Experts tell you it’s normal to lose a significant percentage of your customers and email subscribers each year. But, normal or not, you’ve got to admit it stings. Especially when statistics are showing that 65% of your revenue will come from existing customers. It’s just logical to want to hold on to them.

So, how do you stop customers from leaving? Great question. A well-designed, well-timed win back customer email is just the ticket.

In this article, we’ll look at exactly what a win back email campaign is, when you should think about using one and six stellar customer email template ideas you can use. As if that’s not enough, we’ll also share win back email examples you can learn from.

What is a win back email campaign?

A win back email campaign is a series of emails you create and design to re-engage inactive customers. It typically costs businesses five times more to attract new customers than to retain existing ones, which means winning back customers is vital to your business’ success.

Customer churn—the percentage of customers that stop using your product or service during a particular time period—is a normal part of business. There will be times when customers churn, and there’s nothing you can do to prevent it. But there are other times when you can take steps to keep customers happy and reduce your churn. 

For example, imagine you’re a toddler crafts subscription service. At some point, your customers’ kids will grow up and won’t need your product anymore. But, in other cases, the perceived value that customers get from your product or service diminishes for reasons that you can do something about. 

So the win back email sequence is all about identifying why customers stop using your product or service and sending targeted emails to tempt them back into the fold.

When is it time to send a win back email?

So how exactly do you know when it’s worth investing time, effort and cash into a win back campaign and who should you target with it?

Let’s look at three scenarios where win back email campaigns are a good idea:

Lapsed customers

The first occasion when you’re going to want to try a win back campaign is for lapsed customers. They are either those who used to buy frequently but haven’t made a recent purchase or those who made an initial purchase but haven’t become repeat customers.

The reasons for lapsed customers can vary, but the two most common are that the customer was unhappy with their purchase, or your product or service isn’t top of mind. Although you can do a little digging to find out why a customer was unhappy—checking if they called customer service, complained about your product on social media or gave your product a poor review—it can be tricky to determine why a customer lapsed.

So a “feedback” win back email (see no 3. below) can be a useful first step in determining why a customer has lapsed and what you can do to win them back.

To learn more about what your data is telling you, check out Understanding Your Flodesk Email & Workflow Analytics.

Seasonal customers

Seasonal customers differ slightly from lapsed customers. They may not actually be “lapsed” at all, at least in the sense of being disengaged. Sometimes, customers happily remain loyal to one particular company or brand but, for several reasons, don’t purchase frequently.

These reasons might include:

  • Seasonal purchases, e.g., Halloween costumes, Christmas decorations or winter boots
  • Purchases linked to a particular occasion, e.g., a new shirt for a new job
  • Purchases that don’t need frequent replacements, e.g., dishwashers or bed linen
  • Purchases made to meet changing tech requirements, e.g., laptop upgrades once every five years

For these reasons, these customers don’t view themselves as disengaged. They are merely hibernating until the circumstances are right to make a repeat purchase. So make sure you personalize your win back emails with this in mind. You’re not trying to persuade them or tempt them back, you’re merely trying to create the right environment to trigger a sale.

Inactive subscribers

An inactive subscriber is a contact on your email list who has never made a purchase but at some point signed up to receive newsletters, promotions or other mailings from you. These people obviously found something of value in your product and service at the time but weren’t ready to make a purchase. Over time, they’ve also stopped opening or engaging with your emails, and now’s the time to find out if you can reignite their lost interest or if it’s time to let them go.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

6 win back customer email templates & examples 

By now, you’re clear on what a win back email is and when it’s most important to send one. The next step is to take action. In this section, we explain the six most common types of win back templates and show some great win back email examples. 

Let’s get started.

1. The “reminder” win back email template

In this win back email, you can remind your customers what’s great about your product or service. At some point, they valued what you were offering enough to visit your website, subscribe to your email list or make a purchase. 

But something might have changed that makes them no longer need what you’re offering, or maybe life just got busy and it’s no longer a priority. This is especially true for small service-based businesses, like coaches or educators. For instance, learning Spanish might fall down on the to-do list if you have a new baby.

You can use the reminder email as a prompt for customers to re-engage with you, so don’t be afraid to let them know what’s changed since they’ve been gone, including any feature upgrades.

Here’s a great example from the retailer, Saks Fifth Avenue:

Several things make this a smart “reminder” win back email. The image of a stylish woman reminds subscribers that Saks values their customers and visually represents the high-end fashion Saks provides. Saks also goes on to remind subscribers of all the things they’ll miss out on if they don’t engage with their content, including designer sales and early access promotions. This introduces a bit of FOMO and encourages subscribers to stay connected.

