3 Types of Win-Back Emails

win-back emails

I’ve already discussed when you should send your win-back emails, how you should segment them, and what content you should include. In this post, I’ll go through the different approaches you can take to win-back emails, as well as how the layouts should differ for each. While the overall objective will be the same for all the emails in your win-back series (i.e. winning back your customers), the emails themselves should not be identical.

Email #1

winback email 1

Your first email should be the shortest of the three and prominently feature 3-6 products. There are several ways you can go about choosing the products you include in your first win-back email:

  • Include personalized product recommendations that will be unique for each customer.
  • Include your bestselling or trending products.
  • Include products from a new collection.
  • Include a hand-picked set of products that you think are your most compelling reasons to return.
  • If a customer has visited a product page since becoming inactive, include this viewed product in your win-back email. One caveat to this is that you should only do it if you’re not already sending browse abandonment emails.

Offer an incentive in this email, like 10% off or free shipping. Depending on what subset of your customers you’re sending to, you can change this incentive — for instance, you might want to offer a stronger incentive (20% off) to your high-priority customers. To make sure your inactive customers don’t ignore this email, include your incentive right in the subject line.

Make sure you include an expiration date with your incentive to add a sense of urgency to your email. The amount of time your offer remains valid for should depend on how long you wait between emails in your welcome series. Your customers should still have ample time to purchase after your final email, but they should be under a concrete time restraint.

Email #2

Your second email should act as a reminder and reflect the incentive you offered in the first, as well as the sense of urgency. In this email, display a set of products that is different from the one you’ve already shown. So, if you used one of the above methods to choose the products in your first email, use a different method to choose the products in your second.

Your second email can be a bit longer and act as a summary of what inactive customers have missed since they last purchased from you. Make sure your email is laid out in a clear, streamlined manner. One great way to achieve this is by creating a list or simply displaying information in a linear format. This example from Ballard Designs shows how you can display a lot of information in an easy-to-read way.

Email #3

winback email 3

Your final email should emphasize the sense of urgency that you introduced in the first email, since time is now running out. Give your customers a reminder of your offer, but make sure they know that this is their last chance to take advantage of the deal.

You are legally required to include an unsubscribe link in all the marketing emails you send, but in your final win-back email, prompt customers to unsubscribe or update their preferences if they no long longer want to hear from you. It’s better for unengaged customers to unsubscribe altogether, since this will prune your email list and reduce the chance that you’ll have deliverability issues due to low engagement.


Incentives are a powerful way to win back inactive customers, but the focus of each of your win-back emails can shift according to their purpose. The first email should have the strongest focus on the incentive, the second should focus on changes at your company, and the third should focus on your sense of urgency or prompt customers to unsubscribe if they’re no longer interested.

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