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How a timely thank you email can boost your marketing


Interact with your customers right when they’re interested, engaged and expecting to hear from you. How can you make the most of this opportunity? Read on to find out.

Thank you emails are a golden opportunity to reach existing customers with a triggered email, which generally achieve a 152% higher open rate. This is because it allows you to send something that feels truly personalized and one-to-one.

Why thank you emails work

Most consumers consumers prefer email to other forms of marketing. And an effective thank you email is so much more than a receipt – it’s a way of humanizing the experience of your brand, and it can play a significant part in your retention strategy. Since transactional emails now make up 29% of the average customer inbox, it’s a brand-building opportunity you shouldn’t miss.

We can see an especially dramatic example in the Barack Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns. When compared to other promotional and informational messages, thank you emails resulted in a 464% lift in read rate for the Obama campaign. For Romney, it was even higher at 832%.

When to send a thank you email?

These emails should arrive straight after the action they relate to. Automation ensures you get that crucial timing right. Some examples to get you started include:

  • When a customer completes an order on your website.
  • During or directly after a concert, show or exhibition.
  • When customers have made a donation to your cause, if you’re a charity.
  • Right after they’ve returned from a journey or hotel stay to remind them to review their experience.
  • When they’ve renewed a subscription.
  • Registered for an event.
  • Reviewed a product or service.
  • If a customer is leaving you – saying goodbye and thank you leaves a good last impression and they may be more likely to return.

How to use thank you emails

Thank you emails offer multiple ways to engage with your customers. You can show you appreciate their custom, build trust and confidence, and encourage further interaction with your brand.

What to include in a thank you email depends on what you want to communicate, but here are a few ideas:

  • Actually say thank you! The word ‘thank’ performs well in subject lines, achieving an open rate of 52.57% above average and a click rate of 27.44% above average.
  • Tell customers what to expect. Let them know when their order will arrive, or how to collect their tickets.
  • Use links and images to tempt them back to your website by recommending related products or accessories. You can use a recommendation engine to identify products typically bought together.
  • Include social media sharing links and encourage people to discuss or review their purchases.
  • Give customers a discount code or promotion and tell them it’s to say thank you. CaféPod used this following a Friends-themed competition, and persuaded new subscribers to make the step to become customers, with a 5.9% click-to-sale rate.

Tips to consider

 Thank you emails should give customers a personalized experience. Here’s how to make sure it’s a good one:

  • Use the 80/20 rule. The content should be 80% transactional and 20% promotional.
  • Send ‘thank you’s every time customers spend time or money on your brand.
  • Make them personal. Address customers by name and use segmentation to send tailored, targeted content. Or go the extra mile and create a personalized video, like VSO did. This strategy resulted in a 50% increase in engagement with their valuable donors.
  • Make the copy conversational, not robotic. Try something like: “We hope you love your new goodies – we’re packing them now and we’ll let you know when they’re on their way” NOT “Your order has been received and you will receive a further confirmation email when they are dispatched”.


Examples to inspire you

BRUU thanked competition entrants by rewarding them with a time-limited special offer. A countdown timer urged them to use the offer before it expired.


The Week thanked new users of the iPhone application with a targeted subscription offer.


The London Symphony Orchestra thanked concert attendees and invited them to post a review or download a free program from the night.


The Royal Academy of Arts thanked people for attending an exhibition, encouraging them to discuss it using a dedicated Twitter hashtag and to take up a membership offer.


Celtic Manor Resort thanked guests with an exclusive offer for a return visit. They were also encouraged to engage further by leaving a review or completing a feedback survey.


A personalized thank you provides John Lewis customers with clear details of their order and tempts them back with automatically-generated suggestions for further purchases based on what they already bought.


Key takeaways

  1. Thank you emails are effective because they target your most likely prospects: people who have already engaged with your brand.
  2. Make sure they’re worth opening. Include information, links and offers that are of interest to your customers.
  3. Thank you emails aren’t just about selling. They’re also a chance to build trust and confidence.


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