You’re working so hard to grow your email list. You’re putting blood, sweat and tears into the content that you create for your subscribers. You’re planning and executing marketing strategies that will help guide and inform your audience to a solution that you can provide for them. Creating a Re-engagement campaign probably isn't on the top of your list of to-dos.

But despite our best efforts as email marketers, there’s still a huge chunk of subscribers who will excitedly subscribe to your list and become dormant or inactive over time. In fact, did you know that the average email list has 60% inactive subscribers

That’s a significant number of people who aren’t reading your content, regardless of your list size! 

That statistic alone should encourage you to be ready with a strategic approach to re-engaging contacts in your database to keep your pipeline full of engaged prospects who are interested and ready to buy from you or work with you. 

Automating your re-engagement campaign takes this list cleaning task off your plate so you can continue focusing on your message, content and clients. 

Adding a re-engagement campaign to your automations will also help improve your email deliverability stats and keep you out of spam folders. Email deliverability is a whole other topic we can discuss, but we’ll save that for another day.

Let’s dive into some helpful information about how to write your re-engagement campaign and what to do with the results.

Who needs to be in this re-engagement campaign?

Typically subscribers who have not engaged (which means they haven’t opened or clicked) an email that you’ve sent them should be considered unengaged. The time frame, of course, (like anything else) depends on your industry and niche as well as how frequently you email your subscribers. 

As a general rule of thumb, it wouldn’t hurt to use a 6 month marker as a prime time for sending people through your re-engagement campaign. Any subscriber who hasn’t engaged with your emails longer than 6 months would definitely be a candidate for your re-engagement campaign.

What does a re-engagement campaign need to say?

Before we dive into email copy, let’s start with the subject line. 

If there was ever a time to craft an eye-catching subject line, it’s when you’re writing these re-engagement campaign emails. 

Your emails have to stand out in a sea of subject lines, especially considering that the average person receives an average of 100 emails per day.  PER DAY. 

To give yourself an edge, choose one of these two paths for the type of subject line you want to use: emotionally charged (We miss you!) or straight to the point (Do you still want to hear from us?).

Data shows these two types of subject lines generated impressive open rates, and who am I to argue with the facts?  

In a nutshell, the point of a re-engagement campaign is to tell your subscriber:

 “Hey, I haven’t seen you interact with my email communication in awhile. I wanted to remind you who I am and how I can help you. If I don’t hear back, you’ll be removed from my email list. Hope you want to stick around, but there’s no hard feelings if you want to stop receiving emails from me.”

Did you catch how HUMAN that sounded? Yep, that’s the idea. And that's the same tone that you should strive for when you’re writing email copy for this re-engagement campaign. 

Re-engagement Campaign: 4 Easy Steps for a Clean, Active Email List

Let’s break down the anatomy of this re-engagement campaign copy.

Reintroduce yourself and remind your subscriber why they signed up for your list in the first place. Acknowledge that you noticed they haven’t been opening your emails, and tell them you’re in the process of cleaning up your email list. 

Ask them if they’re still interested in your services. Sometimes we forget how simple it is to just ask a direct question for what we want to know. Using this question in your re-engagement campaign email will also remind your subscriber how you support clients, and it could even trigger an instant “yes” in your subscriber’s mind prompting them to reach out for a consultation about your services. 

It’s recommended that you include some type of gift to incentivize subscribers who take action through this email campaign. There are several ways to do this and there is a wide variety of incentives and fun ways to encourage your subscribers to open, read and click. 

Here's a short list of ways to incentivize your subscriber and encourage them to take action. 

  • Send out a Subscriber Survey and include a bonus for respondents
  • Unlock an exclusive training or bonus content for subscribers who click or engage
  • Include a few links to your most popular blog content 
  • Ask for subscriber opinion or advice for market research 
  • Create a giveaway for subscribers who click on a link in the email 
  • Add a special promotion or discount offer to your email 
  • Open your calendar for 10 minute laser-coaching sessions 

Remember: you are trying to regenerate a conversation with your subscribers in a way that will be mutually beneficial for you both. 

How many emails should be included in the re-engagement campaign?

The number of emails that you should include within your re-engagement campaign varies; however, I typically recommend a campaign with 4-6 emails, depending on the frequency of regular communication and the amount of time the selected group of subscribers has been unengaged.

For example, if you’re using a timeframe greater than 6 months as your indicator for an unengaged subscriber, you may need to include an extra email or two to remind them of your brand, give value and then ask them to take action. 

A subscriber is much more likely to do what you’re asking them to do if you’ve focused on building trust and adding value for them first.

What do I do with the subscribers who don’t open my re-engagement campaign?

You delete them. 

Okay, actually that’s not entirely true. 

First you’ll want to make sure you specifically tag these subscribers as “Unmarketable” in your CRM. That will give you a segment of subscribers to eliminate from your general newsletters and other communication, thus improving open rates, etc. right off the bat. 

Some digital marketers will argue that it’s never a good idea to delete subscribers because their contact records may have valuable data that you want to preserve, and that’s totally understandable and makes for a valid argument. 

However, I’m in the camp of simplicity (imagine that, ha) and if my clients aren’t using data collected and saved through their contact records, I usually recommend that those contacts be deleted and removed from their CRM. 

This option takes the guesswork out of segmenting out unengaged subscribers and keeps an accurate, clean count of subscribers who want to be on the email list in the first place and who have proven through action (like opening/clicking) that they are interested in sticking around. 

Now if you *really* want to get fancy, you could download that list of unengaged subscribers, delete them from your CRM, and upload that list to Facebook to create a retargeting ad campaign inviting them to re-subscribe to your email list with a new offer or lead magnet. 

I know I just got super nerdy, but if you go to your paid advertising person and tell them you want to run a retargeting ad campaign for your unengaged subscribers that you found through your re-engagement campaign, they will probably squeal with delight and do a quick happy dance around the room. 

Whichever route you decide to take with your unengaged subscribers, know that you’re making a solid decision to release them and improve your email marketing stats. 

The point of email list building isn’t to grow the biggest list; it’s to create a community of engaged humans who want to stay connected with you through email because they value your content, love your brand, and have potential to be a client or customer one day. 

Let’s review the 4 steps to running a re-engagement campaign.

Before I cut you loose to go write your re-engagement campaign, I want to break it down for you so you can understand how easy this campaign will be to write and execute. 

  1. Ask your subscriber if they’re still interested in your services. 
  2. Incentivize them to stick around with an offer or bonus for engaging. 
  3. Determine which subscribers need to be flagged as unengaged
  4. Exclude the unengaged subscribers from your general mailing list. 

If you have any questions about creating your re-engagement campaign, just ask! I’d be happy to share my recommendations and get you unstuck so you can keep growing your list and creating connections with your audience.

About the Author:

Jamie DuBose is the CEO, Launch Strategist & Marketing Automation Specialist at Zenplicity. She helps profitable entrepreneurs make strategic marketing decisions that consistently improve their business & increase their revenue. Her expertise lies in creating targeted, high-performing campaigns that track & use behavior-based subscriber metrics to sell more units to a more engaged audience.
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