Customer retention

5 Effective Winback Campaign Strategies to Implement

September 12, 2022

Frustrated by customer churn? You’re not alone.

With annual churn as high as 50% in some industries, it's time to get serious about winning back lost customers. Read more to discover five effective winback strategies you can implement now.

What is a winback campaign?

A winback campaign (also called a re-engagement or reactivation campaign) is a sequence of targeted messages that try to—you guessed it—win back customers you’ve lost, including those who canceled a subscription and those who didn’t convert during a trial period. When done well, winback campaigns are an effective and low-cost way of reducing churn and increasing revenue.

Email is the most common means for a win-back campaign because it can be automated and personalized at low cost. Delivering several messages over a period of time leads to the highest success rates.

Implement these 5 effective winback campaign strategies

While just showing up in your customer’s inbox with a small nudge is sometimes enough, in most cases a successful winback strategy needs to be both personalized and delivered at the right time. Below are five effective winback campaign strategies to get you started:

1. Use a cancellation flow

Why not make your first winback attempt at the point of cancellation? Your cancellation flow is your final chance to save customers who’ve decided to leave but haven’t just yet. Utilizing deflections and persuasive offers, this step alone can reduce churn by 10-39%

7 Cancellation Flow Examples to Reduce Churn and Grow Your Subscription Business

Collect actionable feedback with an exit survey

Even if you don’t win back customers at cancellation, you can gather information to help you win them back down the road. Use an exit survey and ask customers a few simple questions about why they’re leaving. This information provides valuable insight that can help you improve your product or customer experience in general, and more to the point, can be used to create tailored winback campaigns around everything from price to product features to leaving for the competition.

2. Address price sensitivity

When customers leave for price-related reasons, you have a few options. You can create a winback campaign soon after they leave that offers customers a discount for coming back—keep in mind, any discount you offer is likely going to be much less than the cost to acquire a new customer.

Another approach is to create a winback campaign that reminds customers of your value and invites them back at a lower pricing tier or free option (if you offer one). Once they’re back, you can upsell as you add new features.

2 Questions to Ask in Every Customer Exit Survey

3. Share product updates

You don’t always need to focus on price. If you know you’ve lost customers because your product was missing a feature, adding that feature provides a natural opportunity to reconnect. This shows that you listen to customer feedback and are committed to offering more value.

Using your exit survey data to target customers who left for feature-related reasons and timing the campaign with the release of a new feature is a great winback strategy. Another way to approach this is to offer lost customers the chance to beta test a feature they asked for. It could be the push they need to give you another chance.

4. Reinforce your value

Depending on the nature of your digital product, customers may need help understanding your value proposition. Dropping into their inbox with an overview of how others get value from your product can be effective—especially if your value proposition is even stronger than when the customer last used your product.

5. Acknowledge your competition

This campaign style requires some patience because you don’t want to reach out too soon when customers leave for the competition. Instead, wait 3-6 months. Then, check in to see if they’re satisfied, remind them of your value, highlight any improvements you made and offer a discount for coming back.

Best practices for effective winback campaigns

Ready to add a winback campaign to your customer retention program? Keep these best practices in mind:

Personalize your campaigns

If you want to improve your winback campaign success rate, you need to get personal. This can be as simple as using the information you’ve gathered in customer exit surveys to create more targeted messaging.

For example, if a customer canceled because of a lack of features, you’ll want to tailor your messaging to feature improvements, not a discount or changes to customer service.

Or you can use data about which customers are the most profitable (and why they left) to create segmented campaigns with highly personalized incentives.

To deliver the right offers to the right customers, combine survey responses with customer segments based on MRR, plan billing interval, or custom data from your CRM or CDP.

Show don’t tell

Include testimonials, customer success stories, or social proof of your product's value. This can be especially effective when you segment your content to target why customers left.

Experiment and test variations

Nothing is perfect at the start. Experiment with changes to your subject line and message content, reaching out at different intervals or for different reasons. Be sure to compare results against previous campaigns to the same segment of customers.

Keep it simple

Stick with one primary message (e.g., we’ve missed you) and one call to action (e.g., re-subscribe now and save).

Know when to stop

Sending too many winback messages can backfire (plus, you don’t want to be the business that can’t take a hint). Design your campaign to include three to five emails. In the final email, offer your best incentive and mention that you won’t reach out again. (At least for now.)

Get started today (it’s easier than you think)

At ProsperStack we help high-volume subscription-based companies improve the customer offboarding experience, providing the tools to create targeted incentives and collect meaningful exit survey data to power winback campaigns and more.

Each of our paid tiers includes a fully customizable cancellation flow, feedback reporting, offer analytics and A/B testing, subscription platform integrations, and unlimited users. And because we integrate with your billing platform, you can be up and running in with just a few lines of code.

Book a demo to learn more.

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