How to Tackle the Win-Back Campaign

Victoria Lopiano Best Practices, Customer Marketing, Smart Marketing

Ah, the win-back campaign. If there is one type of email out there that many marketers approach begrudgingly, it would be the win-back. Why? Well, all savvy marketers can attest to the fact that customer retention is critical, but even with your best efforts, there will always be those few customers who fall into the black hole of inactivity.

When your customers have gone radio-silent on your brand, recapturing their attention is an absolute must. The best way to harness their attention (and wallet) again is a commanding email.

If you’re unfamiliar with, have not conducted, or perhaps were unsuccessful in your last attempt at a win-back strategy, crafting your campaign can be a dizzying production of not knowing what to include or where exactly to start. Hey, it’s not always easy to make your customers fall in love with your brand twice. It is possible, though, and we are here to help. Let us guide you on your win-back voyage and help ensure a maximum response rate on your efforts.

Step One: ID lapsed customers

The first, and most important, step in executing your killer win-back campaign is to find out who exactly your lapsed customers are. Don’t guess your way through this process— rely on your customer data to find out who your lapsed customers are. The simplest way to do this is to look at purchase frequency.

To start, you’ll need to know what the average purchasing frequency is for your repeat customers. This timeframe will be different for each company and industry. For example, if you sell craft beer, you may have a typical purchase frequency of once every seven days, whereas if you sell cosmetics, it may be more like once every 90 days. Once you’ve determined your magic number, it’s time to take a deep-dive into your customers and find out who hasn’t made a purchase in the last X amount of days (X=the number you determined as avg.). Once you’ve gathered those customers, you’ve got your list. You also have the option to further segment this group down by more purchasing segments (ex. 90 days, 120 days, 150 days, etc.), and then send a different message to each group.

Another option at your disposal is to drill down your list by a more all-encompassing approach to your data. You can look not only at those who haven’t purchased anything in the last X number of days, but also at who hasn’t purchased X amount of items historically, or those who had been purchasing routinely and now are only spending money with your brand sporadically.

Step Two: Review past purchase behavior with your brand

While we started to touch on behavior in the step above, (for example, those who purchased routinely and then scaled back), you want to make sure you really drill down on purchase history and tendencies, regardless of how you came to determine your brand’s lapsed customers.

It is critical to target your customers’ purchase behaviors on an individual level. Doing this allows you to create relevant and personalized messages that result in increased engagement. And, while high engagement is always essential, in a win-back effort it is of the utmost importance.

Thankfully, there are many ways to insert dynamic content in emails, so as long as you are collecting the correct data, you can easily place behavioral-based content into your messaging without having to research each customer. As we will discuss below, when it comes to winning back your old customers, the ability to leverage knowledge of their likes, dislikes and habits will go very far.

Step Three: Determine the number of emails

At this point, begin setting up your email. Depending on your company, industry, and long-term goals, determine how many emails you will be sending. Are you launching a multi-tiered series or a single “we miss you” email?

Step Four: Determine content strategy

Now is time for the fun stuff. It is time to start crafting your emails. As we’ve said, (like four times), the best way to recapture lost customers is to target their interests. Figure out what they liked about your brand when they were loyal, repeat customers, and then exploit that information.

Subject: [Name], come back to Netflix today.


Here are our top tips and ideas for your content strategy:

  1. Create a clear, yet clever message.
  2. Highlight the recent top-selling products.
  3.  Discounts on a product or free shipping.
  4.  Offer a complimentary product or discounted item with the purchase of a full-priced item.
  5. Cross and up-sell based on the customers’ past purchases. Tap into that customer data.
  6. Send an email(s) offering to replenish items that are perishable or run out. i.e. cosmetics, food, drugs, etc.
  7. Best of lists – Highlight the best sellers in the categories that your customer has purchased from in the past; showcase favorites in their area
  8. Offer up an opportunity for them to give their feedback. Maybe you can learn something from them.
bliss email example image 298098uSubject Line: Is this goodbye?

Step Five: Win-back customers

If you follow the above steps and utilize your data to win-back your lapsed customers, you are sure to find success. And next time you’re stressing over your win-back efforts, try and remember this: nothing worth having comes easily, and that includes your customers!

Victoria Lopiano

Known for my aphorisms, applies sriracha to (almost) everything, loves email.