Customer Retention Email Strategy: 8 Tips & Examples (2023)

Customer retention rate is one of the most vital aspects of running a SaaS business. If you have a great customer acquisition program in place but are losing the old customers as fast as you are bringing in the new, you're never going to grow. Done incorrectly, email messages to customers can be annoying and serve the opposite of their intended goal. But when an email marketing strategy is done correctly, email is still one of the most efficient ways to communicate with customers and fuel company growth. This includes an email campaign to help with retention programs, so those new acquisitions will actually result in repeat purchases and growth. Let's look at what is retention marketing, what is the role of a retention email, and how a retention email strategy is set up and rolled out.

Table of contents:
1. What is a retention email?
2. Here's why email marketing is an underrated retention strategy
3. Eight tips to build customer retention email strategy that engages customers
4. Customer retention emails that work (and why)
5. Use ProfitWell Retain to automatically reduce churn
6. Customer retention emails FAQs

What is a retention email?

Customer retention is driven by customer satisfaction and customer engagement. A retention email is any email sent to an existing customer for the purpose of keeping them around as loyal customers. As the most common form of email marketing today, retention emails come in all different forms. The commonality though, is that they are designed to increase customer satisfaction with your product or to engage them more thoroughly with the product. Additionally, they're meant to improve customer experience, reduce customer effort, and deliver exceptional customer service. Later, we'll examine some of the forms this can take.

Here's why email marketing is an underrated retention strategy

Whether it's for acquisition or retention, email requires a certain amount of know-how to get right. A lot of businesses will approach their customer email retention strategy blindly, and as a result, they don't get the results they want. But the reality is that email can be a powerful retention tool for businesses that take the time to use it correctly.

Customers cost more to acquire than retain

Research has shown that it takes up to five times as much money to acquire a new customer as it does to retain an existing one. Without a solid retention plan of some sort in place, you'll be throwing money away trying to replace customers that could have more affordably been retained. And of the customer retention strategies available to you, the retention email strategy is one of the more cost-effective. In fact, it has an ROI of $42 for every dollar spent. It can even be automated for a retention strategy that is not only cheap but hassle-free and effective.

(Video) The Best Customer Retention Email Marketing Tips

Open and click-through rates can be higher

A sound retention email strategy will make heavy use of triggered emails. These are automated emails that go out in response to a user's action (or lack of action). According to a 2012 study, these reminder emails are 95% more likely to be opened than mass sent emails. In addition, triggered emails have twice the click-through rate of mass emails. Combine that with the fact that 40% of users enjoy getting email from favorite brands, and you have a fantastic opportunity to build a relationship with current customers through triggered emails.

Email allows for personalization

This is a big one. There are lots of ways to advertise now that will put your message in front of customers. You can even target those ads to your existing customers. But in order to customize your message to a specific customer, you need a more precise delivery method. Email is fantastic for this. Customers churn for all kinds of reasons, and being able to target your retention efforts to the specific threat of churn allows email to behave with surgical precision.

Furthermore, you don't want to come across like a robot. People want to be treated like human beings. Personalized emails also stand out more and are also more likely to be opened and clicked on.

8 tips to build a customer retention email strategy that engages customers

So we've established that email can be a great tool for retention, but that it needs to be done right. Well, what does it mean to do it right? How can you be sure that your email retention strategy is a winning one? Truthfully, until you try it and refine it, you can't. But you can follow some tips that will help get you started on the right foot so the refining process goes quicker and you see results faster.

1. Identify customers who are in limbo

A customer who isn't getting value from your product is likely to churn. This could be a paying customer who hasn't logged in for a while, or a user who hasn't made the switch to paid because they haven't engaged with your product. Whatever the reason, the user isn't benefiting from your product, so you need to send a personalized customer retention emailand help them understand the value. You should already have welcoming emails and onboarding emails that help new customers learn to use your product, but if someone isn't engaging, it can be helpful to reach out to them individually with an offer to help them overcome problems.

2. Communicate product value clearly

Anytime you communicate with your customers, but especially when you communicate with one that's in limbo, you make sure to clearly convey what makes your product valuable. Let the customer know which pain points you can help them solve, what sets you apart from the competition, and most importantly, where they can find resources to help them unlock the potential of your product and get the most value from it. Always remind them of the value they're getting from your product.

