How to create a re-engagement email that works

Nothing excites an email marketer as much as seeing their email list growing. Well, nothing except for high engagement rates. Sadly, however, just as with other relationships, the honeymoon phase, during which a subscriber opens every email, comes to an end.

This is the point where many scramble for a re-engagement email to woo their inactive subscribers back.

Perhaps you’re in the same boat and you’re looking for tips on how to create a re-engagement email that really works. If you are, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a re-engagement email?

Before getting into the strategies that you can use to re-activate your customers who have decided to be dormant, let’s quickly define what a re-engagement email is. 

Before getting into the strategies that you can use to re-activate your customers who have decided to be dormant, let’s quickly define what a re-engagement email is.

Source: Emma

A re-engagement email is a communication that is created for the sole purpose of re-activating readers who have stopped engaging with your emails. Readers stop engaging for many reasons, some of which include (but are not limited to):

  • They only signed up for a one-time offer.

  • Your send frequency is too high.

  • The subject lines are not delivering on the promise.

  • The templates that are not mobile-responsive.

  • The content is irrelevant.

In a nutshell, people stop reading your emails for two main reasons:

  • Your emails aren’t meeting their needs.

  • Your readers’ needs have changed.

You must try to figure out the reasons behind your subscribers disengaging as this will empower you to create a more effective re-engagement email.

Why should you run re-engagement email campaigns? 

Now that you know what a re-engagement email is and why people disengage from your emails, you may be wondering—Is it really necessary to run a re-engagement campaign?

The short answer is yes. Sending re-engagement emails provide you many benefits to create stronger relationships with your subscribers, like:

  • Improving your reputation. Sending emails that go unopened negatively impacts your sender reputation.

  • Increasing your revenue. As cliché as it sounds, the money’s in the list. Meaning, every email that goes unopened is a potential loss of revenue.

  • Retaining more customers. Retaining an old customer is cheaper (and easier) than attracting a new one.

  • Proving your value. As much as your email list is your source of business, your readers also need you. A re-engagement email (done well) helps them realize that.

Re-engagement campaigns are crucial for every business. Not only do they help you revive your relationships with your customers, but they also help you recover revenue that you could have missed out on.

With the foundation laid, let’s go ahead and look at how you can create one that works.  

4 tips for creating a re-engagement email that works

To create an effective re-engagement email, you need to consider several important factors. Here are the top four:

1. Identify and segment inactive readers.

One of the first and most important steps in creating an effective re-engagement email is to define what an inactive reader is. Is it someone who:

  • Hasn’t opened your emails in X months 

  • Hasn’t opened X number of emails

 Once you’ve determined which criteria you will use to identify your dormant readers, segment them accordingly.  Segmenting your inactive readers will enable you to send hyper-personalized emails to your recipients. This is important as personalization is known to increase open rates by as much as 26%

2. Determine email send frequency/time.

Once you’ve identified your inactive users, plan your course of action. One way to do this is to determine how often you’ll send your re-engagement emails. You’ll have to tread softly with this one as send frequency and sending time has been discovered to be a major reason for emails going unopened. For instance, sending too many emails can lead to readers becoming fed up with your brand, leading to them ignoring your marketing altogether.

3. Design your re-engagement email.

You’ve now identified your inactive readers and have determined how you’ll send your re-engagement email campaign. The next step on your journey to activating your inactive subscribers is to design your re-engagement email.

Just as in any relationship, restoring one that has gone sour mainly hinges on your message. Here’s how to ensure your message hits the right spot with your subscribers:

  • Make it personal. Personalization is key in ensuring that your re-engagement email not only gets opened but moves your reader into taking action as well.

  • Keep it short.  Don’t bore your customer with too many details. Keep your re-engagement email brief and to the point. Otherwise, they’ll miss your message and you’d have lost your only shot at winning them back.

  • Target your readers’ emotions. Remind your reader of the good times you’ve had and, of course, how you helped them solve their problems. You can also use FOMO to let them know what they are missing out on as well.

With these re-engagement email best practices in place, you’re bound to see satisfactory results from your campaign.

4. Test your emails.

After designing your re-engagement email, make sure to A/B test it to see which elements work and which need improving on. For example, you can test:

  • Your subject lines. For every re-engagement email you create, make sure to test the subject lines to understand which will perform better.

  • The email copy. Play around with your email copy to see which type works best. For example, does the humorous one perform better than the overly emotional type?

  • Your call-to-action. One of the most important elements of any email is the call-to-action, more-so in a re-engagement email.

A/B testing your emails can be quite a tedious task, but it’s well worth it as it helps you to optimize your emails for greater impact. 

3 types of re-engagement emails to include in your campaign

Re-engaging inactive subscribers is impossible with a single re-engagement email. To run a successful re-engagement campaign, you need to design a sequence with at least four emails.

1. The reminder email

The reminder email is the one you use to break the ice. What main purpose does this re-engagement email serve?

  • It reminds your customer how they got on your list.

  • It reminds your customer of the benefits they get from continuing to engage with your emails.

  • It gives you an opportunity to direct your customers to your preference center.

The reminder email is the one you use to break the ice. What main purpose does this re-engagement email serve?

Source: Really Good Emails

When executed wisely, reminder emails convert well when re-engaging your inactive subscribers. Especially when you put them in control of the type of content they get from you and the frequency to spark a new and better relationship.

2. The offer email

Just as it took an offer to get your customer to subscribe to your email list, you can also win them back with another incentive. However, you will have to pay special attention to your re-engagement offer as your customer is now at a different stage of your customer journey.

Just as it took an offer to get your customer to subscribe to your email list, you can also win them back with another incentive.

Source: Yahoo Mail

As with most email types, data is also your friend on this one. Look into your customer’s purchase or browsing history to understand what they were really interested in. Give them a discount or upgraded version on that product. However you do it, make sure that the offer is so compelling they can’t resist it. 

3. The regret email

If all else fails, send a regret email. This type of re-engagement email is your last effort at trying to re-engage your customer and must thus be crafted carefully.

If all else fails, send a regret email. This type of re-engagement email is your last effort at trying to re-engage your customer and must thus be crafted carefully.

Source: Really Good Emails

Framebridge nailed it with their regret email above. Here’s what makes it a fabulous example to emulate:

  • It presses the guilt button. From the wording to the sentiments it conveys, this re-engagement email does a great job of making the reader feel guilty of breaking the relationship.

  • Personalized. Addressing your reader as a friend you’ve had some history with is a great touch.

  • Gives an alternative. Although this re-engagement email was created for the purpose of parting ways, it does a good job of offering the reader an alternative to stay.

  • Great CTA. Using the call-to-action to entice the recipient to re-engage was a very clever move. From the bold design to the copy that was crafted to make the reader reconsider, this is a masterpiece of a CTA.

While this type of email is created to express your regret for the customer leaving, it’s a double-edged sword in that it also triggers regret in the reader for wanting to leave. The result is that they are compelled to continue their relationship with you.  

Wrap up

One aspect of email marketing that you can’t escape from is the fact that not all your contacts will remain with you forever. While it’s a fact, you can help reduce the number of inactive customers by running re-engagement campaigns. So go ahead, design your re-engagement email campaign and win back your inactive subscribers.

In a nutshell, re-engagement is all about:

  • Activating inactive subscribers

  • Saving your reputation

  • Increasing your revenue

  • Helping your customers

Need more tips on re-engaging your customers? Check out our article on how to send an effective re-engagement email

About the Author

Emma Email

Emma is an email marketing platform that gives you all the tools you need to send campaigns that really connect with your subscribers. Unlike other email providers, Emma puts their customers first. It's email marketing that works for you.

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