4 surefire ways to win back customers with email

Every once in a while, a few email subscribers stray. It’s natural. But that doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. You can recapture their attention and business with targeted, personalized win-back email campaigns.

Why focus on winning back lapsed customers?

Existing customers convert more often and have a higher average order rate than first-time buyers. That’s an excellent reason to try to bring them back with emails. But what should you say in those email messages? Here are four tips to help you craft irresistible win-back email campaigns:

1. Give them an offer they can’t (or won’t want to) refuse

Come up with a compelling offer based on what’s important to your customers. For example, customers who typically place large orders might be enticed by free shipping on any size order. Another idea is to give it a sense of urgency. Encourage customers to come back sooner rather than later by creating deal deadlines.

In the following example, Sephora entices their beauty-conscious customers to shop by offering them free shipping and bonus products that will make them even more gorgeous.

Subject line: EXTRA! EXTRA! You deserve extra  😉


Nothing grabs customers’ attention like a discount, especially if you’re a cash-strapped teen. In the example below, Pottery Barn | teen uses a 20% discount to wake up sleepy subscribers.

Subject line: We miss you! Come back and SAVE 20%


2. Add a personal touch

Include content that is relevant to customers, such as product recommendations based on past purchases, offers that appeal to them or emails triggered by their behavior.

In the example below, the customer was interested in the Riptide TFN Pod Starter Kit Bundle but didn’t end up purchasing it. So, VaporFi decided to nudge the customer to make the purchase by featuring that product as the deal of the week.

Subject line: Still Thinking About It?


Everyone likes a celebration, right? Reconnect with customers by sending them an email on their birthday, their email sign-up anniversary or another special day. Whether you offer them a free gift or savings on their next order, customers are likely to appreciate and engage with it.

In the example below, Indo Restaurant & Lounge uses the customer’s name and details about his email anniversary to speak to him directly, and then offers a sweet reward to entice him to come back.

Subject line: We Want to Say Thank You

3. Appeal to the FOMO

The fear of missing out (FOMO) is no joke! If customers haven’t visited your site for a while, you should email them to let them know what’s new and to get back on their radar.

In the example below, Claire’s piques customers’ interest by inviting them to look what they’ve been missing and reinforcing the company brand and values. Claire’s also offers a nice discount to jolt them into action.

Claire’s: Look what you’re missing! Come back for 30% off!


4. Ask customers to update their email preferences

People change, and so do email preferences. If you notice a group of customers are inactive, send them an email asking them to update their preferences. It’s a great way to re-engage with customers. Wondering how to phrase it? Let them know your emails are going unopened, tell customers what they’re missing and ask them to update their preferences. If they unsubscribe, you’ll eliminate an email address that’s otherwise negatively impacting open rates on your campaigns.

Bonus tips

Segment your list

Before you send out your win-back campaign, you’ll want to segment your email list and pinpoint customers who haven’t opened your recent messages. That way, you can be sure that you send the right message to the right customer. For example, if you’re targeting a group of customers who’ve had a negative experience, you can tailor your email message to say “Give us a second chance” or “We’re sorry — and we’re ready to make it right.”

Use a strong subject line

Your win-back email is only as good as its subject line, so take the time you need to create a short, snappy one. Appeal to your customers’ emotions and tug at their heartstrings to win them back. Here’s some inspiration to help:

  • Was it something we said?
  • Where Have You Been?
  • Is this goodbye?
  • We miss you!
  • Come back and save.
  • Let’s catch you up …
  • It’s been awhile

Vary your content

One of the best ways to keep customers coming back is to prevent them from leaving in the first place. To do that, it’s best to send a variety of emails.

From newsletters to promotional offers, you want to keep customers interested. Here’s a quick list of popular emails to send:

  • Newsletter: A newsletter keeps customers in the know. From company news to upcoming events, you decide what to share with your customers
  • Educational email: Teach your customers something about your product or service with well-written educational emails
  • Welcome email: Once a new customer places an order or signs up for your email list, send them a little note to welcome them to your crew
  • Promotional email: Encourage customers to place an order with a promotional email

It’s a fact of life that customers may stray. But with the help of these tips, you can create engaging win-back email campaigns that bring them — and their business — back to you.

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