Customer win-back email marketing campaigns are an immensely valuable way for rekindling relationships between your band and inactive users.

Incorporating a win-back email campaign into your email marketing can improve your client retention and reduce the Dollars you spend on new customer acquisition. This will reduce your churn, increase your customer’s lifetime value, and greatly increase your net dollar retention. Ignoring this opportunity is not an option.

Active vs Inactive email sibscribers

When subscribers are engaging with your email content, or, at the very least, opening your emails, they are considered “active” subscribers. But once they stop opening your emails for a certain period of time, they are “inactive” subscribers.

Don’t overlook these very important “inactive” subscribers! For starters, they have not unsubscribed from your email marketing, they’ve just stopped opening your emails. And you have the potential to get them back and engaged again!

After all, “inactives” make up an average of 60% of the full email subscriber list. You can’t afford to ignore these people; you simply need to connect with them again. But how do you do this effectively?

Let’s take a look at methods for achieving just that.

Clearly define what is an inactive user in your business

What you determine to be a state of inactivity depends on your type of company, the length of your sales cycle, your average frequency of use, and what you are selling. Identifying who inactive people are is the first step to working for a solution.

Clearly identifying the inactive customer segment within your specific case will allow you to laser target that audience segment for your Win-Back campaigns.

A clear definition for an Inactive user will let you automate your email marketing efforts later on, as well as improve your analysis capabilities for figuring out why and when people drop off or fade away, and build a plan to combat this.

Identify what makes someone inactive

You can create an effective customer winback campaign without addressing the reasons for which they stopped engaging and became inactive.

Ideally, you email out material frequently, so someone who is inactive doesn’t mean someone who hasn’t responded to the last couple of emails. In general, we’re talking about people who haven’t interacted in the slightest in somewhere between 6-12 months (this will be true for most businesses).

Note: Mail Chimp offers that service as an email marketing provider and you can easily access it and use it.

Ask for feedback to find important issues to address in your winback emails

If people are inactive, there’s almost certainly a reason, and establishing what that reason is, is more important than saving face. And many times, you can get a clear answer to what’s wrong simply by asking people.

Asking can take many forms, you can even open up to them and say that you have noticed their lack of activity and would like to see what you can do to change that.

Opening up to users can be a very rewarding approach. It works well because it creates vulnerability and vulnerability together with a genuine interest in people’s inner thoughts and experiences creating empathy and a sense of connection. This in and of itself, can be enough to tempt people back to your company.

The best tools for this are Survey Monkey or even more popular at the moment, Typeform which will make this job extremely easy for you.

Compose winback marketing emails that defuse the reasons for inactivity

A good customer win-back campaign will take the inactive user back to the start. By that I mean, your winback email should talk about the reasons that made your core user subscribe to your email list or newsletter, to begin with.

The “start” will clearly be unique for your business, and it’s not something that I or anybody else can tell you. If you Don’t know why people subscribed to you, then finding this out should be your immediate goal. without this, you’re in the dark my friend with no hope of winning anybody back (or winning at all).

Take your inactive readers back to the start, remind them why they joined, then add new value.

This new value you add on top of their core motivation to join your newsletter can be a winback offer or gift. It can be an opportunity to try a beta product, or take a vote on a new feature you will develop to include them in your decision making. Give them a winback offer with no risk to them – take the risk on you, and make sure they know that.

Create winback subject lines with a winback offer

Your winback email subject lines must reflect the winback offer you make in your email. Remember, the people you’re targeting with your winback campaign are already disinterested in what you have to say. This means that you have to be very precise with what you say. At this point, each email you send these people may be the last before they unsubscribe or send you to spam.

To nail your winback email subject line do the following:

  • Make a well-informed offer based on feedback
  • Make your offer generous
  • Use clear and bold wording, that leaves no place for vagueness (vagueness could breed distrust)
  • Make it clear that this offer is limited in time
  • make it clear that your offer is privileged only to them because you notice they’re inactive

8 ways to make your email marketing emails into winback emails

Even outside of your dedicated customer win-back campaign you still have a lot to do to fix your email marketing campaigns. Thinking about all your marketing emails in terms of win-back emails can reduce your unsubscribe rate, improve your email open rate and strengthen engagement.

