The Best Customer Retention Email Marketing Tips

The Best Customer Retention Email Marketing Tips

Getting to know a new brand is too much work.

You don’t trust the friend who recommended it. Not really. So you power through a sea of reviews, only to find mixed opinions and so-so ratings. You go on to the next one, and the one after that.

Until you’ve finally found a brand that’s worth your money, you’ll have spent a day’s work looking for it.

At the end of the day, some customers would much rather stick to brands they already know. And since acquiring new customers will cost you five times more than keeping older ones, you should kiss the ground they walk on.

So, what’s the best way to reciprocate and give them royal treatment?

You guessed it. Emails.

Sure, these can be a pain in the ass when unwarranted. But if someone subscribed to your mailing list, one would assume they must want to receive new launches, sales, personalized offers…you name it.

Or at least, they wanted to at some point. Your job then, is to make them want it again. Re-ignite that fire as if both of you are a married couple trying to make it work. And you know, sometimes it does.

Crazy as it may sound, there are ways to make subscribers be eager to check (and re-check) your emails. We’re sure you’d like to learn how to do that.

Keep reading to get exact cookbook recipes to keep your customers engaged without becoming a member of their spam or trash folders.

Be Extra Helpful in Post-Purchase Emails

First of all, if you’d like to win at email marketing in 2021 and beyond, interactive kinetic templates are your bestest friends. They’re basically a site within an email, but hopefully, you already knew that. Here’s a refresher:


Forever 21 did a banging job with this one. You can do a lot of things: shop men’s fashion, women’s fashion, new arrivals…without leaving the email app or tab. That’s amazing, because people are lazy as hell.

But here’s where it gets interesting:

The templates you use can go that extra mile in erasing customer objections. So, imagine a subscriber bought your product. You’re polite, so you’ll say a resounding “thank you”. We’ll talk about that in a minute. But you’ll also help your customers know where they can go from there.

Go beyond just the billing information. See what we mean?

What if, say, they have trouble with the product? What if they want a refund? What if they want to learn cool things they can do with it? Be helpful! There’s nothing worse than having to write an email with a bunch of questions and then wait weeks for a reply starting with “sorry for the delay”. Apology not accepted.

In your post-purchase emails, it’s a great idea to include FAQs, instructions, and nice suggestions. Take a look at this perfect confirmation email from Classic Specs and how much information it has.

Unlike that one salesperson who’s always like “can I help you?”, you’ll already have helped them. Score.

A Simple “Thank You” Goes a Long Way

Come on, a thank you is the bare minimum. Anyone with a caring mother knows that.

But can you say thank you…without saying “thank you”?

Try to avoid that “thank you for shopping with us” type message. Your intentions may be good, but as you already know from our constant ramblings, it’s generic. This year and the years to come are all about ultra-personalization in the email department.

Show genuine excitement for their purchase. Be creative. Make consumers glad they shopped your brand, and make them want to shop again. One of the reasons being the awesome messages they read in their inbox every time they buy something.


It’s like Abercrombie & Fitch is having a heart-to-heart with their buyers. It shows how much they appreciate their business, but not in a phony or cheesy way. Pretty cool.

Show ‘Em That You know ‘Em

Wanna see someone turn red?

Tell them you remembered them the other day.

It could be someone as frigid as Thomas freaking Shelby. 10 out of 10 times, they’ll be like aw, shucks. Maybe not externally, but they will appreciate it.

People love being thought of. Lucky for you, this is something you can use to increase open rates and engagement. The best way to do this is by taking their recent or recurring purchases into consideration, and suggesting products they might be interested in.

This type of campaign is perfect for pampering your active subscribers and frequent buyers. They devote a lot of time to your brand, so you should do the same in your own special way.

When doing a roundup of recommended products, you’re implicitly saying “Hey, we know your taste. That’s why we’ve done this. These products specifically reminded us of you.”

But “implicit” could do better. Say it. Loud and clear. Match your brand’s voice to the message, and write it out. We promise this will tickle your subscribers.

One brand that does this kind of thing awesomely is Spotify. Arguably, several people create Spotify accounts because of the individual roundup called “Spotify Wrapped” each user gets at the end of the year. That’s amazing because people know full well who their favorite artists and music tastes are. Even better, they enjoy looking at the well-crafted composition and going “yep, Spotify knows me pretty well”.

Another thing people can’t go without is sharing this type of thing with their peers on social media. “Hey look, I’ve listened to The Smiths practically all year! I’m so indie!”

The news you’ve been waiting for: you can apply this technique to your emails right now. Take a look at what David’s Tea did:

David's Tea You're the Best

You can see the attention to detail. Of course these weren’t individually written and sent. This can be achieved with email automation. But wouldn’t you blush? It’s sweet, it’s incredible, and makes you feel loved.

Do this if you can.

Celebrate Achievements With Them (and Give Them Coupons!)

We know you’ve blacklisted those bastards who haven’t congratulated you on your birthday. And that’s fine. Whoever doesn’t remember such an important date doesn’t deserve you.

What about you? Do you deserve your customers? Aren’t you forgetting anything?

If your customers’ Facebook friends won’t remember them, show them you care. Send them virtual birthday wishes, birthday hugs, but most importantly, birthday coupons. They’ll appreciate 10 or 20 percent off of any product with a discount code.

Here’s a heartwarming example of a birthday email from BestSwimWear (that doesn’t look anything like your Grandma’s virtual cards):


But achievements go beyond birthdays. Are they loyal customers? Have they been shopping with you for such a long time that they’ve completed several anniversaries with your brand? They’d sure like to be reminded of that.

