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9 Customer Retention Emails That Reduce Churn

  • Email Marketing

If you’re like most marketers, you’re always on the lookout for ways to acquire new customers and increase revenue (without breaking your budget).

But in doing so, you risk overlooking your existing customers.

According to a study by GetResponse, there’s a 32 percent chance your first-time customers will buy from you again. But that’s not all. Second time customers are 53 percent more likely to place a third order. And by the time they’ve placed their tenth order? They’re 83 percent more likely to buy again.

Repeat purchases rarely happen by chance, though. That’s why you need to engage and encourage your customers to buy from you again and again.

To help you do that, I’ve found 9 of the best customer retention emails I’ve ever received. And in this post, I’ll share why they work and how you can model them for your own email marketing.

Let’s take a look.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want to Learn How to Retain Customer Testimonials with Email?

We’ve put together a bonus resource sharing 7 of the best customer retention emails we’ve ever seen. In it, you will learn how top e-commerce brands use email to engage their customers (and how you can, too).

1. The Upsell Email

Upselling is nothing new.

Many e-tailers use upselling to increase the average order value for new and returning customers.

But how they approach upselling varies from business to business.

One brand that has created a powerful upselling strategy is MeUndies.

They’ve created a continuity program, or an ascension ladder, if you will, through a paid membership.

Here’s an example of a recent email promoting it:

One way they’re able to increase their click-through rate is by offering “Member-Exclusive Prints,” which, of course, triggers scarcity due to their limited availability.

Creating an ascension ladder and inviting customers to “ascend” to higher levels through email increases retention for a few reasons. One reason is that it saves customers money in the long-term. But more importantly, it increases brand advocacy. With higher spending comes greater loyalty, thus, reducing the likelihood of switching to a competitor.


Consider a membership model to increase your customer’s lifetime value. Promote it via email to invite new and returning customers to become brand loyalists.

2. The Birthday Email

If you’re like me, you LOVE birthdays. Yes, the day is about you. But it’s also about receiving presents.

People love freebies, whether they’re from friends or otherwise, so adding a surprise to a birthday email is a powerful retention incentive in its own right.

Just take this example from Kikki.K:

To make their customers’ birthday even more special, Kikki.K offers a $10 birthday voucher and personalized product recommendations.

But that’s not the only reason they do it.

Think about it for a moment:

One of the most common gifts to give on birthdays is money.

Would you not rather spend your birthday money on a brand that acknowledges the celebration AND offers suggestions on what to spend that money on?

I know I would.

The birthday email is becoming more common, but that doesn’t mean it’s becoming less effective. It’s still a welcomed surprise in consumers’ inboxes, and it’s the type of email that your customers remember.


Let your customers know you appreciate them on their special day. You don’t have to make grand gestures or even offer discounts. Even the smallest of gestures are often received with gratitude.

3. The Special Occasions Email

A big part of retaining existing customers is ensuring your brand stays top of mind…

…And that means reaching out to buyers regularly with relevant, personalized content.

One way to do that is to send emails on special occasions like Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, Mother’s Day and more.

A week before Mother’s Day, I got this email from Happy Socks:

There are a few reasons this email works well:

  1. It’s relevant. It was sent about a week before Mother’s Day to ensure potential buyers have time to order and receive the product in time for Mother’s Day.
  2. It’s eye-catching. They’ve included moving images with bold colors and patterns.
  3. It gives value. Happy Socks offer free shipping which works as an added incentive for prospects to buy.
  4. It’s exclusive. Notice how Happy Socks has designed products specifically for this occasion? This adds to the product’s exclusivity and acts as another incentive to buy.

You can use this type of email for all kinds of occasions. Heck, you can even create your own brand-specific occasions and celebrate them with your audience. (I’m still trying to get the Sleeknote team on board with National Sleeknote Puppy Day.)


Use the special occasions email to remind your audience that you’re still here and offer value that’s relevant to a specific occasion.

4. The Scheduled Reminder Email

The reminder email is essentially a special occasions email.

But I think it deserves its own category based on a unique example I came across when writing my post on Man Crates.

It’s not the email itself that’s groundbreaking. Rather, it’s the basis from which it’s sent.

How often have you forgotten an anniversary or a birthday and had to rush out to find a last-minute gift?

I know I have.

But as a business, you don’t know when to remind your audience of these occasions—unless you ask:

Using a 10% discount as an incentive, Man Crates invites customers to create reminders for special occasions on their thank you page.

It’s a great way to use reciprocity. Give something; get something.

Then, when it’s time, Man Crates deliver on their promise and send you a reminder email.

Here’s the subject line:

Followed by the body:

Simple, but effective.


Ask customers to set up reminders for any type of occasion where they would be interested in buying from you. Then, add an extra incentive (such as a discount) to your reminder email. Even if they don’t buy, you keep your brand top of mind.

5. The Anniversary Email

We’ve already talked about the importance of celebrating customers’ birthdays.

