6 Retention Email Examples to Reduce Your Customer Churn
Maximizing customer lifetime value by reducing churn. That’s the simplest customer retention definition I can think of.
For most businesses, it’s no easy feat. Reducing churn means more than rescuing at-risk customers. It spans the entire customer relationship.
These 6 customer retention examples cover every stage of the process, from initial activation to customer appreciation and upsell.
6 customer retention email examples
1. “Welcome to Lyft. Let’s hit the road!” by Lyft
This first email from Lyft welcomes, onboards, and activates new customers. The key here is to introduce customers to your product or service offering and get them on the path to success.
Remember: Customer retention starts on day one. Your first email sets the tone for the entire relationship.
At the top of the email, Lyft reassures new customers that they made the right decision by reasserting its unique selling proposition: “A safe, easy, and affordable ride whenever you need one.” With this positioning statement, Lyft effectively communicates that it can fulfill the customer’s needs (an affordable ride from A to B) while subtly overcoming common objections (it’s safe and easy to use).
Directly below that statement is the first call to action. This placement helps confident customers take action right away, without deterring others from continuing to read. The copy (“TAKE A RIDE”) is both clear and catchy, which helps keep customers engaged. Plus, the bright pink call-to-action button stands out and is on brand.
Next, the email reasserts the benefits of riding with Lyft: “Never waste time waiting on a taxi or get stuck driving yourself again.” Most customers who read this statement instantly recall a bad experience. Maybe they were stuck in line at an airport for 45 minutes while they waited for a taxi or got stuck as the designated driver on what should have been a fun night out. Either way, it’s effective because humans are wired to avoid pain.
The email then explains how it works in three words: Request. Ride. Pay. As you scan the headings, you can almost hear someone say, “It’s that simple!” Of course, customers are free to read the 1-2 sentence text below the heading. But for many, the headings will be enough (especially when they’re augmented by an engaging visual, like in this example).
Finally, the second call to action is presented. By keeping the calls to action consistent, Lyft avoids confusing the customer with too many options. Rather, the desired action is clear: Lyft wants you to take a ride.
Steal Lyft’s activation email formula:
1. Unique selling proposition
2. Call to action #1
3. Product/service benefit
4. How the product/service works
5. Call to action #2
- Reinforce the customer’s decision to buy
- Simplify what you do to make it easy to understand
- Steer customers toward a single desired action
Want to learn how Lyft uses customer journey marketing to nurture leads and drive growth? Watch the webinar recap: A Ride Inside Lyft’s Customer Journey
2. “Session 2: Building the meditation habit” by Headspace
This early email from Headspace helps activate new customers. The goal here is to weave guided meditation into the customer’s daily routine.
Remember: Old habits die hard, and familiarity breeds loyalty. The more you set customers up for success, the longer they’ll stick around.
At the top of the email, Headspace leverages usage data to celebrate an early win: You’ve completed 1 session, lasting a total of 10 minutes. By quantifying the customer’s performance, the email triggers his or her impulse to achieve. In other words, Headspace uses gamification to keep the customer moving forward.
The first call to action reinforces this instinct, directing customers to “Start session 2”.
Notice how Headspace employs a supportive tone throughout the email. For example, “Lots of people would like to try meditation. But you’re different, you’ve seen that intention through. Go you!” This kind of positive reinforcement conditions people to keep up the good work, which is why a supportive tone is so effective.
In the next section, Andy presents 5 meditation pro tips, alongside graphics that reinforce their meaning. This copy helps educate customers who’re new to meditation, which is the first step in transforming practice into ritual.
Finally, the same call to action is displayed a second time—reinforcing the customer’s next step.
Steal Headspace’s activation email formula:
1. Usage data
2. Call to action #1
3. Positive reinforcement
4. Education and tips
5. Call to action #2
- Help activate customers via education
- Use gamification to keep customers progressing
- Be your customer’s biggest cheerleader
3. “Keep moving on How to Make a Website” by Treehouse
This email from Treehouse strives to re-engage customers who became inactive after achieving initial success. The key here is to get customers back on track—quickly and permanently.
Remember: Out of sight, out of mind. Keep customers for the long haul by rescuing at-risk customers ASAP.
Like Headspace, Treehouse leads with an encouraging tone. “You’ve made great progress on How to Make a Website,” the email reads.
By leveraging custom fields, Treehouse personalizes the copy so the email speaks directly to that specific customer. For example, in addition to indicating which course he started, Matthew is referred to by name.
Treehouse then gets straight to the point: “It’s been a few days since we’ve seen you, so why not knock out a few more steps right now?”
Placing these two sentences next to each other causes the customer to experience cognitive dissonance. Clearly, the customer’s activity has lapsed—perhaps for a good reason. Calling out this change causes discomfort, which motivates them to get back on track. Plus, by asking the customer to take action right away, it pressures them to make a decision now: Will they finish what they started? Or admit defeat?
