100+ email ideas to retain your lost customers

August 7, 2023

When it comes to connecting with your customers directly, nothing compares to email marketing. In fact, 37% of respondents think email is the most effective channel for customer loyalty and retention. Customer retention is a very important part of growing your business, one of the main factors being that the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60- 70%. Through this article, you will learn about the email campaigns you should include in your marketing campaigns to increase the customer retention rate.

How to use email marketing for better customer retention?

Losing customers can be rough. You put in all that time in reaching out to them and converting them into buyers.  People who buy from you may be interested in your emails at first. They bought from you because they like your products and would want to know about more of them. However, competition is fierce and it’s so easy to get replaced. Every year, nearly a quarter of your customers stop opening your emails. So when you start to feel your bond is unbreakable, they prove it otherwise :(

Winback emails are the ray of hope for saving this bond. They are small and sweet reminders of how good your bond was and why they shouldn’t unsubscribe from your email. Get ready to dive in and get answers to all your win-back email questions.

What are Winback email campaigns?

Winback emails are the emails sent to your inactive subscribers who have stopped opening your emails and not bought from you in some time. They can be sent as a single email or a series of emails (which is called a win-back email campaign). These emails are sent at significant, targeted times to pique a customer’s interest. 

The whole point of working so hard in winning back old customers is because it’s easier and less expensive than getting a new customer. Acquiring a new customer can cost you five times more than retaining an existing customer. Learn about the best marketing channels to acquire new customers here in this blog.

It’s a very practical thing, you are more likely to trust someone you already know. The same goes for your customers. They are more likely to trust the brands and businesses they have already bought from, they know and understand what type of products that brand offers and how useful these products can be for them. 

Your loyal customers would even help you to bring in more customers and try your newly launched products. In addition, they act as a source to spread the word about your brand through reviews, social media, and real-life discussions. Emails and push notifications are the two most effective tools to engage and re-engage with your audiences. Read more about retaining clients through push notifications here in this blog.

Now that we know what win-back emails are and why we need them, let’s see the different types and what they are based on. 

1. Winback emails for former VIP customers who haven't bought recently.

VIP customers are the customers that bring you the most revenue. They are like best friends to you and your business. These are the people who either buy from you frequently or buy high-priced stuff if not buy regularly, eventually increasing your revenue. 

The people who act as advocates for your business and help you gain more customers are also priceless because they provide social proof for your business and help improve your brand image. Customers who are loyal to you and require less retention for sticking to your brand are also very valuable. Lastly, the high profile customers, like influencers and celebrities are like customer magnets. Their word is enough motivation for a few people to buy something, believe us you want to treat them well. 

While writing emails for VIP customers, you have to remember that these people are already loyal to you and would just need a little persuasion. The best thing you can d o is try to get them to engage with your brand more so they remember why they chose you in the first place. 

Here’s a list of things you should add to your VIP win-back emails for better results:

a) Be grateful: Send reminders to your customers from time to time, telling them how grateful you are that they chose you over others. Keep reminding your customers why they fell in love with your brand in the first place. 

Thank you email by Loeffler Randall

The warm tone and genuine gratitude helps in building a strong connection with the customers and convey how important they are to the brand, and well, who doesn’t love to be told that they’re important. So, there you go, saved the day (or well, at least a customer) :)

b) Provide Exceptional Customer Support: Loyal customers prioritise your brand over others, so they deserve to be given priority and treated well. Make sure you provide additional hours of support or any other additional support features to them. You can hire highly-trained customer support staff from Fiverr to ensure these customers are treated right. Acknowledge their problems and help resolve them at the earliest. And what’s better than a full-suite marketing automation tool like Omnisend that can send out those SMS’ and emails for you, just the way you want it. Having worked with over 70,000 merchants worldwide, it can be your one-stop shop for your complete email marketing customer life cycle.

Omnisend full suite marketing automaton

c) VIP only deals: What’s a better way of making someone feel special than getting them something limited edition? The same goes for your customers. Send them email updates about the products and discounts that are available only for the VIP members. Creating a limited edition hype piques their curiosity and encourages them to buy and support your brand even more. For example, this email from The Body Shop was sent to its VIP members. 

