Lifecycle marketing deep dive: win back campaigns

Email marketing databases naturally degrade at a rate of about 22.5% a year. While the answer to the problem seems like it would be finding more customers, that’s only half the answer.  New customers are expensive, costing 4-10x more than retaining an existing customer. While any viable business will need to attract new customers, they should also focus on keeping existing customers coming back again and again. A win back campaign is a fantastic way to help re-engage wayward customers and subscribers who may have fallen off the map. A recent study by ReturnPath showed that 45% of win back recipients who read the first email, read a subsequent email. Moreover, 75% of re-engaged subscribers read a subsequent email (other than the first win back) within 89 days; 25% were still reading emails 300 days later. 

Bottom line: retaining customers is a smart business decision and win back campaigns will help you achieve that. Here are the 5 things you should keep in mind when creating  a win back campaign. 

5 Tips for Creating a Win Back Campaign

1. Keep it Simple 

It’s common to receive emails that have clickable links all over the place—this can be confusing and lead to a tough user experience. Since you’re dealing with customers or subscribers who you haven’t seen in a while, make sure that your “ask” of them is extremely clear. You’ll want to make sure your message is to the point and keep the options to a minimum. Ideally, strive for one call to action in each email. When planning out your win back campaign think about what steps you want your subscribers to take. Perhaps your first step is simply asking them to say “yes, I’m still interested in getting your emails,” if that’s the case build your first email around that “ask.” Map out all of the actions you want taken and you’ll have a clear map of the win back campaign you’re about to build. 

2. Timing is Key 

Before you start firing off win back emails at the first sign of trouble, make sure that you’ve done your due diligence and understand your buying cycles, churn rates, etc. Once you have that information, you can make an informed decision on when to trigger your win back campaign. Standard triggers include no email engagement over a set period of time and no purchases in a set period of time

3. Double Check Your List 

List attrition can wreak havoc on your mailing list. Before sending a win back campaign to your dis-engaged list, think about using an Email Change of Address (ECOA) Service to make sure you have up to date information. Once that’s done, take your updated list and segment based on new email addresses received from the ECOA and put them into a warm up campaign. Run the remainder of the list through your win back campaign. Note: if people put into the warm up campaign still don’t respond, you can push them over to the win back campaign. 

4. Provide Solutions 

If, by the third email, people aren’t responding, it may be worth reminding your subscribers that they can update their preferences at any time. For any of your subscribers who still haven’t interacted with your brand during the win-back campaign, carve out a separate email that includes information on how to update preferences. 

5. A/B Test Your Offers 

Not every customer and subscriber is the same. Different people will react to different types of incentives and offers. Take the time to A/B test your win-back offers. Over time you’ll figure out what really works for the majority of your customer base and what falls flat. While you’re at it, make sure to A/B test your subject lines —we want eyeballs on the actual email, not just on your name in the email inbox. 

Happy Customers, Happy Business

At the end of the day the job of marketing is not only to bring in new customers and subscribers, but retain existing ones. While email marketers will always have to contend with natural database degradation, you can do your part to save customers with a well-timed, relevant win back campaign. To learn more about win back campaigns or to see how we can help, just reach out

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