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Customer win-back campaigns: How to build one + 10 templates

Customer churn can cause issues for any business. Learn how to create effective customer win-back campaigns, and download our templates to reengage with consumers.

Par Hannah Wren, Staff writer

Dernière mise à jour March 27, 2024

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What are customer win-back campaigns?

Customer win-back campaigns are marketing efforts designed to reengage inactive or churned customers. Businesses typically execute these campaigns through email, although they can also use other channels like messaging and direct mail. The goal is to win back the loyalty of these individuals through targeted messages, special offers, personalized discounts, and more.

The business-consumer relationship can be unpredictable. Some individuals are evergreen—remaining loyal to your business throughout the highs and lows of the relationship—while others follow a more cyclical pattern, shopping elsewhere when their preferences change. For the latter, you need a system to recapture those customers.

Customer win-back campaigns help businesses regrow customer loyalty through strategic, personalized messages. In this guide, we detail the basics of win-back campaigns, explain how they can contribute to an enhanced customer experience (CX), and share several win-back email campaign templates you can use to jump-start your efforts.

More in this guide:

When should you start a win-back campaign?

The right time to start a win-back campaign depends on your industry and the nature of your business. As a general rule, consider re-engaging customers after a few months of inactivity—but there’s no set time frame. It can be difficult to find the sweet spot between contacting them too soon or too late, but it’s important to develop the right timeline for your organization.

One thing’s for sure: Win-back campaigns are a proven strategy to reactivate a customer relationship. According to Validity, nearly 50 percent of recipients go on to read subsequent company emails after a win-back campaign. While businesses should prioritize customer retention to catch disengaged customers before they churn, successful win-back campaigns can be an essential safety net to recapture some lost revenue.

How to create a win-back campaign

A well-crafted win-back strategy can drive previously untapped revenue to your business. Here are some steps to create and manage a successful campaign and foster ongoing loyalty.

1. Identify inactive customers

One of the most crucial steps in developing a win-back campaign is to define what qualifies as an inactive customer. If you start a campaign to target them too late, the customer may have already moved on to another business. If it’s too early, they could become annoyed with your efforts.

Here are a few ways you can identify inactive customers:

With these steps, you can pinpoint a disengaged customer and target them accordingly.

2. Understand their reasons for churning

Next, you must understand why the customer left and your customer churn rate. Lean on your data to identify patterns in customer behavior, browse negative reviews, and conduct customer surveys or request feedback to gain insights into their experiences. Whether it’s product dissatisfaction or bad customer service, understanding why customers left can help with future messaging.

3. Personalize your messaging

Personalization is vital for all aspects of business, and even more so when conducting win-back campaigns. With this approach, segment your customers based on shared attributes—for example, create a campaign for midsize businesses that churned due to poor product features.

From here, generate thoughtful messages acknowledging past interactions, highlighting product or process improvements, or suggesting a new product based on past purchase history. This personalized messaging can remind the customer of their experience with your brand and show that you value the relationship.

4. Create a compelling offer

It’s not enough to send a message to your past customers—it needs to motivate them to return. Create a compelling offer that speaks to their specific motivations. This can be exclusive discounts, loyalty rewards, coupons, discount codes, and more.

5. Choose the right medium at the right time

Consumers are gravitating toward an omnichannel experience—an integrated form of communication that exists across multiple channels like email, an app, and social media. With an omnichannel approach, customers can stop a conversation on one channel and pick it up on a different medium without losing context. When sending win-back campaigns, accommodate your customers on the medium they prefer.

Additionally, consider the timing of your outreach, including when the customer will be working or when they are most active online. A well-timed message can increase open rates and the chances of success, while a message sent at the wrong time could languish unread or get sent straight to the trash bin.

Win-back campaign templates

Now that we’ve covered how to start a win-back campaign, we’ll dive into a few win-back email examples and templates.

1. Company update win-back template

The company update win-back campaign template helps you reconnect with past customers by highlighting exciting product updates and improvements. It aims to pique their interest and encourage them to reengage with your products or services.

It’s important to note that personalization is key to the success of these campaigns. In your message, acknowledge the reason the customer churned, and outline the steps you’ve taken to address the issue. For example, if a customer left due to a lack of convenient support channels, highlight the improvements you’ve made, such as adding instant messaging and AI chatbots to streamline the support experience.

Subject line: We miss you! Exciting updates inside!

Dear [Customer Name],

We’ve been hard at work behind the scenes and are thrilled to share some exciting updates and improvements to enhance your experience with [Company Name].

[Company Name] has undergone significant transformations, and we’re eager to show you what’s new:

  1. [New feature or process, such as a revamped user experience, enhanced features, exclusive offers, etc.]
  2. [New feature or process, such as a revamped user experience, enhanced features, exclusive offers, etc.]
  3. [New feature or process, such as a revamped user experience, enhanced features, exclusive offers, etc.]

We can’t wait to welcome you back!

[CTA button]

Example:

Below is an example of a company update win-back email from Lowe’s. The company highlights the improvements made since the recipient’s last purchase—most notably forgoing receipts in favor of a more convenient way to track previous purchases online.

A screenshot of a company update win-back campaign from Lowe’s.

2. Reminder win-back template

The reminder win-back campaign template gently nudges customers who may have churned or drifted away from your brand over time. It serves as an invitation to revisit the positive experiences associated with your company.

Subject line: Don’t forget about us: A gentle reminder from [Company Name]

Dear [Customer Name],

We know life gets busy, so we understand how easy it is for wonderful memories to fade away. That’s why we’re here, extending a warm invitation to return to the world of [Company Name].

Remember [mention a personalized experience like purchase history or past interactions]?

Stroll down memory lane with us and rediscover the inspiration and innovation that [Company Name] has always been about. We’ve been up to some exciting things lately, and we can’t wait for you to join us on this journey.

