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20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Last modified on May 25, 2021 at 2:19 pm

Customer experience is vital for a business to progress. As per a study by Garter, more than two-thirds of the surveyed marketers agree that their companies now compete primarily based on customer experience. Unless you provide excellent customer experience, you cannot retain your customers; 1 in 3 customers will leave a brand they love after just one bad experience.

While most marketers believe that customer experience is only restricted to when the customer visits their website, it is not entirely true. Customer experience is all about the impression a customer has about a brand from multiple touchpoints, based on which they develop a perception of the brand. 

Thanks to the power of segmentation and the ability to include personalization in the email copy that is unique to the customer, emails are an effective communication channel to improve customer experience. In this article, explore different ways to create the best customer experience with email.

Ways to create the best customer experience with email

As compared to other marketing channels, emails can be used to create the best experience for your customer, whether it is marketing, sales, or a customer service email. Additionally, you not only imbibe a positive customer experience using emails, but you also manage to gauge a subscriber’s acceptance towards your brands using the email campaign metrics. 

Let us look into some ways to use emails to generate positive customer experience.

When you glance across the customer journey that one has to take, from being a prospect to a repeated customer, emails are instrumental at every stage. So, we shall break down our tips as per the different stages of the customer journey, i.e.:

  • Awareness
  • Evaluation
  • Consideration
  • Purchase & Post Purchase
  • Loyalty


#1 Onboard & Introduce to get the best impression

Onboarding is when someone subscribes to your emails, and you welcome them. The person subscribing is an indication that you have the information they are looking for, and they are giving you permission to email them with the information mentioned above. Yet, they have limited knowledge about your brand, and to make a lasting impression, begin with the introduction. Use your welcome email (or email series, depending on your choice) to:

  1. Introduce yourself and your brand – your brand values and purpose
  2. Collect the fundamental information about them to help your future emails be more personalized
  3. Make the subscribers feel a part of an exclusive community
  4. Set up expectations about sending frequency

In the email template example below by WineEnthusiast Catalog, the first fold welcomes with the headline and a hero image displaying their product in real life. As you move ahead, the expectations are communicated, followed by the introduction of the brand. The email ends with different product sections and the email footer.

#2 Ask for preferences

Assuming that you are providing different products or services, your subscribers may have a selective preference towards learning about specific ones. The fundamental data that we collected from the welcome emails can help you personalize based on the demographics. You can further drill down by asking your subscribers to set up their preferences about: 

  1. Interest Topics
  2. Sending Frequency

In the example below by Yankee Candle, the subscriber is motivated to mark the number of emails they would like to receive.

#3  Introduction to features or Getting Started

This email type is only sent after purchase but still considered in the onboarding stage. Sending an top email template to help the customer get started on using products or by educating them about the features available, you point them in the correct direction.

In the email example below by Hootsuite, the subscriber is educated about the different features of the tool along with helpful images to guide them better.

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email


#4 Educate using Newsletter emails

Email newsletters are the best way to educate or nurture a subscriber. Based on the preferences recorded earlier, you can segment your email list and send targetted email newsletters regarding the topics the subscriber chose. The communication should strictly be educational and insightful.

#5 Suggest Blog Post as a blog digest email

Blogs are a great way to educate your subscribers, and by sending a blog digest in your emails, you use email marketing for marketing your content. The value addition is that your subscribers have the information they need at their fingertips. Phrasee is one such brand that periodically sends blog digest email that has links to different helpful articles. What makes the customer experience even better is the fact that all their content, in an email newsletter, is always around a single theme.

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email


#6 Exclusive Email Invites to special sales or events

When your subscriber reaches the consideration stage, they are on the fence about choosing to buy from you. When you send them exclusive offers or invitations to an event/webinar based on their interests, you make them feel valued.

#7   Highlight Customer Testimonials

A good customer experience begets more opportunities for customer experience enhancements. When in doubt about opting for a product or service, a helpful customer testimonial builds trust. The psychological reason behind that is the fact you feel more comfortable trusting the words of someone who may have undergone the same situation that you are in.

#8   Sometimes “converse”; don’t “sell”

Even though you need to send marketing emails to draw in business, sometimes what you need to create the best customer experience is sending an email that shows you care about them. This could be as straightforward as sending “Season’s greetings” emails during holidays.

When even an assurance email during a global crisis (recent COVID-19 epidemic). This email by Everlane explains the current situation and how they, as a brand is dealing with it.

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email
(Source: CMI)

#9 Recommend product based on Purchase or browser history

A Recommendation engine is a boon to most eCommerce email marketers as it automatically sends product suggestion emails that are personalized based on the customer’s past purchases or the products/services they were browsing. This gives rise to new upselling and cross-selling opportunities that make the customer feel special. Netflix manages to use customer data to suggest better shows based on viewer history.

#10 Encourage Email feedback

Customers feel special when a brand is open to take their feedback. They feel like a key player in making changes for your brand. Additionally, asking for feedback increases the engagement rates of the email and raises expectations from the customers. 

In the example below by Bellroy, they send an email on the 30th day of purchase asking their customers to rate the product.

#11  Keep your customer updated with Transactional emails

Transactional emails are the triggered emails that are sent automatically at the different stages of the purchase, updating the customer about the progress. Since these emails are expected by the customer, you have the opportunity to innovate here, which will enhance the customer experience.

