Win-Back Campaign Tips to Know Before Launching

man in red & white striped shirt typing on laptop in his lap whilst sitting on cobblestone next to a bike to denote win-back campaign tips

Engaging inactive customers could be just what your business needs to drive sales. But, how can you decide whether or not it’s worth your time and effort to engage those older, inactive customers when you could just spend your marketing dollars (and hours) on acquiring new ones?

Here’s why: Based on our own calculations, return customers generate 4x more profit than one-time customers.

And if that’s not enough, it’s always worth testing something before you write it off.

Win-back campaigns are an effective tool that when executed right, could do amazing things for your business.

At the simplest level, win-back campaigns are a series of emails sent to customers who have not engaged with you in a while. Your goal is to get these customers to open their email, thus re-engaging with you, and from there, you can nurture this relationship further in an effort to boost spending.

Here’s a look at two success stories and how you might be able to capitalize on those stale buyers.

Top Streetwear Sees 40% Growth in Revenue With Segmented Emails

The urban clothing company Top Streetwear got into a rut of sending stale, daily emails to all of its customers. No segmentation, no personalization, no exciting engagement.

Using Klaviyo, they segmented their list into two primary categories: healthy customers who had purchased in the last 6-12 months and inactive customers.

For the first time, the apparel company could deliver more precise messages and a more personalized experience for its audience. Instead of bombarding every customer with the same emails daily, they pared down their sends and adjusted their messaging according to which list the email was being sent to. From these tactics alone, they saw an 8% jump in open rates and a 40% increase in revenue across both customer types.

Why it worked: Segmentation allowed Top Streetwear to be more targeted in their messaging and a little more gentle with their less engaged audience. Unlike their healthy customers, who continued to receive fairly frequent emails, Top Streetwear sent fewer emails to their inactive buyers and offered greater incentives like product discounts.

Without that segmentation, you run the risk of being too general in your messaging and if you offer discounts, you could be selling yourself short by delivering discounts to buyers who otherwise may have purchased anyway.

Sprangler Candy Sets Record eCommerce Day

In what became the most effective email marketing campaign in its history, Sprangler Candy (maker of dum dums) segmented their list between repeat buyers and “inactives,” customers who hadn’t engaged in more than 6 months.

With just one email to the inactives, sales skyrocketed. They saw a 30.1% open rate, 1.7x higher than average, and 9.1% click-through rate, 2.2x higher than average.

Why It Worked: The email contents itself drove a lot of engagement on top of the fact that Sprangler was so targeted in their approach.

Win-back emails with the phrases “miss you’ and “come back” in the subject lines had higher read rates than emails with a simple discount, according to an analysis of 33 win-back campaigns via ReturnPath.

In addition to the “We’ve Missed You” subject line, Sprangler offers a 10% discount (not too high) and more notably, a time-sensitive offer (two weeks) to encourage customers to make a purchase quickly. The sense of urgency once customers opened the email proved successful.


Key Takeaways

Segment Your Inactive and Most Inactive Customers

If you’re using a tool like Klaviyo, you have the ability to really drill down and segment your lists between active, somewhat active and just flat out inactive customers.

A lot of businesses don’t think it’s worth their time to target those inactive customers who may have only purchased one thing in the last two years.

By narrowing down into subsegments, for example some customers who bought one thing more than one year ago and other customers who bought one or two things in the last year, you can get hyper focused on what language, potential discount, and message you want to convey.

Automate Your Win-Backs

Using Klaviyo, you can set up events-based nurturing to inactive users. If someone has completed the “purchase” event in a while, you can have campaigns sent to that customer to re-engage him or her.

Personalize Your Messaging

Now that you’ve segmented your list, don’t let that effort go to waste.

Both Spranglers and Top Streetwear capitalized on personalization, even if it seems like a slight copy detail from the outside. By using language like “We Miss You,” both companies show they care about their customers.

Sure, this isn’t a surefire way to get someone to open an email but it gets the readers’ attention and as reported by ReturnPath, phrases like this have proven more successful than their more generic counterparts.

Let Some Customers Go

There are a ton of lessons to learn here from win back successes, but be sure you’re doing the math right for your business.

If your cost of customer re-engagement is more than the cost of acquiring a new customer, then don’t bother trying to re-ignite a relationship that is really more of a one-time thing.

For example, if you started out selling products with a long lifespan like vacuums, you’re not going to spend any dollars or time reaching out to customers after they’ve been dormant for a year.

On the flipside, if you’ve begun selling new products, be careful to pay attention to the kind of buyer your new product targets. If the typical interests don’t align, some customers are just interested in that first product and may have no use for your new line.

Where To Go From Here

Not all win-back emails are going to work like a charm.

Some products don’t lend themselves to repeat purchases.

Conducting a campaign specifically targeting those inactive customers helps you gauge interest and tells you who to spend time on in your future efforts. For each of your win back emails, be sure you’re taking note of those inactive customers who don’t open or click. And more importantly, give them the option to opt out.

Your goal is not to win back everyone (even though that would be nice). Your goal is to reignite engagement and learn more about your customers. If you come away with a small list of newly engaged customers out of your massive inactive list, that’s a success.

Have you run any win-back campaigns? If so, tell us why they worked.


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