February 8, 2010

5 Win Back eMail Campaign Examples

A win back e-mail campaign is a set up that helps you recover people that have 1. either dropped out of your e-mail send list or 2. stopped using one or several of your services on your website. Win-back campaigns are almost always automated and they should be as they would otherwise take far too much of your time.

This blog post aims at giving you 5 examples of when and how you can use win back e-mail campaigns. I will try to give you some insight to how I build win back campaigns and hopefully give you one example that works for you.

1. The survey win back

The most common win back campaign is the survey. This win back theme basically sends the user an e-mail saying that “according to our records you haven’t used our service for some time”, and then proposes the user with a survey on how to improve the service.

The trick here is not the survey, but it is what you do once someone has completed the survey. Simply put, you need to “put something in their account that they can claim if they start using it again”. For some types of accounts this is simple. It can be anything from a 5 dollar “free play” bonus or it can be a 5 percent of the top of anything they buy in your store.

The thing is that you can conceal your offer or discount in a reward for something that the user has done. If the user feels they have done something to deserve something, then they are more likely to also claim their reward. So, regardless of what you do, the survey win back is based on the notion that you offer the user to improve your service in one way or another and then you give them some reward for their effort.

2. The special event win back

The special event win back is sort of spammy if the user has not opened your e-mail for some time. You probably should only send these kind of e-mails to people who still open your e-mails, but don’t buy anything. These people need an extra push in the back in order to get shopping.

Simple enough. You create an artificial or real event. The event can be a “Wonder wheel shopping spree” it can be a “Big bonus Bonanza Day” or it can be any kind of limited event you build some special offer around. The trick is to make the person feel that the time is limited.

Usually when I set up these types of campaigns I use two main send outs.

  1. First I send an e-mail telling the people of the event. I put the time limit in the subject and use the sender to show event name and brand.
  2. When half of the time has passed I send an e-mail at another time in the day telling the person that they only have “half time left” to join the others in this successful event.

The first e-mail usually doesn’t effect people that much. But when you use the words “success” with a time limit to it, then you start seeing what predictable and irrational people we really are. So, that’s the special event win back.

3. The randomly chosen win back

The “randomly chosen” win back is the most general of them all. You could basically send this one to any selection of your e-mail data base. Only once every year to the same person though, otherwise the random won’t feel that random anymore.

The randomly chosen theme is based on the notion that you have some kind of offer that you want to test. You don’t really have to test it, but you use it as a way to 1. launch a new product 2. receive the initial customer reviews in order to see what you can expect from sales.

The core difference between the randomly chosen and the survey win back is that you have more freedom with your value proposition in the randomly chosen one. It is not as intrusive to say that someone has been randomly chosen, and thus the only thing you really have to care about is that you do not send the same e-mail to too many people from the same social network.

Now you might ask how to know this.. well.. connect your database to Facebook and you’ll know who’s friends with who.

4. The “you have unclaimed benefits/money” win back

The “you have unclaimed benefits/money” win back has the highest conversion rate of them all. This win back should be used if someone has an unclaimed bonus or deposit on an account on your website. Simple enough you remind the person that they have money left.

This type of e-mail can be sent until the user either uses the bonus/money/cupon or if they simply cancel it themselves. One thing you should think of when sending these types of campaigns however is that you need to vary your Sender From name and your Subject, and the time of day that you send the e-mail.

5. The “your account will be deleted” win back

This one is the last way out e-mail. If you have a service that required an invite, it might also be a very effective way to get people to start using your service again.

Simple enough, you write an e-mail explaining that you are not allowed to store the data longer than a year (or some other time period) if the user don’t use their account and thus you are forced to throw the person out. This also works very well if you have a strong brand. People might not care that they have the account, but they do care if you’re trying to take it away from them.

Final reflections

Win back campaigns are quite easy to set up. These are five different themes or examples of campaigns but I am sure you have other ideas that you might be able to use for your members or e-mail lists. The main thing to remember is that different users react to different things. Set up a chain of win back campaigns for everyone who has stopped opening your e-mails or has stopped buying your stuff.

Run them until the person falls into the “out box” where the member value is virtually none. For those people you should not force more e-mails, but you should rather decrease the frequency at which you make contact with them. If a person hasn’t opened your last five weekly e-mails, then only send them one per month. If a person hasn’t opened it for two or three months, then send them one every half year.

This however should be done when, and only when you have first worked with when, during the day, you send the e-mail as well as with the sender name as well as the subject.

The latest email service providers can help you set up dynamic send lists so that you send an e-mail to a person when they are most likely to open it. They also provide dynamic subjects based on previously clicked material, from address and from name.

That’s it for now! Please react and ask stuff in the comment field.

//Jesper

4 Comments
  • Dia, March 7, 2010 Reply

    Great info Jesper, thank you for posting this. The only thing with me is that my problem is not in the knowledge behind the email - but in the actual composing of the email to send. It would have also been great if there were a few emails in which we could actually look at and or can use as mine has not been working to well.
    Thanks, Dia

  • Jesper Astrom, March 7, 2010 Reply

    Ah. I'll make a post about that later on. Hmm... I regularly look at Nigeria letters and have talks with those people over e-mail as they have clearly found a way to scam people out of money. In a good context, however, the same type of phrasing etc. work miracles with your marketing.

    Thus. Use one of my best rules: "always look at what spammers are doing, put it into practice with good intentions".

    :)

    //Jesper

  • richard, December 15, 2010 Reply

    great tips... only that the title is misleading since you provided no example at all. it should be "5 Win Back email Campaign tips".

    • Jesper Astrom, December 15, 2010 Reply

      Perhaps you're looking for cases and I am currently collecting a few. Promise to post them as soon as I have 3 of them that follow the full cycle... thnx for the comment.


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