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The Significance of Retaining Existing Customers with Email Marketing: Exploring the ‘Why’ and ‘How’

There is always a sense of anticipation and, with success, a sense of joy and satisfaction in making new contacts. We could say this is more so for bu...

There is always a sense of anticipation and, with success, a sense of joy and satisfaction in making new contacts. We could say this is more so for businesses, as they can also look forward to what these new contacts mean for their bottom-line and future growth. But, sometimes, in all the activity and excitement of searching for new horizons, the hard-won vistas right in front of you get overlooked, don’t they? This can apply to your customers, too.

Though businesses will freely acknowledge the wisdom in holding on to their existing customer base, this is often not borne out in substantial, consistent marketing efforts. As a company constantly nudging over competitors for a lucrative niche, you need to realize, if you have your customers coming back for more, you can win with a greater ROI; what’s more, it will cost you much less than it would to strike out to build a base of new names.

Most often—and with the current tools on offer—all it takes to make sure your customers keep buying into your brand is a series of simple, well-intended, and aptly framed communication. And, with the messaging mode of email still standing strong, retention email marketing is your best bet to keep that customer database vast and constant.

How to Make Email Marketing Work for Those Already in the Loop?

Too often, companies focus their on prospects and the larger audience. But, consider how easy it would be to get your message across to someone who is already listening—that is, the majority, if not every single, of your existing customers. 

Here are a few ways you can structure your email marketing efforts to reach your customers and to make sure they don’t stray too far. 

1.Reminder Emails to Keep Them Engaged 

Set up your email automation platform to keep pinging your existing customers—individually and with personalized emails—with relevant updates, information, and reminders. You might tend to wait for the customer to make their next purchase based on their idiosyncratic requirements or stick to sending out mass, half-hearted emails to your entire customer base regarding new products or services. Neither of these approaches tends to work in the world of information overload and short attention spans. 

Instead, you can benefit by reaching out to your customers actively if you haven’t ‘heard from them in a while’; that is to say, your repeat customer hasn’t shown any purchase activity for an extended period. Typically, the lapse of a 90-day period would be a good trigger for your ‘hey, we are still here for you’ reminder emails. Keep the message simple and genuine, and make sure to address the ‘what is in it for me’ factor. These can also integrate a definite ‘push’ or ‘nudge’ element, diplomatically framing in a ‘do not lose out’ messaging. Udemy has done a good job in the below sample, clearly putting out the relevant details, adding an inventive, and setting up for a higher CTR.

Udemy Template


Ideally, your retention email marketing campaigns should also focus on following through on purchases and subscriptions. Thus, some of the templates of reminder emails you can set up for existing customers can be:  

  • Cart abandonment 
  • Expiry reminders (for accounts and subscriptions) 
  • Specific updates (to products and services)
  • Upselling and cross-selling

2. Targeted Content Marketing To Make Them Feel Involved

In the era of social media and influencer marketing, brands need to constantly work on making customers feel valued and involved. You will have to focus a significant part of your email marketing campaigns on maintaining a communication loop with existing customers. 

analysis related to the product or service template


This is one area where you can get creative—both at the broader form-level and with the specific template. For instance, with the ever-increasing amplification of applications and software, customers appreciate guides and analysis related to the product or service.  In the above email example, Truebill has rendered a simple, clean, and personalized template to share relevant service use-related insights.  

Another area that brands often tend to downplay in customer communication is periodic and relevant company updates. Instead of sticking to a drab, one-way communication of broad-based numbers, you will be best-served to read the pulse of purchase patterns and market trends. Then, devise an email marketing campaign (single or drip) to regularly share what would be relevant and interesting for the customer. 

This can also take the form of templates rich with ‘brand buzz’—recent testimonials and media coverage that will reassure your customer of their association with a popular and successful brand.  So, do consider these email marketing examples to keep your customers in the loop with some contemporary content marketing:

  • Support and reports
  • Product and service updates
  • Brand /company updates
  • Social proofs

3. Communicate for Loyalty and to Prevent Churn

Too often, marketing can turn passive after a purchase has been made. This can be the case more so with repeat customers. Seen from the perspective of the new-age customer (one who is spoilt for choice and truly believes in the maxim of ‘customer is king), this might seem like you are taking them for granted.  According to Forbes, about 68% of customers tend to abandon ship as they start feeling neglected by the company and feel like an inconsequential part of a crowd. 

To make sure your customers don’t fall into this statistical group, your email marketing has to proactively reach out to customers and create a sense of appreciation and acknowledgement. You can set up your automation platform with varied and personalized emails that mark key events. 

You can start with a simple, perfectly worded follow-up email to a product purchase or service sign-up. Essential elements to include in this template would be a ‘welcome’ note, a brief introduction of the brand and product, and clearly set apart details of customer helplines. This would serve the all-important business goal of making the customer feel heard and helped along.

A variation of a follow-up email that brands are increasingly resorting to is the survey. If aptly personalized and timed, a short feedback form can elicit frank and relevant customer insights. Uber, for instance, has worked on effective templates with helpful and clearly set apart CTA buttons. The fact that they have the intent clear in their minds and it is well communicated is sure to generate prompt customer response.

feedback template


Summing up, these are some of the types of emails that will help you retain loyal and informed customers:

  • Follow-up
  • Anniversary celebrations (to mark special occasions, perhaps with a discount/offer)
  • ‘Thank You’ notes (these don’t need a special occasion)
  • Milestone marking for customers
  • Feedback

9 Hot Tips for All Your Retention Email Marketing Efforts

  • Collect details smartly
  • Keep your subscribers list updated
  • Be proactive at all times
  • Segment and target for the best results
  • Focus on goal, content, and design—at the same time and equally
  • Don’t underestimate the power of a newsletter
  • Personalize, personalize, personalize
  • Provide helplines and feedback channels
  • Give the customer the option to opt-out (unsubscribe, that is)

Wrapping Up

There are multiple benefits to retaining your existing customers, both in terms of numbers and the more nebulous, long-term benefits: increased orders, enhanced order frequency and value, brand loyalty, word-of-mouth promotions, and a positive brand image would be just some of them. In today’s crowded marketplace, your email marketing campaigns have to be geared towards identifying every single opportunity to communicate with your current customer base. It goes without saying that this entire process has to be proactive and standardized. 

So, tap into the power of retention email marketing today. Set up those threads of simple and effective messages today to build a strong web of long-standing, ever-returning customers.

Need help with creating retention email designs that work? We can help.

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Kevin George

Kevin is the Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest-growing full-service email marketing companies. He is an email enthusiast at heart and loves to pen down email marketing content. You can reach him at or connect with him on LinkedIn.



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