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Email Marketing

How To Write Win Back Emails That Convert?

2935 words15 min read

In the eCommerce world, all store owners probably have experienced heartbreak when a loyal customer stops engaging with your store. All the time, effort, and sales, you thought you both had something special. But, don't blame yourself; it is just what can happen - your customers can stop coming back to your store no matter how good of an online shopping experience you provided.

The good news is that you can get them back by having the right win back emails. Considering that existing customers are way more beneficial than acquiring new leads, a win back email campaign is a must-have for your marketing strategy. Another excellent news is that: You can learn how to launch an effective re-engagement campaign for inactive customers with this article.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about win back emails, from benefits, best practices to examples and the best tool. You will soon see that retaining just a small percentage of customers can increase your overall revenue by a lot. Don't let your potential buyers be "the ones that got away"!

What is a win back email?

A win back email, or a win back email campaign, is a type of email sent to re-engage inactive consumers and subscribers. They may stop buying, visiting your store, clicking through on your messages, or even not open your emails at all. Existing customers are precious, spending 31% more, and are 50% more likely to try new products than new leads. So letting them go rather than trying to re-engage is a wasteful opportunity.

Effective win back strategies can turn unengaged buyers back into loyal customers while decreasing the unsubscribe rate and new lead generation cost. Of course, your eCommerce store's suitable tactics would depend on many factors, including your audience's unique preferences and typical sales cycle.

For example, add an Amazon product into a cart and don't purchase. You will soon see a personalized email promoting products in the same category and a few calls to action letting you buy directly from the email. But Amazon doesn't stop there; it will send a follow-up email a few days later with even more related products.

With a win back email campaign, you will have multiple strategically timed and targeted emails to encourage recipients' interaction. This is how you maximize the customers' lifetime value and turn them into repeat buyers.

Why customers stop purchasing from you

But, who are we actually trying to win back here? Well, it is 'lapsed customers'. You may not know who they are, so here is the definition:

There are many reasons for lapsed customers, some of which you can't even control. Understanding why customers stop interacting will help you develop relevant win back email campaigns that can bring back more buyers.

When it comes to lapsed customers, there are many reasons, and some of which you can't even control. Understanding why customers stop interacting will help you develop relevant win back email campaigns that can bring back more buyers.

Some reasons why you have lapsed customers are:

  • They had a bad experience with you customer service
  • They felt that your price is higher than the competitors
  • They received a product not up to their expectations.
  • Their inboxes had too many poorly written emails from your company.
  • They bought your product as a gift and have no personal interest in your product anymore.
  • They simply don't like your brand anymore

For whatever reason, it is impossible to avoid having lapsed customers. Research shows that the average companies lose 20-40% of their customers each year. Also, in a year, an email list loses 20-30% of its subscribers.

That said, losing customers like this is a total waste of money. It costs way too much more to find new customers, so every person who goes inactive is a major lost. Plus, email providers like Google can put your company's emails into the spam folder if your open rate is too low.

Here is the good news: You can reconvert your customers by having an effective win back email campaign. Let's see how to do that in the next section.

How to write win back emails that convert

Your win back email campaign starts with a good targeted strategy. There are a few essential components which I will get to in the best practices section, but the most important part of your campaign is this: A solid email structure.

One email is simply not enough to gain back a customer's interest. So I recommend your win back email series to have 3 - 5 re-engagement emails. These emails consist of four vital parts to win back your customers, which are:

#1: A reminder email

Your relapsed customers haven't interacted with you in a while, so saying a simple "hello" can put your company back on their minds. People do have busy lives, but just a little nudge is all you need to be on their radars again.

Depending on the customer's sale cycle and buying frequency, you can set the timing for this reminder email. For example, if a customer often purchases the next item after one month, your reminder email should come after the last interaction one month as well. Or if the subscriber often opens your email every week and not anymore, you can send an email to ask what is wrong.

This email should be as friendly as possible, like a check up on an old friend. You don't need to include any sales offer, just simply ask to start the conversation and let them know how your company has been doing, like Asana saying they have improved their app to be 2x time faster in the image above.

