4 Win-back Email Strategies for E-commerce Sellers

By Rob Zaleski
May 23, 2019
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As an e-commerce business, your email marketing list is your most valuable asset. Every list requires a little TLC to keep it ready for your offers and campaigns. Over time, some subscribers may become inactive for a variety of reasons. To successfully get them back, you’ll need to apply some win-back email strategies to keep them from being gone for good. Let’s look at how to do that and some specific examples.

Why Good Subscribers Become Inactive

Before we share some win-back email strategies, it is crucial that you understand why you have any inactive subscribers. Even the best list experiences some churn. Customers lose interest in your business, they forget about your products, or they simply stop using the email account they used to subscribe.

Marketing Land conducted research related to win back campaigns. They found most marketing email lists contain 66% inactive and unengaged subscribers. Digging deeper, they divided those subscribers into four categories:

  • Subscribers using secondary email accounts that they don’t monitor.
  • Subscribers who signed up using personal email accounts they don’t actively use anymore. At one time these were the subscribers’ primary accounts.
  • Subscribers who signed up using secondary accounts that they no longer actively use.
  • Subscribers who signed up using abandoned or “idle” accounts.
  • As people periodically change their email addresses, it is natural to lose active subscribers over time. However, sometimes the subscriber’s interests shift and they simply stop opening or reading emails on topics that previously interested them.

The Marketing Land research further explored the frequency of win-back campaigns. They discovered that 33 out of top companies on the “Internet Retailer’s Top 100 list” used win-back email campaigns. These campaigns had an average open rate of 12%.

Win-back campaigns are worthwhile since it is easier and more effective to nurture existing prospects and customers than to acquire new customers. In addition, your win-back campaign helps clean your mailing list. Having too many inactive or idle email addresses on your marketing list doesn’t help your conversion rates, and they also skew your key performance indicator data.

E-commerce companies effectively use a variety of win-back email strategies. The best strategy varies depending on what your audience responds to. If you’re looking for ideas to test with your audience, the following four email marketing campaign ideas may help.

How Customer Segmentation Helps Keep Your List Healthy

Before you begin, spend time segmenting your email list to identify the best candidates for your win-back campaign. Customer segmentation is essential to a healthy list. Not only does segmentation help you form your win-back campaign, but it also helps you every step of the way. Some benefits from segmenting your list are:

  • Better segmentation helps you deliver custom promotions and offers that interest specific people in your list. For example, your offers to previous buyers may be different than your offer to a visitor who added something to their shopping cart then abandoned it.
  • Segmentation serves as a reference as you see which areas your list concentrates on. It also gives you the opportunity to track the most effective means of acquiring new subscribers and customers.
  • Your subscribers are more likely to open emails that address their interests. Many e-commerce stores cater to customers with more than one set of interests. For example, a shoe store offering men’s, women’s, and children’s shoes may benefit from segmenting based on children’s shoe purchases and targeting them with a back-to-school campaign at the end of the summer.

The main takeaway is that you should take time to tag subscribers according to their interests and activities. After all, different strategies are more effective for previous customers than for people who clicked through a Facebook post but never purchased.

Start your win-back campaign by tagging subscribers who have not opened one of your emails for a specified period of time like 60 or 90 days. Pay special attention to subscribers who previously purchased or otherwise engaged with your business.

Four Effective Win-Back Email Campaign Strategies

1. “We Miss You” Campaign

The best email marketing feels personal. Remind the subscriber that it has been a while since they engaged and let them know your business would love to reconnect. This campaign appeals to the relationship you and the subscriber have built. Some businesses like to try this approach after 90 days, as doing it too soon may seem needy and spammy. Timing and tone are important.

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2. The “C” Campaign

The “C” campaign offers something like a coupon, free shipping, add-on, or another incentive. Marketing Land’s study indicated it is one of the most effective win-back strategies, but always remember that each audience has its own personality so you always want to test. The “C” campaign not only has the potential to win back subscribers, but it also provides the opportunity to convert subscribers into customers.

Win-back abandoned cart email

3. “Is This The End?” Campaign

This style of campaign helps keep your list vibrant and clean. Offer subscribers who haven’t shopped with you for a while the opportunity to engage or unsubscribe. While it always hurts to lose an actual or potential customer, a clean email list is one of your business’s most powerful marketing assets. Most likely, you want to focus energy and resources on people who are interested in your products and your business.

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4. “Feedback Or Subscription Options” Email

This style of campaign gives you the opportunity to solicit feedback from your subscribers. If a subscriber has an active account but isn’t opening your emails, then it may be because your email marketing is not meeting their needs or addressing their interests. This feedback may be helpful as you refine your email marketing strategy. Include a short survey so you have a way to collect the feedback. It may guide you in adjusting subscription preferences, customer segmentation, content, or cadence.

ShippingEasy makes it simple to identify your lapsed customers to target for win-back campaigns. In the Customers section of the platform, it only takes a single click on the Inactive status and you can view an entire list of customers who qualify (as well as other statuses).

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Even better, you can test out this feature as part of the platform, and it’s all FREE for your first 30 days. You even have access to an Email Marketing Expert who can help you craft campaigns that convert, with some even on autopilot! Click below to get started.

Try It Now!

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Rob Zaleski

Head of Brand at ShippingEasy
I'm a digital content and social media nerd with a passion for telling stories, helping connect people, and finding joy in the details.

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