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Email marketing remains one of the most effective strategies for mobile app developers to drive user acquisition, engagement, and revenue growth. With over 4 billion active email users worldwide, a well-crafted email campaign can help your app reach, retain, and monetize users at scale.

In this article, we provide 13 proven tips to help mobile app marketers and developers optimize their email campaigns to accelerate growth by 3X or more. 

Whether you’re just starting or looking to improve an existing email program, these mobile-focused email marketing tactics will help you boost conversions across the user lifecycle funnel. I also recommend using a powerful email marketing tool as it can drastically improve the efficiency of your email campaigns.

Significance of Email Marketing for Mobile Apps

Email marketing delivers an exceptional return on investment for mobile app businesses. Studies show that email converts at 42 times the rate of Facebook and Twitter. 

Beyond superior conversion rates, a strategic email campaign helps mobile apps cultivate loyal user bases that drive viral growth. Apps employing email enjoy higher user retention and lifetime value as well. 

With the average email campaign ROI estimated between $36 to $42 for every $1 spent, the payoff justifies the effort involved. Well-executed lifecycle email campaigns help apps onboard first-time users, win back churned users, facilitate referrals, enable social sharing, and identify influencers and brand advocates. 

For mobile app entrepreneurs, an integrated email strategy promises the kind of efficient, scalable growth that makes building a unicorn startup possible.

1. Prompt New Users to Opt into Emails During Onboarding

The onboarding process presents the first major opportunity to capture user emails and permission for ongoing communication. However, most apps squander this chance either by not asking at all or relegating it to a small, easy-to-miss checkbox. 

To maximize email sign-ups, make a customized welcome or value proposition message the very first thing new users see after installing the app.

Highlight the exclusive perks and special offers they can access through your email newsletter. Consider offering a discount, exclusive feature, or free trial exclusively for subscribers as a further incentive. Prominently display the value before asking them to hand over their inbox access. This primes new users to expect an ongoing stream of relevant information and deals.

Do not force users to enter emails just to advance past the initial screens. Offer it as an optional choice and make signing up frictionless with pre-fill and one-tap subscription capabilities. However, if the user declines initially, display follow-up prompts later during pivotal onboarding moments emphasizing what they will miss out on. 

Every new sign-up at this stage translates to a loyal, engaged user for the long haul. With email subscribers typically worth 2-4X more than anonymous app visitors, dedicating onboarding real estate to permission-based messaging sets the foundation for sustainable mobile revenue growth.

2. Send Behavior-Triggered Emails When Users Complete Key Actions


Beyond onboarding, strategic emails timed to user behaviors amplify engagement and retention. For instance, when someone makes their first purchase in an e-commerce app, immediately send a “Thank you for your order” confirmation email. 

Include helpful tips for fast, hassle-free delivery along with links to complementary or frequently-bought products. This shows users their activity within the app triggers useful, personalized emails that improve their experience.

Likewise, if a user has items sitting in their shopping cart but abandons without checking out, send a friendly reminder after a day with their cart contents and incentives to complete the purchase. 

The same applies to any desired user action – signing up for a free trial, submitting a lead form, scheduling an appointment, posting their first listing, publishing their first article, etc. Follow up each milestone with relevant suggestions to progress them further down the conversion funnel.

Event-triggered emails demonstrate that the app recognizes and rewards their activity in real time. 

This closed feedback loop dramatically lifts engagement and retention metrics. Studies show that behavior-based trigger campaigns generate 300% more revenue compared to traditional bulk email blasts. When users feel acknowledged and supported at critical moments of interaction, they grow more loyal and invested in the app’s ecosystem.

3. Segment Users by Preferences and App Behavior

Email is far more effective when tailored to individual user interests and behaviors within the mobile app. The best practice is creating targeted lists based on relevant user attributes and actions. 

For example, segment users by purchasers vs non-purchasers, high-volume purchasers, preferred product categories, discount usage rates, app usage frequency, geo-location, user lifecycle stage, and more.