Loyalty program by Birchbox
Club exclusive sales to reward customers for their loyalty

Not only did this email lead to many purchases, but the brand was also able to upsell to some of the customers.

d) Celebrating with them: Special people need special treatment. Show them that their happiness matters to you and celebrate with them. Send them a special gift on their birthday and festivals like Christmas and thanksgiving. Offer them festive discounts and birthday specials in their inbox and promote and celebrate at the same time. It’s hard to walk away from a brand that drops little surprises in your inbox from time to time. That’s how you win and retain :)

Celebrate customers special day- Dorthy Perkins

e) Loyalty Programs: Loyalty programs are customer magnets in the form of discounts, deals, offers, special incentives etc. for attracting new and retaining the existing customers. Emails are a powerful way of promoting these programs, this is why win-back emails usually consist of deals and offers and promotions for loyalty programs.

Offer something to your existing VIP customers to get them to get you, new customers, simple, No? Let’s check out this loyalty email from Glossier, in which they have offered a $10 store credit to their customers for referring Glossier to a friend.

f) Send Personalised Recommendations: Don’t you love it when you can depend on someone to offer you things you were just looking for? That’s what personalised recommendations mean to customers. Out of thousands of messages that they receive each day, customers would be glad to open the ones actually useful to them. Imagine going to a bakery and asking them for the same cappuccino multiple times, wouldn’t it be better if they started offering you similar items? Imagine them telling you this tastes better with this,  or a new type of cappuccino has come in, would you like to try it? Wouldn’t it be great? Knowing that someone knows your preferences. 

Personalized recommendations to customers- Care/of

g) Early Access to new launches: VIP members are most likely to buy from you so why not sell to them first? Also, don’t you think it would make them feel really special that they can buy something before everybody else? 

Early access to new launches for cub members

h) What You Missed Emails: Sometimes, even when a customer likes your brand, they don’t check your emails simply because they forget they ever bought from you. Your emails get mixed up in thousands of others and well, can’t blame them for not being able to keep track. So send your VIP customers regular updates on what they missed while they didn’t visit your website for sometime. This way, you would be able to promote and make the user realize they are still an important member of the gang. Maybe, some update will catch their eye and bring them back to you.

What you missed emails

2. Winback emails for Former Non-VIP Customers who haven't bought recently 

Non-VIP customers are basically the customers who do buy from you but not as frequently and their purchases may not necessarily be big. They are not limited or loyal to your brand, they are just people in need of something who would buy from whoever offers them the best deal. Practically speaking, winning over a Non-VIP customer is a lot tougher than a VIP member, but you have to remember that these VIP members were also just visitors at first. Every visitor in your store can be a potential VIP member, you just have to focus on how you can make them happy. 

So how do you winback the customers who weren’t specifically yours to begin with? Well, here’s a list of emails that will help you get started!

a) Let them know you exist: The most important thing to remember when connecting with Non-VIP customers is that it’s possible they don't even know your brand exists. They might have purchased from you but only because you offered them the best deal at that moment. Let’s be honest, Non-VIP customers are like people you met at a concert, had fun with and then with time, forgot about them. To make best friends, you have got to work harder :(

So, send them reminders of your first interaction, introduce yourself all over again and let them know you exist and provide so and so services. Once they know about you, they might want to pay a visit to find out what they bought from you and why.

b) Remind them why they chose you: Customers always remember a good experience. If you could just remind them why they chose you the first time, they might stick around to explore and buy more. Instead of talking about the unique features you are offering, talk about what they bought from you first and how it solved their problem.

Remind customers why they chose you

This email from Teespring has two catchy things that make it irresistible to read. First the puppy picture, you can’t help but stop in awww to discover why the long face? Second, the brand used their customer’s prior experience with them to remind them how much they were able to improve because of them. The users would find it reassuring that the brand has worked for them in the past and may prove to be useful again.

c) Offer them irresistible deals: Here’s the thing about people, they can be easily flattered if you offer them the right things. Send emails to your customers offering them irresistible deals and offers, just like you are trying to win a completely new customer. Once they are tempted enough to visit your website, they might remember their prior experience and decide to stick around!  

d) Leave a mark:  When you are trying to win back a customer, it’s probably because they no longer think your brand can fulfil their needs.You have to use these winback emails to prove to them otherwise. This includes everything from your subject lines to CTAs should reassure the customer that they are gaining something out of your brand, not just losing money.


