Churn is part of every business, especially in the SaaS world. If a customer disengages with your brand, should you give up and let them walk away?
Not exactly. An inactive customer doesn’t mean they’re gone for good. In fact, you can change their minds with a winback campaign.
Maybe you’ve seen a winback campaign in action. Or, perhaps you have no idea what “winback” even means.
Good news! We’ll give you the details about winback campaigns and how to get started with Breadcrumbs Copilot so you can identify customers about to churn and reach out to them before it’s too late.
Let’s get to it!
What is a Winback Campaign?
A winback campaign uses targeted email messaging to “win back” customers who’ve lost interest in your product.
You know a customer has “ghosted” you when they:
- Cancel their membership after a free trial.
- Stop using your product for an extended period.
- Disengage with your messaging.
With that, every business uses its own model and metrics to define when a winback campaign is needed. For example, 30 days of inactivity will trigger a winback campaign for one company. But for another, it may take over three months of inactivity to start.
If every case is different, you might be wondering when you should execute a winback campaign.
Do You Need a Winback Strategy?
A key strategy for winback campaigns is avoiding them in the first place. It’s easier to retain an existing customer than to chase someone who has already left.
Gary Amaral, co-founder and CMO of Breadcrumbs, adds, “Winback campaigns are still worthwhile, especially since they’re much cheaper than acquisition. However, your best strategy is to focus on retention and expansion into your customer base and avoiding the awkward attempts at rekindling a broken relationship.”
If Gary recommends retaining and expanding active customers, why would you need a winback strategy in the first place?
Your winback strategy is like a lifeboat—you only use it when you have to.
Prepare for emergencies with an action plan.
The question isn’t, “Do you need a winback strategy?” but “When should you implement one?”
3 Steps to Setting Up a B2B Winback Email Campaign
Setting up a winback email campaign doesn’t have to be a headache. The following three steps will help you execute a successful campaign.
1. Define Your Inactive Customers with Revenue Opportunity Scoring
Revenue opportunity scoring identifies your churned customers, assists you with a personalized winback strategy, and accelerates more revenue. Not to mention, it also helps you decide which customers are worth retaining.
Gary shares, “Timing will depend on your product/market, but in general, there are three inflection points for triggering win-back campaigns.”
- After users churn: Before the alternative has become fully entrenched and the cost to switch back is relatively low.
- The standard renewal point (i.e., if your industry usually requires one or 2-year commitments): Clients will consider other competitors around the renewal stage. Take advantage and create a wedge between you and other competitors.
- Opportunistically: In the case that you’ve introduced some major innovation that sets you apart from competitors.
A quick tip: As you identify disengaged customers, make sure to communicate these reasons from marketing to the engineering team. Solve the problem holistically so you don’t come across it again.
Breadcrumbs Copilot uses machine learning to identify common traits among your best customers. It turns these traits into lead-scoring opportunities you can use to find similar customers moving forward.
For example, if your best customers all tend to be on your email list and have interacted with your emails at least five times, it will give people who “engage with emails” a higher lead score than those who don’t. Not only does this identify your best customers, but it also highlights those who are in danger of churning—basically, those with a low score.
2. Segment Customers
Now that you’ve identified inactive users, you can divide them into segmented email lists. Below are some ideas:
- Product: Segmenting by each product works if you offer numerous solutions.
- Length of inactivity: Group customers by how long they haven’t responded.
- Monetary: Their lifetime value.
- Purchases: The number of purchases within a period of time. Or how long they’ve subscribed.
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3. Execute an Email Campaign
Now it’s time for execution—writing the emails. But what do you include in a winback email? Is there any strategy for it? We’ll show you five copy-worthy examples below.
Identify and Tackle Churn Before It Happens With Breadcrumbs Copilot
It can be difficult to identify customers who are about to churn—especially if you’re doing it all manually. Breadcrumbs Copilot uses powerful machine learning technology to take the work off your hands and create a customized scoring model that suits your business needs.
Getting started is super easy. You’ll be able to spot customers who are about to churn and win them back before they leave.
Even better, Copilot will pick up on the key behavior patterns of a pre-churn customer (maybe they haven’t logged in to your tool for a month or they haven’t opened your past five emails). It will use this information to identify future churn risks before they have a chance to even think about it.
So, how does it work?
- Connect your data sources: Integrate your existing data sources with Copilot so the tool can analyze your data and generate a custom scoring model based on your goals and objectives.
- Define what success looks like: Copilot will segment your audience based on specific actions and you can tell it which segments it should use to define success—this might be repeat customers, those who open all your emails, customers on your highest subscription tier, or those who have a certain lifetime value.
- Choose your lead scoring categories: Decide what categories deserve the highest score. To get started, look at fit and activity criteria, recency, and frequency.
- Flip the script: Copilot will identify your best leads, but it can also flip the script and spot those that are about to churn (basically, those with the lowest score). You can segment these customers ready to send your winback campaign.
Think about it: Your customers are churning now. By the time you finish reading this post, you might have already lost a few. Copilot uses lead scoring to find at-risk accounts in real time so you can tackle churn before it even happens.
