4 Ways to Segment Your Win-Back Series

Segmenting your win-back emails will allow you to alter your message for certain subsets of your customer base and hone the technique you use to lure them back. To start, you should send your win-back series to customers who haven’t opened an email or purchased in a certain amount of time — for our purposes, let’s say six months.

But you can delve even deeper than this. You can also use information about customers’ past purchases and activity on your website to determine what type of win-back series you should send. Below, I’ll outline the cross-sections of your audience that you should target with your win-back emails, as well as how your message should differ for each.

1. Base your email list on how customers spend time on your site

If a customer has visited your site since becoming inactive, it indicates that they’re still interested in your brand. This presents a huge opportunity, since it allows you to feature the products they viewed on your site in your win-back email. The logic behind this is similar to that behind abandoned cart emails — by showing customers something they have already indicated interest in, you increase the chance that they will make the leap to purchase. If you include a discount or other incentive, this outcome becomes even more likely.

If a customer hasn’t been on your website since becoming inactive, odds are they’ve missed a lot of important changes in your company, including new products, policies, or other news. In your win-back series, update them on what’s happened since they’ve been gone.

2. Focus on how long customers have been inactive

In that same vein, the amount of time someone has been inactive can inform the content of your win-back emails. For example, four months of inactivity is very different than a year of inactivity. Customers who haven’t been inactive for very long may just need a slight incentive to re-engage, like a discount or coupon code.

Customers who have been inactive for a year or more, on the other hand, will probably take more convincing to come back. For these customers, your final win-back email should be a “hail-mary” email. Ask these customers if they still want to hear from you and, if they don’t, prompt them to unsubscribe. This will save you the work of pruning lapsed customers from your email list. It’s important to prune lapsed customers, especially if a large portion of your audience is using an email client like Gmail, which learns from user behavior. If your lapsed Gmail customers aren’t opening any of your emails, you’re probably being sent to their spam box.

3. Understand how frequently they visited the site

It’s possible that you might have had an extremely loyal customer that abruptly stopped shopping with you. These customers are important to win back, since they were at one point loyal and purchased from you frequently. The same goes for someone who only purchased from you a couple of times, but spent a large sum of money each time — these are high-priority customers, so you want to do everything you can to win them back.

Since high-priority customers likely make up a small subset of your customer base and winning them back is so important, offer them a larger percent discount or otherwise more enticing incentive.

4. Take into account purchase activity and frequency

Purchase frequency goes hand-in-hand with how much a customer has spent with you overall. If you have certain customers who purchase very frequently but stop suddenly, consider sending them your win-back series soon than you normally would.

Be sure to include links to sales or support in the emails so you can try to suss out why these customers stopped shopping with you. What you consider to be a frequent purchaser will depend on your particular business, but, as a rule of thumb, frequent purchasers are those to buy from you at least once a month.


Use these segments to personalize your win-back emails and make them more compelling. Each subset I mentioned is unique, and so the tactics you use to win them back should be unique, too.

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