8 Ways to send customer appreciation emails (and why you should)

Customer appreciation emails are often overlooked by marketers. 

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to execute engaging email campaigns that result in better performance metrics, more conversions, and increasing revenue. But effective marketing is more than just improving numbers. 

The happiness of your customers is an important factor in any good email campaign. So be sure to make people feel appreciated. 

Let’s explore why expressing gratitude is essential to email marketing—and when it’s appropriate to send these messages.

What are customer appreciation emails and why are they important?

Walk into a brick-and-mortar store and chances are you’ll hear a “thank you” from a staff member at least once. This social exchange creates rapport and a sense of reassurance to customers. 

It’s harder to remind people that human beings exist behind the online machinations of your brand. You can’t make eye contact, flash a smile, and shake a loyal customer’s hand over the internet. So how can you show gratitude? 

A great appreciation email can be just as impactful as a face-to-face declaration of thanks.

A customer appreciation email is exactly what it sounds like. These messages often include a reward or special offer of some kind—most benefit from personalization, and some are earnest messages from company founders. 

When should you send customer appreciation emails?

The short answer: Anytime. 

You don’t need a special occasion to thank or celebrate someone. Customer appreciation emails are year-round mood lifters. 

You may worry that your thank you email will remain unopened or ignored—the average American receives more than 120 emails every day, after all. But the odds are on your side: More than 60% of consumers prefer to interact with brands through email as opposed to other platforms. Plus, who would pass up a chance to read something positive about themselves?

It’s easy to remember to send thank you emails when you’re running a fundraising campaign or something similar. But chances to show customer appreciation are not always obvious.

We can help with that. Below are eight ways you can incorporate high-profile appreciation emails into your marketing campaigns.

1. After a subscriber opts in

Welcome emails have a 50% open rate on average. New subscribers are often excited to hear from you, so be sure to make that first message count. 

Waymo welcome email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Like Waymo did in the example above, start with a simple thank you. A welcome email campaign usually takes subscribers through an onboarding process, but there’s no reason you can’t include a show of genuine gratitude.

Don’t wait too long to send it. You should use automation to deliver it, so have it pre-written and ready to go once someone opts-in. 

2. After a customer purchase

Like welcome messages, purchase confirmations are typical trigger emails. It makes sense to thank a customer after they buy something from your store. 

The Classic Specs email below has the right idea: “Thank you” in big, bold letters, with a personalized message underneath.

Classic Specs thank you email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Don’t forget to add the pertinent details of the purchase—items in the customer’s cart, individual costs, total amount owed, etc. 

3. After a brand event 

Plenty event invitation email examples and templates exist online. It’s no surprise there’s so much emphasis on this marketing plan. Not attracting enough attendees can lead to a real-world failure. 

But the importance of a great invitation does not outweigh the need for a post-event thank you message. Make sure it’s not an afterthought.

The Salesforce email below is an ideal example. It’s attractive, colorful, and well put together.

Salesforce invite email example

Source: Really Good Emails

In addition to the “thank you” in the first line of the email body, the brand also features two types of downloadable content—an internal report and a promotional e-book—and a link to the event’s recorded keynote. These components add value for attendees looking to make the most out of what they learned.

4. On a subscriber’s birthday

The first three occasions we mentioned as ideal for customer appreciation necessitate displaying gratitude. Not this one.

You can certainly be thankful for the existence of a subscriber on their special day. But instead of gratitude, a celebratory tone is a better basis for your birthday message.

This is a great reason to send a subscriber a small token, like a one-time discount or free item to claim. 

The Subway email below lets this person know that they can ask for a cookie at a location within a limited time.

Subway birthday email example

Source: Really Good Emails

In terms of return on investment (ROI), birthday emails are at the top. On average, they enjoy more than 475% higher conversion rates and more than 175% higher unique click rates. 

The only caveat is that a subscriber must provide their birthdate through a preference center or survey.

5. On traditional holidays

Holiday campaigns are the backbone of many marketing calendars. They usually center around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. Retail and charity events like Black Friday and Giving Tuesday are part of most marketing efforts, as well.

Appreciation emails go with holiday campaigns like peanut butter goes with jelly. Most brands will slash item prices to maximize revenue during the year-end spending season. 

Some may have extra special offers for VIPs or loyal customers. And some will give away virtual stocking stuffers, like Playstation does in the example below. 

Playstation holiday email example

Source: Really Good Emails

This contains heartfelt copy and offers a voucher code to download an exclusive gaming console theme. It’s a simple gift that feels more personal than a general percentage discount.

6. On your brand’s launch anniversary

If you can celebrate your subscribers’ birthdays, what about your anniversaries? This type of appreciation email is as much for your brand as it is for your subscribers. 

Without customers or loyal supporters, companies would fail. Anniversaries are typically a time for showing gratitude through gifting. 

Some brands may offer one-day sales, bring back beloved-but-discontinued products for a limited time, or even give away commemorative items.

fitbit thank you email example

Source: Really Good Emails

Others, like Fitbit, choose to share personal thanks and reflections. In the email above, they remind subscribers of the company’s mission. They also enumerate Fitbit’s achievements and cultural impact over the past 10 years.

Listing statistics derived from collective customer data is a nice, community-building touch. In essence, the numbers bring together and connect Fitbit users from all corners of the world. 

7. After hitting a brand milestone

Celebrating a brand milestone is almost like celebrating an anniversary, but not quite. Trello’s example below is short and sweet. It’s also very different compared to Fitbit’s anniversary email.

Trello welcome email example

Source: Really Good Emails

The message is eye-catching and straight to the point. They included their cute and visually-compelling brand mascot Taco, along with an announcement about getting to 10 million users.

The call-to-action (CTA) button allows readers to claim an undisclosed amount of Trello Gold, which can go toward Trello’s premium service.

8. On your brand’s designated Customer Appreciation Day

Remember when we said earlier that customer appreciation emails are applicable anytime? You don’t need an established occasion or reason to send them. 

Birchbox customer appreciation email example

Source: Pinterest

Many brands declare their own unique Customer Appreciation Day each year. From a marketing standpoint, this is a genius move. Setting aside a day specifically to thank and celebrate customers is a surefire way to make them feel special. 

The example above is from Birchbox, a subscription box service. What’s offered here is a surprise gift for a surprise occasion.

Wrap up

Customer appreciation is an integral part of email marketing. Hitting metric benchmarks is important, but developing long-term relationships with your audience is essential. 

It’s a good thing that there are many ways to fit appreciation emails into already-established campaigns and trigger-based automations. Without a solid connection to your subscribers and customers, your brand will fail. Showing gratitude and celebrating the community that lifts you up is key.    

When should you send customer appreciation emails? There’s no need to anchor a thank you or celebratory email to any particular holiday or event—but doing so could amplify its effect. 

Here are eight occasions to watch out for: 

  • After a subscriber opts in

  • After a customer purchase

  • After a brand event

  • On a subscriber’s birthday

  • On traditional holidays

  • On your brand’s launch anniversary

  • After hitting a brand milestone

  • On your brand’s designated Customer Appreciation Day

Writing appreciation emails for your next campaign? Make sure they have all the components of a successful marketing message.

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