#2: An incentive email

If the reminder couldn't get the customers to come back, then a small incentive may do the trick. You can offer them a discount on the next purchase, a 2 for 1 deal, or free content (such as infographics, ebook, etc.). This incentive should be small but still worth checking out. You can offer a bigger incentive in the following emails based on the recipients' interaction.

Don't forget to personalize your content in the incentive email. Including the subscriber's name is a good idea. Also, if they bought a product from your store, why not offer a discount on the relevant products or maintenance service? It will show that you care about their purchase and interest.

The copy is also essential in an incentive email's success. See the image above to see how Bookworld reconnects with their customers by a friendly headline and a concerned tone to help more.

#3: Last chance email

This type of email lets subscribers know that they have one more chance to engage with your brand before losing something. Much like the incentive email, you can include some kinds of offer but with an additional time limit, so customers can feel the urgency.

You may not include a time limit too, just let subscribers know they are missing out on a lot of good stuff if they stop engaging with your store. Like the McDonald email above, they say this can be their last email and when the subscriber opts out, they will lose exclusive deals, latest news, and more!

#4: Goodbye email

This is the last email, as well as your last ditch effort. Here, you simply notify customers that you will remove them from the email list due to lack of activity. You can give them a specific time frame too, such as a week. But, even in this email, you still give customers the option to keep subscribing because you want them to stay.

The goodbye email is also a good opportunity to ask for feedback. You can ask why they stopped interacting with your emails, and how they think you can improve your content, products, or offers to serve them better in the future. If this email still gets no response, it is time to let go of the subscriber.

You need to do this, because too many inactive subscribers can have your account penalized by email providers. Removing users without interaction will lead to a higher open rate and get your emails into the audience's inboxes.

Special note: If you want to create an automation win back email series, then try our app AVADA Email Marketing - a free to start using app that has all the best features to craft a successful email campaign. The app has tools for:

  • Editing email by dragging and dropping
  • Making email workflow with automated triggers and wait time
  • Segmenting audience based on activities and groups
  • Adding opt in popups into the website as a lead magnet
  • Including beautiful email templates for different events

Just click on the link below to try out the app, we have support 24/7, so don't hesitate to become a user.

Start Free Trial - AVADA Email Marketing

Best practices for win back emails

You know the components for a win back email campaign, now, let's see the best practices to make your emails irresistible from the first moment subscribers view them. The next tips will help you perfect and personalize your win back emails, eventually reconverting the customers.

Subject lines

The subject line is the main difference between high, low, and no open rates at all. This is the vital first impression that your readers will have on your campaign, so it can make or break your whole series. Every subject line you write should get straight to the point and convince subscribers to click open. It also needs to stand out from other emails in the inbox and create a sense of urgency.

Ideally, your subject line should be about 40 characters or less. If your email includes an incentive, this should be clearly communicated in the subject line. You can also use personalization by including your recipients' names or addresses their needs directly. Readers interact more with targeted content.

Audience segmentation

A crucial aspect of any email marketing campaign is audience segmentation, and you get more re-engagement. When you segment your email list, you have more in-depth control over the email strategies and can provide more relevant content for subscribers.

As each business has different customers, the definition of inactive leads also varies. Customers who make a purchase every week should be targeted sooner than those who just occasionally visit your eCommerce store. Similarly, your loyal customers are worth more effort than those who only made one purchase.

A/B testing

It is hard to predict which strategy can be successful, so A/B testing is the perfect tool to identify your most effective tactics. Split test your campaigns should be a consistent approach to optimize all of your digital marketing campaigns.

Subject lines are a perfect start to A/B testing. Stronger subject lines will lead to a better open rate, so testing them always brings a better result. Increasing the open rates puts your content in front of more readers and gives more chances to bring back lapsed customers. Of course, you can also test your content, offer, copy, design, images, and more, by using an email app such as AVADA Email Marketing.

Omnichannel approach

Users can simply lose interest in your content, and don't want to engage with your emails as well. Subscribers are interacting with brands on more channels than ever before, and it is vital to have a cohesive experience across all platforms. Given that all users' inboxes are overcrowded, having more presence on other channels is great.

