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Reducing Churn with a Personalized PLG Reactivation Email

Usha Vadapalli
January 17, 2023

Reducing churn is crucial for a product-led growth (PLG) business to achieve sustainable growth. But, customer churn is inevitable despite your best efforts. There could be many reasons for it ranging from bad product experience to change in requirement.

Today we are going to talk about how to win back or reactivate lost customers.

Winning back lost customers is worth the effort because studies show that reactivations can bring back at least 20% of your churned customers. This has a massive impact on your customer Life Time Value (LTV).

Source: Profitwell

But, are all lost customers worth winning back?

Reactivating the Right Customers

Product-led growth companies see a higher volume of sign-ups compared to the traditional B2B SaaS because of the low barrier to the product. Some of those users might find that your product is not the right fit for their requirements. Or, these users or prospects might be in the market for something you are not offering currently.

Trying to reactivate ill-fit customers is a lost cause. At best, your attempts to reach out will annoy the already frustrated customer. If you know your product is not the right fit for a user’s needs it is best to let them go than to obsess over reactivating them.

With the misfit users gone, you have the advantage of a healthy user community too.

Learn from The Churned

Understanding the reason for churn is crucial before launching a reactivation campaign. This is the very necessary warm-up before the marathon.

Pinning down the reasons for churn has another advantage. Think of them as the amber flags of product activity churn. You can identify the friction points in the product experience and make amends to prevent and reduce churn before it is too late. Prevention is always better than cure.

Conducting off-boarding interviews or micro surveys during customer exit can help you figure out the reason behind the cancellation.

Gathering product feedback is etched into the growth DNA of PLG companies. And, who better to tell you what is not working than a user ready to ditch your product?

Effective reactivation campaigns start by asking for feedback on what went wrong. This helps segment churned customers and build a PLG email audience based on the reasons.

A simple survey or a plain email with a human touch can get you the answers you need.

Off-boarding offers

Once you’ve figured out the reason behind losing a customer, it's time to think about woo-ing them.

In a highly competitive B2B SaaS environment one of the major reasons for churn can be the cost. Off-boarding emails need not be about a price point but also value-focused. In a PLG business, leverage your product’s winning USPs to convince the user that you are offering them a better deal in terms of value.

Including an offer they can’t refuse in your seemingly last email to a leaving customer can help you salvage the deal. Incentivize immediate action while still showing the product value clearly.

LinkedIn nudges their premium subscribers to make the best out of the premium features and follows up with a discount offer. The reactivation email also answers any questions about the value of renewing the premium subscription.  

You can even offer a free assessment and a 1-1 demo with your customer success manager to demonstrate some of the advanced features that show the product value.

What’s New Emails

A growth strategy in every PLG company includes sending product update emails to all existing customers. A reactivation strategy needs to include the same for the lost customer database. These emails are a great opportunity to reinvigorate a lost customer due to reasons related to the product features and experience.

Bundle up all the new product updates, improvements, integrations, and relevant business announcements into a short video or target this segment of churned users with specific updates. Create FOMO and show an easy path to reactivate the accounts. Let the users try out the new and improved product for themselves.

Offering limited-time access to gated updated features can also help trigger immediate action from the former customer.

The Best Reactivation Emails

Reactivating a lost customer is definitely harder than converting a trial user. Because, they already checked out the product and were unimpressed with the experience or worse, frustrated. Convincing such customers for a second chance needs the right strategy and incentive.

The key lies in personalizing the reactivation campaign for the PLG customer.

Gathering intel from an off-boarding survey can definitely help in segmenting lost customers. It tells you what exactly they were looking to achieve with your product. Use your cancellation confirmation email as the first touch point to win back a lost customer. Include a survey or invite them to a 1-1 exit interview to dig deep into the reason for churn. You might even end up reactivating the customer right away.

Not all customers might take an exit survey. If you do not have the exact reason for churn, look into the former customer’s product activity for clues. Traceback steps and figure out the friction points along their product journey that led them to the exit gate.

If this sounds too complicated to scale for a PLG company with a huge user database, you should check out Inflection.  

We combine product activity and CRM data to help PLG teams drive revenue, product engagement, and speed up onboarding. Get the right information to power your campaigns without the dependency on data or engineering. And, Inflection is built to support the scale of high user volume common for a PLG company. Get started here to watch Inflection in action.

You can add many dimensions to your automated product-led reactivation campaigns to make them truly personalized for every lost customer. Use a combination of the off-boarding survey response, the former user’s product behavior, and firmographic factors like org size to orchestrate the right PLG reactivation email campaign.

Send targeted emails with product experience improvements to the list of lost customers who gave feedback about friction in the product or user experience. Show them proof of improvement to win back their trust. Offer a limited-time trial to reactivate their account and encourage trying out the new and improved features.

Here are a couple of examples. Avocado and Asana clearly state what improved in their products. Avocado goes a bit further to persuade the users with a discount.

Source: Baremetrics

You can go two ways from here. Offer further help to get the best out of their reactivation or sweeten the pot further with a discount or free add-ons. Personalizing the reactivation offers can help you entice a lost customer.

For example, a user churned during the onboarding process can be offered an extended trial pick up where they left off. Remind them of the product value at the end of a personalized onboarding process without having to go through a paywall.

The same wouldn’t convince a former customer to use your product for a team project. Announcing changes in your pricing tiers, the updated cost per seat in a team plan and newly added features are more relevant to an admin user previously on a team plan.

Churn Need Not Be Permanent

A reactivation strategy should be part of every PLG company’s growth strategy to ensure that churn is not permanent. And, yes, product-led reactivation campaigns are worth the investment.

It is tough to regain the trust of a churned customer but not impossible. An enticing product update and relevant offer might just win them back. The key to running a successful PLG reactivation campaign lies in personalizing the message. Tailor the emails based on the product activity events of a former customer to make the campaign relevant and timely.

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