How to send a Winback flow without sacrificing deliverability?

  • 15 December 2021
  • 3 replies

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Say you have a few segments of warm (or not) leads in your list that you haven’t emailed ever since they opted in. 


You don’t want to just enroll them into your welcome sequence a few months later out of the blue. It would seem a bit odd and result in unsubscribes or spam complaints. 


A short email explaining why they haven’t received any communication might bridge that gap between unmet expectations and reality. 


So what’s the best way to do that? 


  1. Modify the welcome flow by adding the winback email in the beginning, hoping it will be enough. 
    1. Concern here would be that those who are no longer interested can only opt out by unsubscribing. Some might also report as spam. 
  2. Send a campaign that asks if they are still interested and provide a way to opt back into the list and then into the welcome flow automatically. 
    1. This seems like the best way, since you are directly obtaining consent again. But, I don’t know how to set that up technically. 

Looking for advice on this and technical implementation ideas if option #2 is possible. 


Best answer by Manny Singh 15 December 2021, 18:57

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Userlevel 7
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Hi Paul, 


What’s the timeframe of when they opted-in originally until now? how many people do you think it is? (just out of curiosity).  


If the welcome flow is short and easy (ie. not too many conditional splits), another options is you could segment these subscribers and send out the emails in sequence as campaigns. 


Agreed that having them go through a welcome flow out of the blue at this point would seem weird. 


For option 2, how about using custom profile properties?


  1. Create a segment of subscribers who identify as “opting back in”.. maybe a custom profile property optbackin = true
  2. Create a copy of the welcome flow (adjust messaging as necessary), but use the trigger of someone joining the segment in step 1.
  3. Send that campaign email, have a button/link that they will click if they want to stay in the list.  Clicking that button would add a property on their profile (in this example.. optbackin = true). 
  4. Subscribers who click that button should now be going through new flow


Sounds like this will be a one-time thing, so there might be a better way of doing this.  But this is where my head is going in this scenario?


Here’s a help article on how to use links in your email to collect profile properties:


Let me know if you have any questions about the above!


Userlevel 7
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Hi @PaulZenymarketing


Thanks for sharing your question with us! 


I would recommend going with your second option, as well. I think @Mailbox Manny’s suggestion is great here! I believe something like this is the best way to achieve what you’re looking for. 


Instead of sending a one-time campaign with the option to opt in or out, as previously mentioned, I suggest bringing all these profiles into an ‘unengaged’ segment and then creating a segment-triggered flow. The first email in the Flow would the same as the campaign content you suggested, asking if they want to continue to receive marketing or not. In that fist email, you can Create a Button in your Email that will Add a Profile Property of ‘YES’ or ‘NO’ that will attach to the profile after they have clicked the button, as @Mailbox Manny previously mentioned.


After the first message, you can create a conditional split after this first email, evaluating whether or not they chose to opt back in or not. If they have chosen to stay subscribed, you could add in ‘welcome flow’ like emails down the ‘YES’ path of this ‘winback’flow. This would give these users a mock ‘welcome’ experience as if they had just joined your newsletter. However, if they answer no’ then they will exit the flow. You can then create a segment of users who have the ‘no’ profile property and suppress them. They will now no longer hear from you and you will not have be negatively impacted by potential unsubscribes or these profiles labeling you as ‘spam’. 


Unfortunately, there’s no guaranteed way to prevent users from unsubscribing automatically or ignoring that first email if they have grown disinterested in your brand/not engaged much. However, I believe this workflow will give you the most likelihood of reengagement and lessen the potential negative impact on your deliverability as possible!


It should also be noted that you will need to back populate your flow in order to push profiles through a segment-triggered flow if you wish to follow this route!


Thanks for participating in our Community! 


Badge +4

Thank you @Mailbox Manny & @Taylor Tarpley !

I rushed into my own solution, which wasn’t as brilliant as the one you suggested. 

I think the button → add property is the best way to do it. 
I will use that on my cold leads and see how well it performs. 

In this instance, I did this:

  1. Cloned the welcome flow and used a segment trigger.
  2. Added the winback email as the first one.
  3. If they don’t open the first email, they will get sent the same email with a different subject line. 
  4. After some delay, they will start receiving the regular welcome sequence.

Thank you all for your help, I consider Manny’s answer as a brilliant solution.