3. Leverage what's working for existing customers

Your happy customers are the best referrals and source to learn what makes your product valuable. As you get feedback from users, which you should be doing regularly, pay attention to the features of your software and aspects of your business that they praise the most. This will give you a starting point for your messaging with customers who are in danger of churning.

4. Keep a consistent cadence

The cadence of your retention email strategy isn't just about how frequently that you send out emails and follow-ups. Frequency can be part of it, but cadence also refers to why you send out emails, what types of emails, and what triggers them. Whether its regular onboarding emails designed to get the user up to speed, cart abandonment emails, or emails to reach out when they've been inactive for a while, your customers should have some idea when to expect an email from you.

(Video) 9 Customer Retention Strategies to Keep Customers Coming Back

5. Get your subject line right

Your email can't aid in retention if your customer doesn't open it. Subject lines play a large role in whether an email gets opened or gets immediately deleted. Keep subject lines short. Always clearly communicate what your message will be about in the subject, and if possible, sell your product's value then as well. But never be too verbose in your subject. The subject line should be easily digestible as well as engaging.

6. Build feedback loops

Earlier, we told you to use the positive feedback from your happy customers to guide your messaging to customers at risk of churning. Building in feedback loops is vital to understanding what makes your product valuable, but also to understanding why people churn. You should be regularly asking all customers from your email list for feedback, but those who churn can provide the most valuable feedback because they'll tell you which areas of your product or service need attention and improvement.

7. Test & iterate

Now comes the testing and refining part we talked about earlier. It's important to test and iterate, and it's part of the process. Thankfully in the world of big data, the guesswork is largely thrown out the window. Using an analytics package like Profitwell Metrics subscription analytics will let you track your churn and measure how effective your retention strategy is. You'll have hard data on what works and what doesn't, so you can make adjustments as needed. Just remember, data for retention is slow. If you change your retention email strategy today, your churn rate isn't going to plummet tomorrow, no matter how good that strategy is. Allow time for things to move and settle before making adjustments.

Customer Retention Email Strategy: 8 Tips & Examples (1)

8. Optimize with templates

Email marketing allows you a great deal of personalization, but you are very frequently saying the same sorts of things to multiple customers. Templates allow you to create the same basic message but personalize it to specific people or slightly varying use cases. This saves you time crafting customer retention emails but also makes it easy to refine and tweak your messaging - right from the subject line, body, and email signature, during the testing and iteration portion. Also, while creating templates make sure to add different email signatures in each template. Such email signature marketing practices can be highly effective in engaging and retaining customers.

Customer retention emails that work (and why)

We could spend much more than a single blog post showing you examples of great customer retention emails. To keep things short, we've assembled three examples that we feel show the aspects that go into a winning retention email strategy. Learning from these successful companies and their approach to retention should help you in crafting your own emails.

Asana's welcome email makes new customers feel valued

Asana's product is all about helping teams work together. In their welcome email, they make sure to tell customersthat they've not only joined their team of workers, but the Asana team as well. This first email is short, to the point, and designed to match Asana's branding perfectly. It wastes no time before introducing users to the first three steps they should take, allowing them to quickly get value out of the product without having to waste time trying to figure out how to use it.

Amazon's thank you email builds brand loyalty

Customers expect a thank you email when they place an order or otherwise engage with your eCommerce site, so this hardly feels like a retention effort at all. But a well done thank you email is absolutely a valuable retention tool that helps build customer loyalty. When you order from Amazon, you'll get a quick thank you note, branded perfectly to match the site. But at the bottom of the email, you'll see a list of products similar to what you just ordered. SaaS businesses could easily adopt this to show off different features, or perhaps a tips-and-tricks section. The point is for the thank you email to keep the customer engaged.

(Video) Shopify Master Class I 8 Ways To Use Email Marketing For Retention

Zapiers' customer re-engagement email reminds users of their trial expiration

Users often sign up for a free trial and lose track of time. When that happens, the trial may end without them realizing it. Even worse, by the time you send out a reminder that the trial is going to expire soon, they might not have been reminded quick enough to have a solid chance at trying the product out. Zapier understands this, so not only do they resort to customer retention emails to remind customers of an expiring trial, but they offer to extend it if the customer needs more time. This costs them nothing and can be a great way to avoid losing a customer.

