The Art of Customer Retention by Using Win-Back Emails

Win-back emails are often overlooked in the battle for customer retention. But they can be a powerful tool in the process.

We all know that customers are the lifeblood of every business. People that get used to your product and service become your best evangelists. Still, sometimes even these happy customers can leave. What could you do?

The short answer is win-back emails.

Wonder how to use them? Keep reading.

the art of customer retention by win-back emails blog cover image with a lilac background and a letter illustration with two hands shaking in the center

Before we dive deep in, let's start with the basics.

What is Customer Retention?

Customer retention refers to a company's or product's ability to keep customers for a specific time.

Customers that return to your business or continue to buy from you mean that your company has a high customer retention rate.

Why is Customer Retention Important for Your Business?

Growing the customer base is crucial for all businesses, regardless of size. However, it may be equally costly. In fact, articles on retaining customers show that acquiring new customers cost 7x more than customer retention.

Customer retention is an intelligent and less expensive way of having a consistent income for businesses compared to acquiring new customers.

One of the main advantages of win-back emails is that they stimulate repeat purchases which is a huge "YES!" for businesses.

After all, maintaining clients and converting them to recurring customers is an equally important procedure as acquiring new ones.

If a company does not prioritize customer retention and instead concentrates entirely on growing its customer base, it risks losing repeat consumers.

Though there are multiple ways to increase the retention rate, we will focus on win-back emails now.

What is a Win-Back Email?

Win-back emails serve primarily to win back your churn audience. On the other hand, a win-back email campaign is a series of emails sent to inactive customers to re-engage them.

You can define engagement as making a purchase, responding to an email, visiting your website, or doing all the above.

How to Tell If a Customer is Inactive?

Inactivity time ranges differ from one industry to another. Still, after six months of not engaging with your brand, you can typically consider a consumer inactive.

Depending on your brand, the things you provide, and your customers, the duration of customer inactivity might be months or years.

For example, let's say you are selling cars; you wouldn't consider someone inactive after a year of not engaging because your product is likely built for much longer.

But if you are selling hair care products, for instance, because the customers probably use hair care products more regularly, it would be fairer to consider them inactive after a year.

Now that we have a general understanding of what customer retention and win-back email are, let's go through the steps for a killer win-back email campaign.

8 Solid Steps to Win Back Your Customers

1. Start Off with a Catchy Email Subject Line

When recipients receive your email, they only see the subject line and preheader.

Because email inboxes get hundreds, if not thousands, of emails daily, catchy and concise email subject lines are more critical than ever.

This single line of the content may determine whether an email is opened or discarded.

That’s why you need to:

Be unique.

Say something unexpected.

Take out anything that sounds spammy or auto-generated.

Consider asking a question.

In some cases, you can consider shortening your email subject line as being simple and straightforward also works when it comes to increasing your email open rates.

win-back email free shipping example with a full shopping cart offering free shipping

You can also try using FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) by including words like “last chance,” “flash sale,” and “free shipping” implying a limited-time offer only if you are really offering the promised advantage.

Otherwise, the receiver will be disappointed, and you will increase your chances of being considered spam.

When composing a win-back email, it is also worth considering to change your tone to be more casual and friendly.

Also See: Increase Email Open Rates with Catchy Email Subject Lines & 19 Proven TIPS to Get Your Emails Opened

Tip: You can try using email template building softwares to automate your emails and get things in order and ease.

2. Keep It Short

Long emails may clog the system and leave your messages hanging in inboxes, awaiting a response. On the contrary, shorter emails facilitate rapid responses.

They have the potential to increase email open rate and can help you reduce your total reaction time.

By writing with a goal in mind, keeping an eye on the repeat words and cutting them out, and getting rid of unnecessary filler words like "really", "I think", and "I mean", you can form a more straightforward and goal-oriented win-back email.

a funny win-back email example offerin discount with a huge header asking is this a joke

Above you may see a fun, bold yet simple example of a win-back example. The offer is made without using elaborate sentences, but still very convincing.