[CTA button]

Example:

Here is a reminder win-back email from Suntegrity. In the email, the company includes a warm message that details how much it values the customer and invites them to make another purchase.

A screenshot of a reminder win-back campaign from Suntegrity.

3. Offer win-back template

The offer win-back campaign template entices customers back to your brand by offering them an exclusive and personalized incentive. The call to action creates a sense of urgency and provides a reason for the customer to reengage with your products or services.

Subject line: We miss you! Here’s a special offer to welcome you back!

Dear [Customer Name],

We haven’t heard from you recently and miss having you as part of the [Company Name] family. We’re extending a special offer designed just for you to show our appreciation for your past support.

[Offer details]

This is our way of saying thank you and inviting you to rediscover the experiences that await you at [Company Name].

Redeem your exclusive offer below:

[CTA button]

Example:

This offer win-back email from Uber Eats entices the customer to reengage by offering them a 40 percent discount on their next three orders. The email also includes clear CTA buttons to redeem the offer.

A screenshot of an offer win-back campaign from Uber Eats.

4. Feedback win-back template

The feedback win-back campaign template invites customers to share their thoughts and experiences. This message shows the recipient that you care and value their point of view even if they aren’t going to remain a customer.

Subject line: Your voice matters! Share your thoughts with [Company Name]

Dear [Customer Name],

It’s been some time since we had the pleasure of serving you at [Company Name], and we’d love to hear about your past experiences. Your insights are invaluable to us, and your feedback can help shape the future of our brand.

Share your thoughts: [CTA button to website or feedback form]

We look forward to hearing from you.

Example:

This feedback win-back email from Seeso is a good example of how to ask churned customers for their opinions. The company includes a clear CTA button for consumers to complete the survey and also indicates it will be short, so they are incentivized to follow through.

A screenshot of a feedback win-back campaign from Seeso.

5. Final chance win-back template

While win-back campaigns are primarily designed to retain customers, some individuals will inevitably leave. If this happens, a final chance email can help streamline your mailing list so you know your messages reach an audience genuinely interested in your brand.

Subject line: Last chance! We don’t want you to miss out.

Dear [Customer Name],

This is your final chance to stay in the loop! After this message, you won’t receive any more updates from us. We value your presence in our community and want to ensure you know all about the incredible experiences we’re crafting.

If you’d like to continue receiving updates and being a part of the [Company Name] journey, now’s the time to take action.

[CTA button: “Keep me on the list”]

Example:

In the final chance win-back email below, the company Rue emphasizes this will be the last email to the consumer, unless they choose to continue receiving messages. The email features a clear CTA for staying on the mailing list.

A screenshot of a final chance win-back campaign from Rue.

The ultimate customer win-back email templates

Download all 10 templates—including the five above along with five additional templates—to reengage your customers and redevelop relationships.

How to segment your customer win-back campaign email list

Customer segmentation is crucial for a win-back campaign. Segmenting your email lists ensures individuals receive personalized messages that resonate with them, thereby increasing open, click-through, and conversion rates.

Start segmentation based on shared attributes. For business-to-consumer (B2C) customers, these could be things like age, demographics, and purchasing habits. For business-to-business (B2B) customers, budget, company size, and business needs are logical segments. Grouping similar individuals or businesses together makes it easier to send personalized messages at scale.

Another popular segmentation method is the recency, frequency, and monetary value (RFM) analysis. This method segments customers based on:

  • Recency: the period since a customer’s last order or last communication with your brand
  • Frequency: the number of orders the customer placed
  • Monetary value: the price or average order value from when they were a customer

You can assign customers a score based on each of these three factors and use this information to target your most profitable customers.

How to measure the success of your win-back campaign

Now that we’ve covered how to create a win-back campaign and offered some templates you can use, let’s go over how to measure success. Consider following these steps to ensure your campaigns are performing effectively.

1. Adopt a customer-first mindset

Being a customer-first business means putting the customer at the center of organizational decision-making. Businesses that adopt this mindset make decisions based on what’s good for the customer rather than only focusing on profitability.

A successful win-back campaign can rebuild trust and loyalty, laying the foundation for sustained customer engagement. Organizations that adopt a customer-first mindset often see success with their reengagement campaigns and newfound, long-term loyalty.

2. Be proactive

Before engaging in a win-back campaign, define what success looks like for your business. When you have predetermined goals, you can proactively shift course to ensure success. For example, if your current campaigns are underperforming, try adopting a different segmentation or messaging approach.

3. Regularly ask for feedback

No one knows how effective your win-back campaigns are better than your customers. Actively seek input from successfully reactivated customers to understand their experience with the win-back process.

Use surveys like customer satisfaction (CSAT) scores, feedback forms, personalized follow-up emails, and other methods to gather insight into customer sentiment. Capturing feedback enables you to pinpoint where you’re succeeding and where there’s room for improvement in your future outreach efforts.

4. Collect and monitor data

As with any marketing campaign, measuring performance is crucial for assessing success and identifying areas of improvement. Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that align with your win-back campaign goals, like reactivation rates and email opens. From there, you can adjust your methods to improve your success rate.

Additionally, you should segment this data based on different customer groups and campaign elements. This can give you insights that can be applied to other emails.

Frequently asked questions

Win back customers with the right CX partner

While customer win-back campaigns play a critical role in reengaging churned consumers, businesses prioritizing CX can build long-term customer relationships that don’t need to be saved by last-minute campaigns.

At Zendesk, we’re experts in helping businesses create environments that encourage their customers to stick around for the long haul. With our CX software, you can forge meaningful connections with your customers and battle churn with features like chat and messaging, knowledge base capabilities, and advanced agent workspaces. Start a free trial of Zendesk today.

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