Over time, your email list tends to fall away: Most email marketing databases degenerate by 22.5 percent each year. That’s a lot of valuable customers who are no longer reading your emails. Inactive subscribers can also mess with your data and give your company a spammy reputation. But there’s good news, too: Turning an inactive subscriber into a customer is five times cheaper than acquiring a brand new customer. All you need is a few well-written re-engagement emails. Let’s talk about the best ways to write emails that re-engage inactive customers.
#1. Who should you send re-engagement emails to?
Re-engagement emails are aimed at inactive subscribers, but what exactly qualifies as “inactive?”Well, the general consensus between email experts is that an inactive subscriber is anyone who has been unengaged for longer than 30-60 days. Identify any customers who fall into that sweet spot and you’re ready to go.
#2. Personalize the email
It should go without saying that emails should be personalized to help them stand out in a crowded inbox. The best re-engagement subject lines will include the subscriber’s first name, like this straightforward missive from the Smithsonian that proclaimed “Tony, we want you back.” You could also send a personalized re-engagement email that shows the customer’s past purchase history and makes some new product recommendations based on those previous purchases.Subject line: Tony, we want you back
#3. Make it easy to leave
If readers choose tounsubscribe, make it easy for that to happen: be transparent by offering an easily spottable unsubscribe link.Don't forget to always offer the option for them to change their email preferences before unsubscribing. This means the option toreceive different types of emails or emails at a lower frequency.This email from Leesa Sleep is a great example of this.The email invites readers to update their email preferences, rather than unsubscribing all together. The change in preference could be anything from changing email frequency (daily, weekly, monthly) to the types of emails (events, newsletters, etc.) they want to receive. It’s a good compromise: The company can keep sending emails, but at a frequency that fits the reader’s wishes.Subject line: We really miss you...
#4. Make an offer
A special discount or coupon code can be a good way to draw someone back in and help them begin engaging with your business again. That’s what softball company Rip-It did here, offering a 10%-off coupon with a time limit of 48 hours. Rip-It also used some space in the email to highlight new products. Instead of a coupon code, you could even offer a small free gift; this doesn’t have to be a physical product, but could be an ebook or PDF (similar to a lead magnet you might have used to initially grow your email list). Make sure to mention your offer in the subject line so the reader is more likely to click and open.Subject line: Come back, Hailey — we miss you
#5. Highlight your value proposition
Carefully craft your email copy to remind customers what you bring to the table.Whether that’s more affordable products than your competitors, top-notch customer service, or in-store locations like the Clark’s Shoes example below.After all, the goal of a re-engagement email is to get people to re-engage, and a big way to do that is by presenting all of the great things you have to offer.Subject line: We don’t want to see you go
#6. Ask for feedback
Ask your subscribers for their feedback on what they’d like to see in your emails.Maybe they aren’t opening your emails because the content isn’t relevant, but you won't know unless you ask!In the example below, Blind Barber asks what they can do better and what their subscribers want to read. This data and answers can help you determine future email marketing strategy.Take things a step further by asking for feedback in the form of a poll or survey instead of simply using plain text. Interactive content gets more engagement than passive content, so presenting your request in a creative way instead of just saying “Reply and let us know” can help ensure you get some responses.Subject line: Time to say goodbye?
#7. Plan a re-engagement campaign
Instead of sending one re-engagement email, create a full re-engagement campaign to give customers the maximum number of opportunities to opt back in.Send inactive subscribers three to four emails, each one with a different angle. This can be a coupon code or asking for feedback, but in the end all with the same idea of "Come back!"If you still aren’t getting engagement after sending the final email in that campaign, remove those people from your list. This will help boost your overall engagement rate and reduce the likelihood that you'll become known as a spammy brand.
Wrap-up: Re-engage inactive customers
Ready to start sending re-engagement emails to clients? Save yourself some time and effort by using BEE’s ready-to-use templates, with their user-friendly drag-and-drop tools for customizing your logo, colors, fonts and other branding elements. With those tools in hand, it will be a breeze to craft an effective series of emails to re-engage inactive customers!
Editor's Note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated on November 2022 to provide on going accuracy and comprehensiveness.