How to Win Back Customers After Stalled Growth

Rebecca Riserbato
Rebecca Riserbato



When customers aren't engaging with your brand, you might feel like the band HAIM, because you want to say, "Just know that I want you back."

Of course, retaining customers and keeping your churn rate low are admirable goals for your company.

However, customers may disengage from your brand for several reasons, including negative experiences, product changes, or changed circumstances.

Whatever the reason, you might be wondering, "How can I win back those customers?"

To start, you'll use a customer winback strategy targeted at customers who have started to disengage from your brand.

Customer winback campaigns can be very effective. In fact, 45% of recipients who received a re-engagement email read subsequent emails.

Below, let's learn how to create a customer winback program and build a customer winback email campaign.

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1. Plan a personalized customer winback email campaign.

Your customer winback program starts and ends with a personalized customer winback email campaign.

This campaign will include a series of emails meant to re-engage customers who've started to disengage. This could mean they've stopped reading your emails, haven’t purchased from you in a while, or haven't renewed a contract.

To be successful, this email campaign needs to be personalized. For instance, you can use the recipient's name in the email, provide product recommendations, or customize the incentive offer based on their level of disengagement.

You can also personalize your email campaigns by segmenting your list (more on this below).

2. Make a realistic offer.

In a customer winback email campaign, you'll typically include some type of incentive or offer in one of the emails.

Your offer needs to be realistic, while also making it easy for the customer to come back. In other words, your offer should be hard to refuse. Additionally, keep in mind that the offer doesn't need to be a discount.

This could be a coupon, product upgrade, or even free shipping. Whichever you choose, make sure that the offer solves a potential problem that could have potentially caused your customer to disengage.

It's important that your winback program communicates that you understand your customer and are aware of the potential roadblocks in the customer journey.

3. Be strategic.

When you create your customer winback email campaign, you need to be strategic.

For instance, your emails should contain a sense of urgency so people want to re-engage, while also communicating empathy for their problems.

Another strategy would be to create FOMO (fear of missing out). If something sounds exclusive or like it's the last chance to participate, people are more likely to respond.

Usually, this means that your copy is succinct and light.

Additionally, you should give your customers options. For example, you can let them change the frequency of receiving emails before unsubscribing. Once unsubscribed, you can also allow them to resubscribe.

4. Ask for feedback.

During your email campaign, you'll want to ask for feedback. This shows your customers that you take feedback seriously.

For example, you can send an NPS survey or some type of questionnaire. You could ask for feedback on specific products or overall customer satisfaction.

Additionally, asking for feedback can help you come up with incentives that entice customers to return. If you know why customers are churning, you can start to avoid recurring issues.

5. Segment your audience.

An email winback campaign should be segmented. For example, you can segment your list based on how long it's been since a customer's last purchase, their average order value, or by customers who've had negative feedback or experiences.

By segmenting your list, you can personalize your copy and maybe even the incentive that you offer.

The more personalized your emails are, the more likely you are to win back customers.

6. Test and measure success.

Just like any campaign, to truly see success in your customer winback program, you'll need to test your emails and use analytics to determine what works for your company.

This means you'll want to A/B test emails to see what subject lines work best, which offers resonate with your customers, and what design engages customers. These details may vary between your list segments, too.

To create your customer winback program, you'll want to use an email marketing software. For example, you can use HubSpot's free email marketing software to create these winback emails. HubSpot's software uses smart rules so you can tailor each email to each subscriber.

Now that you know how to create a customer winback program, let's dive into how to build a customer winback email campaign.

However, before you get started with a customer winback email series, you're probably wondering, "Who should I send these emails to?"

To build your email campaign, you'll want to decide how this email series will be triggered in your email marketing software.

With email marketing automation, you can set up emails to send automatically after a certain task or action is taken by a lead.

For instance, you can trigger this series of emails when a customer hasn't opened an email of yours for three, six, or nine months. Or maybe it's when they're coming up on their contract renewal date. Keep in mind that the timeframe may depend on your industry.

Once you've decided when to trigger the emails, you'll want to segment your lists so you can personalize the content.

Usually, these campaigns contain five emails. Let's review the different emails below.

Email 1: We miss you!

The first email you send will be a simple hello. This is just to get people interacting again as sometimes a quick notification like this is enough for customers to remember your brand and re-engage.

This email should be easy to skim through but also remind customers of your value. You could talk about changes you've made or just remind customers that you're there if they need something.

Email 2: Discount or Offer

In the second email, you'll want to offer some incentive or discount to get customers interested. This shouldn't be in your first email, because sometimes people don't need an offer to re-engage.

Like we mentioned above, this incentive could be a discount, exclusive offer, free shipping, or reward points. Keep in mind that you can personalize each offer by including a recommended products section or adding a reminder of products that a customer has purchased before.

Whatever you offer, this email should create a sense of urgency and play on your customers' fear of missing out.

Email 3: Customer Survey

Once you've made an offer, it's time for you to ask for feedback. This could be in the form of a customer satisfaction survey.

People like to talk about their opinions, so even customers who aren't planning on re-engaging might answer this email.

Again, this will help you figure out why customers are churning so you can fix recurring issues.

Email 4: Last Chance

Your fourth email will be the last chance email. This will tell customers that you're planning to unsubscribe them from your list if they don't take action.

Additionally, this email can give them the option to change the frequency that they receive your emails and adjust their preferences without unsubscribing.

This is an important step, because you need to clean up your email lists so engagement and deliverability aren't impacted.

Email 5: Unsubscribe

The last email in your customer winback email campaign will let customers know that you've unsubscribed them from your list.

However, you should also include copy that lets them know you'd love for them to come back. This means you should include a link to resubscribe.

Additionally, you can ask for feedback again by including a link to your survey.

Customer winback programs are important in re-engaging customers with your brand. To do this, you can build a customer winback email campaign to automatically reach out to disengaged customers.

Want to see some examples of customer winback emails? Check out our favorite re-engagement emails here.

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