Hark Thandi
Hark Thandi 19 October 2015

Rekindling Brand Loyalty: How To Win Back Lapsed Customers

Running a win-back campaign allowed us to re-engage 20% of dormant email subscribers.

Customers are bombarded with marketing emails, so it’s no surprise that brands are finding it harder to get attention in their subscribers’ inboxes.


But if a large number of your subscribers don’t seem to be engaging with your messages at all, it’s probably worth considering a targeted campaign to either reignite their interest or take them off your mailing list altogether.

According to email technology provider StrongView, 50% of marketers intend to focus on lapsed customer campaigns to reactivate inactive subscribers – and with good reason.

Why Run A Lapsed Customer Campaign?

First and foremost, it gives you a chance to re-engage dormant customers, encouraging them to come back to your outlets – or at least start reading your emails again. Secondly, it’ll reduce the likelihood of your brand’s emails being marked as spam by removing inactive users from your database. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. Mailbox providers like Gmail and Outlook monitor how engaged recipients are with a brand’s marketing messages. The more people who interact positively with your emails, the less likely it is that they will be treated as spam.

  2. Mailbox providers also turn some inactive email addresses into spam traps. If these addresses are in your subscriber database and receiving your emails, you risk being labelled a spammer and seeing your deliverability suffer.

So, as well as regaining customers you’ll also get to stay in inbox providers’ good books.

How To Get Results From Your Campaign

We recently ran a targeted win-back campaign for six Mitchells & Butlers brands, including Toby Carvery and Nicholson’s pubs, which re-engaged 20% of dormant customers in the database, successfully driving 1.86% of lapsed guests into outlets. Here are our tips.

1. Identify Who Counts As A ‘Lapsed’ Customer

Obviously this will vary according to your industry and the frequency with which you send marketing emails, but usually six months to a year of inactivity indicates a lapsed customer. We chose to target all subscribers who’d been inactive for six months or more, totalling an average of 40.03% of each brand’s database.

2. Create A Strong Offer To Entice Inactive Users

Remember, these subscribers have more or less given up on your brand, so in order to get them back on side you’ll need to offer a strong incentive.

We did this in two offer phases: for those who hadn’t reacted after we’d emailed them twice with a win-back offer, we upgraded the discount to a meatier offer that would be harder to pass up. We found this worked well for brands who don’t tend to send offers out by email regularly, but was less effective for those who do – though it still encouraged a decent number of lapsed users to convert.

3. Choose A Subject Line That Will Stand Out

This always applies to your email campaigns, but now more than ever your subject line needs to grab your subscribers’ attention. Our tips? Use personalisation, mention the offer and, if you can, make it clear that you’re trying to win them back – for example, “Matt, can we tempt you back with 50% off?”. It’s also a good idea to A/B test your subject lines for maximum impact.

It’s a good idea to follow through on this tone with your email copy, too. Use humour, nostalgia or even guilt to engage your audience – stronger language is more likely to provoke a response, after all.

4. Offer Clear Unsubscribe Instructions

If they’re really not interested, don’t prolong their misery any longer – gently remind them where the unsubscribe link is. That way you’ll have a cleaner subscriber database, and they’ll have a cleaner inbox.

Another thing we’d suggest is excluding addresses receiving the lapsed customer campaigns from your business-as-usual emails to avoid confusion and give them one clear marketing message from your brand.

5. Track Your Results All The Way To The Till

Whether it’s through tracking codes for e-commerce or unique voucher codes for bricks-and-mortar retail brands, make sure you’re able to track your campaign’s success further than just open rates and click-throughs to get the full picture.

If your win-back programme was successful, it’s then worth thinking about creating an automated campaign for future lapsed users, as well as digging deeper into the data you have to help prevent subscribers from disengaging in the first place.

Struggling to engage your email subscribers? Download our free guide on how to increase email engagement.

Original Article


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