Are you laser-focused on new customer acquisition?

Although a mentality of “the more, the merrier” might make sense on the surface, SaaS companies can’t neglect following up with the customers they already have. 

With the average person juggling dozens of apps at once, giving subscribers a nudge to stick around can be the difference between a lapsed and dedicated customer.

That’s exactly why you need to have a solid winback email strategy to keep subscribers from slipping away.

And despite popular belief, writing re-engagement emails isn’t a reason to panic. Doing so is an essential customer retention tactic that all SaaS companies should master.

5 winback email templates (+ examples) to keep customers engaged

Despite the fact that churn is so common, you’d be surprised at how many companies totally botch their winback emails.

Or heck, don’t even write them at all. 

As highlighted by data from Emma, winback campaign emails have relatively high engagement rates. Granted you know how to craft a compelling message, they’re perhaps your best “second chance” at securing a customer long-term.

Below are some winback email templates and examples to inspire your own re-engagement strategy.

1. The “What can we do?” winback

As noted in our guide to onboarding emails, presenting messages as coming from a personal account is an effective way to engage customers who sleep on “corporate” messages.

Similarly, we see this a lot with winback email campaigns. The concept here is simple: use a short-and-sweet message to check-in with customers in a personable way.

Here you’re taking responsibility for their lack of log-ins by asking what you can do to help.

Subject: What can we do?

Hey {customer name}

It’s been a minute, hasn’t it?

We just wanted to check in and make sure everything was going alright with {product name}.

If you have any questions for us or need any help with our service, please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Feedback and ideas on how we can help our customers are always appreciated. We’re here for you!

Cheers,

{signature}

This winback email example from Ryte is a good example, using succinct sentences while encouraging the reader to provide feedback to see what the company can do to improve. The “P.S.” upgrade at the end is a nice touch that doesn’t come off as desperate or salesy.

Ryte winback email

Here’s another straightforward example from Wave.video

Presented as a quick and painless reminder, the company offers help without overwhelming the reader or demanding much from them.

wave winback email

2. The “FOMO” winback

Nobody wants to feel like they’re missing out on, well, anything.

This also applies to new software and services relevant to your customers.

That’s where FOMO (fear of missing out) comes into play. As highlighted by research from OptinMonster, tapping into your customers’ sense of FOMO is particularly powerful with the younger crowd.

The idea here is to present a winback email that’s focused on what your customers might have missed during their time away such as a new feature or overhaul. 

These messages are best reserved for folks who used to log-in frequently but haven’t given your service a test-drive in months on end.

Subject: Long time no see {customer name}

Hi {customer name},

It’s {employee name} from {company name}! Do you still recognize us?

Jokes aside, we wanted to touch base and make sure you’ve had a chance to check out our awesome new {feature} since you’ve been away. Our customers have really been digging the launch and we definitely didn’t want you to miss out.

{feature screenshot}

If you have any questions about the new launch or have feedback for us in the meantime, feel free to let us know.

Thanks!

{signature}

This email from Sleeknote is solid, highlighting some new product features while also talking up positive results from customers (“one customer saw a 215.03% increase in their conversion rate”).

winback email sleeknote

This message from Webflow highlights how many new users they’ve won since the recipients’ last log-in, using FOMO to encourage the reader to be part of their community again.

webflow winback email

3. Introducing “the new you” winback

Again, people are constantly cycling through SaaS products. 

And so it’s only natural for us to lose interest in a tool for a shinier, newer toy when it comes along.

This likewise explains why SaaS tools are rightfully rolling out new features and rebranding left and right.

Much like the FOMO win back emails above, your job here is to highlight what’s new with you. Features? Resources? Communities? All fair game.

The idea here is that you’re giving your subscribers something fresh and have been hard at work since the last time they used your product.

Subject: Quick update on {product name}

Hey {customer name},

Hope all has been well!

We’ve been hard at work here at {company name} and wanted to make sure we kept you and the rest of our customer community in the loop.

Here’s a sneak peek of what we’ve been up to:

  • {New feature}
  • {New community portal, etc}
  • {New resource/video}

Exciting, right? We invite you to check out these new {features, resources} and feel free to let us know if you have any questions in the meantime!

Thanks,

{signature}

This rebrand email from Skillshare does double duty of highlighting what’s new with the company while also encouraging readers to check out their latest features.

skillshare winback email

This winback email from LinkedIn highlights specific features of their Sales Navigator, going point-by-point to give readers a reason to check them out.

linkedin winback email

4. The winback reward

When in doubt, give your would-be lost customers a freebie or incentive to stick around.

The key to this type of winback email isn’t to grovel, but delight customers with something that’s actually relevant and useful. This sort of nudge can be the catalyst that brings them back to being frequent users.

Subject: A free gift to say thanks!

Dear {customer name},

Looks like you’ve leveled up!

Here at {company name}, we’re always looking to hook up our customers with new tools to help them {grow, benefit, etc}

As a way to thank you for your support, we decided to upgrade you to our {plan}. This includes some awesome, fresh features such as:

  • {Feature}
  • {Feature}
  • {Feature}

Did we mention that all of this is totally free of charge? Just log-in to your account to get started!

