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The Anatomy of a Perfect Win-Back Campaign

email examples

Win-back campaigns also known as re-engagement emails are great at increasing customer engagement and decreasing the inevitiable churn that comes with any eCommerce business. As part of of our “Anatomy of a Perfect Email Marketing Campaign” series, we’ve broken down all the bits and pieces you need to know in order to implement and see results from your very own win-back email campaign.

What are Win-Back Email Campaigns?

Win-back email campaigns or re-engagment email campaigns are the messages you send to your dormant or lapsed customers in order to reignite interest and bring them back to your site. A Salesforce study revealed that 63% of marketers believe that re-engagement or win-back campaigns are very effective, and Return Path reports that 45% of recipients to whom win-back emails were sent turned out to actually open and read any subsequent messages sent!

Sending Re-engagement Emails to Lapsed Customers

To know your customer is to love your customer…

  • Their circumstances/interests have changed (e.g. they’ve left the country, you’re a golfing equipment retailer and they’re not into golf any more, they used to buy presents for their girlfriend from you but they’ve since broken up 🙁 ).

  • They’ve changed email address and have signed up for a new account (causing annoying duplication, but you can begin to address this by setting up a script to identify similar customer entries in your ecommerce platform and merging ones that are obviously the same person – difficult to do, but a worthwhile activity).

  • They bought something because you were offering an extraordinarily great deal on it, but they were never really that engaged with or interested in your brand.

  • Your emails might be falling into their junk mail folder so they never see or act upon them (putting an ‘add us to your address book’ CTA in your emails can be a good remedy to this).

  • They’re a gift shopper and buy from you only very occasionally.

  • They had a bad experience with you for whatever reason and have decided not to come back.

  • Your product offering has changed, and they’re just not that into you anymore.

  • Your marketing messages just aren’t doing it for them.

Segmenting Lapsed Customers For Win-Back Campaigns

Right, so we’ve established that your lapsed customers may have gone cold for a whole host of different reasons. Factor into that other things like how valuable a customer they are and you get one very complicated picture, especially since you want to contact these people with messages that really resonate with them rather than boring, generic fluff. Segmenting your lapsed customers is key.

But how? There are technologies (like our very own Ometria platform, for instance) that do all the analysis necessary for identifying and segmenting customers that are at risk of lapsing. If you haven’t got access to any of these solutions, doing a spot of analysis using an RFM matrix can be useful (but if you want to get it right, it can involve some pretty heavy data analysis).

Below is a simple RFM matrix, which maps three things that are great indicators of the customer relationship:

  • Recency from last order (in months) – the most important measure of customer health

  • Frequency (number of orders in a year)

  • Monetary value (low/med/high) – based on average order value

Best Re-engagement Email Subject Lines

here are some winning examples of subject lines:

this is a subject line

this is a subject line

this is a subject line

Effective Calls to Action for Your Win-Back Campaigns

call to action 


call to action


call to action


Win-back email campaign examples

1. Company A: “It’s Been a While!”

blurb blah blah

2. Company A: “It’s Been a While!”



blurb blah blah

3. Company A: “It’s Been a While!”

blurb blah blah

4. Company A: “It’s Been a While!”

blurb blah blah

Win Back Email Campaign Best Practices

  • Use a shorter template and subject lines (e.g., “We Miss You” or “Was it Something we Said?”) that differs from your current emails to try and capture attention.
  • Focus on one clear call to action.
  • If the email addresses have not been mailed for an extended period of time and the file size is large, send reengagement campaigns from a different IP than that which is used to mail to active, engaged subscribers.
  • Create a throttling schedule based on the total size of the reengagement campaign and deploy in smaller quantities to monitor complaints, unsubscribes, and unknown users.
  • Don’t send only 1 reengagement email. Test a variety of different content and calls to action to try and reengage subscribers.
  • If providing an incentive, test different offers. According to Return Path’s research, $ off incentives performed better than % off. Make this offer truly compelling and hard to pass up.

Advanced Tips for Re-engagement Emails

  • Experiment with the tone and sentiment that will be a good fit for your brand. Test to determine whether your campaigns see a lift with a straight-forward approach or a more emotional appeal.
  • If possible, use any existing additional data (beyond last engagement) to personalize the email and increase the chance of reengagement.
  • Remind subscribers about the value of receiving emails from your brand.
  • Once the initial reengagement campaign has been tested and deployed, create an optimized triggered campaign that can be sent to inactive subscribers once they hit the defined inactivity threshold.
  • Review your reengagement campaign content and metrics regularly to ensure that they continue to drive positive results.
  • Solicit feedback. Understanding why these subscribers stopped engaging can help inform future email program strategy and reduce subscriber inactivity.
  • Don’t remove subscribers immediately after sending a reengagement campaign. Provide the opportunity for subscribers to reengage with your brand.
  • When you remove subscribers, be explicit in communicating next steps and honor those statements. It should be clear at what point email messaging will cease.

How Do Win-Back Email Campaigns Perform?

Win back email campaigns tend to perform well after blah lbh lbha kj. here are the key metrics:


Key Takeaways

  • Don’t just shrug your shoulders and let your lapsing or lapsed customers ride off into the sunset, put them onto a dedicated win-back email workflow until you win them back.

  • Once you’ve decided what time frame constitutes a customer being deemed ‘at risk of lapsing’ or ‘lapsed’, segment your lapsed email campaigns for better results. You could segment by:

    • How valuable they are to you (high CLV vs low CLV, high average order value vs low average order value, and whether they purchase frequently or infrequently)

    • Whether they’ve been active on your site during the lapsed period or not (if they have, personalise your emails with what they’ve been looking at).

  • When it comes to the contents of the email, try experimenting with one or more of the following:

    • A simple ‘we miss you’ email (preferably personalised)

    • An offer or promotion (dynamic, depending on whether they’re a valuable customer you reaaaallly want to win back or not)

    • Reminder emails about any offer you gave them

    • A re-permission email, asking whether they still want to hear from you

Sending Win-Back Campaigns to Your Lapsed Customers

Win-back emails can be an effective way to reengage subscribers as long as marketers use the right data (read rates, inbox activity) know what keywords are effective in subject lines, and test to learn the optimal number and frequency of win-back messages. Email Win-Back Programs page 10 | Share this: The key is not to measure win-back programs as standalone campaigns. Send inactive subscribers multiple win-back messages. Make them enticing offers. Return Path data says “$ off” offers work best, but each marketer should test to determine what works for them. Give reengagement campaign recipients at least two months to interact with the brand understanding the interaction may not occur with the win-back message.


  • Thanks Daniel for the interesting article and for clearly spelling out a strategy for win-back campaigns. I just wanted to point out that it looks like you published an incomplete draft of your post. Check out the content under the headers:
    – Best Re-engagement Email Subject Lines.
    – Effective Calls to Action for Your Win-Back Campaigns.
    – How Do Win-Back Email Campaigns Perform?
    I don’t think you intend for those sections to be written like that. Or?