Instead of expecting subscribers to interact with your emails the way you want, you should give them the opportunity to engage on their own terms. Start by researching your customers to determine the right platforms for your audience and simply ask them how they would like to communicate with your brand. Businesses of all sizes should have a consistent user experience across many channels.


When to send your win back emails is essential for a successful campaign. Your first email in the series should be after 1 - 3 months from when your customers stop interacting. From then, the next emails should be sent after 1 -2 weeks until the last 'goodbye' email.

Be careful with your win back strategy, because too many emails can be off-putting for some. Four emails in a week and then tell someone it's their last chance? That is too much. Do some research and test to see which is the right tactic.

If you have any trouble finding the best time to send your emails, check out my guide on The Best Time To Send Marketing Emails.

Win back email best examples

Here is a list of brilliant win back emails from other eCommerce companies that you can gain some inspiration to create your own campaign. Learn how they communicate with their audience and propose an offer to re engage with customers.

Polyvore's win back email

Trying a Messenger format, Polyvore's win back email is appealing and creates a modern brand image. The copy is easy to follow with all the emojis and casual tone of a real conversation. The call to action is also cleverly added into the email's design, but it can use some more popping color.

One thing that I suggest to change is clarifying the so many sales they mentioned in the email. The email can be more convincing if it includes specific products on sales that customers can directly shop. This gives lapsed customers a better idea of how they can benefit from the promotion.

The Bakerista's win back email

To engage with disengaged customers, you need a sweet offer, and The Bakerista does just that with this email. The design is clean and draws attention to the cupcakes as well as the button. Their offer is available online and offline, giving customers more options to use the discount.

The message at the bottom is also great for showing appreciation towards the subscriber for being a part of the email list. Readers also have the option to unsubscribe here. However, I would suggest making the offer of 25% stand out more. Make the call to action "Get 25% Off Now" can have a stronger effect.

Sephora's win back email

Sephora is very straightforward with their offer in this email. They also provide an offline and online option for the gift card, making the offer more accessible to customers. By having two separate calls to action, the layout becomes neater and easier to read. The buttons at the top look like a website's navigation bar, helping recipients access different sections of Sephora's site.

Same with Polyvore's email, I think Sephora can add some more products to give customers the idea of what to spend on next. After all, lapsed customers have purchased from you, they know what you can offer.

Urban Outfitters' win back email

This email from Urban Outfitters just suits the brand's character and shows a creative side of the company. They used the screenshot format like Polyvore, showing a conversation between the subscribers and the retailer. However, the cartoonese design makes the email look funny, perfect for their youthful demographic.

The email conveys the options to continue subscribing and unsubscribing in a fresh way, highlighting the option to stay in loop with a pink color. Who would want to unsubscribe if they see an email like this?

Office's win back email

Checking if you are sending the most relevant email helps you ensure providing the best content to subscribers and show that you care for their experience. In the example, the Office asks if they get the reader's gender right. It is a good idea to see why the customer stopped engaging with your store.

For your store, you can ask subscribers to update their preferences in whatever way they want to receive content from your brand. Or you can provide a feedback form for the customers to send their thoughts.

Framebridge's win back email

This example illustrates a good 'goodbye' email that lets customers opt back in. It doesn't consist of any sales offer, since this is more for cleaning the email list. There are only a few sentences in the email, as relapsed customers hardly read any long email with the inactivity.

With a clear call to action, readers can immediately decide to keep subscribing or not. However, try to include a timeframe of when the customers will be unsubscribed. This way, readers will know how long they have left before being unsubscribed. A little urgency is always beneficial.

Final advice

It is always a good idea to re-engage with old customers before trying to find new ones. And win back emails are the best way to reignite the fire between you and buyers to form a new and better relationship. But, sometimes, you won't be able to win back an inactive customer. This is normal. With the approaches you learned in this article, you can get interested shoppers keep coming back for more.

Have you applied a win back email strategy for your eCommerce store? Share us your tactics within the comment section, and don't forget to try our app - AVADA Email Marketing to automate your email marketing process.

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