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Win-Back Email Examples

Win-Back email campaigns are an indispensable tool for saving customers who've canceled, or bringing back customers who havent shopped in a while.

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Want to turn a one-time purchaser into a loyal customer, or convince a previous subscription box customer to re-activate their subscription? That’s what win-back email campaigns are for.

They are highly effective in helping you retain more customers and as such form an important part of your sales cycle. No less than 45% of customers who open a win-back email will also open future emails you send them, and knowing that it costs you 5 times as much to gain a new customer than to retain an existing one, creating a win-back campaign is a no-brainer.

Below, we’ve gathered some great win-back email examples from our database to serve as inspiration for your own win-back emails, as well as some strategic best practices to follow.

Win-Back Email Examples

The key to creating a great win-back email campaign is quality content. Focusing on new products, key benefits, and clear CTAs can go a long way with past customers. The copy doesn’t even have to be extremely personalized to work effectively, as you can see in the win-back email examples below.

Offer them a store alternative

Ideally, your campaigns will aim to turn new customers into repeat customers by continuously guiding them back to your store. However, if someone stops placing orders but you think they haven’t fully lost interest yet, it may be a good idea to direct them to other points of sale.

In this win-back email, Death Wish Coffee Company tries to win customers back by letting them know that they can enjoy free shipping with Amazon Prime if they order their Death Wish coffee on Amazon. The call-to-action button leads to Amazon, allowing lapsed customers to instantly place an order.

Yes, it’s better if customers buy from you directly, but if you’ve already sent them a few win-back emails and they still haven’t bitten, you might want to try and capture them at other places they’re likely already shopping.

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Send more than one email

It may take a few tries before you win back an inactive customers, so it’s a good idea to create a multi-email re-engagement campaign instead of sending a single email. For example, meal delivery kit Dinnerly sends multiple win-back emails to get customers back in the door. (Use Email Journey feature to see this entire win-back email campaign) In this example, they use a discount as an incentive to re-engage a lost customer.

Dinnerly also explains what has improved since the last time the customer ordered from its site, and provides clear instructions for using the discount. Lastly, the clear CTA leaves no doubt as to what Dinnerly wants its inactive subscribers to do: reactivate their accounts.

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Use humor to get their attention

Dollar Shave Club is known for its witty email marketing and this re-engagement email honors that reputation. It starts with a curiosity-inducing subject line (“Have you been seeing someone else?”) that’ll surely get good open rates. The copy of the email continues with the breakup theme, suggesting to the inactive subscriber that they get back together with the brand.

Sometimes, great copy is all you need to win back customers. Just make sure to stay true to your brand voice, especially if you’re planning to use humor.

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Include an impossible to resist offer

Wine company, Winc sends this incentive email with an offer for $10 off 21 days after someone cancels their subscription. While a discount can get an inactive customer to buy again, it doesn’t encourage someone to purchase frequently again. Discounts are best included at the end of your win-back email series as a last-ditch effort to reduce your customer churn.

Once you’ve convinced someone to come back, you’ll need to continuously deliver a good experience to build that customer loyalty and ensure that they keep engaging with your brand.

Notice how concise this win-back email copy is. Basically, all it says is “come try a wine on us”, followed by a bright call-to-action.

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Educate customers about pausing and cancelation options

If you’re running a subscription-based business, win-back emails allow you to remind customers of your cancelation or pausing options. In this email example, Netflix reassures disengaged customers that they can cancel anytime if they choose to reactivate their account.

The concise copy also mentions a few benefits of using the streaming service, such as that you can watch whenever it suits you, and that Netflix is always commercial-free. It’s paired with a clear call-to-action to “rejoin today.” Lastly, the brand includes images of movies and series currently on Netflix to entice inactive users to come back. These images make the email more visually appealing than if the brand had simply listed the titles of the shows.

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Mention your offer in your email subject line

Share the most important part of your message in your email subject line to make sure it gets seen, just like Basic Man does with this win-back email. The subject line “We want you back! Here’s 50% off!” is hyper clear an ensures that anyone still interested in the brand will open this email, even if they stopped opening other emails. Note that the 50% off only counts for one month after the lapsed customer has reactive their account. This should be enough time for the brand to prove its worth and keep the re-engaged customer on board. At the same time, 50% off is a pretty powerful motivator for someone to give the service another go.

Other than that, Basic Man makes it easy for the shopper to get the discount by providing a direct link to their store that already includes the discount code and also by sharing the code within the email.

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Re-engage inactive customers with a seasonal campaign

You don’t need to send the same win-back emails all year long. In this email campaign, Blue Apron focuses on the change of the seasons. It shares new ingredients and dishes with old customers to win them back. By sharing multiple options, the brand increases its chances of success.

This win-back email is also another example of how you can play with your win-back email subject lines. “Join us again for sweater weather eats” is a warm invitation that is like to increase open rates. Aside from the word “again”, nothing about this subject line gives away that it concerns a win-back email campaign.

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Recommend a variety of products

In this win-back email example, MistoBox reminds customers of why they originally subscribed (to discover new coffee). The simple question at the top of the email “Is that still true?”) sifts out the people who are interested in the service and by getting them to say “yes”, MistoBox increases the chance that the recipient will make a purchase again.

The brand also re-explains how its service works and showcases six different types of coffee to encourage people to click. Lastly, they point out that the subscription won’t take up any of the customer’s time: if they are too busy to pick a new coffee for the month, MistoBox will do it for them.

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Send follow-up product recommendations

Here’s an interesting strategy from jewelry brand Pandora: win back customers by suggesting they upgrade their look. One month after they’ve bought something, Pandora sends customers a follow-up email with relevant product recommendations and encourages them to upgrade their style. This is a great way to encourage repeat purchases and more of a gentle nudge to keep shopping than a hardcore “please come back” email is. When done well, these types of emails can help you increase your customers’ order frequency turning them into loyal customers.