Winback email by Pinkcard

3. Winback emails for Former Customers who have ordered in the past but NOT ordered in the last 130 days 

Customers who have ordered from you in the past, can either be VIP or Non-VIP. Either way, you need to study their last purchase behaviour carefully before sending any messages to them. This is the benefit of e-Commerce, you can always go back and trace what your customers liked and bought in the past and use this information to reach out to them in the future.

Chances are that in the last 130 days, there may be seasonal changes or changes in the trends and colours. The best thing to do is to send personalised emails to these customers. Based on their prior shopping behaviour, you can suggest similar, evolved versions of their previous purchases or complimentary stuff. 

For example, if you own a tea store, you can send them reminders that their favourite tea now comes in a bigger pack, or that it comes with a complimentary cup. These emails not only remind them of their last purchase, tempting them to check your store but also pique curiosity in them to check other offers and deals. 

Sometimes, there are customers who wishlisted some of the products but refrained from buying because they were not in their budget at the moment. Offer them some discount on those items and encourage them to make the purchase. Sometimes, losing a few bucks is better than losing a customer.

Reminder email to customers

Pro-tips for successful e-mail marketing

1. Give them something to look forward to 

So this is our last and best kind of advice when it comes to winning back. And, guess what, it works on all types, Hurray! I’ll start with an example - We all get excited for parties, right? So let’s say there’s a party you have to attend this weekend. The excitement will start the moment you decide to have the party and last till the party is actually over. You’ll decide your dress, shoes, how you’ll keep your hair, what accessories you need. Throughout the preparation, all you’re thinking about is - The Party! That’s the beauty of looking forward to something. 

So are we supposed to throw our customers a party? Well, yeah, something similar. Drop an email to your customers prior to a big sale, or new product launch and notice how they won’t be able to keep their eyes off their inbox for the next few days. Almost like waiting for an order to arrive when you buy something online. For example, take a look at this email from the House of Fraser.

Pre-sale launch email

The brand created excitement among its customers by hiding what it is that they are going to offer, instead, they cleverly included a CTA saying - Start your wishlist, persuading the customers to check out their store and take a look at their products. Most customers would click it because they know they wouldn’t lose anything. I mean, it can’t hurt to look right? And who knows, when they like something, they may even decide to buy it, thinking the item may be on sale soon. 

2. Create a Mobile version of your emails. 

Just like you store your emails, you need a mobile version for them too so you can sell better. At this point, where you might even be reading this on a mobile phone, we don’t necessarily need to remind you that most of your customers come from mobile shopping. In fact, 47% of people across all demographics use mobile phones to open emails. So first, if you don’t already have a mobile app for your store, you can use a simple tool like Shop2app for getting more customers and making more sales. Second, start creating mobile-friendly versions of your emails. 

Try taking the following measure to create mobile-friendly emails without having to learn to write pages of code that get your head spinning:

  • Keep the length of your subject lines short. 

A mobile screen is smaller than a laptop or desktop screen. Therefore, keep in mind that either your subject lines are short enough to fit on any screen or watch out for the number of characters you put in a line. To determine the right subject length, you should first observe how many of your subscribers open their emails on mobile. If the percentage is larger, you should decide your subject length as per the mobile version of the email.

  •  Don’t give them too much to read. 

Imagine writing a whole article only for the text size to make it impossible to read on a mobile. This is why, if you are trying to optimise your mobile, try to keep the copy as concise as possible. The less text you use, the more easily it will adjust across multiple devices. 

So how do we send newsletters? Well, you can always add a link to the newsletter in your email. This way your users won’t have to choose between losing their eyesight or opening their laptop/desktop each time they want to read your newsletters. 

  • Preheaders are important

If you open your emails on mobile, you must have noticed that just below the subject line is the introductory line to the email. This line helps users get an idea of what the email is about. Just like the subject lines, remember to decide the length of your pre-header depending upon what device most of your users use to check their emails.

  • Don’t use too many images

While graphics can be flattering, sometimes, large images and gifs take too much time to load which can be really frustrating. Before using any image in your email, keep in mind that their loading time is shorter and they are well-adjusted on the mobile screen.

  • Use enough white space

White space is important, not only for better aesthetics but also to put the user’s focus on the main elements of the message. Leave sufficient white space around the CTAs and links so that they are easily clickable without any other element distracting the user. 

