How to Build an Effective Win Back Email Campaign


Email marketing is something where continuously you have to engage your subscriber, that required extra effort than the usual practices you follow in the email campaign.

It’s stated that roughly 60% subscribers in an emailing list are inactive at any given time. Re-engaging them helps you bring them out of inactivity (owing to whatever reason), back into sales funnel and eventually make them a hot lead.

Why Email Subscriber Become Inactive

Inactive subscribers are those who are receiving your emails but do not open nor unsubscribe. Unsubscribers are those who all together unsubscribe from your email.

Till the subscribers have not unsubscribed, there’s still a possibility to win them back. By analyzing your data figure out what they want so you get a chance to know more about subscribers and bring them back as a customer.

But before you start your efforts to winning back your subscribers, it is important to understand what the reason for their inactivity

  • Overcrowded inbox: Your subscriber’s inbox is filled with other subscribed email and the subscriber is unaware about your email.
  • Change in preference: The subscribers’ preferences have changed.
  • Weak or non-attractive subject line: Most subscriber decides from the subject line, whether to open email or not.
  • Signed for sign-up offer: Sometimes subscriber only sign-up to avail the discount offer on the sign-up process.
  • High sending frequency: You may not have clearly specified your sending frequency during the sign-up process and now the subscriber is overwhelmed by the sudden flood of the emails.

There can be other reasons to like past bad experience, snooze for a later date, etc,. As you can see the reasons for inactivity can be numerous and can be different, so the strategy should also be different. The message, the design, the CTA will change in each case.

Let’s understand why it’s important to re-engage the inactive email subscribers.

A calculation has shown that retaining an old customer is 5x cheaper to acquire a new customer. And 81% of marketers agree that email is the most reliable channel for customer retention.

By sending emails to your inactive subscriber, you are wasting your time and resources. This is especially applicable when your ESP charges you based on the monthly send volume.

Ways to overcome from inactivity

Before getting into ways how to bring back inactive subscribe, let us first define the type of inactive subscriber so that one can set his/her approach to win back a customer.

  • A customer-centric approach will focus on those inactive subscribers who open your emails, may or may not be performing the mentioned action (i.e. clicking CTA or any other link) but haven’t purchased. The aim of this approach is to encourage the subscriber to make the purchase.
  • A subscriber-centric approach will focus on those inactive subscribers who are not opening your emails. The aim of this approach is to motivate the subscriber to open the emails.

Duration of on activity to be qualified as an inactive depends on varies from industry to industry and also depends on marketer’s email sending frequency. For example:

For a brand sending bi-weekly emails, inactivity period might be 3 months and for a brand with monthly email sending schedule, the inactivity period might be 6 months or a year.

Now that you have an understanding of inactive users, the reason of their inactivity and type of inactive subscriber let’s now learn the ways to win inactive subscriber back.

Winning back an inactive subscriber is a process where you need to build a strategy that aims to make your subscriber open your email or make a purchase.

Encourage inactive to open emails

The subject line and pre-header text have a vital role in opening or non-opening of an email. Your subject line needs to be attractive enough to prompt your inactive subscriber to open your email. Use actionable words such as “Come back”, “we miss you”, to motivate them.

Research suggests that using a shorter subject line is more effective in win-back emails. Using words such as “miss you” or “come back” achieved 12-13 percent read rate.

Win Back Email CampaignImproving Email Copy

If they open your win back email this means there are still chances to turn them into a customer. You can offer them some discount or lucrative offer to win them back. Ask them if they are still interested in being part of your list.

If the subscriber was active in the past, use the data to send them personalized email content. Personalized emails deliver six times higher transaction rates, so it’s worth tailoring content to subscribers – even inactive ones.

Prompt them to click CTAs  

The result of your email copy is measured on the clicks on the CTA button of your email. Using CTA to engage your subscriber is one of the best ways to engage them but remember use only one CTA because inactive are not going to check out all products or CTAs that you provide to them.

Win Back Email CampaignHold them back

If they are back to you, hold them, make sure they are not going inactive in a while. If they do then your content is not engaging enough and needs improvement.

Key Takeaways

There are a few points that you must know to keep your re-engagement email impressive.

  • Tell subscribers what they have missed since they were away
  • Propose an exclusive offer
  • Give a collection of offers that makes it difficult to say no
  • Add a pinch of emotions to lure subscribers
  • Provide other ways to connect- social media
  • Use humor to grab attention
  • Remind subscribers why they are part of your list (why they had subscribed to your list)
  • Politely make them take a decision- Re-engage or Part Way

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