Win-back Email Examples and Ideas How To Re-Engage Your Subscribers

Win-back Email Examples and Ideas How To Re-Engage Your Subscribers
04 March, 2022 • ... • 1358 views
Valeria Shulga
by Valeria Shulga

Ghosting is painful, especially when it comes to your customers. It is so hard to win their attention, and so easy to lose it. But if they haven’t unsubscribed yet, it’s not too late to regain their interest! Try win-back email campaigns and re-engage inactive subscribers.

Keep reading to find out what are lapsed subscribers, why you need to re-engage them and study the best practices of win-back emails.

What is a win-back email campaign?

A win-back campaign is one designed to reach out to inactive subscribers. They previously interacted with your company —  visited your website, made a purchase, etc. — but for some reason stopped contact with your brand. Your task is to make them interact with your emails and CTAs again.

Winback Email Campaign by Duolingo
Duolingo sends reminders like this to win back customers who haven’t opened the app for a long time. Source: Really Good Emails

Lapsed customers and why re-engage them

Why send win-back emails? It costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. So, the goal of every business is to retain existing customers and build loyal relationships with them.

To do that, you can use a single win-back email, but a series of emails works even better. In the following chapter, we’ll identify the types of customers that need re-engagement, and proper win-back email techniques.

Let’s define what we mean when calling a customer “lapsed”. Usually, this term is about:

  1. Those who made a single purchase on your website but never came back.
  2. Those who interacted with your website, subscribed to your emails, but never made a purchase, and stopped reading your newsletter.

In our article, we’ll observe the algorithm of activating these customer types and see why they become inactive.

If you want to dive deeper into the topic, read our article about re-engagement email campaigns and study the tips on making effective win-back emails.

Why do subscribers become inactive?

To make the subscribers interested again, it is necessary to understand what made them lose interest in your company’s emails. It happens because:

  • They had a bad experience with your customer service or/and the quality of your products.
  • The price was too high for them.
  • Their inboxes are overloaded with spammy marketing emails, so your message is lost.

The reasons may also be as follows:

  • The customer made a single purchase but had no further interest in your brand/company.
  • The visitors of your website were just surfing the internet and had no intention to become your customer and buy anything.
  • The customer disliked your tone of voice or something else about your brand/company –– and it’s okay, you can’t win all the customers.

The findings of the past several years seem to conclude that most businesses lose about 20-40% of their customers every year. But the good news is that you can win a considerable part of them back using targeted marketing techniques.

When to start your win-back email campaigns

Usually, win-back emails are sent within 3 months after the subscriber has become inactive (stopped interacting with your emails). The longer this period is, the harder and less effective it will be to bring your customers back.

When planning your re-engagement campaign, consider the peculiarities of your business and the length of your sales cycle. For example, if you sell expensive items, customers may not need to buy from you again right away. Or, if your sales cycle is quite long, it may be okay for people to disappear for a couple of months and then suddenly return and make a purchase.

It is always better to re-engage your subscribers using a series of emails –– a single message is easily lost in a pile of other marketing notifications. Let’s observe the types of win-back emails you can send in the following chapter.

4 types of win-back emails you should send

A single win-back email means you are giving your customer only one chance to return. As we already said, it would be more effective to send several emails –– so that you’ll give several chances to come back.

We recommend you send several emails in the following order:

  1. A reminder or “We miss you” email –– your subscribers may simply forget about you, so a simple “hello” can make them start interacting with you again.
  2. An incentive email –– sometimes a gentle reminder is not enough, so offering an incentive (bonuses, promo codes, free shipping, etc.) will help to bring your customers back.
  3. A feedback email ––people love when their opinion matters. Even if they haven’t bought anything, ask them about what they liked or disliked about your products. It will have a positive impact on your marketing efforts.
  4. Last chance email creates a required sense of urgency. Tell people that you’ll unsubscribe them unless they react to this email. You can skip this step and simply send an unsubscription email.
  5. Unsubscription email is the last one –– you unsubscribe inactive prospects from your newsletter, but let them know that they’ll always be able to come back.

Let’s observe every step of a win-back email campaign.

1. “We miss you” email

Make your customer feel unique and appreciated by sending them an email after 3-6 months of being inactive. It will help to refresh your brand in customers’ minds and remind them of the awesome benefits your product provides.

Winback Email Campaign by Rabbit

This is a nice example of a “We miss you email” by Rabbit. It is short and to the point, reminds that the subscriber’s opinion matters, and has a prominent CTA button. Moreover, it looks cute: you’ve probably noticed that many brands use little animals in their re-engagement emails. This is because everyone likes them and these pictures immediately catch the attention and activate “the awww factor”.

2. Incentive email

It would be naive to expect that everyone comes back only because you said “hello”. Moreover, the majority of your subscribers won’t even open this email! That’s why in the second email you should offer some benefits that’ll make them interested in your brand again.

Offering a discount is quite an obvious solution, so to stand out, you can send your subscribers a bonus gift, free shipping or upgrade of the product, extra reward points, a free consultation, or other benefits.

Winback Email Campaign by Noom
Source: Really Good Emails

A promo code is one of the simplest yet working options. Making it time-limited will strengthen the effectiveness of your offer –– like in the example above.

Feedback email

Show the customers that their satisfaction is your top priority by sending them a feedback email. The answers you’ll get may help you improve your product and your customer service.

People like giving feedback. It is so satisfying to know that your opinion matters. Even if a feedback email doesn’t make them make a purchase, it’s a good trick to make the subscribers interact with your email newsletter.