When creating a win-back email, it is crucial to think how it will look on mobile devices since they are a huge part of our lives now. So keep that in mind while writing to increase your mobile conversion rates as well.

Your message should ideally be brief enough to fit on a mobile device without much scrolling, get to the point fast, and keep the reader's attention.

A word count of 80 to 100 is suitable for keeping readers engaged, regardless of device.

3. Remind the Recipients Your Value

Let's face it: Everyone is super-busy these days. That's why instead of taking it personal, try reminding yourself by simply writing a win-back email.

The value proposition is something that distinguishes you and makes you worthy of your clients' attention. It explains why anyone should do business with you in the first place.

If you want your consumers to buy from you, you must first convince them that they have come to the correct place. This necessitates reminding consumers of your value proposition.

Examine your encounters with clients. Are you taking use of this chance to remind them of what makes you unique?

These reminders will increase your customer's willingness to do business with you.

Bonus Tip: Sometimes the greatest strategy for explaining the benefits of your product or service is to tell the tale through what the email recipient will lose out on if they don't continue to connect with you.

This works particularly well with subscription-based business models, newsletters, and podcasts.

4. Offer Special Treatment

Free shipping? Discounts? Freebies? I can hear your customers coming by already by these special offers. So why not try it in your win-back emails?

You can give them a reason to try your product or services for the first time.

Or maybe, if there are customers who had unpleasant experiences with your business, offering special advantages could work as an apology and make them give you a second chance.

win-back email example including a young woman happily showing her tshirt with a pink header offering a discounted product

Sometimes all it takes is a simple kindness to bring someone back to you. Discounts and other incentives, such as free delivery, might help you win over hesitant buyers.

Based on estimated customer lifetime value (CLV), you can provide high or low discounts.

You can implement customer loyalty programs like granting a grater discount to clients with a high CLV, whilst sending a lower discount to customers with a low CLV to promote a second purchase.

5. Use the Power of Call to Action

CTA buttons are links in your email campaigns that take you generally to a website or online application.

They are powerful because they enhance click-through rates by indicating to the reader what their next move should be. Using a visible and attractive CTA button is the key not only for win-back emails but all kinds of emails basically.

When you are creating a CTA button for your win-back email pay attention to:

Size: Try placing a that is relatively bigger than the rest of the text to capture the attention.

Design: Thanks to their versatility, buttons have more design options than texts. You can go for a design that suits your brand image or go totally creative and unique.

Color: It's better to have a contrast color on your CTA button to separate it from the background.

Whitespace: It is important to have enough space around the call to action button to make it more visible.

Also See: Best Call to Action (CTA) Examples that Boost Sales 2023

6. Create a Win-Back Email Flow

Typically a win-back email flow takes 4 to 6 emails after which you should wait a while for an action to be taken by the receiver.

Sending too many emails will cause you to be perceived as spam and on the contrary, sending too few emails may not create the desired effect. To generate urgency, you can send a follow up email within 24-48 hours before the offer's expiration.

7. Try to Get Customer Feedback

If you don't ask, you never know.

It applies to business as well. If you want to learn from your mistakes, you can kindly ask your customers for their feedback. This way, you will be able to fix the problems that cause customers leave. Consequently, your customer retention will increase.

feedback win-back email example with the illustration of people picking fruits from a tree and a take the survey button below

People love to see your effort for winning them back. Clearing the memories of a bad business experience will help you win-back your customers.

According to the feedback, you can take necessary actions and let your customers hear about the improvements to promote the quality of your customer support.

So overall, we can say that getting customer feedback

  • Improves your understanding of your consumers.
  • Shows that you appreciate their thoughts.
  • Boost customer satisfaction.
  • Enhance your products and services.
  • Assists you in providing the best possible customer experience.
  • Increase loyalty.

8. Send a Last Chance Email

After all your efforts, if you don't receive a respond, it is time for a one last email as a part of your efforts of winning back customers. In this email, you will let the receiver know that this is the last time they will hear from you.

This is the last chance of them taking an action.