Need to remind customers what’s great about you? Here’s a template you can use to get started:

Subject line: Since you’ve been gone….

Hi [Name],

We’re going to go out on a limb here and assume you get as jazzed up about [product category/core feature] as we do. Right?

Okay…..maybe not quite as jazzed up. It is our thing after all. But, if you’re at all excited about [product category/core feature], then we’re on the same page.

Big things have been happening over here at [business name]. Here are a few highlights you might have missed since you’ve been away:

  • Highlight 1
  • Highlight 2
  • Highlight 3

If you’re thinking about giving us another try, there’s no time like the present to get started.

Sign Up Today!

P.S. Need a little extra love from the [business name] team? Schedule a call today [name] and we’ll help you.

2. The “incentive” win back email template

Offering an incentive is a great way to tempt customers back. People can’t resist a bargain—nearly 54% of internet users aged 18-29 said discounts were very important in influencing purchasing decisions. Your incentive could be a discount code, special promotion like “buy one, get one free” or a free trial of your service.

Whatever you go for, make sure it’s easy for your customers to take advantage of your offer. And be sure to place whatever incentive you’re offering in the subject lines of your emails to increase your email open rates.

Here’s an email example showing how personalized gift company Mark and Graham did it:

This simple “incentive” win back email example includes everything it needs to tempt customers back. They show the 20% off discount front and center, and the body of the email showcases a selection of their best and brightest products.

They also provide a selection of links that make re-engagement simple—with options to browse the catalog, pick up tips in the blog or get creative building a personalized monogram.

If you’re interested in mastering the “incentive” win back email, here’s a template you can use to get started:

Subject line: 7 days free with [business name].

You know [name], everyone loves a comeback story.

So why not come back to us?

We’ve been working around the clock to build the best [core product/feature] in the game and we know you’ll love our latest updates. We believe in second chances, so we’re giving you another 7 days to see if [business name] is the right fit. No strings attached.

To activate your free trial:

  1. Visit [website]
  2. Action 1
  3. Action 2
  4. Get started and enjoy [core product/feature]

Start Your Free Trial

We hope to hear from you soon,

[Your name] and your friends at [business name]

3. The “feedback” win back email template

Feedback, even from customers who lost interest in your product, is hugely valuable. It allows you to pinpoint things in your business that are frustrating your customers or detracting from their experience. There are also occasions where requesting feedback might also help identify things that are brilliant about your company. 

Remember those customers that disengaged due to a change in life circumstances? Emails requesting feedback might prompt them to share why they are no longer interested in your company—which means you don’t waste your efforts trying to re-engage them—and a testimonial of how great it was being a customer. 

Requesting feedback from your customers also shows that you’re interested in their opinion and want to do everything possible to satisfy their needs. Sometimes that alone can be enough to re-engage lapsed customers.

Here’s how global spice subscription service RawSpiceBar does it:

RawSpiceBar starts strong on this win back email example by personalizing it using the customer’s name. They take responsibility for Laura not becoming a repeat customer and ask for more information about why she decided to cancel. 

Even if they don’t win Laura back as a customer, any feedback she offers could help them improve their service. RawSpiceBar also demonstrates the positive ways they already use customer feedback by pointing out the changes they’ve made to their subscription offering and offering an incentive to give them a second try.

Here’s a template you can use to gather feedback:

Subject line: What’s on your mind, [name]?

Hey [name],

It’s been too long.

We know that life gets busy and maybe [business name] isn’t fitting your needs the way you’d hoped.

At [business name], we strive to maintain awesome communication with our customers so we can keep getting better.

So tell us, what can we do to level up your experience? Choose an option below.

  1. Address [issue]
  2. Add [feature]
  3. Provide more support

Reply to this email with A, B, or C (or all of the above) and we’ll provide personalized support to get you back up and running.

Talk soon,

[Your Name]

P.S. Got more to say? We’re all ears. Reply to this email with your feedback.

4. The “last chance” win back email template

This win back email is a last chance option for retaining this customer. However, just because this is the case, it’s definitely not an email where you want to get too pushy. Sometimes your company or product just isn’t the best fit for a customer, and you need to recognize that and move on. 

Offer a “last chance” for them to stay on your list or get something you’re offering. Make sure to reiterate that email is the best way to receive what you’re offering, your latest updates and any exclusive content or discounts, but also make it easy to unsubscribe should they want to—so you don’t appear pushy. You don’t want to burn bridges with any potential customer, so ensure their last memory of your business is a positive one by letting go gracefully rather than kicking and screaming. Or begging. 

