What is a Re-engagement Email Campaign? Actionable Tips and Best Practices

Re-engagement campaign cover

Have you noticed how certain subscribers disengage from your email marketing campaigns over a certain time period? For an email enthusiast, it translates to losing a significant percentage of your email list, reducing your sender reputation. 

Marketers lose close to 25% of subscribers every year due to attrition. Re-engagement campaigns are a way to reconnect with these customers who have not interacted with your brand in a while. 

A well-executed re-engagement email campaign can improve your chances of getting back subscribers and increase your email marketing performance. Let’s understand the need for re-engagement campaigns, ways to identify inactive subscribers, best practices, and examples of how to get them back into the funnel.



What is a Re-engagement Email Campaign?

A re-engagement campaign is an email sequence you send to subscribers, encouraging them to interact with your brand again. 

Subscribers might lose interest in your emails for different reasons, such as:

  • Technical issues,
  • Not verifying your sender identity,
  • Poor segmentation,
  • Lack of personalization,
  • Improper timing,
  • Flashing graphics,
  • Overwhelming email frequency,
  • Boring or irrelevant content,
  • Unengaging subject lines,
  • Repetitive and salesy offers.

When you figure out the reason for subscribers’ inactivity, you can use targeted messaging to get them back on your mailing list. But to get into this practice, you should know the perks of re-engaging your subscribers.


Why It’s Important to Re-engage Your Inactive Subscribers?

Your subscribers could have other priorities or may have forgotten about your brand. In such cases, their activity is reduced, and they disengage from your subscriber list. This can have a huge impact on your email deliverability rate and ROI. 

ISPs use engagement metrics to determine the legitimacy of your email marketing campaigns. When large numbers of subscribers are unengaged, ISPs may mark your emails as spam. This can result in your emails not reaching your active subscribers, too.

By re-engaging your subscribers through interesting campaigns, you can win their trust and attention back. But first, let’s learn how to spot the signs of inactive subscribers.


Steps to Identify Inactive Subscribers

Here are steps to identify your inactive subscribers and re-engage them:

  1. Define inactivity criteria: Establish rules for what qualifies as an inactive subscriber. For example, it could include open rates, click rates, or purchases during a specific time. 
  2. Use email analytics: Look at your subscriber engagement metrics to understand how many people actively open and interact with your emails.
  3. Set a time frame: Decide how long you’ll wait before you move subscribers to the inactive list. For example – if it’s three months without engagement, you can send them re-engagement campaigns. If it’s beyond six months, remove them from your email list. Adapt and adjust the time frame according to your product life cycle and customer behavior. 
  4. Monitor purchase behavior: Compare the number of people who purchase from you with the ones who only open your emails. This helps you identify the more interested subscribers and re-engage them.
  5. Use engagement scoring: Use an engagement scoring system to help you remove inactive subscribers based on points. This is much easier than manually removing them. For example, you can provide points based on time spent on your website, number of likes, shares, etc, and the percentage of return users.
  6. Track website interaction: Monitor subscriber interaction on your website, such as page views or downloads. This will give you additional insights into their engagement levels.
  7. Consider multiple engagement metrics: Don’t just focus on open and click rates. Instead, combine the results from your different metrics, such as social media shares, purchases, and survey responses. 
  8. Regularly review and update: Subscriber engagement is dynamic and can change over time. Update and review your inactive subscriber criteria to make your re engagement email sequence more effective.
  9. Utilize email marketing analytics and list cleaning tools: Analytics tools help you measure results without the need for manual data entry.
    At Campaign Refinery, you can view your results from a sleek dashboard. We also have an automatic email list cleaning feature to remove all inactive and suspicious subscribers from your list — so you don’t have to spend hours doing it manually. 

With consistent efforts and proper strategies, you can create compelling re-engagement campaigns. To reinforce your efforts, use these steps to plan and iterate your campaigns.


How to Plan Your Re engagement Email Campaign

Heather Huang, co-founder of Mailtime says “Getting in touch with your emotions before you hit the send button is a great habit to build”. We think a similar tactic goes for email campaigns — understand what went wrong before you plan your re engagement campaign.

