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What is a winback email?

Acquiring a strong subscriber base is an important part of achieving success through email marketing. 

However, while subscriber acquisition and mailing list growth help to expand the potential of your email marketing strategy, it is equally important that you take the time to focus on those who are already receiving your emails.

An enormous subscriber base holds little value if those subscribers aren’t engaging with your brand, but there are measures one can take to re-invigorate customer relationships that have become stale over time. The winback email is one such measure.

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What is a winback email and why is it important? When to employ a winback email campaign What does an effective winback email contain? Brand updates
Incentives
Feedback requests
Unsubscribe notifications
Conclusion

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What is a winback email and why is it important?

A winback email is a commercial email message that marketers send out to contacts who opted in to join a mail list but have since ceased to interact with the brand. 

As the name might suggest, these emails are created with the specific objective of trying to convince these inactive subscribers to reengage with the brand.

Winback emails are an important aspect of email marketing for a couple of reasons.

The first, and most apparent, is that when you rekindle an inactive subscriber’s interest in your brand, they begin opening and reading your emails once more. This eventually leads to an increase in conversions and ROI as readers click on your CTA (call-to-action) buttons.

The second reason is that employing winback campaigns is an efficient way to approach email marketing. 

Odds are you have invested a considerable amount of time, effort, and money into acquiring and growing your mailing list. Letting inactive customers slip through your fingers means starting from scratch all over again.

That’s no small task. In fact, it’s often easier to revive a dormant relationship than establish a new one. With that in mind, it can be said that winback campaigns help marketers preserve the fruits of their labor with comparatively little effort and investment.

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When to employ a winback email campaign

There are a variety of instances where it is appropriate to use winback emails. This is because there are numerous reasons why subscribers might stop engaging with a brand, besides simply losing interest or changing their minds.

One reason could be that your business sells niche or expensive items. This means that customers may go long stretches without making a purchase. As a result, they may stop opening your emails despite having a genuine interest in what your business has to offer.

Likewise, a decline in customer engagement may be an indication that your sales cycles are longer than they should be. In this case, it may be necessary to win back inactive customers while your organization works on streamlining its processes.

Regardless of the specific circumstances of your business, it is generally considered good practice to send winback emails approximately once every three months. This way, you increase the chance that you will reach customers right at the most opportune moment – when they are contemplating their next purchase, potentially from a competitor.

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What does an effective winback email contain?

Winback emails can serve various purposes, and you may choose to use a sequence of different types as part of your winback strategy. Below are some examples of what a winback email might include:

Brand updates

In some cases, your customers’ engagement may have dropped because they have forgotten what you’re all about. It’s a common occurrence, though it’s also a problem that can be easily remedied in many instances. 

Sending out an email with information about brand developments, recently published blogs, or new product lines can remind customers who you are and what you do, turning inactive subscribers into repeat customers.

Incentives

Customers appreciate value, so emails that offer them incentives can be a good way to help you stand out and remind them that you appreciate their engagement with your brand. 

The incentives in question could be discounts or free products included with purchases, for example. When used tactfully, this is an effective way to ease customers back into the fold, generate conversions, and reward loyal customers.

Feedback requests

Building a winback email around a customer feedback form is a useful way to demonstrate authenticity. 

Allowing disengaged subscribers to express their misgivings shows your willingness to listen to what customers have to say. In turn, this builds trust and boosts engagement, especially if that feedback is acted upon.

Unsubscribe notifications

If a customer has not responded to previous re-engagement efforts, it may be worthwhile to send an email at the end of a winback campaign to let them know that you have removed them from your mailing list. This may seem counterintuitive, but customers will appreciate the respect that this shows.

Though it’s necessary to remove inactive subscribers regularly as part of email list cleaning, that doesn’t mean that the connection needs to be severed permanently. Informing customers that you’ve removed their address lets them know where they stand and increases the chances that they re-subscribe at a later point.

Conclusion

While subscribers often become disengaged for one reason or another, the reasons for this are often incidental, and it is absolutely worth making an effort to re-engage them.

When combined with a captivating subject line and a strong call to action, the winback email is one of the most valuable tools at your disposal, as re-engagement emails help you capitalize on past efforts and avoid missed opportunities.

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