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8 Retention-Boosting Emails Every Mobile Brand Should Send

Shivkumar M Shivkumar M has over 20 years of experience shaping technology product and GTM strategy. With B2B SaaS expertise across industries, he leads product launches, adoption, and GTM as Director of Product Marketing.
8 Retention-Boosting Emails Every Mobile Brand Should Send

When it comes to retention marketing tactics, marketers have dozens of channels to choose from. Social networks, paid search, remarketing ads, push notifications, in-app messages — but one of the most powerful and widely used is email marketing.
Why emails?

  • Customers expect their favorite brands to show up in their inboxes, so there’s less worry about annoying recipients with messages that feel intrusive. New product announcements, sales and discounts, seasonal/holiday campaigns, and loyalty program invites are all anticipated by customers who have engaged with your brand.
  • Email is an inexpensive way to meet customers where they are and grab their attention. Email marketing has a jaw-dropping ROI of 122%, higher than any other channel — including search and social.*
  • Emails are also easy to personalize for specific customer segments and an effective way to engage your most valuable customers. Segmented email campaigns have 14% higher open rates and 100% higher click-through rates than generic campaigns.*
  • You can experiment with A/B testing emails to learn more effective ways of engaging customers and improving results. Every click — whether it’s to convert or unsubscribe — is valuable insight into what your customers want from you. These insights can be applied to other marketing activities to hone your strategies and improve outcomes across the board.

With such compelling results, retention marketers are turning to email to increase customer LTV, average order values, and purchase frequency. But success takes more than a few email blasts.
To grow repeat sales and scale your business, you need a complete calendar of customizable customer retention emails that are triggered by specific events and user behaviors.

8 Must-Have Emails to Boost Retention + Examples

1. Welcome email

Trigger: New app download or profile registration
A new user’s interest in your app is at a high point. They’re sold on your value prop (they just signed up, after all) and are ready to explore your offering.
Welcome emails present the perfect opportunity to help new users experience your app’s value and reaffirm the benefits they’ll gain from using it. Not to mention they generate 320% more revenue* than other types of promotional emails.
Use cohort analysis to discover what key actions lead to long-term retention: whether it’s conducting a search, purchasing a product or subscription, submitting a review, or uploading a photo. Then create specific CTAs for your welcome emails that effectively hook new users on your app’s unique value and set them on a proven path to becoming brand champions.
Pair that CTA with a compelling reason to act. Offer a personalized promo code, temporarily upgrade a subscription, extend a free trial, or provide limited-time access to exclusive features or content to nudge new users to convert into paying customers.

Example: Peloton

Why it works:

  • One clear CTA that encourages first conversion (take a class)
  • Copy is short and laser-focused on onboarding new users
  • Spotlights key features users need to know to experience value

2. Abandoned cart email

Trigger: Added item to cart but failed to transact
Abandon cart emails are not only effective, they’re also lucrative. Compared to promotional emails that are worth on average $0.02, the average abandoned cart reminder email is worth $5.46.* They boast open rates of nearly 45% and conversion rates of over 10%.*
Why so high?
Most customers expect abandoned cart emails to include some kind of special offer or promotion to entice the sale. In fact some savvy customers who fully intend to complete their purchase will purposely abandon their cart just to see what kind of goodies will show up in their inbox — free shipping? 10% off?
Other times customers are confused by a long checkout process, get distracted, go comparison shopping or hunting for discount codes — or simply changed their minds.
Whatever the reason, you can recover an average 10%* of those lost sales with effective abandoned cart emails that feature an attention-grabbing subject line, clear CTA, sense of urgency, personalized promotion, and compelling social proof.

Example: Brooklinen

Why it works:

  • Instills sense of urgency and FOMO by warning that cart items may sell out
  • Provides incentive by offering free shipping
  • Creates upsell opportunities by featuring top-selling or related products

Read more: Cart Abandonment Strategies To Boost Recovery Rates

3. Upsell email

Trigger: Completed a purchase
Upsell campaigns aren’t about pushing extra products onto your customers. Effective upsells are about understanding why customers buy from you and what additional services they might benefit from to derive even more value from your brand.
Upselling without being pushy can be tough to pull off. To get it right, first focus your upsell efforts on the right customer segments: those with higher purchase frequencies or order values. These satisfied customers have already shown an interest in your products and have an established relationship with your brand, and you’ve likely earned the level of trust needed to make an upsell work.
By pitching the right offer to the right customers, you can increase revenue and customer satisfaction.