This is what a “last chance” win back email example looks like with online wine retailer Good Pair Days:

In this “last chance” win back email, Good Pair Days opts for a time-limited promotion to tempt subscribers into making a sale. The design is visually appealing using an image that allows subscribers to imagine what it would be like to receive their first Good Pair Days subscription box. The time-limited promotion also helps make it feel that this is the last chance subscribers have to bag a bargain. 

Here’s a template you can use to get started:

Subject line: Before we say our goodbyes…..

Hey [name],

We’ll take your silence as a sign.

We understand [business name] might not be right for you, so we’ll save your inbox from the extra emails and be on our way.

If you’d still like to receive updates on new [products/services] and exclusive discounts straight to your inbox—it’s not too late. We’d love to keep you around.

Keep me on the list

Best,

[Your Name]

5. The “FOMO” win back email template

FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a real phenomenon—69% of millennials experience FOMO at least daily. And with millennial spending set to top $1.4 trillion this decade, it’s a strategy worth leveraging. FOMO is a trait that drives people to want to stay up-to-date with what others are doing for fear of missing out on something exciting or on-trend. 

The “FOMO” win back email uses this to hint to customers that if they don’t engage with a product or service, they might miss out on some incredible experience or cool product. The “FOMO” win back email is especially successful when combined with a time-limited discount or promotion, which encourages customers to take advantage of the offer immediately or face losing it forever.

Here’s how dog treats subscription service Dog Mom Lifestyles uses FOMO to their advantage in their win back email campaign. 

The cute and colorful images are on point for the intended audience—dog lovers who care deeply about their pet’s needs. The phrase “stand out from the crowd” tempts customers who want their pup to seem stylish while enjoying their daily walk. Also, offering a sneak peek of some of the goodies available in that month’s subscription, coupled with the “Last chance for August” call-to-action, is classic FOMO at play.

For more tips on connecting with your audience, read 3 Tips to Connect With Your Audience in Emails.

Want to use FOMO to your advantage? Here’s a template you can use to get started:

Subject line: [X number] people are using [business name] and this is what they had to say…

Hey [name],

It’s [Your Name] from [business name]

We noticed you haven’t taken advantage of your new customer discount yet so we thought we’d remind you exactly why [business name] rocks:

  • Benefit 1
  • Benefit 2
  • Benefit 3

Okay, okay, we’re a little biased. But our customers aren’t.

[add client testimonial here]

Their words, not ours.

Want to see it in action?

Last chance to use your 15% [business name] discount today

Stay safe,

[Your Name]

6. The “unsubscribe” win back email template

If none of the above win back emails work to tempt back customers, it’s time to focus your effort elsewhere. The “unsubscribe” win back email lets your customers know you’re removing them from your subscriber list.

Like the “last chance” email, telling your customers you’ve unsubscribed them gives them a final chance to re-engage. Pop a clear call-to-action at the bottom of the email so they have an opportunity to resubscribe if they don’t want to be taken off the list. 

Unsubscribing inactive customers shows them you value their time and respect their inbox, so you won’t keep cluttering it up with content they no longer find relevant. Plus, it allows you to clean up your subscriber list by removing inactive subscribers which impacts your reputation with email providers positively.

Here’s how custom framing company Framebridge checks in with unsubscribers to check they’re certain they want to leave their list:

If it’s time to say goodbye, here’s a template you can use to get started:

Subject line: I guess this is goodbye….

[name],

We’re sorry things didn’t work out between us. No hard feelings though, we still think you’re great.

We’d hate to overstay our welcome in your inbox, so we’ve taken you off the list. The same list that [X number] subscribers have been receiving and loving!

If you have a moment to let us know what turned you away, reply to this email with your feedback so we can do better next time. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

All the best,

[Your Name]

P.S. Was this a mistake? Our bad. Click below to re-subscribe.

Keep me on the list!

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing

How to create a successful win back email campaign

You’re well on your way to creating convincing win back emails. So, how do you wrap these emails up within a successful win back email campaign? What other factors do you need to consider to have the greatest chance of winning your customers back? We’ve got all you need to know below.

Step 1: Figure out why they disengaged

It’s going to be tricky to win back customers if you don’t really know why they stopped engaging with you in the first place. Taking the time to figure out precisely what didn’t work for them means you can make sure that your win back email targets that specific problem and shows you in a new light.

