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Win-Back Campaigns


Win-back campaigns are targeted emails, segmented to past customers, after a specific period of time. For example, you could offer a custom 15% discount code on the customer’s next order, 60 days after they placed their first order.

Win-back campaigns can be segmented to customers who don’t purchase on subscription, encouraging them to subscribe.

Win-back campaigns can be segmented to purchasers of specific products, encouraging them to buy accessories for their product.

Win-back campaigns can be targeted to people who purchased related products to new launches, encouraging them to come back and see the new shiny thing.

We’ll talk about the properties of great win-back campaigns, the different types of win-back campaigns, and how you can use win-back campaigns to boost your customer lifetime value.

Types of win-backs

First, let’s talk about each kind of win-back, and explain when and where you might want to use each of them.

Generic win-backs

Generic win-backs are discount codes that you send someone for your entire store. They work especially well for beauty, apparel, home goods, and other industries that have diverse product lines with continual refreshes of new product.

In generic win-back campaigns, you send a percentage or dollar amount discount to the customer on their next order. The discount should be time-delimited, with an expiration. (You can safely send expiration reminders to customers a day beforehand, assuming they don’t use the discount by then.) And the discount should be unique, so that your code doesn’t end up on coupon aggregators, and so you can track who used what code and when. (Win-back take rate is important!)

Accessory win-backs

For electronics, everyday carry, and other industries that have a flagship-accessory model (think iPhone & case, or camera & lens), accessory win-backs are super useful.

Offer customers a targeted discount on all accessory products that work with the product they specifically purchased, along with a link to shop the full range of compatible products.

For accessory and generic win-backs, start sending your win-back a month after the customer places their order. Any sooner and you’re likely to come off as begging for money; any later and the customer might forget all about you. But don’t be afraid to test this, as the right duration differs from store to store.

Subscription win-backs

Subscription win-backs are perfect for food, skincare, and other consumable industries. If a customer didn’t buy a product on subscription, upsell them to a subscription – with either a discount on their first order, or a lifetime discount for the duration of their subscription.

Lifetime discounts are a bold move, but they can help tremendously for take rate. Be careful if you choose to go this route.

Win-backs should fire when the customer is done using approximately 80% of their consumable product. For a sense of when to fire the email, look at your existing reorder rate.

New product win-backs

Win-backs should fire upon the launch of any new products, assuming you’re using your win-back campaign as part of your launch.

The timing for this varies, but I wouldn’t personally send a win-back in the first month after the customer places their order, even if you happen to launch something new during that time. Don’t forget that you’ll have many other customers to market to!

As for the segmentation, make sure you’re only sending any new product win-backs to customers who would actually be likely to take them. If someone has bought women’s apparel from your store for the past two years, don’t send them a win-back when you bring out a new line of men’s suits.

Win-back behavior

Coupons should automatically be applied upon clicking the CTA in a win-back. Here’s a good app for applying automatic discounts at checkout. Pre-filled cart links are ideal for this sort of campaign; reducing the number of clicks & page loads to a sale is always helpful for conversion.

Win-backs don’t need follow-ups, but if you get particularly desperate, you can provide a win-back with a deeper discount a couple of weeks later. Be careful when doing this, though, lest your customers perceive your brand as further downmarket than you want it to be perceived!

Wrapping up

Win-back campaigns are easy to design, but finessing their behavior and segmenting is the majority of the work. With specific, targeted win-back campaigns to your industry and customer segments, you should see significant increases in CLTV and repeat purchase rate.

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