Example: Grammarly

Why it works:

  • Personalized recap reinforces a meaningful customer relationship
  • Copy is designed to make users feel good about how much they’ve accomplished
  • Highlights the tool’s role in user’s success before making the upsell pitch

4. Special occasion/Happy Birthday email

Trigger: Local holiday or customer birthdate
It’s amazing how far a simple holiday or birthday wish can go in enhancing a customer’s relationship with your brand.
Yes, customers expect special occasion emails to include a discount code or promotion. But a simple, sincere “wish you well” also shows that you care enough about your customers to take note of significant days and put in the effort to make them feel special.
As a bonus, all those special occasion warm-fuzzies translate into some serious cash: birthday emails have 481% higher transaction rates than other promotional emails and generate 342% more revenue.*

Example: Nike

Why it works:

  • Subject line hints at special-occasion discount to prompt opens
  • Prominent promo code makes it easy for readers to apply at checkout
  • Body copy instills a sense of urgency with “limited time” and clear expiration date

5. Feedback email

Trigger: Active user that’s completed a milestone (finished streaming content, received a delivery, etc.)
Retention is about relationships. And the most successful relationships are built by truly listening. It’s really that simple — and that complicated.
Brands who take the time to ask for customer feedback, pay attention to comments, and incorporate suggestions into their product roadmap and business practices are laying the foundation for deeper customer relationships, better retention rates, and increased business growth.
Requesting user feedback is also the best way to identify and fix problems before users ditch your business — or take to App Store reviews or social media to air their grievances. Users want to know that you’re listening to their comments, suggestions, requests, and complaints and doing something about them.
There are many channels available for brands to solicit user feedback, from social media to in-app surveys or even phone calls. The benefit of email is that customers can respond when it’s convenient for them.
Example: Lyft

Why it works:

  • Subject line distinguishes feedback email from promotional messages
  • “Got a minute?” hints at a short survey to encourage participation
  • Expresses appreciation for the customer’s time and patronage

6. Referral email

Trigger: Current customer completes another purchase
Yes, referral emails are an effective way to attract new customers through powerful word-of-mouth marketing. But they’re also an important way to reward, and retain your current customers.
Referral incentives draw current customers into deeper engagement with your brand, reinforcing habitual usage and introducing them to new products, features, and services.

For more tips on optimizing referral emails, check out our infographic.

Example: Airbnb

Why it works:

  • Rewards are simple and straightforward
  • Mutual incentive: clear benefits for both the customer and their friends
  • Reinforces Airbnb’s value/branding of travel, exploration, and community

7. Thank you email

Trigger: Current customer
Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and a simple thank you can go a long way towards creating and reinforcing a meaningful customer experience and positive brand perception.
77% of customers enjoy it when companies express gratitude* — and they respond with deeper engagement. Thank you emails see 42.51% open rates, 18.27% click rates, and 10.34% conversion rates.*
Effective thank you emails deepen customer connections by expressing genuine gratitude. Instead of acting as a wrapper for yet another promotion or sale, skip the discount code and instead highlight the role your customers play in your current success and business journey.

Example: Unsplash

Why it works:

  • It’s a genuine thanks — not a sales ploy in disguise
  • It’s personalized, featuring the recipient’s first photo upload
  • Provides interesting content for their creative community, showcasing highlights like most popular categories and places tagged

8. Re-engagement email

Trigger: Formerly active/converted, but no recent activity
No matter how good you are, you can’t win them all. Some users will churn. But that doesn’t mean they’re lost forever. Re-engagement campaigns can either help you learn from lost users’ experiences or successfully bring them back into the fold of happy customers.
WInback emails typically include either requests for feedback or a simple “We miss you!” message along with a time-sensitive incentive to renew their subscription, make another purchase, or convert within the app.
Personalize winback emails to let customers know you’re still there and you’re paying attention. Include their name in the subject line and within the email body to show them you’re interested in their experience and want to improve it. You can also apply user data to provide tailored offers based on their previous purchasing or search habits.
Example: Asana

Why it works:

  • Highlights recent changes and updates to the app
  • Demonstrates they’ve been listening to user complaints
  • Single CTA that gets users back inside the app

Retention Email Marketing Best Practices

Customer retention is complex, and no one strategy will solve churn completely. That said, email is still one of the most effective channels for keeping happy customers engaged with your brand.
With these retention email marketing best practices and examples in hand, you can build an automated set of email campaigns that deepen customer relationships and loyalty from day 1.
Show customers you understand them and care about their experience with relevant emails that are personalized to their profile and real-time behaviors. Learn more about how CleverTap’s powerful user insights make it easy to fuel ongoing customer engagement and retention.

Beginner’s Guide To Data-Driven Email Marketing

Beginner’s Guide To Data-Driven Email Marketing

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Last updated on June 5, 2024