Winback Email Campaign by Typeform
Such a short and polite message shows that you care about customers’ experience. Giving a bonus for completing the survey is a nice motivational trick. Source: Really Good Emails

Unsubscription email

This is your last-ditch effort to convince the customer that your brand is worth their attention. The essence of this email type is that if they don’t click on the CTA button, they’ll be removed from your mailing list within several days.

In a positive scenario, you’ll try to win their attention with your future email campaigns. In another case, you move on. Cleaning inactive subscribers improves your email deliverability rate and reduces email bounce backs, so this is a necessary measure.

Winback Email Campaign by Myles
Same as in the case of the “We miss you” email, it is appropriate to use playful language and an informal style of communication. Avoid blaming subscribers and don’t burn bridges –– the customers may return to you later. Source: Really Good Emails

Winback customer email template ideas and tips

Let’s observe general recommendations to re-engagement emails you can follow.

Keep your subject line and copy succinct

A captivating subject line can inspire your customers to open your email and see what you offer. The common strategy is using “we miss you” as a key message.

  • We Miss You (And You’re Missing Out)
  • We Miss You Already
  • Come back to beef up dinner!
  • Let’s reconnect!
  • Let’s start over
  • We TOTALLY need to catch up

To help your message stand out in subscribers’ overcrowded inboxes, you can use emojis. They draw the attention of the readers and sometimes help to increase open rates.

Good examples:

  • Because breaking up is hard to do…💔
  • Let’s rekindle the friendship 💕
  • 👻 Boo… We Miss You!
  • Hey, we miss you! Like, a lot! So, here is a 🎁 gift, just for you!

Another strategy is adding the customer’s name to the email subject line, making them feel it’s a personal message:

  • We know it’s been a while, {NAME}. Come back now for 25% off
  • WE MISS YOU, {NAME} > $15 Off Your Next Order
  • {NAME}–We miss you. Here’s something you might like
  • Hey {NAME}! Our new menu is PERFECT for you!
  • Let’s stay together, {NAME}
  • {NAME}, give us another chance. We’ll give you 2 weeks free!

No matter what strategy you choose, keep the subject line and the body of the email short and catchy. Inactive subscribers are not interested in long novel-like messages –– remember that brevity is the soul of wit, and follow this rule.

Create urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is a proven technique to make the customers make faster decisions. If you give them an attractive discount or offer in your incentive email, make it limited in time –– like in an example below.

Winback Email Campaign by Grammarly
Source: Really Good Emails

Use a low-friction call-to-action

CTA should not be commanding –– your task is to gently convince customers to come back to your website, not intimidate them.

Using neutral encouraging phrases is a good strategy, in case you don’t want to risk.

Winback Email Campaign by Paul Mitchell

In this example, the CTA button looks unobtrusive and won’t make a subscriber feel they are obliged to push it. No strings attached.

Best win-back email examples you need to see

We’ll try to look into the matter of a good win-back email by the examples of successful campaigns by famous companies.


Winback Email Campaign Created by Grammarly
Source: Really Good Emails

Why is it good?

The first thing that catches the eye is a CTA button: in this case, it is bright and round, unlike the habitual rectangular one. The overall playful tone of the message creates a casual atmosphere and helps to establish friendly relations with the subscriber. The subject is You’ve Earned a New Badge! –– this phrase awakens interest and makes the reader want to open the email.

Girlfriend Collective

Winback Email Campaign by Girlfriend Collective

Why is it good?

This email is straightforward, has a minimalistic design, and clearly tells the reader what is expected from them. Moreover, it has a benefit for the subscribers –– a time-limited code to spend on shopping. That’s a nice motivation to return!


Winback Email Campaign by Animoto
Source: Really Good Emails

Why is it good?

The first thing that catches the reader is the design of this email –– it is quite offbeat, looking like a real envelope with a postcard. The text gently reminds of the benefits Animoto’s content offers, and, most importantly, tells the reader how to unsubscribe. Nice job!


Winback Email Campaign by Netflix
Source: Really Good Emails

Why is it good?

Netflix’s campaigns are examples to be followed when it comes to email personalization. They have unique offers for every subscriber based on their preferences. It’s a nice win-back strategy: remind the readers of the movies they enjoyed and offer something else they might like.

Key takeaways

Old friends and old wine are best, the proverb says. So, instead of developing complicated marketing strategies for attracting new customers, think about reactivating old ones. Start sending re-engagement campaigns within 3 months after the subscriber has become inactive (stopped interacting with your emails). The longer this period is, the harder and less effective it will be to bring your customers back.

It is always better to re-engage your subscribers using a series of emails:

  1. A reminder or “We miss you” email
  2. An incentive email with some benefits
  3. A feedback email to know what has gone wrong
  4. Last chance email to create a required sense of urgency
  5. Unsubscription email

When creating your win-back email campaign, consider the following tips:

  • Keep your subject line and copy succinct –– don’t use complicated sentences, make your message brief and friendly.
  • Create a sense of urgency –– if you offer any benefits, make them limited in time to inspire the reader to make quicker decisions.
  • Use a low-friction call-to-action –– don’t demand, instead, gently ask a subscriber to make the desired action.

By following the successful win-back email examples we’ve observed in this article, you’ll be well-prepared to launch an effective re-engagement campaign of your own.

04 March, 2022
Article by
Valeria Shulga
A writer by nature, study, and trade with more than 7 years of experience. Contributor at Selzy wearing many hats: I create special content projects, write articles, and own Facebook and Reddit communities. My expertise lies in email and content marketing, but I also have experience with the topics of real estate and immigration. Outside of work, I like spending my free time learning foreign languages, seeing plays at our local theaters, and doing yoga.
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