Enter the first call to action: “Resume →” (This is the height of tension. It’s all downhill from here.)
Next, the email offers other 3 alternative courses to enroll in. Perhaps the customer would prefer to design a mobile game? After all, it’s a short, 2-hour course.
Finally, a third option is presented: Find a course that’s not listed here by browsing the course library. This call to action gives customers one final chance to redeem themselves.
The thing is, the exact reason for the customer’s inactivity is unknown. By providing multiple solutions, Treehouse increases its chance of re-engaging the customer.
(Did you know? Many believe that things that come in threes are intrinsically more engaging.)
Steal Treehouse’s re-engagement email formula:
3. Cognitive dissonance
4. Call to action #1
5. Multiple solutions
6. Call to action #2
- Encourage habitual usage
- Leverage cognitive dissonance to motivate customers
- Cover as many bases as possible
4. “Penny (or more) for your thoughts?” by Tailor Brands
This email from Tailor Brands aims to collect customer feedback. After all, one sure-fire way to prevent future churn is to resolve issues identified by your customers.
Remember: The best marketing can’t save a failing product. Keep customers committed by acting on customer feedback in a timely manner.
This email immediately makes its intentions known. Using clear copy and a visual aid that reinforces the message, Tailor Brands tells customers, “We want to hear you!”
Next, the email outlines the corresponding time commitment. By specifying that the survey will only take 3 minutes, Tailor Brands increases the likelihood that customers will participate.
Immediately after that, customers are told why their feedback is needed: “As a valued customer, we’re looking for some input on making our services even better in 2017.”
Customers are then told they’ll receive 50% off their next purchase as a reward for their input. Because this is a significant discount, it’s an effective incentive.
Now that customers are convinced, all that’s left is to act on the request. The call to action, which reads “Let’s Begin!”, tells them where to click.
Finally, Tailor Brands thanks them for their participation—in advance. Because it’s bigger than the call-to-action button, the customer will more than likely notice it before clicking through to the survey.
Steal Tailor Brand’s feedback request email formula:
2. Time commitment
5. Call to action
6. Thank you
- Be clear about your intentions
- Specify the time commitment
- Offer a compelling incentive
5. “Not A Marketing Email” by Brooklinen
This thank you email from Brooklinen helps strengthen the relationship by showing genuine appreciation for their customers. The goal here is to build brand affinity.
Remember: Customer retention is a piece of cake once relational loyalty exists.
The email starts out by getting one thing straight: This is not a marketing email. Instead, it’s a plain text email signed by the founders of the company. By violating their expectations, Brooklinen effectively captures the customer’s attention.
Except, in a sense, it is a marketing email. After all, the email includes a link to a press article that highlights the phenomenal success of their bootstrapped business. And managing how your customers perceive your company’s reputation is certainly a component of marketing!
So, how’d they keep their customers engaged? By sharing their story, which helped humanize their brand, leading customers to feel personally connected to the company’s founders.
They then thanked their customers for their “patronage, support, and feedback”, which played a major role in their success. “We are so grateful,” they continued. “As far as we’re concerned, you are all part of our founding team.” By demonstrating gratitude in a genuine way and sharing the credit for their achievements, they solidified the bond with their customer.
Steal Brooklinen’s customer appreciation email formula:
1. Your story
2. Customer contribution
3. Thank you
- Take advantage of plain text emails for a personal touch
- Violate expectations to surprise and delight
- Share your story to humanize your brand
- Demonstrate genuine gratitude for your customers
- Share credit for your achievements
6. “NAME, activate another line, get a $100 bonus gift!” by Koodo Mobile
This upsell email from Koodo Mobile helps lengthen the customer’s commitment to the brand. The goal here is to increase customer lifetime value.
Remember: The longer a customer sticks around, the more revenue they bring in. The fewer customers who churn, the more your business grows.
The email starts with catchy copy that introduces the purpose of the email: “Add a line. Now’s the time!”
Below this heading, Koodo Mobile explains the deal: Add another line to your plan and you’ll get a new phone for $0 down, plus a gift worth $100. While the mandatory 2-year contract makes this an upsell email, the free phone and $100 gift reward existing customers for their loyalty.
But there’s a catch: This is a limited-time offer. Customers must act before March 16. This element of the email employs urgency to encourage customers to act quickly. Otherwise, they risk missing out on a great opportunity—which is known to be a huge motivator!
Steal Koodo Mobile’s upsell email formula:
1. Email purpose
2. Upsell intent
3. Loyalty reward
4. Limited-time offer
- Employ urgency to motivate customers to act
- Offer discounts to reward customer loyalty
- Score an upsell to raise the stakes of the relationship
Still unsure how to retain customers? Check out this post on 2017 customer retention strategies.
Have we missed any standout customer retention email examples? Share them below.