This trip receipt by Uber is an excellent example of innovation in transactional mail. At first glance, you see the transactional details of the ride taken along with the option to download the receipt in PDF format. As scroll further, you are provided the details of the driver along with the details of the ride itself, and as you reach the end of the email, you see a barely noticeable banner that encourages the customer to refer for an additional discount. What makes this gesture worthy of being mentioned here is that asking for a referral moments after someone has completed the ride has a better chance of succeeding.


#12 Encourage loyalty

Sixty-five percent of a company’s business comes from existing customers. Once someone has made a purchase, they become your customer, but unless you maintain providing the same level of customer experience post-purchase, they may not be loyal. The key here is appreciating the loyalty of a customer, making efforts to make them feel valued, and occasionally rewarding their loyalty.

This email by DavidsTea hits all the checkboxes when it comes to appreciating loyalty. They have utilized personalization to create an email that is exclusive to the customer, and the overall email tone is focussed on making them feel valued.

#13  Send Anniversary emails

It feels good when someone wishes you on your day, whether it is a birthday or anniversary. When brands wish you on your birthday, you appreciate the gesture, but what if they celebrated their association with you with a custom anniversary email? That would surely elevate the customer experience. 

In the example below by Paula’s Choice, they sent an email to their customer on the one year anniversary of their first purchase. While this is a great tactic to increase repeat orders, from a customer point of view, it is about the efforts taken by the brand to make them feel valued.

Other email tips

These tips are more holistic as these can be used to send custom emails during any of the customer journey stages.

#14 Interactivity in Emails

When a user-input is needed to reveal the message in your emails, people will engage with it out of curiosity. Such interactive emails are an innovative break from the regular emails and increase user engagement. Although the time taken to create a custom email template is comparatively greater than regular marketing or promotional emails, the increase in customer experience makes the efforts worth it.

In the example below by the Penguin Random House, a parallax effect is implemented in the email where the bus moves down as you scroll through the email. This way, they stick to the theme of announcing a book tour and making the customer take notice of it.

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email

#15  Responsive emails

Mobile opens accounted for 46 percent of all email opens & 35% of business professionals check email on a mobile or handheld device. Considering these two facts, you would be cleared about the importance of ensuring the emails you create are responsive. This means that the email layout should automatically rearrange itself depending on the screen width. Some email marketers tend to create email designs in the desktop dimensions and shrink it for the mobile view. This creates a bad experience for the subscriber if the email fails to render properly.

The email below by ActionRocket is a good example of how to create responsive emails.

The desktop layout looks as seen below:

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email

#16  Be accessible

Web accessibility is the need of the hour. While most marketers assume that accessible emails are only for people with a temporary/permanent disability, it is a myth. By following the best practices of email accessibility, you make your emails accessible for everyone. People can easily scan through your email copy and get into action in a quicker way when your emails are accessible. In the following email example by Cameo, the bold formatting is used to highlight important parts of the content, and the links use distinct colors to differentiate them from the rest of the content.

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email

#17  Implement visual hierarchy

People rarely take time to read through every email. In conjunction with the above tip, people prefer to skim through the email, picking up important information, and weeding out the rest. Moreover, the attention span is inversely proportional to where the subscriber is reading. The attention is maximum at the top and continues to diminish as they read further. So, it is important to implement a visual hierarchy in your email design to maintain the customer experience.

#18  Avoid single image emails

Emails need to be visual, but ISP and email clients tend to block images in emails from unknown sources. Assuming that you are sending an email that contains the entire messaging in a single image, ISP suspects you of spamming and can filter your email, or the email client will fail to load the image. This is a negative impact on customer experience. Always strive for an 80-20% text to image ratio while creating emails to provide the best of both worlds to the subscribers.

Also, it is a good practice to include appropriate alt text to relevant images in your emails. You can also take it a step ahead by creating pixel art that is displayed when the images are blocked. This way, you’ll be making positive use of a restriction to improve customer experience.

#19 Re-engage with dormant customers

With time, the engagement rate of a customer is going to gradually drop to the point that they stop interacting with your emails. As such times, you are faced with the dilemma:

  1. Either let them go and count it as a loss
  2. Send them re-engagement emails to bring them back

When you choose option (2), you take a step towards reviving the customer experience in the dormant customer. Send them actionable and engaging emails to bring them back to being an active customer. While all your dormant customers may not be re-engaged but those who do will remain for the long run.

In the example below by Grammarly, the email copy is straightforward with an actionable CTA button to bring the dormant customer back

20 tips to help you create the best customer experience with email

Wrap up

Modern-day business is all about giving and taking. Your customers take the effects of a good customer experience created by you and give revenue to your email campaigns. You take the customer data and give a personalized customer experience unmatched by any other marketing channels. You may be following some of the tips listed above, and we encourage you to adopt the rest of the tips to observe a spike in your customer engagement.

Bonus tip: Use an email template!

Save time on creating beautiful email campaigns by using customizable email templates that display properly on all devices!

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Kevin George

Guest Post Author

Kevin George

Kevin George is Head of Marketing at Email Uplers, one of the fastest growing custom email template design and coding companies, and specializes in crafting professional Mailchimp templates, PSD to HTML email conversion and free HTML email templates in addition to providing email automation, campaign management, and data integration & migration services. He loves gadgets, bikes, jazz and eats and breathes email marketing. He enjoys sharing his insights and thoughts on email marketing best practices on his blog.

Andrej Csizmadia

Andrej Csizmadia

Growth Marketer

Andy is Growth Marketer at LiveAgent. Previously, he studied International Relations and Business Diplomacy and was active as a volunteer in the world's largest student run organization, AIESEC. Running, music and reading books are his favourite free-time activities.

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