How to Win Back Customers with, Personalized Email

Tired of costly customer acquisition campaigns? Consider shifting to customer retention. Here’s how to win back customers with email, as well a few easy ways to minimize the number of customers who walk away for good.

Customer acquisition is a costly business. According to Invespcro, it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one. Despite that, nearly half (44%) of companies focus their efforts on customer acquisition over retention.

It makes sense to do everything in your power to keep your customers from bailing. Retaining customers starts with keeping them happy. When customer satisfaction is high you see boosts in customer lifetime value (CLV).

A customer-centric approach can keep your customers satisfied, but sometimes despite your efforts you’ll still get customers who disappear (or are at risk of bailing). The best way to keep them coming back, lift retention, and boost CLV is to hit them with the right personalized win-back campaign to capture their attention.

How to Win Back Customers with, Personalized Email

Here are some easy ways to win back customers with email.

Talk to Your Customers

The easiest way to win back customers is to talk to them. Any gone or at-risk customer can be contacted in order to open a dialogue about how you can improve, what their preferences are, and any other feedback they can offer.

Manual outreach may be more difficult for larger brands with a substantial customer base. In those cases, use customer behavior to trigger automated campaigns in order to ask the same questions.

A smart add-on for email campaigns of this nature is to offer them the option of changing their preferences. This could include:

  • How often they receive emails
  • The types of emails they receive
  • Product and content preferences to segment them and send more targeted emails

Present Them With the Unsubscribe

The goal is to keep customers from completely disengaging, but sometimes the best way to do that is to ask them if it’s time to say goodbye. A lot of customers don’t intentionally disengage from a brand. They get busy, life happens, interests change, and they just forget about you.

Present them with an email asking them if they’re still interested. Use a single call-to-action to adjust preferences or unsubscribe. This nudge can be enough to make them realize they do still want to hear from you.

Worst case, they unsubscribe. On the upside, if they do unsubscribe, you’re eliminating an address that’s otherwise negatively impacting open rates on your campaigns.

Vary Your Content

If you want to win back customers with email it’s generally a good idea to avoid hard sells. I’m not talking about hitting them with a promo. A special offer can help bring an at-risk-of-leaving customer back into the fold.

I’m referring to emails that try desperately to persuade contacts to stay with pressure, like those stating what they’ll miss out on if they leave and why they should stay.

Instead of a hard sell, try to win them back by changing up your content. Focus on soft sell content geared toward relationship building and lifting engagement. Instead of telling them what they’ll miss if they go, show them.

Set Up Win-back Campaigns

A win-back campaign with a special offer can be effective, but only if the personalized offer suits the customer. A simple way to personalize this type of campaign is to use customer data you already have access to like email engagement rates, the customer’s last order date, or other behavioral data that throws up red flag metrics showing they’re at risk for leaving.

You can create campaigns of this nature by using autoresponders with trigger events. Send one or a series of emails and special offers that entice the customer to reengage in some manner, usually a purchase as a result of a special discount offer.

Follow an Email Schedule

Sometimes the easiest way to win back customers (and avoid losing them in the future) is to set a schedule for when you’ll send emails. Then, stick to it.

If you rarely contact customers it’s easy for them to forget about your brand, products, values, and why they purchased from you in the first place. By setting an email schedule and following it you ensure your brand stays front-of-mind for customers.

Let Customers Know How You’ve Improved

A self-aware business that listens to customers and applies their feedback is taking a smart customer-centric approach. That leads to happy customers, as well as lifts in customer lifetime value.

But, not all of your customers stick around long enough to see improvements.

When you make changes, especially improvements to a known issue that may have cost you customers, make sure you notify them. Thank your customers for feedback and show them how you’ve improved in order to win them back.

Let Customers Know What You’ve Added

General updates are perfect for adding content variety and winning back customers. Share new products, new services, new policies, new staff, etc. via email either as soon as they happen or in the next upcoming newsletter. Leverage all things new to win back customers.

Get Dynamic with Abandoned Cart Emails

eCommerce stores should always have automated abandoned cart emails that trigger when a customer bails on a sale. You never know when they’ll come back, if ever, so use an abandoned cart email to win back as many customers as possible. A few things to keep in mind:

  • A series is better than a single email
  • Show them what they left in the cart
  • If they don’t respond to the first email in the series, consider adding a special offer in the second or third email enticing them to return
  • Add dynamic product recommendations similar to what they left in their cart. You might help them find a better product if what they initially considered purchasing didn’t quite fit their needs


Before planning costly campaigns to acquire new customers, look to the customers you have. You’re bound to have folks you haven’t heard from in a while. Put effort into using email, especially the tips above, to keep them from dropping out of your funnel forever.

Top image via mrmohock.

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