Losing an engaged customer can feel a lot like going through a breakup. After all the time and effort it takes to build a customer relationship, watching a person disengage from your company, perhaps never to return, can create a sense of dissatisfaction in even the best entrepreneurs and marketers.
The good news is that sometimes all it takes to bring this customer back is a slight tweak, a discount code, or a little extra attention. Better yet, you don’t even have to personalize your approach to each individual customer for your win-back email campaign to be effective.
This article will share some powerful examples of win-back emails, along with what these brands did right and how you can use these strategies to engage customers and scale your business.
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8 win-back email examples and templates
Before you create your win-back email sequence, you first need to decide how you want to approach your lapsed customers and entice them to reconnect with you. In this section, we will look at some of the most effective types of win-back emails to reconnect with customers, including some real-life examples of brands that have nailed their campaigns.
We’ve also provided a template to get you started for each strategy we share below. Whether you want your customers revisiting your digital store, resubscribing to your email list, or giving valuable feedback, these templates make it easy to write your perfect email to win the customers over.
1. The “we miss you” win-back email examples
The “we miss you” email tugs at your reader’s heartstrings. While it may come from a generic template, it never fails to feel personal. It tells your reader that their presence matters and that you noticed they have been inactive.
The sincere “we miss you” email template:
This sincere “we miss you” email example from bareMinerals goes a step further to make its reader feel valued, adding the phrase “can you blame us?” To fully leverage the potential of this remarketing campaign, bareMinerals also include a gift card with the discount code “MISSYOU.” There is no room for ambiguity with this win-back email.
Subject Line: We miss you, [First Name]!
Body: Hey [First name],
Our site doesn’t feel the same without you 🥺
There’s sadness in the air.
We miss your stellar style.
Here’s a gift to show we care:
[Discount coupon/Gift card]
CTA: Let’s get back together [Links to website]
The intimate “we miss you” email template:
Another example of this strategy is this win-back email campaign from Revolve.
This makeup brand with a predominantly female clientele uses romantic and current language to bring back its customers by reminding them of items that are now back in stock. This works well for clients who might not have been active for a while but could come back with a little extra incentive.
The handwritten date on the top right corner adds another personal touch.
Subject Line: Can we buy you a [product your business sells]?
Body: Hey [First name]!
We noticed you have been gone for a while, and we miss you too much! 💔
Can we buy you a [a freebie] to win you back?
Shop worth [amount] to claim [the freebie]
CTA: Take me there! [Links to website/cart]
The lonesome “we miss you” email template:
This win-back email from Teespring takes a slightly more dynamic approach, asking its readers to come back while adding a picture of a sad-looking puppy. It takes personalization a step further, as it includes account-specific statistics to remind the reader of the results they have achieved using Teespring’s product.
Subject Line: It’s not the same without you, [First Name]
Body: Hey, you’ve been gone, and it’s not the same without you.
While you were here, this is what we achieved together. [Add data about the customer’s sales through your platform, money saved on product purchases, or exclusive deals they bagged.]
We are stronger together! 💪 Come back and let’s continue growing!
Call-to-Action: Take me back [Links to website]
2. The “discount off” win-back email
Discounts are an age-old tactic to increase sales and they still work today because people enjoy using them; almost 90% of survey respondents in the United States stated that they used coupons for shopping in 2020.
The “discount off” win-back email template:
This email from Chhapai is clear in its offering: we want you back, and to make that happen, we’ll offer you a discount.
Subject Line: [X]% off, just for you!
Body: We would love to have you back in our life and on our site. So, we decided to do something we normally don’t— add a discount voucher to our already fantastic offer 🤑
This one is just for you!
Make sure to claim it before it expires in [X] days.
CTA: I want in! [links to website shopping page]
3. The “freebie” win-back email examples
Who can resist a free gift? Almost nobody, especially when it’s a free sample of something they really desire. Case in point: Marsh’s customers loved the freebies they were offered so much they skyrocketed the brand’s sales by 2,000%.
The human aversion to losing something, even something insignificant, is a driving factor in our decision-making process. Leverage this psychological loophole in your marketing strategy to remind customers of your brand and bring them back.
The “freebie” win-back email template:
This win-back email example from Wisp, a pharmaceutical brand, offers clients a free medical consultation with each order.
Subject Line: This one is on us!
Body: We would love to have you back in our life and on our site.
Here is a [freebie] on us if you [insert cause]
CTA: I want [the freebie] [links to website shopping page]
There are many different freebies you can offer. For example, customers frequently do not complete a purchase because of shipping costs. Offering free shipping can work very well to bring back customers—especially those with abandoned carts.
The “free shipping” win-back email template:
FarFetch offers free shipping for a limited period of 24 hours to entice their customers to make a purchase. This works particularly well for FarFetch because their shipping costs can sometimes be sky-high.
Although this is not specifically a win-back email, their approach works very well to return inactive subscribers who might have strayed for reasons such as shipping costs.
Subject Line: Claim your free delivery now!
Body: Hey [Customer Name]!
You visited our [insert category] store a little while ago and picked out some excellent items.