Use these custom segments for hyper-personalized communications that feel one-on-one rather than a generic bulk message blast. Send purchasers special incentives for high-margin products while reminding inactive users about recently introduced features. Out-of-town users could receive itineraries when visiting your city while locals get event recommendations close by.

Advanced segmentation maximizes email open and conversion rates dramatically over one-size-fits-all blasts. Studies show personalized subject lines alone lift open rates by 26% and clickthroughs by 30%. 

Furthermore, users prefer receiving only information relevant to their app activity rather than every promo blast. Targeted communications aligned to priorities demonstrate the app understands each user’s needs and preferences at an individual level. This fosters lasting loyalty which translates to higher lifetime value.

4. Promote New App Features Through Announcement Emails

Email is the most efficient channel for educating users about new app features and driving adoption. Announcement emails give control over the narrative for major product updates. They build anticipation pre-launch and direct spotlights post-launch for a smooth transition.

Start by sending a “Coming Soon” email a week before release to pique user curiosity. Provide a preview of how the feature would benefit them rather than resorting to buzzwords like “cutting-edge”. Follow up with an email the moment the update goes live highlighting what’s new and how to access it within the app.

Give a clear, clickable path to get started along with incentives for activating, such as limited-time power-user perks. Embed explainer videos to educate users further. Ask users to leave feedback or connect if they need any assistance via in-app chat. 

This closes the communications loop to ensure they are successfully onboard. Studies confirm announcement emails deliver 300% more feature usage versus unannounced launches.

Time subsequent reminder emails to align with user behavior patterns. For instance, lunch hours or Friday evenings tend to have higher app engagement for most demographics. Catch users at the right moments to capture attention. With a focused game plan, announcements transition loyal email subscribers into power users leveraging innovations immediately.

5. Share Tips Emails to Improve User Experience

Email tips help users unlock an app’s full potential for superior experiences. Every app has power features overlooked by casual users that could elevate enjoyment if discovered. Tips emails guide users into becoming power users.

For example, ridesharing services can share suggestions on adding multiple stops for airport trips or configuring a favorite driver list to access preferred partners quickly. Streaming apps could provide keyboard shortcuts for faster navigation or controls for data saver playback. The key is identifying frustrating user pain points and positioning the solution clearly via email.

Spam users too frequently and emails lose effectiveness. Send no more than one tip email weekly. Tie suggestions to seasonal behaviors when possible, like highlighting winter sports features of a tourism app as the season approaches.

Ask for user feedback on whether they found the tips valuable after a month. This signals the app’s focus on constantly optimizing around user needs.

Tips nurture self-sustaining engagement cycles. As users unlock more features, their appreciation and dependency on the app grows. They become more resilient against rival platforms. 

Competitors can always outspend on ads or undercut prices temporarily. However, loyalty forged through superior user experience persists as the ultimate competitive edge for mobile apps.

6. Offer Exclusive App Perks and Discounts via Email

Exclusive perks and discounts for email subscribers incentivize continuous app usage while growing your subscriber base. Reserve the very best deals for your email channel, well beyond anything available to the general public.

For example, popular takeout apps often discount premium meals or fan favorites exclusively for their newsletter audience. Rideshare apps offer special coupon codes for free airport rides or holiday attractions valid just for email members. The key is framing email as an elite club granting access to privileges and upgrades not available even in the app stores.

Sometimes, just using exclusivity as social proof without any direct incentives works equally well at attracting subscribers. For example, media streaming services allow early access to new releases or previews for email members days before the official launch. 

Fitness apps offer entry into beta programs to test and shape new product development cycles. Part of the allure is being first to enjoy something before it goes mainstream.

Exclusive deals and perks make users feel valued and give them the prestige of being part of a select inner circle with coveted advantages. This VIP effect sustains engagement and loyalty even when general promotional activity declines in leaner months.

7. Utilize Lifecycle Campaigns to Re-Engage Lapsed Users

Winning back lapsed yet high-value users should be an email marketing priority for mobile apps. Studies show push notifications re-engage only 1% of churned users while emails recover up to 25%. The key is timely and relevant lifecycle messaging tailored to reactivation.