But what about anniversaries? Specifically, your anniversaries.

Your business anniversaries are a great cause for celebration—and, when leveraged correctly, a great retention strategy.

Take this example from Crocs:

Think about your relationship with your audience as a friendship. It takes work to maintain, and one of the key components in a good friendship is ongoing communication.

Another, albeit overlooked ingredient, is celebrating each other’s successes.

If you celebrate your audience’s successes they’ll feel happy to return the favor and celebrate your wins. It goes both ways.

Crocs want their readers to join in on the celebration (notice the call-to-action copy just above the button). They also thank their readers for helping them reach an important milestone.

Celebrating successes with your readers strengthens your relationship with them, and keeps your customers engaged reducing the likelihood of churn.


Remember to celebrate your anniversaries. It’s a great way to give yourself praise without seeming full of yourself. Plus, celebrations put a smile on people’s faces, making them more likely to act on your call-to-action.

6. The Reminder Email (with a Twist)

The reminder email is a great retention email because its purpose is to encourage customers to buy again without you coming off as salesy.

After a customer has bought something, you can recommend additional products to help them get the full product experience.

For example, if a customer has bought a new TV, you can suggest adding surround sound speakers to make the most out of their new TV.

Or, if you sell experiences, you can do as Tripadvisor does and suggest other experiences in the area the customer might like.

A personal example:

I recently went to visit my sister in Hawaii and booked a helicopter tour on Maui.

Us before takeoff:

A few days before the planned helicopter tour, I received this email:

But that’s not all.

Part of the email included recommendations for other experiences on Maui based on what other people had booked in addition to the helicopter tour:

Recommending relevant products that complement recent purchases is a great way to boost revenue and invite customers to come back to your store.


Tempt customers with other products that go well with past purchases to increase give them get a better experience.

7. The Feedback Email

The feedback email is an essential part of any retention strategy.

The goal? Ask customers for feedback on their recent purchases to keep them engaged—AND spread the word about your best products.

It’s a no-brainer.

Here’s an example I stumbled upon when researching my article on Sunski:

Sunski uses radio buttons to make it easy for customers to rate the product. From there, customers can expand on their rating by writing a review below.

When scheduling a feedback email, send it to go out a few days after a customer has received their purchase. Doing so gives customers enough time to try the product as their purchase is still fresh in their minds.

When you ask for feedback, you force your customers to think about the product they bought from you–even if they don’t submit any feedback.

Doing so keeps your brand top of mind for longer, making it more likely these customers will return to your site and buy again (if they were satisfied with the product, of course).

And if your customers submit reviews, they automatically become brand advocates because they’re adding their stamp of approval of your product for the world to see.


Invite customers to review their purchase after they’ve received and used it. Then, repurpose the best reviews in your marketing for social proof.

8. The Thank You Email

A thank you or a thumbs up, without any hidden agendas can work wonders when it comes to retaining your customers.

Let’s give it a try:

Made you feel pretty good, huh?

A thumbs up or a pat on the back makes us smile—and that’s exactly the reaction you want from your customers.

The most effective emails are those that evoke feelings in the receiver.

So, why not email your customers telling them how awesome they are?

Here’s how Ban.do does it:

There’s no call-to-action or hidden agenda. Just a thank you to customers for buying and supporting their mission.


Remember to intermittently thank your customers. They’re the reason your business is alive, after all. Make them feel good about your brand and they’re yours for life. (Okay that might be an exaggeration, but you get my point.)

9. The Win-Back Email

Disengaged customers are a reality for all marketers.

Customers who previously bought from before disappear for one reason or another. They lose interest, forget about your business, or worse, move on to a competitor.

But all is not lost yet.

This is where the win-back email comes into play.

With it, you can remind customers of why they chose your business to begin with and hopefully, convince them to return.

Brooklinen, for example, give their customers three reasons to return to their site:

  1. Urgency;
  2. Customer satisfaction; and
  3. Great quality for low prices

And if, as a former customer, you’re not convinced, the second half of the email might be enough:

They offer a free gift with your order AND give you product suggestions to help you choose what to buy.

What more could you want?


Identify “at-risk” customers who haven’t bought from you in a long time. Send them an email and remind them of your business values and give them an incentive to return to your site.

Free Downloadable Bonus

Want to Learn How to Retain Customer Testimonials with Email?

We’ve put together a bonus resource sharing 7 of the best customer retention emails we’ve ever seen. In it, you will learn how top e-commerce brands use email to engage their customers (and how you can, too).


Yes, acquiring new customers is important. But so, too, is continuing to nurture existing buyers.

I’ve given your 9 customer retention strategies. Not all will be relevant to your business. And that’s okay. But those that are, will remind existing customers that you’re worth committing to.

And that’s only a good thing.

What retention emails are you sending, if any? Which of the above are you ready to try? Leave a comment below.

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