The most essential thing to remember in this type of email is to avoid making the customer feel guilty. Making the interactions unpleasant for your customers turn them off your brand in no time.

Keeping this last message brief allows your subscribers to return to your emails at a later, more convenient time.

Hopefully, you will receive a response before getting to this last step.

Bonus Tips & Tricks

Change what you are doing – whatever it is. If you always send out emails Monday morning, send Wednesday afternoon, find the best time to send your emails.

Alternate your names, and if you have personal information, use that in a subject line.

Acknowledge that some people aren’t to be won back. Not every person on the planet is your ideal customer, and that person might have engaged with you by mistake in the first place.

Keep sending them offers and information. It is not a good strategy to just leave them and then contact them after a long while.

The ultimate trick is to go for very simple emails. Get rid of all of the unnecessary stuff, keep it simple, and remove the clutter.

customer win-back email example with a big sad face emoji between a calendar and a woman illustration asking the reader to reactivate their account

You can always rely on humor if your brand tone resonates. Using humor adds a friendly feel to the email and warms up the language.

But remember, if your brand is not suitable for using funny emails, it is better to stick to your original tone.

If you have a subscription-based business, make sure your customer know about your pausing options (if you have such an option).

This way, they will know that they have the opportunity to return anytime instead of cancelling their subscription which can increase their probability of never returning.

Winning the customer back does not always mean making them visit your website. If you have a walk-in store, you can direct them to visit your store as well.

In your win-back email, you can include the location of the nearest store or walk-in store only promotions to attract their attention.

When you're crafting win-back emails, remember to stick to the facts of why this customer should come back, and above all else, be kind.

Remember that these are human beings on the other side, people who have already done business with you and may—at some point in the future—be willing to do business with you again.

A win-back email using testimonial example featuring a man cuddling his dog and a woman laughing with her gos next to her face and dummy text next to their photos

Including testimonials from satisfied customer in your win-back email may create a customer-to-customer relationship feeling and evoke curiosity in your recipients.

That's why you can use social proof as a part of your efforts in imropving customer retention.

Also See: How to Ask For Testimonials For Your Business? 6 Quick Tips

7 Best Social Proof Tools to Boost Your Conversion Rates in 2023

Last but not least, it might be a good idea to take advantage of special days like birthdays and anniversaries. Who doesn't like it when someone unexpectedly remembers their birthday?

You can have a marketing holiday calendar to make sure you never miss an opportunity to celebrate special days.

win-back email birthday wishing the receiver a happy birthday with a cupcake image with a candle on it and offering a special offer

You can create a friendly moment between you and your receiver by simply offering a gift or discount on their special day.

Before You Leave...

Ultimately, the win-back email is all about expressing remorse for your customer's poor experience and reaffirming your company's commitment to customer satisfaction.

The key to being able to write a killer win-back email is to try and think of what it is that you made to make your customers love your company or service in the first place. Reflect on why they made the decision to sign up in the first place and what it is that has kept them around until now.

Although it's true that some customers never look back after leaving, you can make a difference with win-back emails.

And that's pretty much all there is to it.

Do you have any tips for writing a killer win-back email? What do you do to improve your customer retention?

Meet me in the comments section below!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Good Customer Retention Rate?

The rate of a good customer retention rate changes for each industry. According to the global customer retention rate by Statista, the retention rate in the retail industry is 63%, 75% for banking, 78% for telecom and 81% for IT services.

What is a Lapsed Customer?

A lapsed customer basically means an inactive customer. Lapsed customers are generally defined as people who haven't made a purchase or connected with your business in a certain amount of time.

What Type of Inactive Customers are There?

Knowing the types of inactive customers will help you have a better understanding of what to do on your journey of winning them back. We can broadly segment them as:

  • Short-term inactive customers
  • Long-term inactive customers
  • Seasonal inactive customers

Check These Out!

How to Write a Follow-Up Email After No Response

A Guide for an Effective Permission-based Email Marketing

10 Email Marketing KPIs and Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Show Comments