Not all (consumers) who wander are “lost”

First, let’s start by defining what a “lost” customer is exactly.

A lost customer is a consumer who has;

a) downgraded from a paid to free account

b) stopped purchasing your goods or services altogether

c) and/or is generally inactive in terms of website/in-store visits and purchases

But don’t be hasty to write these lost consumers off as “gone” for good, studies have shown it is more beneficial to your advertising budget (and bottom line) to attempt to “win” back their business.  In fact, it is estimated that it could cost you seven to nine times more of your marketing moola to poach a new customer than to re-engage.

A study by Marketing Metrics found a 20-40% chance of successfully selling to lost customers, which beats the 5-20% odds estimated for making a new sale.

Consider the impact of modern technology on e-commerce in general. In today’s data-driven society we are able to build intelligent customer databases that host a wealth of personalized details including purchasing habits. All of this analytic gold can be used to construct compelling marketing strategies tailored to the individual consumer in order to win back their lost business.

An email win-back campaign can be a very cost-effective and successful tactic because you are simply providing additional purchasing motivation to a customer base that you’ve already established a level of buy-in with.  A study conducted by Salesforce found that 63% of marketers surveyed, found email win-back campaigns “very effective.”

Here are four examples of companies who have totally mastered the art of email win-back campaigns:

#1 - The “It’s Us - Not You” Email

If you were the problem, or at least a part of the problem, and have lost a customer due to your oversight (this could be anything from overwhelming their inboxes with messages to poor customer service), it’s time to just say sorry.
But don’t forget to throw in a little incentive to make forgiveness just that much easier.

Source: Forever 21

#2 -The “Milestone” Email

As the old adage goes: “out of sight, out of mind.” This is especially true in today’s marketplace, where consumers are being inundated with a constant stream of flashy advertising, to the tune of almost $600 billion last year. It’s simply not enough to reach out to your customers only when you want to make another sale, instead keep in touch throughout the entirety of your product lifestyle and encourage brand loyalty through maintaining a semi-regular existence in their inboxes. This can prevent a lapsed customer from every becoming a lost one.

Source: Gap

#3 -The “Swag” Email

I mean, who doesn’t love a freebie?!  We’re not talking about giving away the farm here -  but a small token of appreciation in the form of a product giveaway, trial membership or some company swag will get the attention of your consumers for little effort.
And due to the popularity of life-sharing on social media platforms, your generosity could also earn you free positive “word of mouth” marketing, which some studies have shown can be just as impactful as traditional advertising efforts.

Source: Go Bank

#4- The “Remember Us?” Email

This email is ideal for customers who have abandoned their online shopping carts or that have been recently browsing through your site. Create a personalized email showcasing the products or services they have been showing interest in; this will remind them that you are still there, and waiting for their business.

Source: Ray Ban

Whichever email win-back campaign you choose, be prepared to have a few customers hit the “unsubscribe” button. But don't panic, just look on the bright side - you have honed in on your interested clientele and cleaned-up your email mailing list at the same time. And, the beauty of marketing is that you have a myriad of other channels to dazzle, engage and even win back consumers (but that’s another post, for another day).

Additional sources:

Creative Agency

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