How to write effective and genuine customer appreciation emails

Thanksgiving isn’t the only time to show gratitude. 

Your customers keep your business running year round. You have a 60% to 70% chance of selling to an existing customer compared to just 5% to 20% for a new one. 

A genuine customer appreciation email can go a long way toward forging a strong relationship. 

But crafting the perfect email to show you care is tricky. Your language, design, and offer must be timely and relevant. 

This post will explain customer appreciation email best practices and tips. It will also provide a list of examples to power your appreciation campaigns.

Why are customer appreciation emails important?

Appreciation emails are vital for customer retention. Eighty percent of businesses say they rely on email for retaining customers. 

Email is effective because it’s a more intimate way to communicate with people. You can show your appreciation for their business and loyalty with personal notes. 

You don’t have to fight against crowded newsfeeds and unreliable algorithms. Email gives you a direct line of contact with your customers.

Plus, email is jam packed with innovative tools to automate and personalize every message you send. Instead of sending the same customer appreciation email to every subscriber, you can use data to send the most relevant message possible. 

10 customer appreciation email best practices, tips, and examples

Writing the perfect customer appreciation email isn’t easy. You need to consider each person’s needs and state of mind. Follow the tips, best practices, and examples below for inspiration.

1. Write with a warm, friendly tone

Now isn’t the time for formal or technical language. Virtually all industries can benefit from using a friendly and conversational tone in their appreciation emails. 

On that note, concise language beats out verbosity every time. You have two options for structuring your appreciation emails:

  • Punchy and short (fewer than 100 words)

  • Heartfelt and longer (200 words or so penned by a specific team member at your company, like the head of sales or marketing)

Consider your audience, context, and purchase history. Loyal customers may appreciate the heartfelt letter. However, new customers may feel like a lengthy letter isn’t genuine. 

Shona Joy sent this thank-you email encouraging customers to get involved on social media. With timely content concerning the coronavirus (COVID-19), it asks customers to nominate a front-line healthcare worker or someone who deserves a gift card.

Customer appreciation email thanking first-line healthcare workers.

Source: Milled


2. Set up an automated customer appreciation email workflow

You can set up a series of appreciation emails and time them to go out over a few days. You can also set up triggers inside each email. For example, if a customer clicks your link to claim an offer but doesn’t convert, you can set up a unique email for them.

Automation comes in handy here because you can organize entire customer appreciation weeks. Do something different each day, like:

  • Free do-it-yourself (DIY) or educational webinars

  • Free samples or gifts with a purchase

  • Insider information about your company’s history

  • Hefty discount codes

Emails like these make your customers feel special — like they’re part of something exclusive. 

3. Don’t forget their birthday

Birthdays are the perfect time to show how much you value your customers. On average, birthday emails deliver 50% open rates. That’s kind of a big deal. 

Keep your birthday emails simple and image heavy — just like a birthday card. 

Make sure to include a generous gift, like a 40% off coupon for example. 

Subway broke through the noise of birthday messages with a belated birthday gift.

Offer a gift in your customer appreciation email.

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Send a customer appreciation email for your birthday

You can also mark your brand’s birthday with a customer appreciation email. 

Let customers know you’re grateful for their business and that you’re looking forward to another year.

Make sure to include stats from the past year. Show customers how they contributed to your success. 

You might also want to explain how you’re paying it forward. Fifty percent of consumers worldwide consider themselves belief-driven buyers. In other words, they do business with companies that share their socio economic values. Use this as an opportunity to highlight your good deeds, local community support, or awesome worker treatment.

Fitbit sent a beautifully personal message for their 10-year anniversary appreciation email.

Pen a heartfelt message in your customer appreciation email.

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Use a minimalist design and single call to action (CTA)

While it may seem smart to include several choices to give customers variety, a single CTA tends to drive more conversions. For your CTA, use a bright button rather than a hyperlink. Buttons beg to be clicked.

