-Engagement Emails

Re-engagement emails have a single purpose: attracting back previous customers (or even leads) who have stopped interacting with your business. You can use your customer relationship management (CRM) tool to track customer engagement and trigger emails to go out when someone hasn’t engaged with your brand in a while.

It’s also good to send out re-engagement emails when someone unsubscribes from your service as an effort to get them to change their mind. Here’s an example of such an email from Netflix:

The most effective re-engagement emails include some kind of special offer or discount to encourage people to become a customer again. The discount doesn’t have to be permanent, just something to get them active again, like 15% off of a service or two months free subscription.

Wrapping Up…

There are a lot of factors that influence whether a customer will stick around with your business or just be a one-time buyer. As a result, there are a lot of ways to approach customer retention as a marketing strategy. These five email examples are a great place to start. Next, you can focus on understanding the factors that drive churn in your business to brainstorm even more unique ways to encourage retention through email marketing.

Richard Coen

With over 21 years of experience in Digital Marketing, 31 years in sales and 25 years in business development, Richard assists companies to develop key growth strategies on a local or international basis. He can assist marketers to achieve balance in their approach to key areas affected by the growth in digital marketing.