There are a couple of things to consider when trying to find out why customers disengage. 

First, track when they stopped engaging and look for anything that changed about your business. For example, did you change something about your product or service that could have triggered them to leave? Are they a part of a group that you haven’t actively marketed to for a while? Could they be feeling like you forgot about them? 

Second, check if they’ve given any feedback or complaints via your customer service or social media. This could offer some insight into why they left. Or you can ask them directly. 

For example, say you’re an educator who provides a subscription service to short courses on various topics, and a customer cancels their subscription. When they go to cancel, you can reach out to them directly and ask why. It shows you value them, which might make them give you information that not only helps win them back but provides data as to why other subscribers may have left your service.

Step 2: Create targeted win back emails

Based on what you found out about why customers disengaged, create a win back email targeting that specific problem. 

Let’s consider the example we used above. Let’s say you discovered that your customer left your education subscription service because their commute has changed and they need to access your courses on their mobile. But your course didn’t play well on mobile devices, so they canceled their subscription. If you’ve made some changes later on, and it now works great on mobile and syncs across devices, you can send a “reminder” win back email to that customer showcasing your new features to tempt them back to your service.

Make sure you also personalize your win back emails by doing simple yet important things like using their name. Personalization is critical, over a third of customers said they return to a brand that personalized their experience even if there were cheaper or more convenient alternatives.

Step 3: Use eye-catching subject lines

47% of people open an email based solely on its subject line. So, it’s pretty vital that you get it right. Personalization is essential here, too, with targeted subject lines boosting open rates by 22%.

Your subject lines should reflect the content of your email and align with its purpose. Offering a promo? Put it in the subject line. Leveraging FOMO? Make sure your email header screams phrases like, “Don’t miss out!” Want to get their feedback? Put a question in your subject line. It’s human nature to want to answer what’s asked of us, so make that instinct work for you.

To learn more about how to tempt readers into clicking, read How to Write Click-Worthy Email Subject Lines

Step 4: Choose the right time

It can be hard to decide when to send a win back email. Defining when a customer has lapsed can have several variables and can differ by product and industry. So monitoring customer behavior can give you an idea of what’s typical for your business. As a benchmark, most experts recommend thinking about a win back campaign after a customer or subscriber has been inactive for 3–6 months.

When you decide the time is right, there’s another aspect of timing to consider. Sending emails at specific times can significantly impact the likelihood of them being opened. As a hint, sending emails on a Tuesday around 10 am apparently gives them the best chance of success.

Make sending win back emails easier by automating the delivery process. Set a trigger for a targeted win back email to be sent after a certain period of time. Great email marketing platforms (hint: Flodesk) can make this process a whole lot easier, saving you time and effort better spent on other things. 

Step 5: Focus on the relationship

Win back emails are not the email for strong-arming or pushy sales pitches (in fact, no emails should be about those). The point of the win back email is to offer something of value to your inactive subscribers to get them invested in your company again. Whether that’s something more obvious in an “incentive” email or more subtle, like seeking to address their pain points in a “feedback” email, make sure the focus is on making things better for them, not you.

Showing you appreciate your customers by offering them something of value helps build trust, which has a positive effect on customer loyalty and retention. This means, even if they aren’t ready to re-engage at the moment, the door remains open for a positive relationship in the future. Even the “unsubscribe” email shows you respect them enough not to want to send them irrelevant or irritating content—and respect is also a key factor in building trust.

Win back your customers with compelling emails

Lapsed customers are a fact of business life. But that doesn’t mean you have to wave goodbye to them. Targeted, well-timed win back emails can make the difference between re-engaging customers and losing them forever.

Need a great email marketing tool to run with? Flodesk is the fastest-growing email marketing platform on the market, helping small business owners design emails people love to get. From stunning email templates to immersive forms, Flodesk makes it easy for beginners and experts alike to attract, keep and win back customers—all without a website.

Flodesk’s intuitive email builder includes drag-and-drop functionality as well as its innovative and proprietary layout blocks, so it’s easy to customize your emails to work for your audience. We also offer workflows that let users easily automate email delivery, connect with 3,000+ apps through Zapier to automate tasks and integrate directly with Shopify. 

At just $38 per month, Flodesk offers members unlimited email sends, unlimited subscribers and unlimited access to all features. Unlike many of its competitors that charge more as members grow their lists and send more emails, Flodesk offers a unique flat pricing model. 

Try Flodesk free for 30 days.

Get unlimited email sends & subscribers with Flodesk

We’ll never increase pricing because your email list is growing