How to Create a Win Back Campaign for Your Subscription Business

Cancelled subscribers can be one of your most powerful source of signups. Here’s how to get them back with a win back campaign.

Win-back Campaigns

There’s no such thing as an easy win, but subscription commerce businesses have an advantage. Acquiring subscribers doesn’t get any easier than activating your existing customer base (no, we aren’t counting your mother).

Win-back campaigns tempt back subscribers who have previously cancelled. It’s almost too simple: they’re already familiar with your business and your product, which means that special offers, correcting past concerns, and sneak peaks are persuasive messages you can leverage. And all via email, the easiest tool of all.

Varied Strategies, but…

We’re going to cover how to set up a simple, automated email campaign aimed at winning back your cancelled subscribers.

Notice, however, that the strategies we’ll cover may not pertain to every single use case. For example, you should still send some manual emails if you notice a cancellation spike in a single month; it’s likely a good number of those cancellations occurred in response to a curveball that was thrown at you that month. A win-back email addressing the issue, including an offer, can go a long way in gaining back some of those subscribers. Similarly, if you have an exclusive product in an upcoming shipment, you can utilize the draw of that product to tempt back other cancelled subscribers.

Another use case to consider is further segmenting your cancellations in order to hone in on the specific reason a subscriber cancelled. Special offers make sense to bring back those who were tight on cash a few months ago and forgot to come back, while reminding former gift purchasers that you’re there can create an influx of reactivated or even new gift subscriptions.

 

Challenges of Running A Subscription Business

Sample Campaign

Alright. Let’s get to it. Here is our sample campaign:

Email #1 – Triggered 3 days after cancellation

Hello Subscriber,

Whelp. We obviously screwed something up. Whatever it was, we didn’t mean it!

We’re dedicated to bringing our subscribers the best experience possible, and we’d love to hear about what led you to cancel, no matter the circumstances. If you’ll reply back to this email, we’ll gladly read your feedback and give you a 10% coupon to boot!

Team

Email #2 – Triggered 60 days after cancellation

Hello Subscriber,

We miss you!

If there is anything in particular that you are looking for in an [INSERT BOX TYPE] then let us know!

We love feedback, so we’ll happily apply a 15% coupon to your next purchase.

– Team

See? Easy peasy.

Tips and Tricks for Email Tactics

You probably noticed some trends in the sample emails above. For one, win-back campaigns don’t just have to be about re-acquiring subscribers. Framing your emails as requests for feedback allows you to learn more about the factors that lead your subscribers to cancel. It also doesn’t hurt that you’re showing them a genuine effort to improve the experience.

Note as well that while we took this approach in our example, you don’t always have to include a discount. You can always focus on identifying and writing a compelling argument, such as a reminder of the differentiating features of your subscription, in order to win back lost customers.

Pro Tip: These sample emails are generic because we are not you and there are thousands of boxes out there. Speak to your audience in your own voice, treating our text as a loose guideline.

Using Mailchimp

Cratejoy’s Mailchimp integration allows you to create multiple, sophisticated segments of subscribers for more targeted communications, making it easy to set up automated campaigns. For the purposes of a win-back campaign, you’ll want to pay close attention to the merge fields “Subscription Status” and “Cancellation Date.”

For those not using Cratejoy, these instructions can still apply. At a high level, you want to use merge fields on a list of subscribers in Mailchimp to segment by cancellations and to trigger based on time since said cancellation. Your unique service provider may have further details on their website.

To set up the campaign in Mailchimp, follow these steps:

  1. Click “Create a Campaign”
  2. Choose “Email,” then “Automated,” and select the “Date-based” option, then choose “Specific Date”
  3. Pick the subscriber list you want to send the campaign to

Wait. Which subscriber list? Hold on. Getting to it.

As the last step before editing the finer details of the campaign, you’ll name the campaign and select which list you would like to pull from. In this case, you’ll want to choose one of the email lists automagically integrated with your Cratejoy account, like so:

  1. Select “Edit Triggers”
    1. Either “3 days after Cancellation Date”
    2. And/or “60 days after Cancellation Date”

Note that the number of emails is up to you, but we recommend using both the 3 and 60 day triggers in your campaign. If you feel strongly about using only one or the other, feel free to customize and TEST your approach.

A new campaign will initially populate with three triggered emails but, you’ll be able to delete and add as necessary. If you’re going to follow our sample campaign, you’ll want to delete at least one of the emails (doesn’t matter which – you can always customize).

The triggers of your campaign will determine when the first, second, and any subsequent messages are sent to cancelled subscribers. As mentioned, you’ll use number of days from “Cancellation Date” in order to trigger your emails. Our sample campaign triggers emails 3 and 60 days following “Cancellation Date,” but by all means TEST OUT what works best for you! If you think a different approach will work better for your business, you can edit when emails are triggered by clicking “Edit Trigger” and setting the number of days after cancellation you want your emails sent. For example, see below:

  1. “Edit Segments”
    1. Choose “Segmentation Conditions”, then “Subscribers match these conditions,” and then “Subscription Status > “IS” > “Cancelled.”

This last step is one of the more important aspects of setting up your campaigns: no one wants to email an active subscriber asking them to come back. All they’ll do is wonder why they should leave!

But by carefully selecting the segments your emails are sent to, you can easily eliminate any subscribers with active subscriptions. You’ll want to segment each email by “Subscription Status” > “IS” > “Cancelled.” This keeps out any subscribers with multiple subscriptions, those with mixed statuses, as well as any who do end up reactivating.

And, as a last and final step: design emails. I know this can be daunting. And really, you’re on your own on this one (for now – new posts coming soon). You’ll feel as if the email has to have perfect copy, style, and imagery. It doesn’t. Just look at mine (above).

Overall, it helps to treat your customers as they are – just people. Start a conversation with them; bells and whistles can be added after you find out the timing and segmentation that works for you and your business.

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