First, immediately send an exit survey when usage drops to uncover friction points, if any. Then let days pass to distance from the negative trigger before restarting the conversation. Send an email showing what’s new since they left with special deals for returning – eschewing pressure to cut ties. 

However, if they remain inactive for an extended period, then reset messaging to onboard first-timers highlighting core value propositions.

Finally, leverage behavioral data from their original app usage cycle. What milestone triggers – like sharing vacation photos or completing a challenge – preceded the most activity? Craft reminder emails aligned to those accomplishments, signaling your team manually reviewed their journey at one point. 

These savvy lifecycle re-engagement campaigns require planning but prove highly effective at resurrecting relationships with once passively engaged users.

With the average user trying dozens of new apps monthly, reactivation efforts determine whether your platform forms a lasting habit or fades as a forgettable distraction. As resurrected users reestablish healthy usage rhythms, their total lifetime value gets compounded year-over-year.

8. Send Cart Abandonment Emails When In-App Purchases Stall

Shopping cart abandonment emails combat one of the biggest missed revenue opportunities for e-commerce apps. As per Baymard Institute, the average site experiences over two-thirds of users abandoning their carts without purchase. Recovery emails yield some of the highest ROIs, generating 68% more orders from deserting users.

First, set automated email triggers to send cart reminder emails within a day after items are added but left unchecked. Give users the option to “Save for Later” by securely archiving their cart while presenting similar product recommendations if unsatisfied. You could also offer small discounts or free shipping as a further incentive to complete rather than abandon.

If carts remain open for over 3 days without action, try again with greater discounts of up to 20% off or bundled offers on complementary products. However, limit campaign duration to 7 days maximum before retiring stale carts from active circulation altogether. Over-messaging and abandoning users risks aggravating them further or triggering spam complaints.

Ultimately the content, offers, and cadence require continuous optimization based on campaign performance. But used judiciously, cart recovery messages enable e-commerce apps to realize over 20% more revenue from existing user activity requiring no additional advertising spend.

9. Build a Loyalty Program Offering Badges, Points, and Rewards

Loyalty and rewards programs built around gamification principles amplify engagement for almost every mobile app category. Everyone enjoys status upgrades, badges for achievements, competition against others on leaderboards, and unlocking prizes through points accrued for activity. 

Apps can easily blend these game layer elements atop existing usage funnels through the email channel.

For example, ridesharing apps can award rider points and special member badges for taking X rides in a month. Premium status unlocks faster bookings, lower fees, or priority airport pickup lanes. 

Streaming apps can let users earn badges for watching full seasons or being early adopters of new releases. Points accrued over time grant access to merchandise, celebrity events, or exclusive digital content.

The key is mapping relevant loyalty triggers – like inviting friends, leaving 5-star reviews, or spending thresholds – to staged perks that make users feel supremely valued. Maintain leaderboards spotlighting top point-earners who serve as aspirational models for others. 

Send monthly recaps of how close users are to claiming the next badge or what rewards they can afford at current milestones.

When users chase tangible status upgrades and rewards from loyal app users, their lifetime engagement and spending get cemented long-term. They actively rally others in their network as well to compete on leaderboards or unlock further gains. Solid loyalty programs transform users into fans and then vocal brand advocates.

10. Spotlight User-Generated Content and Positive Reviews

User-generated content (UGC) and positive app reviews shared via email stimulate growth by leveraging organic brand advocacy. Instead of self-promotion, let satisfied users tell the app’s story to their peers for more credibility.

Apps can easily spotlight UGC like 5-star reviews, video testimonials, or industry accolades through newsletter shoutouts. For example, share a monthly “Raving Fans” section praising your most vocal advocates. 

Likewise, publish brief customer spotlights once a week directly quoting their app experience. Always include optional permission checkboxes allowing you to publicly showcase their review. This transparency fosters further goodwill.

Getting started may require seeding initial content pipelines through contest giveaways asking users to send stories, footage, or testimonials for publication. Jumpstart activity by featuring employee reviews first before transitioning fully to user sources. Soon momentum typically reaches self-sustaining critical mass with regular submissions to pick from.