We are here to offer you free shipping to seal the deal.
CTA: Finish your purchase [links to a shopping cart]
Or, make a whole new one!
CTA: Shop New Items [links to website shopping “New Collection” page]
4. The “FOMO” win-back email example
People hate being excluded. Watching an Instagram story of all our friends partying while we are sick in bed or seeing our best friend wear the sweater we had been eyeing for ages does not sit well with us.
You can leverage this feeling while creating your next win-back email sequence. Add a list of best sellers, almost-out-of-stock items, or sample sales to your remarketing email campaign to show lost customers they need to come back ASAP.
The “FOMO” win-back email template:
This email from ATG Stores invites readers to check out the new brands and services added to their website.
You can appeal to the fear of missing out by including social proof of your sales, featuring a limited-time deal, appealing to the sense of exclusivity, etc. Just make sure your reader actively senses the need to be a part of your crowd.
Subject Line: It’s hard to watch you go…
Body: …especially when things are heating up!
Our new [products or services] just dropped this week and are already selling like hotcakes!
We’d hate it if you, of all people, missed out.
Stop. Click. And shop our new range.
Call-to-Action: Take me there [Links to New Collection web page]
5. The “just checking in” win-back email example
Sometimes, just a simple nudge is enough to bring back your customer. Asking them how they are and gently reminding them of your presence is a powerful method for engaging with clients and awakening inactive customers.
The “just checking in” win-back email template:
With this ”just checking in” win-back email, Saks aims to reconnect with its customers via a simple “long time, no see.”
Subject Line: We hope you aren’t lost…
Body: …just wandering!
Hey [Customer Name]!
It’s been a while since we last saw you. Just checking in to see if we can help you with anything?
CTA: Talk to me [Links to Customer Service Page]
CTA: I was busy, but I am back! [Re-subscribes to an email list]
6. The “special occasion” win-back email examples
Special occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and festivals are great times to rekindle your bond with inactive subscribers. People are actively looking for gifts for their loved ones and may also have more time to browse selections, search their inboxes for discount codes, and make purchases.
Targeting the festive season to launch a win-back email campaign can bring a delightful spike in your open rates.
The “birthday” win-back email template:
This email example from Rent The Runway is one way to approach it, giving their customers $25 off for their birthday.
Subject Line: We know it’s your special day!
Body: Hey [Customer Name]!
We had your birth date encircled with hearts in our calendar!
We know you must have a thousand things to do on your birthday — monotonous shopping doesn’t have to be one of them.
Here is a selection of our best [products] based on your amazing taste!
*AND* $100 off if you shop with us today!
CTA: Yay! Take me to your store [links to web store]
For more inspiration, check out these birthday email examples and data-backed tips.
Valentine’s Day win-back email templates:
You don’t have to look far to find some inspiring email examples for February’s most important date! Fortunately, we’ve already covered this subject excessively. Continue reading:
15 Valentine’s Day Email Campaign Ideas
7 Seductive Valentine’s Day Marketing Ideas
7. The “feedback” email template
Asking people their opinion makes them feel valued and heard. Asking your customers to tell you what they think through a poll, feedback scale, or even a quiz is an effective way to engage them and build metrics for what might have gone wrong. You may not win the estranged customer back, but at least you will get valuable input on what you could do better next time!
The “feedback” win-back email template:
This win-back email from MindValley is a perfect example of the “feedback” email that aims to learn the reason for inactivity, reminds subscribers of the brand, and generates engagement.
Subject Line: What made you go? We want to know!
Body: Hey [Customer],
It hasn’t been the same, and what’s missing is you.
You haven’t been engaging with our emails lately, and we’d love to know how we can fix it.
Will you help us help you?
Call-to-Action: I’d love to tell you what isn’t working [Links to survey]
8. The “final check-in” win-back email template
This email is the last attempt to try to re-engage an inactive user. You can use this as an opportunity to ask your customers why they stopped opening your emails, visiting your website, or buying from your online store.
The “emotional final check-in” win-back email template:
This email from John Paul Mitchell Systems lets its customers decide one last time whether they want to stay or if they’d instead opt-out. Its body text does a great job of inducing emotion in the reader by adding the phrase “sniffle sniffle” to bring alive the personalized message.
Subject Line: Did we mess up?
Body: Hey [Customer Name]!
We noticed you no longer open our emails. Or visit our store. Or come see us 😔
We understand that life happens and things get in the way, so if you want to move on we won’t stop you. (We will just quietly cry under a table)
In case you got busy and are now ready to jump back and receive future emails, let us know you still want to hear from us! Otherwise, this will be our last email.
Call-to-Action: I am ready to reconnect [Link to re-subscribe button]
Related: Email list cleaning best practices
Guidelines for an effective win-back email campaign
According to Hugo Mercier, a cognitive scientist and psychology author, there are three ways to change someone’s mind:
- Build on what they believe
- Bring in who they trust
- Build on what they value
These guidelines for an effective win-back strategy will help you ensure that you target at least one out of these three tactics with every single email you send.