Here are the best ways to start:

  1. Define your goals: Outline the goal of your re engagement campaign — do you want to boost email campaign metrics or recover lost customers? This will set the tone for your email series. 
  2. Segment your audience: Segment your audience based on demographics and behavior. This allows you to create tailor-made re engagement campaigns.
  3. Identify inactive subscribers: When you know what types of audiences qualify as inactive subscribers, it’s easier to create targeted messages that will interest them.
  4. Decide when to trigger: Set a timeline for when you want to send your re engagement campaign. It’s usually best to send your re engagement emails after 60 days of inactivity. However, the timeframe depends on your campaign goals, business model, and target audience. 
  5. Develop personalized content: Use personalization based on your inactive subscribers’ past interactions, preferences, or purchase history. This will help you create relevant and engaging content for each segment of subscribers.
  6. Craft compelling subject lines: Your subject lines must communicate the value of your re engagement offer. Use attention-grabbing and persuasive subject lines, and A/B test them to find out what works best for your audience.
  7. Offer incentives: You can provide discounts, exclusive offers, early access to new products, or other advantages that add value to your subscriber. Attractive incentives encourage inactive recipients to take action.
  8. Design a clear call to action: Include a clear and compelling CTA that informs subscribers to click through your website or landing page to learn more about your brand and make a purchase.
  9. Consider multi-channel approaches: Think of your re engagement campaigns beyond email —  use social media or targeted ads to reinforce your message and reach subscribers who aren’t active on emails. 
  10.  Set up automated workflows: Automated workflows help you streamline your re engagement efforts. You can set up triggers to send follow-up emails or additional incentives based on subscriber actions and behavior.
  11. Test and optimize: Constantly test your subject lines, incentives, or other offers to understand your audiences’ preferences. Use this data to optimize your re engagement campaigns in the future.
  12. Monitor metrics: Keep a close watch on email metrics such as opens, click-throughs, and conversions to understand how your campaigns are performing. This will show you what’s missing from your campaigns and help you offer better content in your future emails.
  13. Implement sunset policy: Observe and remove subscribers who aren’t opening and engaging with your re-engagement emails. This will help you avoid wasting time and maintain a healthy email list.

Humanize your re-engagement campaigns, and it will help tell your brand story and connect with your subscribers on a more personal level. Let’s see the different types of re engagement emails that will captivate your subscribers’ attention.


Types of Re engagement Emails You Should Include in Your Campaigns

Re engagement email campaigns usually consist of four or more emails, each fulfilling different purposes. And you can include as much information in each of these campaign types. Here are the types of re engagement emails you must know:

Type of Re-engagement Campaign Purpose
Personalized offer emailIncentivize inactive subscribers to make a purchase.
Exclusive access emailActs as a reward for re engagement, and creates urgency and a sense of exclusivity.
Survey or feedback requestHelps gain insights for future email campaigns.
Reminder email Reminds inactive subscribers of the benefits of re engagement.
Anniversary or milestone email Fosters a positive relationship and cultivates brand loyalty.
Gamification email Includes quizzes, games, and interactive elements, encourages inactive subscribers to re-engage.
Product recommendation emailShowcase best-selling products to rekindle interest.
Update or feature announcement Highlighting new features to re-engage subscribers.
”We miss you” email Emotionally appeals to the subscribers. 
Types of re engagement campaigns

 If none of the efforts work, you can resort to ‘the regret email’ — it emotionally connects with your subscribers as well as provides an alternative. Whatever type of campaign you use, the subject line is the first email component they notice, and it can make or break the outcome.


How to Write Effective Re engagement email campaign Subject Lines?

The subject line is your first chance to re engage subscribers. Include these in your subject lines for better open rates:

Subject Line Examples
Personalization ” We miss you [subscriber name]”” Exclusive Offer Just For You”
Urgency and Special Offers ”Unlock your special discount today”
Curiosity and questions ” Is this our last communication? We hope not”
Direct messages ” We want you back”
Milestone ”Celebrate with us”
Rewards ” Use 25% off your next purchase”
Curated content ” Discover what you’ve missed”
Interactive elements ” Play and win this exclusive gift”
Feedback Request ”Help us improve”” What did we do wrong?”
Re engagement subject line examples

 If you struggle to craft engaging email content, you can use your ESP’s built-in tools to do it for you. For example, at Campaign Refinery, you can easily create re engagement email sequences with our tailored templates and email automation workflows. 

Next, let’s focus on the best strategies that will help you build re engagement campaigns quickly and effectively.


Best Re-engagement Campaign Strategies 

When you create so many emails in a day, it’s easy to slip into writing them for yourself rather than for your recipients. Being mindful of certain strategies can help you regain focus on your subscribers’ journey, pain points, and actions. 

