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With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it’s the perfect time of year to say “thank you!” with customer appreciation emails.
Smart brands thank customers with these emails at least once a year, and the approaching holidays are a popular time to do it. Still, there are plenty of ways—and occasions—to say thank you. We combed through our inbox and found inspiring examples of how brands have shown appreciation for customers in the past year.
But before we review each email, here’s a snapshot of some subject lines of customer appreciation emails. Mentions of “thank you,” “special,”and “gift” are abundant. Most of all, many emails focus on one thing: “you” (the customer). Putting your customers front and center by making them feel special is the key to good customer appreciation emails.
Now, let’s check out seven ways to send customer appreciation emails by looking to inspiring brands.
1. Create your own Customer Appreciation Day
There’s no official “national customer appreciation day,” but plenty of brands invent their own. When you create an event specifically for thanking customers, they will feel special. Plus, your brand is positioned as one that’s genuine, appreciative, and thoughtful. Here’s a sample email from the male grooming site BirchBox Man, which starts with the subject line “Happy You Day!”:
Similarly, organic skincare site Juice Beauty creates a one-day customer appreciation event, offering readers 20% off (subject line: “20% Off Today Only! Customer Appreciation Event”):
- Add intrigue to your call-to-action. BirchBox doesn’t reveal in the email what the gift is; readers must click the CTA to find out.
- Design an email that passes the “squint test.” Squint your eyes and look at each of these emails. Which one is easier to understand in a quick, blurry glance? BirchBox does a good job of making its message uncluttered and visual so that readers get the memo in just a second.
2. Make your “welcome” a “thank you” message
Welcome emails are some of the most-read messages that land in an inbox. So it’s no surprise that brands take advantage of the high open rate to incentivize readers to get shopping right away. One way to do this graciously is to start with a “thank you.” Show your gratitude that a new customer has signed up for your mailing list—turn your welcome emails into customer appreciation emails instead. Here’s one example from Bliss, the spa and retail company (subject line: “Welcome To Bliss! Instant Offer Inside”):
Likewise, Moo, the business card creation platform, thanks readers with 10% off in its welcome/thank you email (subject: “Welcome to MOO”):
- Organize content in an inverted pyramid. Both emails structure content with the trusty inverted pyramid layout. The top of the pyramid is a large image or header, followed by text, leading to the CTA button.
- Use color to make your call-to-action pop. There should always be a CTA button in a bold color that contrasts against the background. Get a full breakdown on how to choose the best CTA button color for your emails.
3. Use the holidays to say thanks (and motivate shoppers)
It’s a no-brainer to show gratitude around the holidays. Lots of brands and businesses take the opportunity to thank customers with special emails and promotions. Here’s a unique one from MailChimp—free custom socks!
Terrain, which focuses on home and garden products, gives “a treat to say thank you for sharing a very merry season with us” in the form of a 15% off discount.
Even J.Crew sends letter-syle emails—no promotion, though—that includes a heartfelt note from the CEO:
And in mid-December last year, Food52 offered readers a surprise gift: a code to enter at checkout for a mysterious discount (which doubles as an incentive to shop!):
- Keep it simple. MailChimp and J.Crew both execute simple, elegant design in their emails. This means the message doesn’t look like a website, is easy to scan, and won’t get clipped.
- Use a single-column, modular layout. Terrain and Food52 each send long emails that feature multiple products. A great way to make those emails organized is by using a single-column, modular layout; each module should present a contained chunk of content. Ideally, the email should be mobile-friendly and responsive.
4. Send a “thanks for stopping by” abandoned cart email
Plenty of cart abandonment emails start with a subject line that reads “Forgot something?” or “Complete your purchase!” But CampSaver, the camp supply retailer, takes another approach. To bring readers back to its site, an email is sent with the subject line “Thank you for visiting!”, with a “Thanks for stopping by!” header image. This clever approach makes customers feel seen and appreciated—and may even encourage them to complete a purchase.
- Show the product in question. To encourage click-throughs, CampSaver shows the product the reader viewed on the site (without including the price), to offer a visual reminder. Visual communication like this is ideal for encouraging action.
- Include relevant upsell content. Relevant products are shown to appeal to customers. It’s important to de-emphasize this additional content (don’t be too pushy), and it’s a wise choice to include a grid of smaller images.
5. Be thankful when reaching an anniversary or a milestone
If your business had a phenomenal year, you know who to thank: the customers that made the success possible. If you’ve reached an anniversary or a milestone, let readers know but also thank them. Casper, the mattress company, sent this cute email celebrating its second birthday, which also included a special discount for readers:
And to celebrate the milestone of reaching 10 billion shares, the Swarm app sent a straightforward thank you note to users with the promise of bonus coins:
- Make your CTA button bulletproof. Both of the emails above use bulletproof CTA buttons, which are built with HTML code, so they will always show up. This is a design must.
- Skip the nav menu. Each of the emails also has a super clean header showcasing just the brand’s logo. Decluttering your email header—no extra links, ads, or call-outs—improves the overall design and lets readers focus on the main message.
6. Pick a special day that’s relevant to your brand
Of course, you don’t need to wait for the holidays or for an anniversary to thank customers. BarkBox wisely chooses a holiday that’s perfect for its brand—National Dog Day—and celebrates by thanking readers (who also want to thank their dogs) with a coupon.
- Not every email needs custom art. This email is short and sweet—and effective. Remember that you can skip the custom photography and design work in order to send a timely, thoughtful email with spot-on content.
7. Say “thank you”…just because
Sales and promotions also don’t need to be centered around a new product, holiday, or a particular event. Instead, brands can position a promotion as just a simple thank you. That’s what The New York Times often does. Here’s a recent email example (subject line: “We’d Like To Thank You For Being A Times Reader – Enjoy This Special Offer!”):
- Pare down text. There isn’t a single block of text—or even a complete sentence—in this email, yet the message registers with readers almost immediately. All you can need are a few key phrases and descriptive, plus well-written CTAs.
The takeaway for customer appreciation emails: Say thanks!
There are endless opportunities and ways to thank customers. If you haven’t expressed your gratitude yet this year, start planning one or more customer appreciation emails for Thanksgiving. Take time to let readers know that you value them, and add offers as incentives to shop, click, or buy this holiday season. And use the free BEE editor tool (which doesn’t require registration) to help you send some thanks.
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