  • Test, Test, Test until it works!

You may have given your best while forming the email but it is important to see it in action to confirm that your users are seeing what you intend them to see. Test your emails across multiple devices to see how they look and feel and only when you’re completely sure, forward it to your customers. 

3. Use Email Automation Tools

There are some tools like Klaviyo in the Shopify app store that allow you to send emails easily. These tools provide pre-built email templates, so you don’t necessarily need to hire a designer or writer for that purpose. Just select a template and start editing it as needed. 

You can send targeted emails to your customers and increase your sales. So how much would such a tool cost? Drumroll….Zero! Yes, you read that right. It’s free. It even provides SMS automation services, so you can always target your customers by sending them an SMS on their mobiles. 

Infact, you can very well segment your customers into different categories and get one step ahead with personalization. Segment customers based on their behaviour so you can work on a more detailed and effective marketing strategy. 

Using Klaviyo’s advanced segmentation, you can segment your customers given that you must have at least 180 days of order history, orders within the last 30 days, and at least 500 customers who have placed an order over all time. You will also find suggestions about the segments you should create and what customers will fit into them. 

Klaviyo has helped many businesses upscale, thanks to their easy-to-use, relevant features that have witnessed growth results. Read more about segments and their segmentation here

Klaviyo lists & segments

4. The FOMO Effect

The last and the most effective types of emails are the ones that trigger a fear of missing out. When you create hype about something and add urgency to it using words like “X hours left” or “while you were gone”, not only does it inform the customers of amazing deals but also creates an urge to buy because only limited people would be able to buy it within the given time, kind of making it a Limited Edition.

Use emails to remind your customers of all the big deals, discounts and amazing products they are missing. We’re all human and fear being left out. The same goes for customers. When they feel, they might miss out if they don’t catch up soon, they will dive right in.Sounds kinda mean, but you know how it goes :P

Ads that create urgency

5. Use Captivating Subject Lines

What’s the first thing your users read in your emails? The subject line. So, you can imagine that if they are not intrigued after reading your email’s subject line, there’s a high chance your emails will remain unopened. With a single swipe, the notification on the phone is cleared, that’s how easy it is to get lost and forgotten. But, if your subject lines grab your user’s attention and are persuasive enough, you may be able to increase the number of your frequent customers. Research shows that 33% of people open emails due to catchy subject lines

So what makes an email subject line interesting enough to pique a reader’s interest. Well here are the ingredients - 

  • Trigger a strong emotion with your subject lines: Here’s a quick question - who would you rather buy from? A person who tells you -buy our products because they are the best or a person who tells you - buy our products because they look the best on you. The answer is simple, most of us would buy from the second person. Why? Because we are human beings, we get sold on emotions. When somebody tells us we look good in something, we are simply flattered and thoughts like these pop up in our heads - “hmm, maybe I should buy this”. To put it simply, people don’t care about your products, they care about what these products make them feel. Same goes for subject lines. Lines that trigger emotions like curiosity, urgency, excitement or fear of missing out, are more likely to sell rather than plain, salesy lines.

  • Personalise your subject lines: Yes, this goes not only for emails but also for subject lines. Dale Carnegie has said in his book “How to win friends and influence people” that people love their names and when you call them using their names, they are more likely to respond. Today, almost all email marketers try to send out personalised emails because of the same reason.

  • Send Emails with a recognizable account: We all agree that do-not-reply emails are the most annoying emails that touch our inboxes, don’t we? Always send emails with a recognizable sender’s name. The more you make your customers believe that they are interacting with humans and not bots, the better it is for your open rate.

  • Extend an offer: Would you resist opening an email that opens with a subject line like this - “Name, get 50% on all your wishlisted items”? Most of us won't, right? We all love good deals and offers, that’s the whole point of sales. Extend intriguing offers to your customers based on their order history and purchase behaviour. However, do not confuse making an offer with making false promises. Using words like FREE, PRIZES etc. in your subject lines and then revealing the whole truth in the email is like getting someone excited about a party that’s not even happening. Doing this will only lead to your emails ending up in the spam folder. 

  • Keep them short: Subject lines are like a small glimpse of what the email will contain. Therefore, unless needed, try to keep them short but intriguing. If you write too much then, first, your subject lines will end up looking weird on mobile devices and second, no one would want to read them because they are unnecessarily long (they would rather just open the email itself).

