The Art of Customer Retention by Using Win-Back Emails

No one can deny the impact of win-back emails to retain customers…and we claim that’s like art.

We all know that customers are the lifeblood of every business, and they can even become your evangelists.

Still, sometimes even these happy customers can leave, but the answer is simple, win-back emails.

We’ll give you steps, tips, and tricks with win-back emails from different brands to inspire.

the cover of customer retention win-back email on a fair blue background with a figure searching for new emails

Let’s learn how to make some art! ;)

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, 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.

a man sitting and looking at his laptop thinking something

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.

For example, let's say you are selling hair care products, and you haven’t engaged your customers for a year.

This means you need to send them a win-back email to get them back because there is only a little to lose them.

8 Solid Steps to Win Back Your Customers

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.

1. Start Off with a Catchy Email Subject Line

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

a woman arranging customer retention strategy for a cathcy subject line

Because email inboxes get hundreds, if not thousands, of emails daily, catchy and concise email subject lines are more critical than ever; they may even 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.
  • Shorten your subject line to increase your email open rates.
  • Keep your tone casual and friendly.

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.

Also See: Catchy Email Subject Lines & 19 Proven Tips to Lead You

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 help you reduce your total reaction time.

The offer needs to be made without using elaborate sentences.

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

a tablet, mobile phone and a laptop to emphasize device type

For 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.

Also, you need to adjust your email for the mobile to increase your mobile conversion rates

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.

3. Remind the Recipients of Your Value

Let's face it: Everyone is super-busy these days. That's why instead of taking it personally, 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.

a group of people shaking their hands for their business

Tell them what makes you unique and why they should choose them again.

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

A free shipping? Discounts? Freebies? I can hear your customers coming by already with 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.

a woman calculating the discounts and offers for presenting to the customers

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.

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 to leave. Consequently, you will be able to retain your customers.

People love to see your effort to win 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.
  • Boosts customer satisfaction.
  • Enhances your products and services.
  • Assists you in providing the best possible customer experience.
  • Increases loyalty.

8. Send a Last Chance Email

After all your efforts, if you don't receive a response, it is time for one last email as a part of your efforts to win 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 for them to take action.

The 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.

You might bore your customers by insisting on sending emails, which might help to change the names. Or, if you have personal information, use that in a subject line.

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.

Remind them about your existence.

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

Go for very simple but effective emails

Get rid of all of the unnecessary stuff, keep it simple, and remove the clutter.

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.

Cuisinart email example to take customer feedback

If you have a subscription-based business, remind pausing options (if you have such an option).

This way, they will know that they have the opportunity to return anytime instead of canceling 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. You can include the location of the nearest store or walk-in store-only promotions to attract their attention.

Be kind.

When you're crafting win-back emails, remember to stick to the facts of why this customer should come back. Remember that these are human beings and may be willing to do business with you again.

Take advantage of special days.

Don’t ignore the special days like birthdays and anniversaries. It might be a useful opportunity to celebrate and interact. You can even have a marketing holiday calendar to remember these days.

Include testimonials

It may create a customer-to-customer relationship feeling and evoke curiosity in your recipients, so you can use social proof as a part of your efforts in improving customer retention.

Also See:

5 Win-Back Email Examples to Retain Customers

1. Blue Apron: “Come on back - we made dinner easier! 😋”

Blue Apron win-back email with an image and a good content

The brand calls the customers with a catchy and targeted subject line.

The message of the email is highly clear and customer-oriented. It appeals to the interest of the customer, and also it is related to the brand’s focus.

When it comes to images and length, the email is designed very well since it’s not too long or short. That’s why it will not distract from the main point.

Finally, the brand offers a discount to win customers back as an incentive, which is considered a good move to revisit the website.

2. Typeform: “We haven’t seen you in a while.. :(”

Typeform win-back email for retaining customers

Considering a win-back email, this is the safest subject line to reach your customers.

The subject line reflects the sadness of the brand, which is fair.

Later, the content of the email aims to learn the main problem to solve directly. Also, it gives a chance to get back with an idea that can actually work.

The email is highly modest this time, and it has a simple icon that defines their sorrow.

However, the content has a button with a guiding CTA, so it can catch the attention of customers who want to give another chance to the brand.

3. Seeso: “You pulled the plug. And we’re sad.”

Seeso win-back email for customer retention

We can clearly get that this is a thoughtful example of win-back emails to retain your customers.

The subject line is suitable for the atmosphere of the brand and its vision.

Additionally, the content seems exerted with the writing and the image because they are properly positioned on the email.

The button on the email gives the idea of learning the reason why the customers leave the subscription and the importance of feedback from the customers.

P.S. Even the P.S. is perfect for the brand’s identity and relationship with its customers.

4. Grammarly: “You’ve Earned a New Badge!”

Grammarly win-back email for customer retention

This subject line may not seem so suitable for a win-back, but the content is.

Since Grammarly has badges for the customers’ actions, it is not surprising that their win-back email has badge relations as well.

The email is to-the-point in terms of the intention because it tells the process of the customers and their inactivity.

Also, it leads customers to a clear and big button which will help them to come back and revisit the website at least.

5. Asana: “Since you’ve been gone…”

Asana win-back email to retain customers

Another email example deals with the emotions of the customers in the subject line.

Moreover, the content addresses customers for learning the main problem and then praises the product’s speed since the last use.

The figure on the email is a gif that runs, so it gives the idea of speed appropriately.

Lastly, we see the button with a CTA as well, but since the length of content is so fair, the button is more outstanding on the email.

Therefore, it can be considered another simple yet effective email example.

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 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 😉

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.

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.

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 to win them back. We can broadly segment them as follows:

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

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