Marketing to your former customers can be one of the most efficient and impactful ways to generate new revenue without breaking your marketing budget. In fact, email and direct mail winback campaigns have routinely achieved the lowest cost-per-acquisition (CPA) or customer acquisition cost (CAC) for many of LIFT’s clients.  

Here are some straightforward tips to help you maximize performance in your outreach to these former customers.

1. Embrace data and personalization 


You had a prior relationship with these prospects; don’t treat them like strangers. Speak to them by name and acknowledge the past as specifically as possible. Leverage any other data points, including the length of the customer relationship, reasons cited for leaving, location, buying pattern, etc. The more relevant you can be in your communication, the better your message will land and connect.

2. Empower your audience


We Want You Back is a common winback headline, but the focus should be more on the You than the We. Use an empathetic tone and take ownership of the mistakes made on your end that led to why the customer left. Speak to how you’ve been hard at work to make things better for them.

3. Highlight what’s new 


Coming back to the same experience is not a compelling sales pitch for your former customers. Highlight the new ways your company has worked on its product or service to open your prospects’ minds to give you another try. It may be an enhanced product benefit, feature, or something you’ve improved about their customer experience.

4. Demonstrate intent with a great offer


A compelling new offer is one of the best ways to prove your company is eager to win back these former customers. The more exclusive, risk-free, or non-committal the offer can be, the higher your response will be.

5. Consider Emotion


An approach that relates to your former customer on an emotional level can be a great response driver. Messages and visuals about the emotional disappointment in the state of “our” customer relationship have proven to work. Make your messages come from a person at your company. Messaging “Is it really over for us?” can perform very well for certain products and audiences. 

Leveraging your former customer data presents a prime opportunity to re-engage and grow your customer base. Reach out to discover how our expertise can amplify your next winback campaigns.


This month, we’re celebrating the 20th anniversary of LIFT Agency. Two decades of dedication, innovation, collaboration and measurable results have shaped LIFT into the agency we are today.

We owe our years of success to the talented team of LIFTers, as well as the trust of our valued clients and the exciting opportunities they continue to bring us.

Tim Carr, Chief LIFTer

For decades, direct mail was traditionally a leading way for brands to acquire new customers. In the late 1990s, with the emergence of new, more exciting digital channels, much of the marketing world shifted away from this seemingly outdated medium. If your marketing team still thinks snail mail is dead, it’s time to recognize that direct mail quietly remains a top-performing and growing ROI driver for audiences both young and old.

Surprising Stats 

Direct mail still accounts for a significant portion of U.S. marketing budgets, ranking fifth in marketing channel spending.¹ Direct mail also has higher response and ROI than digital channels. Direct mail has a 13% higher response rate than email alone,¹ and according to the USPS, direct mail boasts a lower cost per acquisition than email, paid search, or paid display, ranking highest in ROI at 112%, surpassing SMS (102%) and email (93%)

While there are several factors why direct mail is actually growing today, here are the top 4 reasons why we advocate adding direct mail into your acquisition marketing mix: 


1.  Mail cuts through the digital clutter

Thanks to email, paperless billing, and the ubiquity of digital channels, physical mailboxes have never been emptier. Unlike a typical spam-flooded email inbox, direct mail offers significant opportunities to personally engage and connect with consumers. Again, according to the USPS, 67% feel mail is more personal than the Internet.² 

Consumers have trained their brains to avoid or reject most digital marketing messages. In an era when everything is going digital, “fake news” is running amok, display ads are increasingly blocked, and emails are ignored, print media feels more trustworthy and credible. The USPS also found that 90% of millennials trust print messaging more than digital.²


2.  Direct mail engages better than other channels

Direct mail stands out, feels important, and keeps attention longer. For offerings with lower awareness levels, consumers need more than two seconds to engage with your value proposition to be willing to take the most desired actions. Unlike email and digital ads, direct mail meets your audience in a far less distracted context. The physical form is easy to keep in a place where readers can engage when ready. According to a recent InfoTrends report, 66% of direct mail is opened, and 82% of those messages are read for at least one minute.³ Throw in the fact that 88% of purchase decisions are made at home, and this level of engagement can’t be ignored. The right mail format paired with smart design can demand attention and interest in a place that meets your customer. 


3.  Direct mail feels more personal 

Advances in digital printing technology allow countless cost-effective opportunities to speak to your target audiences in a much more personalized manner. Try integrating your first-party data to create compelling experiences that send highly relevant messages to the right home. Choosing the proper format and personalized creative approach can drive higher response and ROI.


4.  Mail can boost ROI across your other channels, too! 

A well-timed direct mail touch point has proven to improve email and paid media response across the board. According to Winterberry, combining digital and direct mail series can lift response rates by up to 27%.¹ At LIFT, we help our clients deliver higher results with well-orchestrated direct mail and digitally integrated campaigns.

Put direct mail to the test in 2024

With the proper format and approach, direct mail can achieve a much higher ROI than emails, web banners, and social media ads. For any marketer with an LTV over $100, direct mail should be at the top of your acquisition marketing mix. The next time you want to boost customer growth with lower CPAs, consider how LIFT can leverage direct mail for your marketing goals.

Tim Carr is the Chief LIFTer at LIFT Agency. He is dedicated to generating positive results for direct and digital marketing objectives and has generated dozens of direct mail controls for today’s top brands.


¹ Winterberry Group, The Perfect Pairing: Direct Mail + Digital.

² USPS, How to Adapt Your Direct Mail Marketing to an Uncertain Market.

³ InfoTrends, Direct Marketing Production Printing & Value-Added Services: A Strategy for Growth.

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