Top 70 ideas for your winback email campaign

Last but not the least, using a little inspiration never hurts. So here is a list of some amazing winback email subject lines that are worth giving a read:

  1. We Miss You (And You’re Missing Out) – Ann Taylor
  2. We Miss You Already – Birchbox
  3. Come back to beef up dinner! – Blue Apron
  4. You’ve missed over 30 different snacks! – Bokksu
  5. Because we miss you – Chanel
  6. We’ll be here when you’re hungry – Home Chef
  7. The word is out. We miss you (a lot). – Jane
  8. We TOTALLY need to catch up – LOFT
  9. We miss you! Enjoy this exclusive offer just for you! – Loot Crate
  10. We miss you…*puppy eyes* – Lucky Vitamin
  11. Because we miss you + you’ve GOT to see what’s new – West Elm
  12. Because breaking up is hard to do…💔 – Dinnerly
  13. We miss you, here’s our best offer to show it (😴oh sheet!) – Dream Cloud Sleep
  14. 2 Free Pints! Because We Miss You ❤️ – eCreamery Ice Cream
  15. Say bye to $15 credit 👋 – FabFitFun
  16. 👋 Come Back & Enjoy 6 FREE Plates! – Goodfood Market
  17. Rejoin TODAY! 🌸 Get The Power Chewer Picnic Box! – Bullymake
  18. Take a bite of 50% OFF to come back and feel amazing 🌱 – HelloFresh
  19. Let’s rekindle the friendship 💕 – Papyrus
  20. {NAME}, you don’t want to miss out on these bottles 🍾 – Winc
  21. Hey, we miss you! Like, a lot! So, here is a 🎁 gift, just for you! – Zivame
  22. Hey, Here’s a Gift Because We Miss You! – Adorama
  23. A coupon for you: 15% off one full-price item – Backcountry
  24. We miss you. Here’s 15% off, today only. – Baron Fig
  25. We Miss You | Here’s 15% OFF Friend – Brylane Home
  26. Come back and get 15% off. 4 days only. – Crate and Barrel
  27. Exclusive 25% Off Sitewide – Because we miss you! – Fairytale Brownies
  28. Take 40% Off Your Entire Order – We Miss You – GiftsForYouNow
  29. Here’s a $10 Perk because we miss you! – GrubHub
  30. We miss you… & here’s 20% off to prove it! – ModCloth
  31. Come back and get 10% off your next order. – Moosejaw
  32. A lot has changed! NEW Special Offer Inside. – MunchPak
  33. Free postage because we miss you! – Nomads Clothing
  34. Psst… $10 off your next order is waiting! – Primary
  35. You haven’t read our recent messages. Should we stop emailing you?
  36. Want the (product/pass) for free?
  37. We miss you, <Name>
  38. Thanks for being our customer
  39. ✨ We miss you! ✨ We’re singling you out for this: 20% OFF expires TONIGHT
  40. We haven’t seen you in a while 😢
  41. Don’t leave a good thing behind
  42. Checking in with you, <Name>
  43. Do you still want updates from us?
  44. Just for you
  45. Don’t forget about us…
  46. Are we on the same page?
  47. 20% off. Because we miss you ❤️
  48. Glad to have you back {{firstname}}
  49. Let’s Catch Up….
  50. Thank you for choosing us
  51. Busy bee? Let us help.
  52. Unlimited (products) are just a few steps away
  53. Are you sure you want to leave this behind?
  54. We’re wondering…
  55. We Want You Back!
  56. Don’t let someone else snatch up your items!
  57. A good deal is always good news (in your inbox)
  58. $15 to get over the hump 🐪
  59. Long time no see, <Name>
  60. You’ll hate to miss this one
  61. BirchBox: An in-your-face discount that’s hard to miss.
  62. We hate to see you go
  63. We still miss you. (And you still have 20% OFF!)
  64. We’d hate to miss your birthday 🎂
  65. Is XYZ Company still welcome in your inbox?
  66. We noticed you’ve been a little distant lately

Retain your clients the right way!

Email marketing was and is the most effective of reaching out to your customers. If you get it right, you can generate hundreds of new leads and make more sales. These were our tips for winning back your lost customers. Did we skip anything? Do you want to read about any other types of emails for retention? Subscribe now for the latest updates on this page.

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