Here’s an overused but valid stat for you.
If you have 26 unhappy customers, only one of them will speak up about it. The rest will simply churn without saying a thing.
Nobody likes the silent treatment, but even we do it to tools, apps, and products we use.
The apps I’ve abandoned in my mailbox while I talk about how to re-engage users:
And the main problem is: no one comes back.
Unless, of course, you are ready to take matters into your own hands.
Today we are talking about:
- What user/customer re-engagement is,
- Why users abandon apps,
- How you can win them back, and best practices of re-engagement for inactive users
Let’s start right away.
What do we mean by user re-engagement?
User re-engagement or customer re-engagement in a B2B sense is a form of winning back users/customers through various methods of showcasing your product’s worth once again. Since the reason why app users you have previously acquired are abandoning your product might not be due to your product’s value directly, user re-engagement is a common way of interacting with the lost users once again to make sure your product and the users get a second chance together.
Though the concept itself sounds pretty self-explanatory, practicing it might be hard. Still, it is crucial that you streamline user re-engagement activities.
How do you come up with re-engagement strategies and get those lapsed customers back?
To find out, we need to address the problem in its source.
First things first – why do users abandon apps?
Data from Intercom’s research shows that 40-60% of people who sign up for your product will use it once and leave forever.
Nope, it’s not because they hate it – not all the time. Tell your developer team to go easier on themselves.
There is a handful of reasons why active users turn into inactive ones overnight. And what’s funny is, hating on your app/tool/product isn’t one of the main ones.
If I were to make a list I’d say there are three main reasons that produce dormant users.
Early danger: bad user onboarding
User experience can be a pretty vital criterion for when your users get to decide whether your product is worth their time.
One unfriendly UX pattern and they can go, “huh?” 🤨
Because user onboarding UX patterns are the first piece of app content they come across, users are easily affected by them. Don’t forget, your user onboarding flow is basically your first impression in-app.
Moreover, onboarding material doesn’t (shouldn’t) come to an end typically.
Unless you keep educating your users with every new update and app version using relevant content, you’re soon to be irrelevant to them.
Your product is the main driver of good onboarding. Check out how you can do product-led onboarding here 👈
Screaming for help: bad customer service
Got a good user onboarding flow? Designed customer journeys for each user persona and user segment?
What about your customer service?
Even when you increase your acquisition rates, onboarding completion rates, and user retention rates, customer service is always going to be an important parameter for how willing your users will be to stay.
Though good user onboarding is known for decreasing the need for support, (check out how Cuepath reduced support tickets by 72% with UserGuiding) it can’t work miracles.
There’s always going to be some user among your active users that will require help. If you fail to get them the help, they will be among your inactive customers soon enough.
The silent killer: falling behind competitors
Your current users are having a blast with the onboarding, your user retention rate and conversion rates are high, and customer service is a top priority.
Then why on earth are users still abandoning your app?
The third main reason why active customers turn into inactive customers just like that is that your product isn’t it.
It can be the app experience, the pricing, or simply because your competitors are doing one tiny thing a little better. Because it could be anything, it is hard to pinpoint the problem too.
But when the damage is done, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to win them back.
How to re-engage users, then?
So, your user base is shrinking.
Happens to the best of us. Even in software, we still work with humans, don’t take it to heart.
Rather, it’s time to get your gameplan straight 🏈💪
1- Understand Why Your Users Are Leaving
Never and ever take hasty action before you get down to the bottom of a problem. In business, and in real life.
What you need to do first is take a moment to identify the problem, investigate the reasons why it occurred in the first place, and then look for solutions.
Was it the onboarding UX? Do you need to improve customer service? Have you checked what your competitors offer?
More importantly, have you asked your users the right questions?
Do the self-diagnose, and take action ASAP.
2- Make Sure They Never Abandon You with Stellar User Onboarding
Remember the number one problem we talked about?
First impressions matter WAY more than you think in SaaS. Thankfully, salvaging a bad user experience isn’t as hard as you’d think.
New Flow, New Me: onboard users faster, easier, better 😌
Want your lapsed users to see what they’re missing?
A brand new user onboarding flow is like a makeover after a breakup. There is no better way to show them how you’ve changed and grown.
Keep in mind that user onboarding is the best way of showing value instantly.
And, who can you trust to give you a makeover that’ll get your lapsed users’ attention? Meet UserGuiding.
UserGuiding is a (completely) no-code user onboarding tool, designed to help you onboard your users faster, easier, and better.
