How to Convert Customers with Win back Email Campaigns

Given the typical cost of acquiring a new customer, it’s no surprise that repeat business is a real goldmine for businesses. For example, hat a repeat customer has up to a 70% chance of converting. That’s a nine times higher probability to convert than a first-time shopper.

So how do you ensure customers keep buying from you?

Particularly, if they’ve been inactive for a very long time?

Answer: win back email campaigns.

Now, I’ll teach you 5 easy win back email strategies to convert passive customers. Also, you’ll find examples of win back emails already using this strategy.

What is a win back email campaign?

A win back email campaign is an email strategy aiming to reactivate a previous customer who hasn’t made a purchase in a certain number of days to, as the name suggests, win them back. A win back email typically offers a customer an incentive to buy from you again—a discount or a gift.

But let’s make something clear: the offer itself isn’t that important. What really matters in the win back email strategy is HOW you offer those incentives.

Before I show you 5 of the most common ways to do it, let’s see how win back emails actually perform. Here are some stats to begin:

  • The average win back email open rate varies between 30%-50%.
  • Win back emails achieve 15%-30% click rate.
  • And you can expect a conversion rate of 1%-3% from a win back email campaign.

So, how do you use winback emails to reactivate lapsed customers?

Here are a couple of ideas to try.

How to create a win back email campaign

1. Give a juicy discount

You know that a good deal could even convince someone to switch from a brand they’ve been loyal to for years. But did you know that discounts work even better if you set an expiry date for them?

Instead of just sending a once-off offer to encourage someone to come back, add a deadline for them to do so. Make your offer valid for a specific time only, after which the discount code will expire.

JOY, an online clothing retailer, allows only a week for a person to make the call about availing of the winback email voucher.

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2. Use discounts ladders

The previous method relied on sending just a single discount to reactivate lapsed customers.
And effective as it is, it relies on offering a hefty discount right away.

But this win back email strategy can only be used rarely—no point to give too many discounts at all times. Solution? Discount ladders.

A discount ladder is a unique method of running promotions. Drew Sanocki defines it this way in his Nerd Marketing podcast:

“A discount ladder is basically a system that ramps up the magnitude of the discount or the promotion, with the increasing likelihood that the customer will never come back.”

In other words, you start off with a smaller discount, and increase it with every email as the likelihood of a person to never come back to the store also increases.

For example, you offer a customer who hasn’t purchased anything from you in 30 days a 10% discount. If they still haven’t bought in another 30 days, you double the offer. And then, ramp it up again, if they still haven’t purchased in another 30 days.

At first, they are highly engaged with you. They visit the site, buy, and share your stuff online. But in time, they move into a more apathetic phase where their care for your brand begins to wane. Finally, they enter the detached stage, where they no longer care about your store.

And as their likelihood to come back decreases, you can offer a higher discount in your win back email, knowing that fewer customers will de facto take you up on it (meaning lower losses).

3. Time a discount to reengage top customers

I admit, the danger with discount ladders is that once a customer realizes what you’re doing, they might just wait for a higher discount. So, if you’re not 100% comfortable with using this strategy, consider sending the same discount but time it to every phase of customer engagement.

Email them a modest discount after they’ve been inactive for, say, 30 days. Then repeat it if they haven’t purchased anything in 75 days, and finally send the discount once again if they still haven’t come back after 90 days.

A reactivation email example from Crocs

4. Offer a free gift with a repeat purchase

Here’s another win back email idea:
Instead of discounting the purchase, you can add something extra to a customer’s next order.
After all, nothing says “come back” better than a freebie, right?

By offering an add-on, bonus or just a free gift, you can incentivize a person to come back to your store and get more sales. Pinkberry, for example, adds a free yogurt to a person’s account once they’ve been inactive buying from them for a while.
An email from Pinkberry offering a free gift

5. Ask a permission to email offers

If you haven’t been actively trying to re-engage lapsed customers, then you probably have a couple of years’ sales data to go through.

And here’s the catch:
Many of these customers may have been inactive for months or even years. Sending them a discount or a gift might not bring many results.

After all, by now they may have even forgotten about you. Luckily, there’s a simple way to reactivate them, although you need to do it in two steps.

First, you need to request re-permission to email them. As said, many of these customers may have already forgotten about you. Sending them an offer out of the blue will most likely result in them marking your emails as spam.
So, before you do anything else, ask their re-permission to email them offers.

Urban Outfitters use this strategy, take a look:

By poking a little fun here, the company asks a long-time lapsed customer whether they still want to receive their emails. It’s a gentle and unobtrusive way to re-engage a customer, get back on their radar, and get permission to start emailing them more email offers.

Win back emails: The bottom line

You can still reengage passive customers with win back email campaigns. Hope you’ll use some of these tips and increase the number of people visiting your store.

Pawel Grabowski Pawel is an SEO and content marketing consultant working exclusively with SaaS brands.

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