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The Importance of Winback and Re-engagement Email Series — and What You Need to Get Started

 In Email Marketing, Re-engagement

It’s a fact: One in every four of your email subscribers will stop engaging with your content. Often, a lost customer will show signs of becoming an inactive subscriber before dropping off, yet you continue paying for these subscribers as they’re losing interest. For some clients, up to 60% of email subscribers are not engaging with or even opening emails. 

When subscribers are disengaging with your content, it’s important to have an automated Winback or Re-engagement series to kick in to try to bring them back.

The simplest difference between “Winback” vs “Re-engagement” is whether someone has or has not made a purchase. The Winback email series engages past purchasers who have not made a recent purchase and/or stopped engaging with you. The Re-engagement series engages inactive subscribers who have not purchased anything. You can certainly do a combination of both series, as well.

Some things to consider when making this decision and how to decide when someone starts getting these emails include:

  • For the Winback series: You can take a look at how often customers typically have purchased your products and add 30-45 days from when you would have expected them to make a purchase. (e.g., Last purchase was more than X days ago.)
  • For the Re-engagement series: Creating segments to help you see when the customer’s opening of emails dropped off. (If you have web tracking, you can also include “visited website.”)
    • Last opened 30-90 days ago
    • Last opened 91-180 days ago
    • Last opened 181-270 days ago
    • Last opened 271-365 days ago
    • Last opened 365+ days ago

With these segments and numbers, you can see approximately when people dropped off and when you should trigger the series.

Then, think about how many emails you want in the series, how much time should pass between emails, and when someone will stop getting the flow emails (for instance, after they click “I’m still interested,” or once they make a purchase.)

Next, you’ll want to think about what kind of content you want to send. Most important to consider:

  • Do you have an enticing subject line? (do you want funny and/or catchy subject lines?)
  • What can you offer? For instance, a higher, rare discount more likely will get people to engage/purchase.
  • Do you include your most popular products or recommendations based on the customer’s purchase/browse history?
  • Can you include helpful blogs/articles or company information?

Another way to make the email personal is to tell the subscriber exactly what happens when they’re inactive. Will they receive emails less often? Including a call-to-action that asks subscribers to click “I’m still interested” to continue receiving offers/emails, or “No, I’m not interested” to receive fewer emails or unsubscribe.

With all this information gathered, you’re ready to build your emails and set up your flows.

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