Among UserGuiding’s core features are:
👉 Product tours, walkthroughs, interactive guides,
👉 Tooltips, hotspots, checklists, and other UX elements,
👉 Powerful analytics and user feedback tools,
👉 User segments and targeting,
👉 Resource center for self-serve user onboarding, and more
3- Set Up an Amazing Email Onboarding Process
Whether it is mobile app users or desktop users, they will always get an email once they use their email address to sign up to something.
That, we call an onboarding email. It could be an in-app message too; what matter is that users are prompted with something specifically addressed to them.
If done right, email onboarding processes can turn first-timers into loyal customers.
Check out the first few emails G2 sent me when I first created an account.
They welcomed me, presented me with a call to action that will put me right in the G2 experience, and asked me for feedback. All within a month.
And what about re-engagement?
Onboarding emails are there to make sure you never need a re-engagement campaign. But when it is a re-engagement campaign you are working on, there are various ways to do that.
One of them is, of course, email campaigns.
The truth is, the best re-engagement email is one you plan ahead of time. I’m talking about newsletters, digests, and updates.
Quora’s digest emails take me back to the platform more often than the push notifications. If your product is fit for it, go for it.
4- Push Notifications – Best-Case Scenario for Apps
Push notifications are definitely the most popular user re-engagement method, especially for mobile app re-engagement.
Though we look at our phones every day for hours, not all apps get the exact same amount of attention. A push notification with a good prompt can easily get users to return which makes it ideal for mobile re-engagement strategies.
Look at how Tumblr urges its users to come back and check out what’s new.
The problem is, that a push notification isn’t necessarily widespread on desktops. That’s where SaaS happens, mind you.
So what to do when push notifications don’t work for your product?
5- Remarketing? Might Work…
One ethically controversial yet quite clever way of bringing customers back to your platform is remarketing.
Remarketing is when you have access to third-party websites that your potential customer might visit and you show them your re-engagement ads there too. Or at least, that’s the definition as we know it.
For example, you can tell that I’ve abandoned this sneaker store just now because they are remarketing a very similar sneaker model I checked out half an hour ago on Instagram.
Sadly, such a method is too specific to purchase-based platforms, focuses on engaging customers more than re-engaging them, and the time period between the interactions is fairly short.
But if we are talking about a concept or a marketing approach when we say ‘remarketing’, we have lots to learn from it.
That’s why it’s up to you and your product, whether remarketing works for you or not.
6- Ask Them If Everything’s OK
No more tricks, no more baits, no more mind games.
Especially for your users that have been gone for a long period of time, it is time to unleash an ancient method.
A heartfelt email asking them the question why?
Why haven’t they been coming back, why don’t they give you one more chance, and why don’t they at least tell you why they are leaving you.
Take a look at Grammarly’s email after not using the tool for a week.
Though the message doesn’t get too personal (probably because Grammarly’s not the small, personal platform it used to be) but it sure is heartfelt with the “We miss you!” subject title.
What’s more is that because the email is from Grammarly Insights, the rest of it provides some insights into the users’ accounts.
Remember, gamification is a valid tool to re-engage as well.
7- Keep Improving Your Product and Keep Inactive Users on the Loop
Tried everything? Or perhaps some of them? No budget for any of them?
Don’t worry. At any point in your product’s growth, what matters the most is that you add value to the product every day. Not to marketing, not to sales, not anything else.
The value of a product can only be within the product. Otherwise, it’s all empty promises and consequently low retention rates.
Of course, this is not to say that only the product matters. As your product gains more and more value, your marketing team needs to put the spotlight on it. And that simple action mandatory for any growth project can be the best re-engagement material you’ll ever have.
Made a difference? There is a new update? New features coming? Let people know!
The smallest change can make a lost user return, like when I decided in my head that Around wasn’t worth my time and changed my mind after receiving some of their update emails.
Sometimes, all it takes to re-engage lapsed users is a little enthusiasm.
There is no need for mind tricks, games, or simply baiting when your product is solid and you know how to get users onboarded to it.
Hopefully, this article helps you in deciding how to re-engage.
Keep in mind: no product is too complex, they are just uncharted. Give your users the map and a compass and they’ll never leave.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you engage inactive users?
Re-engaging inactive users might sound like a tough job since it seems like all connection is lost. However, email marketing and app notifications are quite good solutions when done right. Apart from that, improving the product and increasing value, remarketing, and adding a great user onboarding journey are also great ways of re-engaging lapsed users.
How do you keep users active?
To keep your users active on your platform or at least to make sure they come back frequently in a given period of time, it is essential to interact with them through email, in-app messages, push notifications, and more. More importantly, it is essential that you increase your product’s value and showcase this at any chance possible.