The Secrets of a Successful Customer Winback Campaign (With Examples)

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The secrets of a successful winback campaign.

The Secrets of a Successful Customer Winback Campaign (With Examples)

Nothing sinks a marketer’s heart more than seeing emails lying unopened in their subscribers’ inboxes. Falling open rates and rising numbers of users unsubscribing can be off-putting. However, it’s important to note that this occurs due to various reasons, from users being unimpressed with your product or prices to your emails not standing out.

But all is not lost – you can use a winback campaign to reengage your subscribers.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into how you can build a successful winback campaign for your brand.

What is a Winback Campaign?

A winback campaign is an email marketing strategy designed to reengage lost customers who signed up for your services or made purchases but lapsed back. The campaign’s goal is to get users to interact with your emails and call you back again. It can help you increase your retention rates and reduce churning. Typically, winback campaigns come in different sizes and shapes, including:

Inactive customer winback: The campaign acknowledges that while the person once bought from you, they can go cold. An inactive customer shows a lack of buying but not necessarily a conscious disinterest in your brand. They’re simply passive.

Defecting customer winback: This segment of clients decide they don’t want your eCommerce emails anymore and show tell-tale signs of leaving. It sucks to lose hard-won clients, but this category actively chooses to discontinue their relationship with your brand.

Image representing winning back lost customers

Why Are Winback Campaigns Important

Winback campaigns are important because customer retention is just as important, if not more important than, customer acquisition.

It’s easier to convert the existing customers: It’s 50 percent easier to sell to an existing client than to attract and convert a new one. And even if a customer lapsed, they had already engaged with your brand, and therefore a relationship exists between you.

High ROI: According to the Adobe Digital Index report, conversion rates for returning customers are up to 9 times higher than those who hadn’t made a previous purchase. They account for most of the improvements in ROI, with over 40 percent of revenue coming from them.

It’s cost-effective: It can cost you five times more to attract a new client than retaining existing ones. That means marketers have to bring in 5 new customers to equal the revenue generated by one repeat client.

Higher open rates: Over 45% of subscribers who receive winback messages will read them. 75% of reengaged customers will read a subsequent email over the next 90 days, while 25% of winback campaign subscribers will be opening emails 300 days after the initial campaign.


The Best Ways to Segment Customers for Winback Campaigns

The first step to ensure the success of the winback campaign is to identify the lapsed and dormant customers primed for re-engagement. Winback isn’t a blast campaign, and for it to work, your emails should be personalized and targeted. That means creating more relevant and engaging winback emails for every segment. Here are the best ways to segment customers for winback campaigns:

How long they’ve been inactive – While timing varies depending on your buying cycle, typical winback strategy rules consider a client at risk if they haven’t engaged with your product for more than 30 days. A client who hasn’t engaged with your brand for 3 to 6 months is deemed to have lapsed, but that depends on what you’re selling.

Low and high-value clients – If a subscriber has a low lifetime value or offers minimal contributions to your brand’s MRR, then you don’t have to engage them in the winback campaign.

Past experiences – Always think of your customer needs and why they became a disengaged customer. If you know of customers who had negative experiences, put them in a different segment. Former customers who left for reasons involving pricing rather than service quality or had complaints that were resolved satisfactorily are deemed, high-value clients. Treat your former loyal customers or repeat customers differently than old customers who only purchased a single product.


Tips for a Successful Customer Winback Strategy

Winback emailing is as much art as science, and therefore you should follow these proven tips to achieve a successful campaign. Remember, at every step of the campaign you should prioritize the customer experience. If you don’t offer a great customer experience, you’re going to have a hard time winning a customer back,

Keep It Simple

It’s common to receive emails with clickable links that can be confusing and lead to a difficult user experience. Since you’re dealing with customers you haven’t engaged with for a while; it’s vital that your content is extremely clear. Keep your messaging to the point, options to a minimum, and have one simple call-to-action. Also, think about what steps you want your customers to take and have a clear map of the winback campaign.

Timing Is Crucial

Before you start sending winback emails, it’s vital to do your due diligence and understand the buying cycles and churn rates of your customer base. Use customer data and customer feedback to create a data-driven approach. This information can help you make an informed decision on the exact moment to initiate the winback campaign.

Don’t Just Send One Email

Send a series of emails (but adjust their delivery depending on time or behavior) and tests different strategies to reengage the inactive subscribers. Also, find ways of integrating your email and social media marketing approaches to extend the reach out.

Incorporate A Lifecycle Strategy

An effective lifecycle marketing strategy is an excellent way of sending your customers winback emails. Lifecycle strategy utilizes data analysis to profile and predict where clients are in their consuming lifecycles, such as their spending habits, level of engagement, and lifetime value. Use existing data to personalize the messages, product offers, and incentives. The lifecycle strategy will enable targeted campaigns that can encourage customer advocacy.

Offer Upgrades or Downgrade Options

If people aren’t responding by the third email, consider reminding them that they can update their preferences at any time. For instance, if a customer has no engagement with specific features of your product, you can offer to downgrade their subscription to a low price and standard. Alternatively, if they have exhausted their subscription limits, you can offer to expand their service in complexity or scale.