When consumers are confronted with too many choices — like super lengthy menus at restaurants — they get confused and end up feeling insecure about their decision. 

Keep your design basic as well. Guide eyes down the page with an inverted pyramid or Z-shaped layout. Wow subscribers with bold colors, GIFs, or even interactive elements. Use those items as a focal point, but keep your copy and overall design simple. 

6. Send a customer appreciation email for certain milestones

You don’t have to wait for your company anniversary to send a customer appreciation email. Thank your customers for every milestone along the way. Such as:

  • Hitting a certain number of social media followers

  • Surpassing a specific number of overall customers

  • Meeting a goal (like enrolling a specific number of students or donations)

Remind customers how they’ve contributed to your success. Include a single CTA in your email as well, like a link to follow your social media page, to register, or to donate.

Everyone had fun with Spotify’s yearly wrap up, highlighting their top artists and songs from the past year.

Celebrate milestones in your customer appreciation email.

Source: Gmail

7. Personalize as much as possible

Email makes it easy to use analytics from your website and personalize every message you send. 

Instead of sending a generic customer appreciation email to every subscriber, use their shopping or engagement history to craft a unique campaign. Sixty-seven percent of consumers expect brands to adjust content using context, like browsing behavior or past purchases. 

It’s no surprise that personalized emails deliver much higher open and click rates: They’re highly relevant and timely. 

Pet Supplies Plus sent this email to loyal customers thanking them for their business and reminding them that stores are still open during the COVID-19 pandemic. It offers free two-hour pickup and provides personalized product recommendations based on prior purchases.

Personalize your customer appreciation email content.

Source: Gmail

8. Make customers feel part of something bigger than themselves

The internet can feel cold and lonely sometimes. Use your customer appreciation email to remind people they’re part of something bigger than themselves.

This approach is especially useful for nonprofit campaigns. Forge a connection with your audience by showing them what their donations accomplished throughout the year. 

Include photos or other multimedia to engage and inspire. Give them a warm and fuzzy feeling. 

Use a customer appreciation email to remind subscribers they’re part of the greater good.

Source: Gmail

9. Win back previously loyal customers with a customer appreciation email

Customer appreciation emails are useful for more than rewarding active customers. You can also use them to re-engage customers who’ve gone dark. These messages are often called win-back emails as well. 

Start your email acknowledging you haven’t seen them around in a while. Say you miss them, if it fits your brand voice. 

Don’t complicate your win-back email. Make your point, include a discount code or freebie, and move on. It’ll show you value their time. 

10. Send a customer appreciation email after every purchase

When you buy something in a brick-and-mortar store, the clerk immediately thanks you for your purchase. They may even hand you a receipt with a coupon for a future purchase.

Subway, for example, includes a link to a survey on every receipt. If a customer completes the survey about their experience, they get a coupon for a free cookie.

You can follow a similar strategy inside your emails. When someone buys something, set up an automated email to go out with a thank-you message.

To show them you appreciate their business, make sure to include a discount code or freebie for their next purchase.

You could also include a space for them to provide feedback about their experience, if it applies to your brand. However, it’s smart to hold off on the review requests until a customer has had a chance to experience the product or service.

Wrap up

The perfect customer appreciation email can help you retain loyal customers by showing you care. To craft the perfect campaign, remember to:

  • Write a one-on-one message with a warmhearted tone

  • Set up an automated multi-campaign workflow

  • Send a birthday greeting

  • Mark certain milestones and anniversaries with an email campaign

  • Use a minimalist layout and message

  • Personalize your message and offer

  • Make customers feel part of your success

  • Win back dormant customers with appreciation emails and discounts

  • Thank customers for their business after every purchase

Ready to discover how powerful automation can be for your content? Look at Emma’s full range of innovative features.

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. With our​​ powerful automation and personalization features, you can create and send email campaigns that reach the right customer at just the right time. It's email marketing that works for you.

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