The Power of Reactivation Emails: How to Re-engage Subscribers and Increase Revenue?

reactivation emails cover image with a flower and trigger lightning

Reactivation emails are sent to inactive subscribers to rekindle their interest and get them back in the business.

Do you have thousands of subscribers but little to no engagement? Inactive subscribers could mean stagnant business growth. These people have shown interest in your products but suddenly go cold.

Reactivation emails are not just a tool but a strategic weapon that can rekindle the spark and turn your inactive subscribers back into engaged recipients. 

We’ll explore reactivation email best practices, reasons why subscribers become inactive and look at examples to help you craft better email campaigns.

What are Reactivation Emails?

A reactivation email, also known as a win-back email, is a final attempt to re-engage inactive subscribers. These people haven’t opted out but do not open and interact with your emails either.

The goal is to send interesting and valuable information and engage them with your email content and products. These emails are usually triggered by a subscriber behavior, which means you’ll need to rely on automation for reactivation campaigns to ensure they reach recipients on time.

Why Subscribers Become Inactive?

You may notice high open and click rates at one point and none at the other. This could mean subscribers are likely weighing their options or don’t have the need for your product right now.

However, there are more reasons why recipients may not engage with emails, such as:

  1. Email overload: Sending emails too frequently with similar information can lead to email fatigue and make recipients unsubscribe from your content.
  2. Poor timing: When you send emails at irrelevant times, recipients may overlook or ignore them, leading to lower engagement rates.
  3. Technical issues: Emails may not reach recipients because of email deliverability or throttling issues, decreasing email engagement.
  4. Change in preferences: Subscribers’ preferences may change over time, causing them to lose interest in your content.
  5. Irrelevant offers: Most subscribers tune out because of irrelevant offers and promotions.
  6. Unmet expectations: Did you promise to send a weekly newsletter but never do? Unmet expectations can cause recipients to leave without second thoughts.
  7. Lack of personalization: Sending generic and mass-produced content can make recipients switch to brands that value their interests and preferences.

Understanding the reasons behind your customers’ inactivity makes it easier to create reactivation emails. Ultimately, retaining an existing customer may cost less than acquiring a new one. Let’s review the general costs for both.

The Cost of Getting a New Subscriber vs. Retaining an Old One

Acquiring new customers for businesses, especially SaaS, can cost four to five times more than retaining the existing ones. This happens because customers usually buy from brands they trust. 

It could take a lot of resources and time to get to this point, which means an increase in advertising and marketing costs.

Here’s a breakdown of costs for acquiring a new customer vs. retaining a loyal one.

FactorCost of Acquiring a New Subscriber Cost of Retaining Existing Customer 
Direct costs Advertising spend (PPC and social media)Affiliate marketing feesReferral program awardsContent creation costs for acquisition campaignsEmail marketing platform feeContent creation for retention emails
Indirect costs Time and resources spent on running a new campaign Lost sales opportunities while trying to nurture new leadsTime and resources spent on win-back email campaigns
Risk No guarantee of conversion Higher chances of conversions due to established trust 
Return on Investment (ROI)Typically low ROI due to higher acquisition costsLikelihood of higher ROI because existing customers are willing to spend more
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)The CLV is unknown for new customersExisting customers have a track record of spending
Cost of acquiring a new customer vs. retaining an existing one

In addition to marketing costs, you may require extra resources to acquire new customers, such as a dedicated marketing team to identify leads. Generally, a new customer needs to be with a company for one to five years before your product can earn profit through them.

While keeping customers from leaving may be impossible, data, a.k.a. reactivation email metrics, can help you understand their needs and preferences.

Important Reactivation Email Metrics to Track

The average email read rate for win-back emails is 12%. But this metric isn’t the only one you must rely on. 45% of subscribers who don’t read the first reactivation email subsequently engage with the upcoming messages.

Along with the read rate, there are other important metrics to get to know your customers in-depth.

Email Metric DescriptionImportance For Reactivation Campaigns
Deliverability rate The percentage of emails successfully landed in recipient inboxesEnsures emails reach the intended audience on time
Open rate The percentage of recipients who open your reactivation emailShows the effectiveness of your email subject line and preheader text
Click-through rate The percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in your reactivation emailIndicates engagement with your email content and the effectiveness of CTA
Conversion rate The percentage of recipients who complete the desired action, such as signing up for an offer or purchasing a product Measures the overall success of reactivation emails 
Unsubscribe rate The number of people who unsubscribe from your mailing list after receiving your reactivation emailHelps identify if your reactivation email strategy is right
Important reactivation email metrics to track 

A/B test different email elements to determine what resonates with your audience.

The Importance of a Well-crafted Reactivation Email

A well-crafted reactivation email can help keep your email list clean, improve email deliverability, and increase sales.

In the long run, you want to keep customers engaged with your content and encourage them to continue doing business with your brand. You can achieve this by sending the right content at the right time. 

For example, you can send an email coupon to customers who haven’t been active in a while. Or give them appropriate industry information based on their technical background.

A proper re-engagement campaign helps you:

  • Maximize marketing ROI: Reactivation emails are cost-effective and make it easier to target existing customers. 
  • Preserve customer lifetime value: By sending targeted re-engagement campaigns, you can keep valuable customers, and retain their lifetime value.
  • Improve email list health: Regularly cleaning and identifying inactive subscribers will improve email list health and increase email deliverability rates.
  • Enhance brand loyalty: Sending customized reactivation campaigns shows customers you care about their satisfaction and engagement levels.
  • Gather valuable feedback: Reactivation emails can create opportunities to understand the reasons for disengagement and help tailor future campaigns.
  • Increase the likelihood of sale: Reminding inactive customers about new products or brand updates increases the likelihood of a sale.