Use Profitwell Retain to automatically reduce churn

Profitwell Retain is a risk-free way to reduce churn because you only pay for performance. Using powerful algorithms combined with Profitwell's vast experience, Retain is the perfect complement to a good retention email strategy.

Localize your retention messaging

We live in a global economy, and as such you have customers all over the world. Not all of those customers speak English as their native language. Customers prefer to read emails in their native language. So much so that you can increase your recovery rate by 5-10% with localized churn recovery messaging. With Retain, the translation is done for you automatically.

Save deals with 1:1 personalization

We gave you some simple ways to detect customers in limbo earlier, but Retain's powerful algorithms supercharge your early churn detection. With retain, you'll be able to identify at-risk customers and take action before they churn.

Win back customers with targeted offers

Retain will automatically send customer retention emails to reach out to recently churned customers with targeted offers designed to win them back. By leveraging the power of data, Retain will intelligently go to work to win back customers for you, increasing churn recovery by 10-15%.

Customer Retention Email Strategy: 8 Tips & Examples (2)

Customer retention emails FAQs

What makes a good customer retention email strategy?

Customers churn because they aren't finding value in your product. A good customer retention email will sell them on the value. This could be by informing the customer of features they may not know about, or by teaching them how to more effectively use the product.

How do you retain customers who want to leave?

Customers leave for many reasons. Listening to feedback about why your past customers have churned and working to improve those situations helps. To keep customers in immediate danger of churning, use customer retention emails to reach out and make sure you are doing all you can to help them get the most from your product. Sometimes, a special discount or targeted offer will help customers decide to stay.

(Video) How to Master Email Marketing (2023)

Can you win back old customers through email?

Yes! Email is a great way to win back old customers. Even if a customer has cancelled, they may still have access to your product for a period of time, and that is an opportunity to win them back. Reaching out to them and reminding them of this and of the value your product provides can make the difference.

Additionally, you could reach out to those who have cancelled completely with updates or improvements you've made to your product. And if you've collected customer feedback properly, a personalized email with a solution to their specific problem, is a great way to open the conversation and possibly gain their interest again.

How long should you wait before re-engaging churned customers through email?

This depends on the email. A "sorry to see you go" email can act as an immediate retention effort if you offer to help the customer with whatever issue is causing them to churn. But you shouldn't wait too long; however, you do want to make sure you understand why they left to be able to deliver a strong and valuable re-engagement email. Generally, one to two months is long enough. As mentioned above, you should send a retention email to past customers when you add new features, which may increase the value they see in your product.

By ProfitWell

Subscription software helping you achieve faster recurring revenue growth.


What is customer retention examples? ›

Offer a surprise reward or discount to customers and first-time buyers to encourage them to buy again. A bonus gift could be something small that is a good compliment to the item or service they purchased or a free sample that the customer would value.

What are the top 3 keys to customer retention? ›

Here are four keys to achieving the level of customer retention you need to boost your top line:
  • Know your customers better than they know themselves.
  • Implement feedback systems.
  • Go beyond nice and polite.
  • Provide anticipatory service.
5 Sept 2017

What are the 7 customer retention strategies? ›

7 Customer Retention Tactics Your Brand Should Use Right Now
  • Build customer trust and long-term relationships. ...
  • Create a robust customer loyalty program. ...
  • Leverage your customer data. ...
  • Re-engage customers using marketing automation. ...
  • Measure customer lifetime value. ...
  • Personalize your offers and communications.
15 Apr 2022

What is retention email marketing? ›

A retention email is a targeted and triggered message sent to an existing customer to increase engagement, loyalty, and satisfaction. It helps bring customers back again and again.

What is customer retention system? ›

Customer retention is a strategy for getting more of your customers to remain loyal to your brand and business over time. A successful retention strategy turns one-time shoppers into loyal, repeat customers who spend more, frequently make purchases, and refer their friends.

What is good customer retention? ›

A 100% retention rate is always good. Meanwhile, a 15% retention rate is usually bad. Whatever is in between varies by the industry.

