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Originally published on July 12, 2019. Last updated October 1, 2021.
Inactive subscribers are detrimental to the health of your email list. For e-commerce businesses, unopened emails mean fewer conversions and ultimately fewer sales. It may be tempting to clear out inactive subscribers, but before you hit delete, give them a chance to stay on your list with a re-engagement campaign.
Re-engagement emails, also called win back emails, put the power back in the hands of your subscribers. Let them tell you if they want to be taken off the list, rather than preemptively deleting a potential customer. Considering that it costs you more money to gain subscribers than it does to keep them on your list, it’s best to make a final effort to activate them.
Take a look at how to create a proper re-engagement email campaign to win back your customers.
What is a re-engagement email?
A re-engagement email is an email that focuses on bringing back inactive subscribers. These emails are also referred to as win back emails or reactivation emails.
The goal of sending these emails is to increase subscriber engagement and retention.
It’s important to send a re-engagement email because inactive subscribers influence your email deliverability and sender reputation. The result of a bad sender reputation is that your emails could end up being marked as spam.
Because email marketing has a high ROI, it’s best to make an effort to retain subscribers.
What should your re-engagement email campaign look like?
To set up your re-engagement campaign, you first need to understand why your customers are overlooking your emails. Typically, it’s due to one or more of these reasons:
- Unengaging subject lines
- Not optimized for mobile
- Hard-to-follow design
- Too many emails
- Repetitive or insignificant content
These reasons signify that you’re either not meeting the needs of your customer or they aren’t as interested in what you have to offer anymore. Understand exactly where you are going wrong by A/B testing your re-engagement email campaign.
After pinpointing why customers might be disengaging, develop your re-engagement email sequence. Here’s what your customer winback email sequence should look like:
- “We miss you” email. Start your re-engagement email campaign with this reminder email to put your brand top of mind for customers.
- Ask about email preferences. Follow-up with an email urging customers to review their email preferences. Give them the opportunity to adjust the frequency in which they receive emails from you.
- Offer a freebie. Provide customers with a win back discount code or freebie to reel them back into your business. Be sure to state the offer in the subject line of your email.
- Finally, part ways. If they don’t engage with the first three emails, send this final one as a goodbye before removing them from your email list. Show them how to unsubscribe, but also provide the option for customers to come back if they want to.
After designing this email sequence to fit your brand, make sure to use automation tools to make this re-engagement process easier.
5 great examples of e-commerce re-engagement emails
There are a number of best practices and re-engagement email tactics to create urgency and ignite interest in your subscribers. Implement the best practices and explore these e-commerce re-engagement email sequence examples that do a great job of winning back inactive subscribers.
1. Create urgency with a coupon offer end date
While many re-engagement emails offer coupons and discounts, this Crate & Barrel email amps up the pressure by offering a deal with an expiration date.
Subject: Because we miss you! Here’s 15% off.
2. Don’t push too hard
OleHenriksen uses this re-engagement email to connect with customers and remind them of their brand’s value without being too pushy. They give readers an easy way to opt out. The brand hints that while the customer’s business would be great, they aren’t too dependent on it. They also support this with a reminder as to why customers should stick around.
Subject: Not to be clingy, but…
They even included an on-brand animated GIF.
3. Get creative with communication
Creative copy and fun visuals go a long way when it comes to attracting customers. In this email, Lumosity recreates the intimacy of texting with a GIF to increase engagement. The GIF is paired with an eye-catching welcome-back offer that will surely lead to more conversions.
Subject: You can come back for free
This emotion-inducing GIF makes it feel like your business has developed a personal friendship with the customer, while also putting the ball in their court as you wait for their reply to your message (the email).
4. Create in-person engagement
Reminding customers of a rewards or loyalty program will spark their interest, but getting them to come visit in-person strengthens the brand relationship even more. Here Paper Source is reminding its customers of all that its store locations have to offer, while also targeting its rewards program offer to in-store transactions.
Subject: There’s Still Time!
5. Offer a timely gift
This re-engagement email from The Tie Bar came just in time for St. Patrick’s Day. By offering a four-leaf clover with every purchase, the brand boosts urgency and capitalizes on positive associations with the holiday.
Subject: We Miss You! Here’s A Free Gift
Design with BEE Pro to increase engagement
Ready to build your e-commerce re-engagement email sequence? Start with one of BEE Pro’s e-commerce email templates. Customize these templates with your logo and on-brand graphics quickly and easily. Edit and alter design elements however you like, and even export your win back campaign to your favorite integrated email marketing platform like ActiveCampaign or Mailchimp. Optimize your re-engagement emails and keep a healthy email list to ensure that your business will drive more sales.
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