As mentioned in earlier posts, email is a great way for businesses to stay in touch with their customers. It is a cost-effective method used to communicate directly with a customer base while also providing valuable information about customer engagement.


When someone is interested in a company, they often become an email subscriber in order to stay informed about the company’s activities. During this phase, interest is captured and customer engagement is high. But over time, interest wanes and customers become less engaged.


At this point a company needs to decide whether unengaged subscribers should be written off or if effort should be spent on re-igniting that interest.


In today’s post, we look at reasons why customer engagement can falter and how a win-back email campaign can put them back on the company bandwagon.


win-back email campaign


What is a Win-Back Email Campaign?

A win-back email campaign is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a series of emails sent to inactive customers or subscribers in the hopes of converting them back into active customer status.


While a one-off “We Miss You” email can be sent at any time to inactive users, this spur of the moment correspondence will yield poor results. However, by taking the time to plan a proper win-back email campaign, companies can expect to see higher customer engagement and therefore better email results.


Let’s take a look at some of these items.



How to Define an Inactive User?

Depending on the nature of the business, an inactive user can be defined in various ways. If the company sells goods, an inactive user may be someone who hasn’t made a purchase in the last few months. It could also be someone who hasn’t made a purchase and hasn’t opened the company’s emails for a defined period of time.


If the company operates a subscription-based service, an inactive user may be someone who hasn’t opened any company emails for a defined period of time.


Since the term ‘inactive user’ can mean different things to different companies, having a clear definition on what it means to your company is key. Knowing from the start what constitutes an active vs. inactive customer will help later on in the win-back email campaign process.



Why Do Customers Become Inactive?

According to Kevin George there are a number of reasons why someone becomes an inactive user. Here are some of the most common reasons:


  • Inbox Overload: It’s a common problem. A few hours here and there surfing the web can result in someone subscribing to multiple websites. The result is an inbox jammed pack of subscribed email and little time for the user to go through it all on a regular basis.


  • Preference change: The subscribers’ needs changed, and they no longer need the company’s services, but have not yet clicked the unsubscribe link.


  • Emails come too frequently: Someone may have had an interest in a company but reading the constant flow of emails becomes more work than fun.


  • Boring subject lines: If someone is suffering from a packed inbox, they are going to skim the subjects and only click on the few that catch their eye. If an email’s subject line doesn’t stand up, its future as an unread email destined for the trash bin is almost certain.



Why Focus on Past Clients Rather Than Look for New Ones

Some might wonder why any effort is spent on trying to re-engage inactive customers. The answer boils down to time and money. Typically, it takes less time and money to re-engage a previous customer than it does a new customer.


Some might wonder why any effort is spent on trying to re-engage inactive customers. The answer boils down to time and money. Click To Tweet


Adobe published a very interesting report that demonstrated just how important returning customers are to a company’s bottom line. They found the following:

  • Returning and repeat customers accounted for over 40% of revenue even though they only accounted for 8% of the website’s visits.


  • Shoppers tend to spend more on a site each time they visit. On average, returning shoppers generate three times higher revenue sales than new visitors. In the US, that number increased, and it took 5 new customers to bring in the same revenue as 1 returning shopper.



How Does a Win-Back Email Campaign Help?

When visitors first sign up to be a subscriber, they already have an interest in the company. Some element enticed the visitor to give the company their email address in exchange for something from the company.


A win-back email campaign is designed to catch the person’s attention once more and to give them another reason to like the company again.


Tactics such as email segmentation, strong subject lines, exclusive offers and the chance to provide feedback can all help re-engage subscribers. For more tips on how to re-engage email subscribers, check out our previous post here.



Final Thoughts

Inactive subscribers, when treated correctly, can be a treasure trove of revenue for a company. With a little bit of time and a couple of well-crafted emails, they could be returned to a company’s sales funnel in no time.



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