How do you convince a customer to stay with you? ›

The best way to make customers stick with you and increase trust and loyalty is to reach them throughout the customer journey and add value to their experience. This is the only way to win; understand the customer and its buying habits and them give him reasons and incentives to come back to you again.

What are the types of customer retention strategies? ›

16 customer retention strategies that work
  • Stand for something. ...
  • Collect feedback with customer surveys. ...
  • Capture your product's momentum. ...
  • Don't just sell — educate. ...
  • Communicate with your customers. ...
  • Leverage personalization. ...
  • Deliver surprise reciprocity. ...
  • Offer fast delivery and easy returns.
8 Jun 2022

What are the four levels of retention strategies? ›

Here are four strategies to help increase customer retention:
  • Personalisation. Blanket marketing is not as effective as it once was. ...
  • Exclusivity. Creating special and exclusive offers for your premium customers leads to a more personalised experience for them, which can pay off in many ways. ...
  • Automation. ...
  • Quality of service.
21 Mar 2016

What does it take to retain customers in 2022? ›

Offer reward loyal customers and promoters.

One proven way to increase customer retention is by giving rewards to loyal clients. If you don't value a consumer, it only takes one slip-up for them to leave your products. It's crucial not to take your loyal customers for granted by rewarding them for staying with you.

How do you get customers to return? ›

7 ways to attract returning customers
  1. Make customer service a priority. ...
  2. Incentivize returning customers with loyalty programs for small businesses. ...
  3. Highlight positive customer experiences. ...
  4. Vary product offerings to keep customers' experience new and fresh. ...
  5. Share helpful insights via social media.
2 Oct 2019

Why are customer retention strategies important? ›

Customer retention is critical because the cost of acquiring new customers is much higher than retaining existing customers. Retained customers are also more likely to engage in word-of-mouth marketing or become brand ambassadors.

What is a retention strategy? ›

A retention strategy is a plan that organizations create and use to reduce employee turnover, prevent attrition, increase retention, and foster employee engagement.

How do you keep clients? ›

So, here are several key strategies to keep your clients and customers happy.
  1. Deliver on commitments. Do what you say you're going to do when you say you're going to do it. ...
  2. Create solutions. ...
  3. Be honest. ...
  4. Accept responsibility and make things right. ...
  5. Address emotions, not just facts.
26 Dec 2018

How do you calculate email retention rate? ›

Calculating your email list's retention rate

So to calculate this, we'll take the total number of subscribers, subtract emails that bounced and people who unsubscribed, and divide it by the same total number of subscribers.

What is a promotional email? ›

The primary focus of a promotional email is to get the word out to potential customers about your product or service. Common email promotions include coupons or other discounts, access to exclusive content, or admittance to an invitation-only event.

What is retention targets? ›

A Definition of Customer Retention

The goal of customer retention programs is to help companies retain as many customers as possible, often through customer loyalty and brand loyalty initiatives.

How do you increase retention rate? ›

Customer Retention Strategies
  1. Good Values Build Good Relationships. ...
  2. Trust Is the Basis for Good Relationships. ...
  3. Build Customer Expectations and Over Deliver Every Time. ...
  4. Let Customer Data Work for You. ...
  5. There's Always Room for Improvement. ...
  6. Keep Customers in the Loop. ...
  7. Determine Customer Lifetime Value. ...
  8. Reward Loyalty.
19 Aug 2021

How do you improve active customers? ›

Below are 5 simple ways to bring in more customers and increase your customer base.
  1. Offer a free newsletter. ...
  2. Increase your customer base by asking for opinions. ...
  3. Keep up and maintain excellent customer support and service. ...
  4. Keep your website content fresh. ...
  5. Promote your business on social media networks.
16 Aug 2022

Who is responsible for customer retention? ›

Generally, responsibility for retention should come down to the customer success team. In fact, most SaaS businesses build customer success teams because they want someone responsible for that number.

How do you retain a customer who wants to leave? ›

And here are some guidelines to help you accomplish that:
  1. Build a customer database. ...
  2. Keep in touch. ...
  3. Offer customers multiple communication channels. ...
  4. Target your most valuable customers. ...
  5. Recognise customer loyalty. ...
  6. Treat customer complaints as a gift. ...
  7. Provide excellent customer service.

