Re-engage your customers with winback email: 5 examples of irresistible campaigns

09 September 2021Reading time: 6 min.

Oftentimes, companies let go of their hard-earned customers to focus on the conquest of new contacts. Now, it doesn’t take much to go from neglecting these customers to totally losing them. Follow our tips on the right re-engagement campaign and regain your customers’ trust.

It’s hugely satisfying when a contact says “yes” after a long courtship, or when you succeed in surprising him or her. Gaining a new contact can cost up to 5x’s more than keeping one. Further, on average, past customers generate approximately 40% of revenues. This shows the relevance of a strategy to regain customers’ trust. 

Customer re-engagement emails are a great strategic tool for persuading customers to return. Consider them a powerful weapon for growing sales and keeping your contact list clean and active. So let’s explore them and their benefits, plus the most important thing: best practices and examples for creating your re-engagement campaign.  

What are re-engagement emails?

Re-engagement campaigns are also known as winback emails. They are meant to reconnect and awaken the interest of all the database contacts who’ve stopped opening and clicking your messages. 

Their purpose is to stimulate the recipients’ engagement through discounts, promotions, or personalized content. 

Re-engagement campaigns are often sent automatically if the recipient hasn’t interacted for a certain period of time. You set the delivery conditions after proper testing, and Marketing Automation does the rest. 

4 benefits of customer re-engagement emails

Customer re-engagement campaigns concretely signal how each customer is important for the company. Even more, they can guarantee a series of benefits that shouldn’t be underestimated:

  • increase the average return on investment and promote sales since they reach a customer who’s already interested in your brand;
  • keep the database clean and healthy first, by weeding out inactive customers and, second, by facilitating the unsubscription of irrecoverable ones;
  • protect deliverability so your contacts will no longer ignore your emails, which won’t risk ending up in spam, and 
  • improve the performance of your future campaigns (approx. 45% of reactivated contacts will open your messages again).

How to create a customer re-engagement campaign

Identify inactive customers 

Even before creating a customer re-engagement campaign, be sure to identify the inactive contact segments that you risk to lose at any moment. In fact, the life cycle of a user within a database can go through a series of different phases. Each contact list can be segmented based on engagement activity. 

Always monitor your database’s different levels of engagement and analyze the behavior of your recipients. This lets you determine the degree of interaction with your campaigns. In practice, check your mailing’s statistics and take advantage of tools such as engagement filters. Therefore, you can define the user cluster that needs stimulation and send your re-engagement campaigns only to the identified segments. 

Write an effective subject line

A wrong subject line means a very good chance that the user will also ignore your re-engagement campaign. Therefore, writing an intriguing subject line that makes the recipient immediately grasp the campaign’s purpose is fundamental. You may want to include the user’s incentive right in the subject line, for example, a customized discount code. 

Items that begin with “We miss you” have an average open rate of 24%, while those containing the word “Discount” get an average open rate of 20% (Source: Klaviyo).  

Creating content that draws the user back

Customers need a reason to come back and buy from you. Otherwise, getting their trust back will be hard. Find something the customer can’t resist: a customized discount code; the advice of a product or service which, based on profiling, the user might be interested in, or a showcase of best-selling products to tap into the psychological mechanism of social proof

Send the right message at the right time

A timely re-engagement message is more effective. Don’t let too much time go by after your previous contact. In fact, the customer reactivation rate reaches 28.5% when the sending occurs within 3 months of the last action. 

5 examples of customer re-engagement messages 

Tula’s example: making the customer feel important

Tula, with the subject line: “We never do this but we miss you” makes the recipient feel unique and special while offering an ad hoc discount code to stimulate the purchase. 

Why it works

3 elements (+ the discount code in bold that certainly doesn’t go unnoticed) makes this campaign a winner: the discount code, the subject line that intrigues and leverages the uniqueness of the promotion, plus the inclusion of reviews from other customers. 

Tula winback email

Glotrition’s example: giving a reason to come back

The strength of the Glotrition campaign is the copy, which provides concrete motivation for the customer to come back. It explains that the constant and continuous use (including periodic purchase) of the brand’s products is necessary in order not to age. The dog in the visual is a metaphor that synthesizes the message with irony—another plus of this campaign. 

Glotrition winback email

Why we like it

The metaphorical association between the dog’s “wrinkles” and the wrinkles that’d disappear from the consumer’s skin by using the brand’s flagship product has an ironic tone and is very persuasive. 

Netflix reminder email to renew a service

“The end of an era” — Netflix’s copy has a full cinematic style that fits the brand and immediately grabs the customer’s attention. It looks like a simple expiration notice but aims at preventing a potential service cancellation

Netflix wimback email

Why we like it

The copy is consistent with the brand and hits the nail on the head. The email doesn’t have an insistent or annoying tone and the suggestion of not canceling the subscription is subtle, imperceptible, and non-invasive.  

Grammarly’s example: communicating a novelty to renew interest

With this re-engagement email, Grammarly informs the customer of a new product/service and invites the user to discover it by making up for the application downtime. 

The copy stimulates the user to resume the tool by bringing to mind how useful it has been to him or her in the past.

Grammarly winback email

Why we like it

The email’s style is simple, clean, and concise. The CTA button at the bottom is original and rather impactful. 

Skillshare’s example: giving a sense of urgency

In this catch-up campaign, Skillshare offers a 1-day-only discount to give a sense of urgency to the promotion and encourage the customer to be active again. So the promotion takes on the traits of an indispensable, one-of-a-kind offer to instantly grab. 

Skillshare winback email

Why we like it

Besides the offer, the brand informs the user of the latest news that he or she has yet to discover. This creates curiosity and interest. Offering a discount on an additional, just-updated subscription month is a great way to let the user discover the new features for a limited time and convince him or her to keep going beyond the promotion month. 

This article was written by

Paola Bergamini

Paola Bergamini

I was born in 1993 in Como and I escaped from this little town to study in Milan, where I graduated in 2017 in philosophy. I've always been interested in marketing and communication and I love writing and reading. As Content Editor at MailUp, I try to keep up to date with Email and Digital Marketing news, in order to share trends, theories and tools about this constantly evolving sector.

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