Mastering Customer Retention: Effective Email Strategies

Mastering Customer Retention: Effective Email Strategies

Mastering Customer Retention: Effective Email Strategies

We’ve all heard statistics about how it costs somewhere between five and 25 times more money to attract a new customer than it does to retain a current customer. These figures come from old data, so there’s actually some debate about how they relate to modern industries. But what’s not up for debate is that it’s easier to market to someone you already know than to a stranger and that your current customers spend about 67% more with your business than first-time customers.

Any way that you cut it, retaining your current customers has an oversized impact on your bottom line. So why don’t all companies just stockpile their customers and enjoy incredible success? It would certainly be nice if you didn’t need to invest large amounts of money trying to catch the attention of new customers and then nurture them along to the point of conversion.

But that doesn’t mean that keeping your customers is easy. Due to evolving trends, new competition, rising costs, and other factors, it’s simply getting harder for businesses to retain customers. A 45-year analysis of S&P 500 companies reveals that the average lifespan has declined from 32 years in 1965 to 21 years in 2020. And this negative trend is projected to continue in the future.

How do you reverse this decline? You need a customer retention plan, with strategies for providing recognizable value and unique experiences. And because email is such a dominant form of communication for most of your customers, a big part of these efforts will be customer retention emails.

What are customer retention emails?

As with other forms of communication like SMS and social media, customer retention emails take many shapes. You might be offering a free resource or providing an exclusive discount. Perhaps you want to wish the recipient a happy birthday or share an exciting product update. But all customer retention email examples share the common fact that they’re sent out to current customers to nurture the relationship and sustain their loyalty.

So what should you focus on with your email marketing customer retention? It all depends on your customer personas and what they most value in their relationship with your brand. Rather than studying hundreds of customer retention email templates, it’s more beneficial to send out a simple survey and ask your customers what they’d most like to get from you.

Types of customer retention emails

Let’s look at seven popular types of customer retention emails. Pay attention to the topics and offerings that would most connect with your unique base.

1. Welcome email

As a wise woman once said, “Let’s start at the beginning, a very good place to start.” Welcome emails are the ideal opportunity to say hello to new customers and help them understand what to expect from your brand.

Welcome email

Thanks to higher-than-normal open rates, your welcome emails can do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to making a customer or subscriber feel valued. Always be sure to showcase your unique brand elements and make the message worthy of the customer’s time.

2. Referral program email

While we’re on the topic of welcoming, one of the best ways to expand your customer base is by tapping into your current customers’ networks of friends and family. Effective referral emails always offer a win-win-win: the customer gets a special discount or incentive for sharing the referral, the person being referred also qualifies for the discount or incentive if they sign up, and your business gets to welcome a new person to the fold.

Referral program email

Ensure that your email is clearly written and the referral process stands out. The more streamlined you can make the process, the more effective your campaign will be.

3. Thank you email

Sometimes you’ll get more impact from a thoughtfully gracious message than a sales-driven message. Following a webinar, maybe you send an email of appreciation to all attendees. Or you might send an end-of-year email that recaps the year and sincerely thanks each customer for being part of your journey.

Thank you email

If you really want to make these emails shine, include a special perk or bonus for each customer. When that’s not possible, make sure the call to action still has value to it. This is a time to put your sales goals to the side and focus on building connections, which is a strategy that lays the groundwork for sustainable sales growth.

4. Loyalty program email

Research shows that 70% of customers say that loyalty programs propel them to spend more money with a business. The secret to this success is that you’re changing the arrangement with your customers from a conveyor belt taking their money into your business to a symbiotic relationship where they spend their money with you and you share extra rewards in return.

Loyalty program email

Many loyalty programs provide credits or free items as customers reach certain benchmarks. Others just send out occasional discounts or exclusive perks. The bottom line is that your customers should feel like they’re getting rewarded, and you can use these types of emails to announce the program and update customers on their progress.

5. Celebration email

Some of the best customer retention emails are purely about relationship building. A popular version is the birthday emails you probably receive from various brands. These messages highlight your relationship with the brand (they know your birthday and care enough to reach out, after all). Consider including a small gift, such as a one-time discount code or free product.

Celebration email

Holidays are another prime opportunity for celebration emails. If there’s a holiday that matches your brand’s vibe, lean into it with a fun email that puts a smile on your customers’ faces and perhaps gives them an unexpected perk.

6. Contest email

Sometimes your customers just want to be entertained. Celebration emails can help accomplish this, but contests take it up another notch. Offer up multiple prizes so more people have a chance to win. Possible prizes include a new product you’re unveiling or a bestseller that you know people will get jazzed about.

Contest email

Contests are the perfect time for cross-promoting, so be sure to incorporate social media and other channels into the mix. This approach helps you develop more touch-points from which to launch your retention efforts.

7. Win-back emails

The road of retention includes plenty of hills and valleys, so don’t forget the importance of connecting with those who are no longer engaging with your brand. Some of the most important work you’ll ever do with email marketing customer retention is on the win-back side of things.

Win-back emails

Draw from customer personas and individual user data to craft messages that are as customized and relevant as possible. You might offer an exclusive discount, share an exciting product update, or provide a free resource that the recipient would appreciate.

These email suggestions are a great place to start. But your key to success will always be finding new ways to connect with your customers and providing experiences they can’t get elsewhere. So be on the lookout for new ways to strengthen these relationships with your brand.

The hallmarks of an effective customer retention email campaign

Given the business-boosting power of retention marketing, you should be investing the time and resources needed to make your emails engaging and professional. Here are six of the key elements to consider:

  • Know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish before starting on the project
  • Craft a subject line that grabs attention, entices the click, and pays off what it promised
  • Include a clear call to action that is more about the customer’s needs than your goals
  • Design emails that are easy to read and reflect the best elements of your brand
  • Ensure you write copy that is concise and correct
  • Build out a schedule that aligns with your customers’ preferences and online habits

By doing these things, you’ll do more than create an effective email. You’ll also show how much you understand your customers’ needs and preferences, and that you care enough to create content that addresses them. It’s often been said that “to know someone is to love someone,” and that sentiment is certainly true between brands and their customers.

Sign up for a free BuyersFlow trial today! Discover how our platform can help you craft winning customer retention emails that nurture relationships, drive loyalty, and boost your bottom line. Invest in customer retention with BuyersFlow and cultivate a community of brand advocates who keep your business thriving.

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