Be Exclusive

You should not send the same emails to everyone. Showcasing your exclusivity or highlighting limited-time offers might inspire users to act immediately. Remind your customers of your value and past relationship. Say something about your company that may have encouraged the user to try you before and bring those positive qualities forward. Remind them of a specific product they looked at multiple times. Furthermore, letting the inactive customers know about your new products might entice them to give you another shot.

Make An Offer They Can’t Refuse

ReturnPath research showed that win-back emails with ‘save X dollars’ or ‘$X off discounts’ had double opening rates than those offering nothing. However, keep in mind that people will often wait for the best deal to make a purchase. So save your sales incentives as a last-ditch effort (probably in the third email). That way, you won’t send a discounted winback email to a customer who was ready to buy anyway.

Try Proactive Push Notifications

Implementing thoughtful and targeted push notifications can encourage re-engagement. For instance, you can offer to turn off a feature the subscriber isn’t using as a counterintuitive reminder that they have it at their disposal. However, keep the intervention precise and practical as subscribers don’t want to feel like you’re pushing them to take actions they don’t want.

Engaging and Precise Subject Lines

Use short and straightforward winback campaign subject lines such as:

  • (First name), we want you back
  • It’s been a while
  • Where have you been (first name)?
  • We Miss you (first name)
  • Come back to (company name)
  • Did you forget about your (company name) account?

Test Your Brand Offers

Every subscriber will react differently to various types of offers and incentives. You should therefore take time to test your winback strategies, whether using A/B or multivariate testing. Over time, you’ll understand what works for the majority of your clients.


Winback Email Campaign Examples

Here are winback campaign strategies to follow with examples to use as inspiration.

The Hello Email

This is your winback campaign kickoff used to start your reconnecting journey with lapsed clients. The email should let your customers know what brand improvements you’ve made since they left. It can be beneficial, particularly if the updates are related to why they left. You should also remind the customers why they had chosen you the first time (your brand uniqueness).

Besides, the hello email should honor previous engagement by recognizing the past relationship. If you had a long relationship with the customer, you could use an emotional writing tone. If you have different customer segments across industries, product lines, or use, try to personalize the emails to match the customer’s previous purchase.

Example of a hello email: This Dropbox hello email highlights a “here’s what you’re missing” headline. The ’21 reasons to give Dropbox another try’ grabs the subscribers’ attention better.

Hello email example from Dropbox

The Incentive Email

Lapsed customers can be offered incentives for reengaging and renewing their subscriptions. In-house incentives can include premium support, usage-driven points program with discounted renewals, expert training, and access to webinars. These programs will pique the interest of a customer and spark a re-engagement.

It’s also vital to note that your incentive should be worthwhile; a twenty-dollar discount on a thousand-dollar product won’t be effective. So, if you aren’t comfortable offering discounts, consider other ways of making your products enticing, like granting early access or unlocking a feature. Also, if your customer preferred one product to another, incentivize what you already know they like.

Example of an incentive winback email: Blue Apron has an incentive email with a clear headline and subject line that focuses on the convenience of the service. Their CTA clearly specifies the $30 discount offer.

Blue Apron incentive email example

The Social Proof Email

Some users may have stopped engaging you because they only hear everything directly from you. Hearing about your brand from other users can push users to make a purchase. Social proof shows that your product has been tried out and enjoyed by lots of clients. This can be communicated in different ways, including through ratings, reviews, endorsements, and testimonials.

Example of social proof winback email: Warby Parker sends their customers emails that include what their customers are saying about them on tweeter. This not only shows customer satisfaction but also proves brand authenticity.

Warby Parker winback campaign example

Ask For Feedback Email

With this winback campaign, you stand to benefit from getting feedback about customers; interaction with your brand, regardless of whether they come back or not. The email lets the customers know that you value them, inform them why you want feedback and how you plan to use it to enhance your service. The “ask for feedback” email is also an excellent way of learning why the customers left or why they are staying away.

Example of winback feedback email: Scoot utilizes a simple feedback email that lets the subscriber know why they are getting the email and their purpose of improving the riders’ experience.

Feedback request email example from Scoot.

The Last Chance Email

This winback campaign email aims at reminding the subscribers about their incentives. It’s also a way of asking the users if they want to remain on your list. This will help keep your email list clean and reengage some customers that might have forgotten about you. To create some pressure on your winback offer, use an urgent tone or a countdown timer in this email. The crucial information such as discount, CTA button, and countdown time should be at the top of the message so that the subscriber can see it all at a glance.

Example of last chance email: Framebridge uses the last chance email to check if customers want to remain on their list. The email has an emotional subject line and informs the subscriber that they are receiving the message because they haven’t been opening emails.

"Last Chance" email example.

Bottom Line

It’s sucks when a hard-won customer, for whatever reason, stops engaging with your brand entirely and falls into the dreaded category of churned clients. Fortunately, well-executed winback campaigns can help capture your faded client’s attention and encourage them to start buying again.

If you need help creating and implementing an effective winback campaign, contact QDM INC today. Our experts will work with you to develop a winning winback strategy that ignites interest and connect with customers you haven’t heard from in a while.

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