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Invite the customer to visit your stores

Your win-back campaign doesn’t have to focus solely on driving customers back to your website. If you are offering a discount coupon, mention that it can be used online and in-store. That’s what LOFT does in this example. The brand makes it easy to redeem the discount regardless of whether customers decide to shop online (by clicking the CTA or entering the discount code), or in-store (by including a barcode).

LOFT also uses the customer data it has to dynamically load the location of the nearest store for each of the recipients and even includes a map.

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Create a sense of urgency

In this win-back email example, Baron Fig combines creating a sense of urgency with playing to the fear of missing out. It does this by offering a discount that’s valid for one day only, and by telling the recipient that “a lot has happened in the last few months.” The CTAs below the coupon code and at the bottom of the email both invite the recipient to shop new releases, again hinting that there are a lot of products they might be missing out on. And to increase the chances of winning back lapsed customers, Baron Fig includes nice-looking product images linking to different product categories.

This is a great approach to take if you want to send the same win-back email to all of your unengaged customers, as not all of them will be interested in the same products.

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Offer a gift

If you don’t want to offer a discount when customers disengage, consider a gift instead. Cat Lady Box offers customers who’ve stopped engaging a free nightlight when they reactivate their subscription. As this is a limited-time offer, subscribers will be more likely to take action soon.

To encourage them even more, Cat Lady Box shares the theme for next month’s box as well as four items customers will get in that box.

While it’s not a re-engagement strategy, we love how the brand asks subscribers whether it has their correct information. Someone may have moved since canceling their subscription and it wouldn’t be great if they re-activate and their first box gets sent to the wrong address.

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Promote free shipping

Lingerie brand ThirdLove keeps it simple with its classic “We miss you” subject line and super short copy that reminds the recipient of how easy it was to order their bras online.

What we like about this re-engagement email is how ThirdLove lists two big benefits of ordering from them right below the CTA: free shipping on orders over $50 and free U.S. returns and exchanges. It also lets recipients know when its support team is available to help and includes this information right below the “contact us” CTA.

When it’s your last chance to bring a customer back, you want to make sure that you give them an opportunity to have their questions answered.

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Give it to them straight

A lot of win-back emails use soft language. They might mention they haven’t seen the recipient in a while, or simply state that they miss them. Not this email by Le Tote. The brand straight up tells the recipient they’ve noticed they canceled their subscription. Presented as a personalized message, this directness is quite refreshing.

Le Tote then goes on to mention the value the recipient will get if they sign up again, and adds a popping blue CTA button with an equally direct message: “resubscribe.”

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Win-Back Email Strategies

If a customer hasn’t shopped with you for a while or cancels their subscription box subscription, sending a win-back email or email series is a good way to win them back. More so, it can be your last chance before they also hit that unsubscribe button and disengage from your brand entirely. As long as they want to be on your email list, you have a chance to win them back.

Use the examples above and the win-back best practices below when you create your own win-back campaign in your email marketing platform.

Test the best time to follow-up with a win-back email

This period of time varies from company to company. For example, subscription service Dinnerly waits 21 days after someone cancels their subscription before sending its first win-back email. This timing makes sense since Dinnerly offers a monthly subscription, and so it’s trying to win customers back before its next box goes out.

A clothing retailer, however, may want to wait a little longer.

You can use data on how often a specific customer purchases from you, and how often your customers purchase from you on average, to determine how long you should wait before you consider a customer inactive. Then, run a test to find the perfect timing for your brand.

Segment your email list for returners

You don’t want to keep sending win-back emails to customers who’ve already bought from you again. Not only would that be an annoying thing to do, it can also keep customers from opening other emails you send them.

Set up an automation so that anyone who is a subscriber (for subscription services) or who has made a purchase within the past 2 months (for retailers), is excluded from your win-back campaign.

Edit win-back campaigns regularly

It’s easy to set up an automated campaign and then forget about it, but your win-back emails are a last resort and so they should mention your latest popular products, improved customer service, and anything else that could persuade a previous customer and that has changed since the last time they bought from you.

Nothing new to report on? Then try linking to an interesting blog post. It’s a softer way of getting people back to your website.

Keep it short

If you look at the examples above, they all have very little copy. Don’t make someone who is already disengaged read through loads of text. Keep things simple and to-the-point so you have a higher chance of getting your message across.

Ask for feedback

If someone cancels their subscription box, you want to find out why. Add a short feedback survey to one of your win-back emails to gather important information and potentially improve your product.

A feedback survey can also be useful for figuring out why one-off purchasers haven’t returned. Perhaps they weren’t happy with your delivery process or the quality of the product they received. Or maybe they later saw the same product somewhere else for less. They could have also had a bad experience with your customer service, or perhaps they were buying a gift for someone else and aren’t interested in what you have to offer.

These things are hard to find out but can be helpful when you do.

Send them a reminder

Customers don’t always stay away because they’re displeased with your brand. Sometimes, life just takes over and they forget about you, or they don’t have the time to shop. That’s why it’s a good idea to make your first win-back email a simple reminder email. Say hi, tell them about new products, or share interesting content that will make them click back to your store.

Add social proof

Instead of tooting your own horn, let your other customers do it for you. Include positive reviews, customer quotes, and customer social media content featuring your brand. Not only does this show the recipient how happy other people are with your products, it also shows them they could be part of a community if they became a customer again.

Create a win-back email template for A/B testing

With any type of email you send, it’s always a good idea to create a template. That way, you don’t only have a base to start from when you need to put together a new campaign, but you also have a default to test new ideas against.

Try different subject lines, incentives, CTAs, and more, and then update your win-back email template to include the winning variation.