{CTA button}

Cheers,

{signature}

This account upgrade email from Lumen5 is a personable example of how to reactivate customers who’ve gone cold, reminding readers that getting started is as simple as logging into their accounts.

lumen5 winback email

This message from Grammarly is somewhat tongue-in-cheek, rewarding readers with “The Wrinkle in Time” badge for their inactivity. 

To-the-point but playful, this message highlights how to get creative with your winback email campaigns.

grammarly winback email

5. The “It’s not you, it’s us” winback

Sometimes it’s best to just be humble.

By taking the virtual “L” yourself for your customers’ inactivity, you don’t guilt your users or make them feel like they did something wrong by not going all-in on your product.

Subject: {customer name}, it's not you, it's us...

Hey {customer name},

Hopefully you’ve been well.

Here at {company name}, we’re constantly looking for ways to help our customers. 

We’d hate to let you down. That’s why we sat down and spoke to customers like yourself and worked to create our new {feature, community, product}. We’d love for you to check it out.

{CTA button}

Let us know in the meantime there’s anything else we can do to support your goals. We’re here for you.

Thanks,

{signature}

Humble and straightforward, Avocode straight-up asks customers if their service is too slow. Presenting a discount and speedier features is a double-whammy to win back subscribers.

avocode

Asana likewise asks “Is it us?” Much like our FOMO messages showcased above, this message invites readers to test-drive the newest version of their product without being pushy.

asana winback email

Best practices for running a winback email campaign

The upside of winback emails is that you have some flexibility in terms of your style and messaging.

To wrap things up, let’s review best practices to consider when you write your own.

Focus on trust, not desperation or transactions

Rather than beg for users to return or try to sell them something, a winback email should ideally be framed as a friendly invitation.

Getting someone to accept that invitation means building trust. 

And surprise, surprise: recent research shows that trust goes hand in hand with customer retention and loyalty.

So don’t push price points or transactions in a winback email. Instead, highlight how you’re going to help your customers and leave the door open for feedback to learn more about their needs. 

Simply put, this is your chance to write your company’s narrative and present yourself as a helping hand. 

Figure out why they canceled

Keep in mind that there is no single reason why customers go cold.

Maybe their budget is drying up and they’re letting their subscription run out. Perhaps they found another freemium solution that meets their needs.

Heck, they might love your product but simply forgot to log-in recently.

When framing a winback email, you need to consider these reasons as you from your messages. 

For example, there’s a huge difference between trying to win over someone who’s never logged on versus someone who disappeared after you changed your interface.

That’s where tools such as Baremetrics’ Cancellation Insights + Messaging come in handy. Using these two tools together, you can segment your winback messages based on specific cancellation reasons. 

This allows you to tailor your winback sequence for customers based on their specific needs (think: a lower price point, missing features and so on).

First, use Cancellation Insights to find out why your customers churned.

baremetrics cancellation reason form

Then you can pull in those responses into Messaging to create a custom audience for your winback emails.

winback email custom audience

Let your subject line do the work

As noted earlier, winback email campaigns boast relatively high engagement rates.

Perhaps we can attribute that to the fact that such messages have less “salesy” subject lines.

Much like our examples and templates themselves focus on being warm and personable, so should your subject line. Below are some sample subject lines from SaaS companies that highlight what we’re talking about:

  • “Just to make sure” (Ryte)
  • “While you were away, this happened…” (Sleeknote)
  • “Was Avocode too slow for you?” (Avocode)
  • “Since you’ve been gone…” (Asana)
  • “Do you need any help?” (Wave.video)

It’s well-documented that approximately half of customers read emails based on the subject line alone. Unlike messages that might be more product or transaction-focused, you have the opportunity to sound like you’re sending a personal message.

And hey, this circles back to our point about the need for companies to build trust.

Time your winback campaigns wisely

Email frequency is hotly debated. 

In terms of when you should push your winback emails, there’s no definitive consensus.

For example, Klaviyo recommends six months of inactivity prior to sending winback emails. Meanwhile, Marketo says that a 90-day period is fair game.

Companies rightfully don’t want to send their messages too soon at the risk of sounding too pushy or aggressive. On the flip side, waiting too long could risk a customer reaching a sort of point of no return where they’ve left you behind.

Food for thought: approximately 50% of paying SaaS customers only use a product once per-month. This means that the “when” of your winback emails largely depends on factors such as your specific product, what’s considered “normal” in terms of monthly log-ins and so on.

Arguably what matters most is that you have automations and messaging in place to fire off these campaigns when customers reach “winback” status according to your company.

Tools like Baremetrics’ Messaging can help in that department, with winback emails triggered based on individual customer behavior.

baremetrics messaging behavior targeting

What does your winback email strategy look like?

Remember: your users trusted you enough to become a subscriber in the first place. 

That means there’s potential for you to win them back.

Understanding how to write a winback email is a solid starting point for doing exactly that. 

If nothing else, having winback campaigns set up and ready to go means that you have a plan in place to reduce churn and ultimately keep your customers around for the long-haul. The templates above coupled with tools like Baremetrics can do the trick.