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Re-Engage for Better Results

Kelly Sutter


Re-engagement emails help reach subscribers who have not been opening and clicking your emails and also help you identify who should be removed from your list. Cleaner lists mean higher performance from your active subscribers. And you’ll benefit from better deliverability as ISPs look more at how engaged your subscribers are with your emails.


Why send re-engagement emails?

Re-engagement emails are all about connecting with the subscribers in your list that haven’t been interacting with your product. It’s a chance to ask questions, to offer an incentive to become more active with your emails or to peacefully part ways. It shows that you are taking a thoughtful approach to your marketing and desire to send emails that subscribers want to receive.

Let’s review what you need to know as you get started.


1. Identify inactive subscribers

Inactives are subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked your emails, or interacted with your product in a meaningful way over a set amount of time. Believe it or not, every email list has inactive subscribers!

Your product and current sending frequency will help determine how much time should pass before a subscriber is labeled inactive. When you have a seasonal product — such as a film festival – a subscriber may be inactive after one year or more. When you’re operating with regular promotions, a subscriber becomes inactive after a shorter amount of time. For example, five or six email campaigns may be appropriate. If you’re not sure where to start, a good starting point is to review subscriber activity every three months.

It’s important to look beyond the inbox and review a subscriber’s activity with your product across all channels. For example, you may have less engagement in email but regular purchases either in-store or online. Using a customer relationship management system (CRM) is extremely helpful for seeing the larger picture for each of your patrons. You may want to isolate subscribers that have not opened, clicked or purchased in the past several months.

Think about what makes an inactive subscriber for your product and then create a plan to re-engage them.


2. Create a re-engagement plan

Once you have identified inactives, you need a plan for re-engaging. Next steps should include what type of email communication you will use, how many times you will reach out, and what you will do if there is still no engagement.

Here are five ideas to help you think of the best re-engagement strategy:

Ask for updated communication preferences.

We love this approach! It cuts straight to the chase. You can link to your unsubscribe page where subscribers can either update preferences or unsubscribe globally.

Ask direct questions.

For example, send three emails over the course of ten days with different subjects such as “Where have you been?”, “Was it something we said?”, “How are we doing?”. Give the subscriber a button to continue receiving emails or to stop receiving emails.

Special coupons.

Provide some promotional incentive to be active with the email, such as a coupon for 10% off a future purchase.

Make recommendations.

Analyze past purchase history and make product recommendations. This helps the subscriber see what other items would meet their interests and also shows how well you know them as a subscriber.

Polls or surveys.

A poll or survey can be super effective, but it should be easy and quick (5-10 minutes). You might ask for feedback around your email marketing strategy and what would make the email content more engaging for the subscriber. Pro tip > Make it more appealing by adding in a discount or freebie for successfully completing the form.

Be sure to test what works! This is a great opportunity to weave in A/B testing. For example, test what works best such as a discount code on next purchase versus a freebie with the next visit.

Once your campaigns are sent, say farewell to subscribers who didn’t re-engage. This is really quite hard! After all, it took effort to get an opt-in from the subscriber. But ultimately you’ll benefit from higher inbox deliverability and perhaps lower costs in your email budget as your list decreases to the most engaged subscribers.


3. Send a re-engagement email with WordFly

WordFly offers all the necessary tools to run an effective re-engagement campaign.

Learn more about how to increase subscriber engagement.

Our knowledge base article covers the basics.

Identify inactives in WordFly.

  • Use segmentation with engagement data to filter your list and only send to subscribers with less than three or two stars. Save your segment to use again in future email campaigns.
  • Export all subscribers and review engagement data. Once you have your export ready you can create an email list based on this data. However, if you plan on doing these types of emails on a regular basis, we recommend using segmentation so that you can save your segment filter.
  • CRM-integrated accounts — Use your database to find any subscribers that haven’t opened, clicked or purchased within your inactive timeframe.

Send A/B campaigns.

Test what works best! You can test different subject lines or templates and incorporate any of the ideas presented earlier in this post.

Enable two-step unsubscribe, then link directly to your WordFly unsubscribe page.

By linking to your WordFly Unsubscribe page with two-step unsubscribe enabled, subscribers can update preferences or easily opt-out globally, if that’s what they really want to do.

Analyze the results in Reporting!

Have you run a re-engagement campaign? We’d love to hear from you!