The best part? You can get set up in just a few clicks. You can create scoring models with Copilot in minutes using data you already have in your MAP or CRM.
How to Win Lost Customers Back: 5 Winback Email Examples
As you look through each winback campaign example, consider which one your customers will like best.
Let’s dive in!
1. Check-In with Customers
Customers can sense if you care about their well-being or if you just want their money. With that said, a salesy email isn’t the best way to start your winback campaign. Instead, offer help and guidance. Show interest in your customer.
In the example above, SparkLoop makes its intention clear: engage with your account. Checking in isn’t as simple as asking, “How are you doing?” You should also offer resources and benefits.
SparkLoop, for example, encourages users to update their account details so they can increase their earning potential. It includes an explainer video to help customers get started. Demos are a great way to get your customer’s eyes on your product again. Plus, you can show use cases that fit best with your customer’s needs.
Another example is this email from Venngage.
Here, they’re targeting a problem new customers face: understanding how to use Venngage.
This email is straightforward. Venngage emotionally connects with the customer and offers a solution right away.
So what makes this simple approach so effective?
Let’s look at the stats. 66% of customers expect companies to understand unique needs, yet only 34% of companies do this.
Our point: Check-in emails should target specific issues about your product.
Are you aware of your customer’s needs, and how can you target them with a check-in email? For Venngage, it’s using the product correctly.
But for you, it might be:
- Payment failures
- Poor customer service
Understanding your customer’s struggles helps you go one step further in meeting their needs. SparkLoop and Venngage make it clear that you can offer help before your customers ask for it.
2. Ask for Feedback
You’ll always reap the benefits when you listen to your customers. Why not open the door to re-engagement with feedback?
Penfold shows you how it’s done with an email asking for a TrustPilot review.
Feedback is rewarding in two ways. First, you can collect valuable information for future purposes (i.e., email marketing campaigns, ads). Two, you invite users to express their feelings about your product.
Do you want to know the best part? You can use this strategy for multiple scenarios—trial cancellations, low click-through rates, and cart abandonment.
Feedback is powerful! Use this information to tweak your winback campaign, customer support, and overall product.
3. Send Personalized Product Updates
How many times have you signed up for a new service, only to forget about it days later?
You’re not alone. As humans, we love novelty. We’re constantly looking for the latest gadget, cars, and yes—software! It’s easier than ever to sign up for a new and shiny SaaS product and forget it ever existed in one week.
This is where a product update comes into play. Bluehost lets users know what’s on the horizon with an update email.
Updates are great at keeping users in the loop. But you can take it one step further with even deeper personalization.
GrooveHQ followed up with every customer who requested a “Snooze/Follow up” feature in the email above.
They mentioned how this approach was a success in terms of winning back customers, “Some of these emails have brought back former customers who left Groove because we didn’t have the feature they were looking for.”
So how can you personalize your update emails?
It’s easy. Collect customer support tickets and group them by request in a project management tool. When you complete the request, send those tickets an update announcing the latest product features.
4. Write Captivating Email Subject Lines
You can have the best email copy, visuals, and CTA, but your emails may never get read if you don’t have a captivating subject line.
Get this: 47% of email recipients decide if they should open an email based on the subject line—that’s almost half of your email list.
If you’re putting so much effort into winning a customer back, it shouldn’t go to waste. Dedicate more time to crafting the perfect subject email line.
So what makes a good email subject line, anyway?
The best email subject lines are personal and enticing.
Personal: Use customer research and segmentation to target your reader’s interests. What would they want to see in a subject line?
Enticing: Think of your subject line as a cliffhanger and leave them wanting more. You can get started with the following email subject lines:
- Incentive: We miss you. Here’s 20% off.
- Sense of urgency: You don’t want to miss this, (Name).
- Emotional: Is this the end?
- Feedback: We need your help.
- Product update: We have great news (name).
- Abandoned purchase: Want $10 off?
The overarching goal is to catch your reader’s attention before they open your email.
5. Address Free Trial Abandonment
Raise your hand if you’ve signed up for a free trial, only to forget about it three days later. Yep! It happens all the time.
Here’s the good news: You can take advantage of this abandonment for your winback campaign.
First, figure out why customers abandon your free trial. Then, address the problem with an email sequence.
Weebly, for example, gets in before a customer’s free trial ends. They swoop in with a list of benefits that will be revoked if the customer doesn’t continue to use the service.
Emails like the above encourage customers to sign back into their accounts.
Weebly captured disengaged users with a list of benefits, but your company might use a different approach.
Ask yourself, “Why are customers abandoning my free trials?” Your answer might be a lack of customer support, minimal product knowledge, or something else. Regardless, your answer will be the bedrock of your trial abandonment email.
Ready to Build a Winback Campaign?
At some point or another, you’ll have to launch a winback campaign. Preparing now will result in a seamless winback strategy.
As you brainstorm ideas, consider the examples we went over in this post:
- Checking in
- Asking for feedback
- Sending product updates
- Writing good email subject lines
- Addressing free trial abandonment
Don’t forget to identify users that are about to churn with Breadcrumbs Copilot! Our intent-based scoring system pinpoints your inactive users before it’s too late.