How do you make customers feel valued? ›

How Do You Make Customers Feel Valued?
  1. Send a Handwritten Note. If you're wondering, “How do you make customers feel important?”, start here. ...
  2. Engage in Conversation. ...
  3. Acknowledge Feedback. ...
  4. Offer Quick Responses. ...
  5. Become a Customer. ...
  6. Create a Welcoming Environment. ...
  7. Offer Small Gifts.
14 Sept 2021

What do you say to keep a customer? ›

12 excellent customer service phrases
  • “Happy to help!” ...
  • “I understand how (blank) that must be.” ...
  • “As much as I'd love to help …” ...
  • “Great question! ...
  • “Nice to meet you!” ...
  • “May I ask why that is?” ...
  • “Thanks for bringing this to our attention!” ...
  • “I completely understand why you'd want that.”
28 May 2020

What is the first process in customer retention process? ›

Customer onboarding may be one of the most critical touchpoints or milestones in your customer lifecycle. It really is the first step toward retaining that new customer. So how should you approach onboarding your new customers? One good place to start is to look at all the firsts that new customers may experience.

How do you encourage repeat customers? ›

Here are seven strategies to help you increase your average repeat purchase rate.
  1. Continue to engage with targeted post-purchase messaging. ...
  2. Trigger action in real time. ...
  3. Optimize transactional emails. ...
  4. Increase share of wallet based on external interests. ...
  5. Incentivize a second purchase. ...
  6. Consider loyalty programs.
23 Jul 2020

How do I get customers to buy more? ›

5 Fail-Safe Tips To Get Your Customers To Buy More
  1. Make your first contact count. ...
  2. Give your customers your undivided attention. ...
  3. Don't ask customers to buy without seeing the menu. ...
  4. Find out what your customers need, rather than telling them what you want them to buy. ...
  5. Don't ever stop selling.
30 Jul 2017

What to say to returning customers? ›

We look forward to doing business with you again! Thank you for your valued business. We value your trust and confidence in us and sincerely appreciate you! Your commitment as a customer is much appreciated.

Is customer retention a KPI? ›

Customer Retention Rate is one of the most important KPIs (if not the most important KPI next to the New Sales KPIs) to subscription based businesses, because it impacts (1) recurring revenue, (2) customer satisfaction levels (which impacts account expansions and referrals) and (3) the growth of the business.

What is value to a customer? ›

Customer value is the perception of what a product or service is worth to a customer versus the possible alternatives. Worth means whether the customer feels s/he got benefits and services over what s/he paid. In a simplistic equation form, customer value is benefits – cost (CV = B – C).

How do I write a retention plan? ›

How To Write a Retention Plan
  1. Create Responsibility. One of the most important parts of your retention plan is holding your managers responsible for their own turnover rate. ...
  2. Assess Your Current Turnover Rate. ...
  3. The Value of Exit Interviews. ...
  4. Use Employee Surveys. ...
  5. Keeping Your Top Performers.
13 Mar 2017

What are the five main drivers of retention? ›

The key drivers of employee retention
  • Recognition and appreciation. Employee retention starts with creating a healthy work culture and recognizing people as individuals rather than replaceable parts. ...
  • Work balance. ...
  • Flexibility. ...
  • Training and development. ...
  • Organizational and individual alignment. ...
  • Competitive pay plans.
20 Jan 2022

What are the 4 tips for making your customers happy? ›

How to Make Your Customers Happy
  • Below are 4 tips for making your customers happy.
  • Effective Communication. Be attentive; Listen to feedback and take notes to make sure you understand what your customer wants. ...
  • Take Responsibility. A successful entrepreneur ensures that every job is done the right. ...
  • Be Kind. ...
  • Be Consistent.
16 Aug 2013

What makes clients happy? ›

Sometimes, you can make clients happy by doing extra tasks for them or providing greater value from your business dealings. Doing extra work can show the client just how much you value your relationship with them, and also shows that you're willing to do extra work to ensure they're satisfied with your service.