1. Constantly reformulate and test your emails to find what wins people back

The key to winning back fading users within your current email marketing efforts is to constantly reformulate and test your emails to gain constant small improvements that grow your business and cement your relationships with your readers.

Always look out for things you are doing that may be cause for irritation or annoyance for your readers.

Some possible examples for things you may be doing wrong:

  • Are you sending people non-stop emails with offers that are not interesting or irrelevant (are you sending women’s jewlery offers to men? etc.)? In this case, rethink what they need from you and make them a relevant winback offer.
  • Are your offers boringly repetitive? Send them something that they won’t expect.
  • Are you asking your readers for a big commitment (e.g. pricy offer, long-term license, etc.)? Maybe it’s too soon to sell them your wares before you established enough trust. In this case, you could offer them a free gift card for your site or send them tutorials and articles.
  • Is your design too flat and outdated? Changing the email design to something more modern and trending might also catch their eyes and win back their interest.

2. Make sure your content is always relevant to your core audience (paying users)

Email marketing is at its worst and least enticing when it feels stale. Stale emails lead to stale email recipient behavior, it’s as simple as that.

Maintaining relevance in your emails doesn’t mean keeping them up to date with your fresh stock, it means you being aware of current events, trends, and other things that will appeal to your customers and include it with your marketing. If it seems like you’re out of step with the times, your emails are likely to be ignored.

3. Remove sections of your email list with no hope for win-back

One drastic solution to trying to re-engage a section of your email list is to remove a portion of it that you consider to be in a ‘no hope’ category. Whilst this seems a tiny bit counterintuitive since you are trying to re-engage customers not lose them altogether, the additional time and segmentation concerns that there are may simply not be worth it.

For example, when identifying your inactive email recipients you might see that there are some who have been inactive for more than 12 months and you might decide that your best option there is to lose them altogether, rather than waste any more time and effort on them.

4. Work attractive Calls to Action in to your emails

When handled correctly, this is one of the most valuable tools you have in trying to motivate your inactive users and win them back into some activity. The call to action can be anything, but it needs to be very clearly stated and very obvious on the layout of the email.

You can ask them to do a survey for a reward or tell them to vote for a design for an item, anything that motivates concrete activity. If you need help with wording this quite challenging aspect to your emails, you can try using online services.

5. Win people back by giving them freedom of choice

One major problem with email marketing in the face of inactivity is the question of choice. On the one hand, users do typically click the button that has allowed you to email them at all. On the other hand, the feeling of real autonomy, of personal choice and responsibility still feels absent from the average recipient.

Give your email customers a choice. Tell them that they can receive useful tutorials, tips, articles, and video,s or offer them the chance to receive deals and get them to choose. Reintroduce their role in the relationship. Use some of the survey tools we mentioned above or create several email lists and allow them to choose which one they want to join.

6. Slow down your output

Mostly, email marketing advice tells you that you ought to be consistent and frequent with your emails. When it comes to inactives, going quiet for a bit can actually really help. The reason for this is that it surprises clients who are used to being bombarded non-stop.

When you do finally come back, the impact of that email can really ruffle some feathers. Going quiet will also lower your chance of un-subscribers since they won’t be constantly reminded. Un-subscription rates are 22.5% a year according to hubspot, so it’s worth combatting.

7. Use Facebook custom audiences

Upload your email list to Facebook’s new advertising model and change the way you do ‘email’ marketing forever. It’s an incredible new tool and one which could be particularly useful for companies hoping to reinvigorate some of their less involved recipients. They will never expect it, and that element of surprise is always a good thing.

8. Get customers to update their email info

Sorry to end on this mundane tip but it’s a really important one. Inactivity is absolutely guaranteed if the email address you have doesn’t work. Frequently ask customers to update their email to the one they use most to avoid this.

To Sum Up

Don’t be discouraged by your email recipients’ inactivity statistics, it’s nothing to be too concerned about provided you are willing to do what it takes to try and solve the problem. Hopefully, amongst all of the options included in this list, you’ll find one that will work for you and help to solve your problems with ease.