Tip 1: Create a great subject line
A University College Roosevelt study on emails sent to over 1,400,000 customers shows that people are more or less likely to open their emails based solely on the subject line. So, when you’re trying to win back inactive customers, it’s essential to get this part right.
Using second-person pronouns such as “you” and “your” can give your subject line a personal touch:
- “You’ve been gone, and it’s not the same”
- “[Customer name], we care about your [customized to the value proposition].”
Building suspense is another good approach to getting your lapsed customer to open your email.
- “You’ve been busy, and we understand, but…”
- “You’ve been missing out on…”
- “A lot has happened since we last saw you…”
Tip 2: Add attractive illustrations
A study by HubSpot shows that people following directions with both text and illustrations do 323% better than people following directions with text only. Keep this in mind as you compose your win-back email.
Also, don’t just stick to static illustrations — experiment with gifs and videos as well! Moving components like the gif below grab the readers’ attention and draw them in.
Tip 3: Add social proof to your customer win-back email
When customers hear from other people they relate to, it gives them the confidence to act. Adding a happy client testimonial or an image of a real person using your product can add authenticity to your offer.
This tactic works exceptionally well for bringing back an otherwise loyal customer who might have abandoned their cart or disappeared after hours of browsing.
Tip 4: Motivate buyers with limited-time offers
People act quicker when they feel they have less time to react. Adding an expiration period to your offer — whether it is free shipping, a gift card, or a discount voucher — can have a noticeable effect on your open rates and revenue. For instance, Venture Harbour increased sales by 332% when they put a time limit on a Groupon deal for musicians.
The email from Rescue Spa adds “12 days” right in its subject line to both build anticipation as well as put a clock on the offer.
Even though this isn’t technically a win-back email, it creates all the necessary conditions to persuade a user to come back — limited-time offers, illustrative graphics, and an attractive subject line.
Tip 5: Try reaching them more than once
It may be that your customers didn’t have a sudden change of heart. Instead, it could be the case that they simply didn’t see your email!
To maximize your chances of re-engaging your subscribers, consider reaching them one more time – be it via another email or an automated SMS message.
Want to make more impact with your SMS campaigns? Take a look at these 7 SMS marketing automation campaign ideas and learn how to set them up all by yourself.
Set up your new win-back email flow in just a few steps with GetResponse
It really is just that easy! All you’ll need for a successful win-back email flow is a contact list, a creative copy, and a little bit of automation magic. Here’s how you can get started:
- Win-back email flow for unengaged subscribers
- Win-back email flow for customers who abandoned a shopping cart
Win-back email flow for unengaged subscribers
Step 1. Go to your contacts list and create a segment consisting of “unengaged” subscribers. The easiest way to do this is to use our built-in engagement score feature and create the segment using the following criteria – Contact details > Engagement score > is equal to > Unengaged.
Save this segment and head over to Marketing Automation.
Step 2. In Marketing Automation, create a new workflow from scratch that’ll be triggered when a new subscriber joins your list.
Step 3. Add a wait block, set it for 180 days, and turn on the run multiple times toggle.
Step 4. Next, add a dynamic segment filter to check if the subscribers are in your unengaged subscribers.
The positive path (green) should be connected to your win-back email.
The negative path (red) should be looped back to the wait element you’ve previously created. This way, the workflow will check every 180 days if your contact has become unengaged.
Here’s what the workflow should look like now:
Step 5. Hit save and publish – your workflow is good to go!
Win-back email flow for customers who abandoned a shopping cart
Step 1. Connect your store in the Integrations & API.
Step 2. Head over to Automation and select the Abandoned cart reminder template
Step 3. Configure the abandoned cart block properties to choose when you’d like the win-back email to be sent.
Step 4. Attach your win-back email
Step 5. Hit save and publish – your workflow is good to go!
Want to explore this topic further? Catch the recording of our webinar explaining three ways you can save abandoned carts using Marketing Automation:
Win-back customer email template FAQs
What’s a win-back campaign?
A win-back campaign is an email or a sequence of emails designed to engage with estranged customers. These customers may have gotten busy, stopped finding the content of your emails relevant, or simply forgotten about you.
Win-back emails are designed to get your lapsed customers to open emails from you and begin engaging with your content again.
How do you win back a customer?
You can win a customer back in a variety of ways, such as offering discounts on products they like, providing incentives such as free shipping, or simply asking them what went wrong.
How do you write a win-back email?
There are several ways to write a win-back email, but one effective approach is to be genuine in your email. Tell them how you feel about them leaving your brand without getting overly personal, show them what’s in store if they come back, and let them know you’d love to hear back from them.
It is (arguably) much easier to bring back a disconnected customer than to get new ones. A person who has already engaged — and enjoyed a great experience — with you or your brand is probably more likely to engage again than someone who has only recently heard of you.
By using the guidelines, tactics, and templates shared in this article, you can bring back wandering customers and rebuild your relationship with people you thought you’d lost. By the way, the email marketing company, GetResponse, offers customer engagement services as well as email marketing services, including design tools and templates you can use right away.