Win-Backs that Work! Email Campaigns that Engage Inactive Customers

By July 27, 2018Email Marketing

It’s all about getting new customers, right? Wrong!

We’re not telling you that you shouldn’t expand your buyer base, we’re just reminding you that there’s a whole population of consumers that you may be forgetting about. And it’s time to show your former customer base some love with the “win-back” campaign.

Show your former customer base some love with the “win-back” campaign.

Re-engagement Emails that Make Money

It’s no secret that email lists decay over time. Around 25% of your database becomes inactive each year (and that’s a conservative estimate.) However, just because they haven’t bought doesn’t mean they won’t buy again. Re-engagement email campaigns or win-back emails will not only increase sales, but it will revitalize brand loyalty. (Not to mention keep your email lists and segmentation ripe for the marketing!)

Win-Back Emails

Let’s start by stating what should be the obvious – know your customer. Using buyer browsing and purchase history analytics, tailor the message to make it seem like you are talking directly to the individual. You’ll want to personalize the introduction with dynamic insertions such as <First Name> (and possibly on the subject line as well, but more on that momentarily.) Plus, you should take steps to understand your demographic as a whole. Trying to win back a millennial is a vastly different approach than say a baby-boomer. Both your copy and creative design should reflect personalizations that appeal to your customer. For example, Urban Outfitters nails their generation of buyers with a single “text message:”

Urban Outfitters nails their generation of buyers with a single “text message

Offer Up Some Incentives

No re-engagement campaign is complete without an incentive. Dangling a carrot in front of potential new customer is nothing new, but retention campaigns require you to be a tad more strategic. Make them feel special. Make them remember why they engaged with your store in the first place. Use customer analytics to know which offer to send at the right time. Whether it be a small discount to show you care about their patronage, or reasons they should continue to love your brand, anteing up with a win back email campaign will benefit them, and you.

No re-engagement campaign is complete without an incentive.It’s All Subjective

Let’s circle back to the execution of your re-engagement campaign. Win-back emails start with a killer subject line. These buyers have been receiving your emails for a while and haven’t taken action. Time to step up your game.

Break out the first name personalization, “An Exclusive Gift for <First Name> from <Name of Store>. Tug at the heartstrings with the “We Miss You…” offers. Start a conversation with your long-lost buyers as you would with friends, “Hey, haven’t heard from you in a while” or “Remember me?” Or go in for the chuckle with creative one-liners that tie back into your brand.

Start a conversation with your long-lost buyers as you would with friends

Loyalty is a two-way street. You want customers to become repeat customers and continue the trend of shopping your brand, but you, as a retailer, must also pay them some attention. Due diligence in the form of automated “win-back” email campaigns are small steps that can garner big returns.

Take a look at a few other examples of unique and effective re-engagement emails:

GoPro captures the customer’s attention with a bold graphic and a simple yet strong call to action for them to choose to continue or opt out:

The "checking in" email uses strong calls to action.

Experiment with animated GIFs to increase interest, and stand out from all the other emails in their inbox. (tip: make sure the first frame in your GIF conveys your message as some email platforms don’t support animated GIFs.)

Experiment with animated GIFs for your win-back email

American Apparel uses a lot of white space in the example below, as well as a simple graphic, an incentive, and a call to action to start shopping. If the customer keeps scrolling, they get a nudge to browse their top sellers.


Clear messaging and a simple message makes this an effective win-back email.

As the leading email partner for online retailers, Remarkety lets you create a more personalized shopping experience for buyers, and promotes brand awareness to grow your database. Contact us for a product demo and to learn how Remarkety can support your eCommerce store and family of brands.