How to Design an Email to Recover a Customer

mend heart

Most marketers work on get, grow, keep strategies. Get customers, grow customers and keep customers. After attending a Webtrends conference, I also learned that recovering ex-clients is a great strategy.

Since attending the conference, I’ve been keeping my eye out for a re-engagement or recovery campaign. Recently, I killed my Boingo wireless account. The service worked perfectly and had an outstanding iPhone application that connected any participating airport at a touch of the screen. I didn’t close the account because of the service… I was just off the road so I didn’t need it anymore.

In receiving the email, I was impressed by the features, layout and impeccable design. Each feature of the email was carefully designed and well executed:

  1. Brand – the email is strongly branded so there’s no confusion as to the sender.
  2. Message – there’s a very strong call out that is an overview of the email so you need not read further if you don’t want to.
  3. Offer – there’s a notification of a special offer, raising the curiosity of the reader so that they dig in deeper.
  4. Value – before mentioning the offer, Boingo is effective at first letting you know what’s improved about their service! They also actually follow up the entire email with a P.P.S. that throws in a couple additional features.
  5. Offer Details – strongly bolded in the copy of the message is the actual offer details.
  6. Authority – the message is signed by the actual President and CEO. This relays to the customer how important they are… the message comes right from the top! (Of course, I realize it’s not… but the inference is very important.
  7. Survey – not enough? Boingo cares so much that they wish to know why. If you don’t take advantage of the offer, they would at least like to hear why. The survey they designed was short, sweet and to the point.

In my opinion, this is a very well-designed and executed campaign. Did it make me renew my account? Not at this point – since I’m not in a position to utilize the service. Thankfully, that was one of the options on the survey asking why I would not renew. Will I renew my Boingo service when I’m back on the road again? Absolutely!


  1. 1

    That's a cool email!

    I usually get really crappy emails. But I blog about them! I put a link in the web form for this comment if you're interested in the junk I usually get.

  2. 2
  3. 3

    I see one problem here. Many business users have the images blocked in their Outlook. E.g. when I get a promo-email, the design is the last thing I see there. I usually see a number of random textboxes that make an email impossible to read. When we create email follow-up campaigns, we try to make things simple, personal and short, and we get lots of customers' replies.

    • 4

      Hi Daria,

      HTML emails are still on the rise. When I worked at ExactTarget a few years back – HTML emails were practically an exception, but the latest statistics I've read was 85%+ adoption. As well, mobile devices are doing a much better rendering of HTML (and growing). iPhone and Crackberry handle HTML emails fantastically.

      I believe the returns on HTML email far outweigh the rendering exceptions.


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