What would make your customer happy? ›

They trust that your company is aligned with their needs and is committed to helping them achieve their long-term goals. Any business can make its customers happier. You can offer a discount, provide friendly service, and apologize when things go wrong.

How do you invite customers back? ›

Here are 8 effective techniques you can use to revive customers your business lost.
  1. Start by defining your disengaged customers. ...
  2. Offer an alternative. ...
  3. Request feedback. ...
  4. Reward customer loyalty. ...
  5. Make it personal. ...
  6. Share something new. ...
  7. Offer a “win-back” incentive. ...
  8. Get in some face time.
5 Apr 2018

What is an acquisition email? ›

Acquisition email marketing is the process of using email campaigns to grow your customer base. This involves sending campaigns to permission-based emails where a third-party marketer can email their offer or service to a prospect they don't have an existing relationship with.

What are the four levels of retention strategies? ›

Here are four strategies to help increase customer retention:
  • Personalisation. Blanket marketing is not as effective as it once was. ...
  • Exclusivity. Creating special and exclusive offers for your premium customers leads to a more personalised experience for them, which can pay off in many ways. ...
  • Automation. ...
  • Quality of service.
21 Mar 2016

What keeps customers coming back? ›

Show your appreciation

Customers who feel valued are more likely to feel loyal to your business, come back again and recommend it to others. There are many ways you can show your gratitude, from a personal phone call to a written thank you note or a special reward, such as extra product or a discount.

How do you make a customer feel special? ›

Photos courtesy of the individual members.
  1. Genuinely Thank Your Customers. ...
  2. Tell Them You're Thinking Of Them. ...
  3. Be There For Them After The Sale Closed. ...
  4. Listen, Then Remember. ...
  5. Always Tell Them The Truth. ...
  6. Show You Are Acting On Their Feedback. ...
  7. Show Your Appreciation With A Handwritten Note. ...
  8. Give Them A Gift You Know They'll Like.
24 Feb 2020

How do you announce a customer merger? ›

How to Write a Merger Letter to Existing Customers
  1. Introduce the New Brand. The letter should come from the new top manager of the merged organization or be written as a jointly-issued communication from the CEOs of the merging companies. ...
  2. Explain What it Means. ...
  3. Strike an Upbeat Tone. ...
  4. Provide Resources.
25 Oct 2018

How do I set up a drip email campaign? ›

How to develop a drip campaign
  1. Identify your audience. The most important part of a drip campaign is having a targeted, defined audience to receive the emails. ...
  2. Determine your goal. ...
  3. Write your email. ...
  4. Plan your campaign. ...
  5. Launch your campaign. ...
  6. Analyze your campaign.

What is email marketing strategy? ›

An email marketing strategy is a set of procedures that a marketer identifies and follows to achieve desired marketing goals with email advertising. This plan of action gives the businesses a direct channel of communication with prospects and customers for brand promotion.

What is a promotional message example? ›

Here are some examples of promotional text messages you might use for your business. It's September, meaning it's time for our Annual Sale Event! The sale begins on Saturday and will run for a full week. Come down to the store Saturday for the best surprise deals and other events!


1. 4 Successful Email Marketing Tips To Retain Customers
(Solo Ad Hub)
2. 6 Great Email Marketing Campaigns Examples (As Chosen By Experts)
(HubSpot Marketing )
3. 8 Social Media Strategies to Increase Customer Retention
(Cereal Entrepreneur - Jordan Steen)
4. How to Build an Email Marketing Strategy + How Marketing Cloud Can Help | Salesforce Explained Ep. 8
5. TOO MANY EMAILS? Use THESE Proven Techniques | Outlook tips included
(Leila Gharani)
6. 7 Subject Lines That Get Your Emails Opened
(Dan Lok)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Margart Wisoky

Last Updated: 03/02/2023

Views: 5940

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (78 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Margart Wisoky

Birthday: 1993-05-13

Address: 2113 Abernathy Knoll, New Tamerafurt, CT 66893-2169

Phone: +25815234346805

Job: Central Developer

Hobby: Machining, Pottery, Rafting, Cosplaying, Jogging, Taekwondo, Scouting

Introduction: My name is Margart Wisoky, I am a gorgeous, shiny, successful, beautiful, adventurous, excited, pleasant person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.