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Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best Practices

By July 30, 2017August 6th, 2017How To Guides

Have you been focusing on the use of online traffic to gain customers? Then perhaps you may be ignoring the one of the best online marketing strategy, email marketing. Not only is email marketing great at engaging new customers but also, it helps re-engage lapsed customers; winning them back, increasing eCommerce sales and improving brand engagement.

Many have heard how great email marketing is for eCommerce merchants, however, the same question remains: How do you create a great and effective win-back email marketing strategy?

Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best Practices

Let me firstly tell you that email marketing is not about sending several emails a day to make customers notice your brand. In fact, that is highly detrimental to your brand as it borders on spam. The simple solution is to engage in email marketing best practices that will engage your customers.

In this article we are going to take a look at different types of emails that are extremely effective to win-back customers. We are going to be looking at a number of  email campaigns from big brands to draw inspiration.

Win-back and re-engage inactive customers examples and tips

Best practice win-back customer email campaigns follow a pattern also known as re-engagement email series in online marketing circles. Inactive customer emails are targeted with a view not only to remind recipients why they should check your products and services again but also, to engage your email recipients to avoid your emails heading to the spam folder or promotions tab.

The Activation Email

This email targets customers who have visited your website but not taken its core activation action. For example Dropbox’s activation email is targeted at getting the customer to install and includes the picture of a computer wearing a sad face followed by the message “Hi (name) we noticed that you signed up for Dropbox but have yet to install it on your computer.…..” This is a great email marketing practice as it gets the customer to take action. This approach is effective for eCommerce too but ensuring email recipients active their loyalty accounts

Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best Practices


The Reminder

This is what we know in the industry as the “we’ve missed you” email. It serves as a way to make email recipients aware they are valued. It also is used to showcase cool products you have and using dynamic data will even draw products from their past browsing categories.

Case in point Pinkberry’s we miss your email. The yoghurt puts the message “we miss you” in bold and then below that, tells the customer that a free yogurt has been added to their Pinkcard, followed by a prompt to the customer to visit a Pinkberry today. Oh, and the photos of delicious-looking yoghurt does help!

Pinkberry’s reminder email is basically an enticement; a seduction of the customer’s senses and the offer makes them want to rush to the nearest outlet and enjoy the free yoghurt.

Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best Practices

Jetblue’s email is also great with the crux of its message basically “Breaking up is hard to do. We know inboxes get a little crowded but we hope you’ll keep making room for our low-fare sales, special promotions and endless travel puns.”

The email ends with a reminder to the customer as to why they initially subscribed and presents a set of “determine the relationship” options for the customer to continue receiving emails, change their email preferences or terminate the subscription wittily adding travel puns into the mix.

You can replicate these emails by reminding email recipients they have been missed. Try offering an incentive and remind the customers why they subscribed to the mailing list and why they should continue to engage with you.

Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best Practices

The Follow-Up

This email type is great to send after the “we miss you” email. It should include an offer. Smart Bargain’s email is a great example. It features the preheader text, “Sorry it’s been so long…… ”. This is followed by an offer to enjoy 25% off entire site for a limited period of time. It creates urgency on the customer and also makes them interested in taking advantage of the generous offer. You can also replicate this follow-up email by giving the customer an option to continue receiving emails and also, by placing an alternative enticing offer to make them want to come back with urgency.

Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best PracticesAsk for a Review

Another great email marketing practice is to ask for a review of a recent purchase from the customer. Amazon does this very well. Their review emails are a great way of appreciating the customer and getting them to return to the website without being sale-sy! An example of their email states “Hi (name), thank you for your recent purchase at Your review of these products will help other customers…” Next follows photos of the products last purchased with a call for review button. You can replicate this email to drive the customer back to the site to the category they browsed. This makes them interested in other products even though the initial aim is to get them to rate your products.

Win-Back Inactive Customers: Email Marketing Best Practices


You want to make sure that you are using the right techniques with your subject lines to grab attention of your email recipients. There is no point in having a killer inactive customer campaign if your emails are never going to be open. Take your time and be creative with your email subject lines.

The final point to remember is the design of your emails. Content is vital, but you need your email to be designed to grab attention without the need to read all the content.

Design your emails with buttons; “check-out our new arrivals,” or “grab this offer,” to be clicked. Design your email to replicate your website style. This makes the customer feel comfortable and hence more likely to click and take advantage of the offer.


We would love to hear more about your brand. How you are currently running your win-back, inactive customer email campaigns.