Positive word-of-mouth travels quicker and wins trust faster than any corporate advertising today. An authentic focus on delighting users builds genuine fans, not transactional customers. Broadcast their joyful endorsements far and wide – no praise speaks louder than third-party validation from peers.

11. Provide Subscription Options for Customized Content Streams

Offering subscribers control over their preferred content categories and frequency keeps email engagement high. Too many announcements or irrelevant messages inevitably trigger unsubscribes. Instead, allow users to self-select content types, topical interests, seasonal triggers, geographic filters, communication frequency, and more.

For instance, news and media outlets can share category menus for major beats like technology, business, sports, food, or fashion.

Non-profit fundraising platforms enable donors to limit event updates to specific chapters or initiatives only. SaaS platforms would present module-level visibility toggles spanning their entire software suite.

You can use a template like the one below to improve your email marketing campaigns and get more customers for your mobile app: 


Advanced controls apply intelligence filters based on user behaviors like past email clicks, in-app reads, or transaction history. So purchasers of hiking gear would see more related product arrivals without adjusting any settings. Users need visibility over what data informs these personalized recommendations as well – with options to tune further if required.

Self-customization puts users in charge of managing relevancy while opening additional revenue opportunities through premium upsells. Subscribers requesting more frequent or niche streams offset costs for users needing only basic updates. Most importantly, user experience improves dramatically when communication happens strictly on their terms.

12. Send Post-Update Surveys to Gather Feedback

Post-update surveys via email enable apps to capture user sentiment following major releases or news announcements directly. However, the narrow response rates from general en masse inquiries limit their impact on product decisions. Instead, focus on targeted user segments most impacted or likely to provide meaningful feedback.

For example, query long-time power users first on any special tool enhancements catering specifically to their advanced workflows. Seek commentary from recently onboarded users regarding their first few hours of experience exploring core platform basics. 

Such focused troubleshooting surveys pinpoint specific areas requiring attention rather than overly broad questioning yielding vague user data.

Frame questions to elicit constructive criticism on current weaknesses along with priorities for the next updates. Ask respondents to rate aspects needing minor improvements versus major functional overhauls. 

This helps product owners optimize roadmaps for the most pressing consumer needs. Additionally, incentivize sharing feedback through app reward points or exclusive access to new features.

Post-launch surveys close the loop on release cycles for continuous user insights fueling future product iterations. They form critical listening posts validating product-market fit, especially with audiences most invested in the app’s success. Over time, such surveys co-create evolution roadmaps in partnership with supportive power-user communities.

13. Continually Measure Email Metrics to Identify Areas for Optimization

Continuous email analytics provides the compass for optimizing every other marketing campaign discussed so far in this article. Closely monitor key engagement and conversion metrics week-over-week to unlock insights for sharpening message effectiveness.

Prioritize tracking open rates, clickthrough, and conversion rates for each campaign along with unsubscribe metrics. Look for opportunities to A/B test email content, offers, timing, and design choices to accelerate learning. For example, placing call-to-action buttons at the top versus the bottom of messages often impacts response dramatically.

Review analytics not in isolation but holistically across campaigns for trends on best-performing segments, offers, content types, and more. Then double down efforts on strengths while tapering inefficient areas. 

For subscribers that click but never convert, tweak follow-up re-targeting cadence until conversions occur. For campaigns yielding high complaints or abuse reports, overhaul delivery and targeting protocols.

As with most growth optimization initiatives, small but compounding Email wins over time yield exponential revenue upside at minimal costs. 

A 5% gain in open rates here and, a 7% lift in clickthroughs there cumulatively can uplift customer lifetime value by 25-30%. But without meticulous measurement guiding ongoing priorities, even the most well-intentioned email campaigns drift to diminishing returns.

Email marketing continues offering unmatched returns when executed strategically for the mobile landscape. Carefully optimized lifecycle campaigns reduce wasted spend while accelerating growth by directly engaging an app’s most invested users repeatedly. 

If any platform deserves a dedicated email presence interweaving across the entire customer journey, mobile apps with their always-connected target users stand first in line. Prioritizing these email best practices pays compounding dividends allowing today’s startups to scale into tomorrow’s unicorns.

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