Would you like your spouse to forget your 20th anniversary? Don’t think so.

1 year together relevant email

A coupon code and saying they love you? Genius move.

Plus, if your templates are creative enough, subscribers will be pumped to share it everywhere.

Trouble With Payment? Be Their Solution.

There you are, sliding your card out of your wallet–one of the sexiest moves ever.

You drop the digits, and spend an eternity typing all of your info. Only to read words along the lines of “sorry, there was an issue with your payment”. So close.

Your blood boils. You have two choices: get the problem solved, or go somewhere else with your business. Depending on the type of support they get, a lot of almost-buyers simply give up. You don’t want that.

A lot of times, payment issues are inevitable. And credit card trouble is fond of churn.

The least you can do is give customers a walkthrough with a kind dunning email. You should foresee their doubts (What to do? Who to contact? What caused this?) and assure them it’s nothing to worry about.

It’s a moment of frustration, especially if they couldn’t wait to buy something. And it’s a lose-lose situation here: they won’t be getting the product, and you won’t be getting the money.

Do it like Spotify below:

Spotify Dunning

What this says is: we’ll handle it for you. And everyone loves that.

Be Extra Careful When Segmenting Your Email Lists

I dare you to go to your inbox right now. Not the important tab, but the promotional one.

Some of this stuff you’ll never bother reading. You probably subscribed to these lists once because you wanted to grab a free ebook or something. But for some reason, they keep littering your inbox with their promotions. Maybe they think spamming will bring you back.

Here’s a lesson: Just because someone subscribed to you, that doesn’t mean they’ll always see your emails–let alone read them.

That’s why you have to get crystal clear about the types of subscribers you have, segment them accordingly, and give them what they want. Otherwise, you’ll risk losing them.

There’s one purpose to email segmentation: to deliver content catered to your customers’ interests. This simple gesture can increase open rates by 203 percent, according to the one and only Neil Patel.

Now, listen up. There are three types of customers:

The Raging Fans (or the active buyers)

These are the people who deserve VIP treatment. Grab tip #3 above as an example. People love to be remembered, and occasional custom wrap-ups are more than welcome to show them how valuable they are.

They should be A-listers, meaning they’re always the first to know whenever new products launch and whenever special offers arise. These people won’t have an issue with weekly emails.

Give them exclusive content. Send them weekly roundups of your blog content. If you can, do exclusive giveaways, always making sure to stress that they’re exclusive for them. These buyers are special, and you wouldn’t be where you are without them.

Disney promotional email

The Chunky Middle (or occasional buyers)

These people dig your brand. They’ve bought from you a few times, but nothing crazy.

Unlike the kings and queens above, you don’t want to notify this buyer section with new offers as soon as they come up. That might come across as intrusive or unnecessary. To them, at least.

If there’s a crazy offer that they need to know about, go ahead. But what this type of buyer needs is a shot at trust. Win them by giving them snackable, short content that not only educates them about your brand, but also gives them handy information. Ask for nothing in return. That stuff will come naturally.

Here’s the perfect example from Artifact Uprising:

See how the tips are to-the-point and short? All 6 tips aren’t included, so whoever’s interested will visit the blog to see the rest. And by the way, this template looks amazing.

The Graveyard (or the infrequent buyers)

Bluntly speaking, these people may not even remember your brand exists. Even if you did send occasional cool tips and were super nice about it, they wouldn’t really care.

These are the people you should email very, very sparingly. Otherwise, you’ll risk littering their inbox and making a bad impression. You’re not a spammer, are you?

To them, you’re just “there”. But hey, they haven’t unsubbed yet, so you still stand a chance. Think of them as that one person you’ve tried to hook up with for years, but they still haven’t said no. It’s your time to shine…or let it go.

When it comes to infrequent buyers, you’ll want to re-engage them. The best way to do this is to offer coupons or notify them of improvements they’d like to know about.

That’s about it. Subject lines such as “we miss you” and “we want you back” work well for this type of email, especially if followed up with an irresistible offer.

Pinkberry did it perfectly:


Come on now. Free yogurt?! Take me back.

Here’s one important tip: give folks a chance to change their email preferences or unsubscribe in ALL of your emails. Don’t try to force something that isn’t meant to be.

And If They Leave, Handle It Gracefully

This is the hard part of the job. But Sting himself said that if you love somebody, you should set them free.

People will unsubscribe, but you shouldn’t take it personally. Instead, you should give them one last chance to decide if they’ll stick with you or leave permanently. And this last chance, of course, is an email.

Assure them they’ll no longer be receiving updates, and be candid about not wanting them to leave. But also, be respectful. After all, you understand that their routines might get hectic and their inboxes full.

Refinery29 below makes sure to give subscribers a number of options as part of their strategy: update their subscriptions, unsubscribe forever, or increase the number of emails they receive. That’s a good one.

survey frequency email

Finally, you might want to gently ask the reason for their parting. Knowing why people are unsubscribing and finding a pattern is essential to perfecting your marketing preferences in the future.

This final tip works perfectly well for relationships as well. Keep that in mind.

The Takeaway

It’s not all about earning, you know. Don’t be greedy.

Retaining customers is about showing appreciation. Part of their hard-earned money is going straight to your bank account. If that doesn’t tinge you with hope, you’re dead inside.

Appreciate these folks, and use the power of email marketing to create content they’ll thoroughly enjoy. The buying decision is just a consequence.

What about you? How do you keep your customers around (without being an A-hole about it)?