Let’s look at them below:

  • Segment your list properly: Create a separate segmentation list for your disengaged subscribers. This way, you can send relevant messages to both active and inactive audiences. The criteria for ‘engaged’ can differ with various factors, but typically, you should plan re engagement campaigns within 2 months of no subscriber activity.
  • Make your subject line attractive: Mix up your subject lines for variety, and use persuasive words like ” A lot has changed since you last visited.”. You may also use emotional phrases like ”Is this the end” to give your subscribers a chance to change their minds.
  • Direct Subscribers to the Preference Center: If your recipients haven’t unsubscribed, direct them to the preference center to manage email frequency. 
  • Use incentives and offers: Give your subscribers a compelling reason to get back on the list — you can send freebies and samples, milestone rewards, memberships, loyalty programs, and gamification elements. With Campaign Refinery’s ‘rewards’ feature, you can incentivize and reward your subscribers for every open and click. The best part is that you can assign any ‘point’ value to your subscribers.
  • Create engaging content: Whether it’s sharing success stories, tips, or product updates, provide value with every sentence. 
  • Write a clear CTA: Write a clear CTA that helps subscribers understand what to do next. Look at your CTAs from the recipient’s point of view and ask yourself: does it impress? Is it easily understandable? Will it make people take action?
  • Personalize your campaigns: Mention specific products your subscribers were interested in and highlight previous purchases. 
  • Include social proof: While social proof does not directly help you re engage subscribers, it can talk about the positive experiences others have had with your brand.
  • Regularly get feedback: Surveys and feedback requests are a great way to understand your audiences’ actions and behavior. Use the data to further refine your re engagement campaign strategies.
  • Address recipient concerns: It’s crucial to reassure your recipients regarding product quality, customer service, and other concerns. Start with a re-assurance email and gradually send re engagement campaigns.
  • Automate drip campaigns: Set up automated campaigns to send a series of re engagement campaigns over time. 
  • Monitor and analyze metrics: Continually monitor open rates, click-through rates, and conversions to check the effectiveness of your re engagement campaigns.

There are many ways you can use re-engagement emails to communicate the uniqueness of your product or service. We show you how popular brands have done it.


Email Re engagement Campaigns: Examples for Inspiration 

The rules in email marketing keep changing, and to stay on top of the game, you must implement newer strategies to engage your inactive subscriber base. We have collected reference points to keep your audience on their toes.


My Mind – Give Yourself Space to Think 

Good email copywriting is a process — it includes different angles, subscriber interests, and, more importantly, fits the user perspective. We like the below example because of its simplicity and emotional connection. From a subscriber perspective, this email speaks to customer pain points and has a high chance of converting again.

My Mind Re engagement campaign
My Mind Re engagement campaign. Source

Halfdays — Something New is Coming Soon

‘Coming soon’ emails create anticipation and curiosity, encouraging inactive subscribers to open your emails. Halfdays uses this strategy effectively by blurring the background and focusing on the email header text. Notice how they include a CTA that allows subscribers to stay up-to-date with their events.

Halfdays Re engagement Campaign
Halfdays Re engagement Campaign. Source

Koala Eco – Last Day to Save 25%

Koala’s re-engagement campaign is picturesque with a compelling offer. The email promotes urgency alongside a clean CTA. When it’s a limited-time offer, your subscribers are more likely to take action.

Koala Eco Re engagement campaign
Koala Eco Re engagement campaign. Source

Mode Chocolate — Missed Connection?

A fun and humor-filled campaign gives your subscribers a reason to reconnect with your brand. Mode Chocolate has done it using simple and funny language that sparks interest. 

Mode Chocolate Re engagement campaign
Mode Chocolate Re engagement campaign. Source

Better Bagel — Free Shipping On Something Better

Better Bagel uses a clever re engagement cart email tactic to win over the subscribers. It pulls the viewer through product images, an offer, and a good-to-read text. Note that the CTA is subtly mentioned twice in the email — as an offer and a CTA button.

Better Brand Re engagement campaign
Better Brand Re engagement campaign. Source

Withings — Go Back to Health in Style 

Withings re-engages inactive subscribers with a wake-up call for a health check. The prominent ”Take Advantage” button urges subscribers to start monitoring their health.

Withings Re engagement campaign
Withings Re engagement campaign. Source

Graza – Down to the Last Drizzle

Graza opens the email with a question and then communicates the importance of the product. The email creates a natural flow leading to the CTA. This type of re engagement email instills nostalgia and creates compulsion for the subscribers.

Graza Re engagement campaign
Graza Re engagement campaign. Source

Creating re engagement campaigns is a process and requires rigorous testing and optimization. Sometimes, the process can get tricky to handle, which is why we are here to help.


How Campaign Refinery Can Help Your Re engagement Campaigns Shine

Re-engagement campaigns are potent ways to restate your brand values and re-ignite that spark with your subscribers. When you are ready to build one, Campaign Refinery helps you segment and clean your email lists for high deliverability and sender reputation.

Through our email best practices and premium features, our clients have seen an upward of 600% increase in deliverability rates.

We make building re engagement campaigns a breeze through a smooth software experience — pick a template from hundreds of them in the campaign library, use the engagement rewards feature to interest your subscribers, and strengthen relationships. 

While we take care of your re engagement campaigns, build newer relationships through our Lead Magnet Multiplier Course: a guide to getting more subscribers to open your lead magnets. 

Get access to more features inside our premium software — apply and become our client today!

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