By adjusting your re-engagement campaign strategies, you can nurture leads with the right information and increase brand value.

But before we examine the right methods to send a reactivation campaign, let’s review the potential mistakes you can make.

Common Reactivation Email Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Keep this handy checklist before you send another reactivation email campaign.

Mistake How to Avoid It
Generic subject lines Write personalized information in the subject lines, including recipient names and past purchase behavior
Irrelevant content Segment your audience and tailor email content based on their past behavior and preferences
No clear CTATell them what you want them to do next. For example, “Download the guide”
Overly promotional toneMaintain a friendly and casual tone and provide value in emails
Ignoring mobile-friendlinessRe-check if your emails are mobile-responsive with a clean structure
Forgetting the unsubscribe optionOffer options to adjust the frequency and other email communication preferences
Neglecting A/B testing Ensure to test different parts of an email to see which version your audience likes the most
Common mistakes while sending reactivation emails

Re-engagement Campaign Best Practices

Your re-engagement strategy must be highly specific to garner good results. It’s a tricky zone — you’ll be targeting subscribers who are on your list but are inactive at the moment. 

To help you take the right approach, here are the re-engagement campaign best practices:

  • Segment and identify inactive subscribers instead of blasting generic messages to the whole list. 
  • Tailor your messages based on how long they have been inactive and understand their past purchase behavior.
  • Use a clear and concise subject line to entice recipients to open your emails. 
  • Keep the email body clean and visually appealing.
  • Remind customers about their last purchase date and give them an incentive to continue purchases.
  • Use clean-looking fonts and whitespace to help customers distinguish the important parts.
  • Ensure your reactivation emails are responsive to different devices, especially mobiles.
  • Experiment with sending times and adjust the frequency depending on when your recipients are the most active. 
  • Give subscribers control over communication, including frequency and opt-out options.

It’s best to start with a series of reactivation emails instead of sticking to one email. If subscribers don’t respond after 5-6 emails, it’s time to let them go.

But don’t give up just yet — here are steps to writing compelling reactivation campaigns that will win back their love.

How to Write Clear Reactivation Emails to Win-back Customers

Some subscribers may need 2-3 reactivation emails to get back on track, while others may require more. Be patient and send them relevant content with well-timed emails. 

You can use the following tips to craft personalized re-engagement campaigns that will get their attention:

  1. Divide active and passive subscribers: Track important email campaign metrics to differentiate active and inactive subscribers. Identify the length of customer inactivity — typically, a subscriber is considered inactive if there’s no engagament for more than 6 months. 
  2. Know who you’re talking to: Once you segment the email list, you can understand which group of subscribers needs more nurturing. Analyze their past purchase history, research their lifetime value, and other attributes that will help send tailored messages. 
  3. Understand their engagement levels: Surf through the data and look at how recipients engage with your emails. At which point do the engagement levels drop? Identifying this will help you send unique email content relating to their specific needs.
  4. Offer incentives and benefits: Valuable email content alone will not be enough; you must encourage recipients with personalized discounts and offers.
  5. Create a sense of urgency: Highlight limited-time offers and create urgency to instill the fear of missing out (FOMO). 
  6. Send follow-up emails: Consider implementing a follow-up sequence to gently nudge subscribers to take the desired action. 

Avoid being sales-driven or pushy to make subscribers purchase. Your core focus must be to solve their existing challenges and elevate their lifestyles.

Let’s review some examples to help you put together a great-looking and functional reactivation email campaign.

5 Reactivation Email Examples For Inspiration

Your email list could consist of diverse buyers — some may shop seasonally and others could be casual shoppers. Then, there’s a third category of people (the indecisive shoppers) who doesn’t know what to buy and when.

Analyze your email list and split inactive shoppers into different categories. Here are real-world examples of how brands have regained the trust of different audiences.

1. The ‘What You’ve Missed While You Were Gone’ Email

Sometimes customers may choose a trial period and forget to upgrade their accounts even though they like it. You can send them reactivation emails about the latest news or product updates and ask them to continue from where they left off.

We missed you reactivation email
“We’ve missed you” reactivation email. Source

2. The ‘Stick Around For Rewards’ Email

Depending on why subscribers are inactive, you can send them rewards and special offers to get them back. Ensure your subject lines reflect the offers inside your reactivation emails. This can increase the likelihood of recipients opening the messages.

Special offers reactivation email
Special rewards reactivation email. Source

3. The ‘We Missed You’ Email

Rather than telling users why they are inactive, show them ways to reconnect with your brand. Give them compelling content and ask them relevant questions to understand why they stopped engaging with your brand.

What youve missed reactivation email example
“We missed you” reactivation email. Source

4. The ‘Did You Still Want to Hear From Us’ Email

Having disengaged subscribers on your list could mean lower engagement rates and, in turn, lower email deliverability. Ask subscribers if they would like to receive emails from you. Doing this gives them time to think and makes them feel valued.

Still want to hear from us reactivation email
“Still want to hear from us” reactivation email example. Source

5. The ‘Do You Want to Unsubscribe’ Email

Sending opt-out reactivation emails doesn’t mean you’re ending the relationship. In fact it puts the users in the spotlight and shows you value their time and preferences. You can give them options to unsubscribe from a particular type of email or from the whole content.

Unsubscribe reactivation email
“Unsubscribe” reactivation email. Source

You can also send other types of reactivation emails such as new feature or request for feedback emails. 

While sending these emails is easy, the real challenge lies in getting them delivered to recipient inboxes. For the most part, your email deliverability rate, sender reputation score, and your email service platform’s sending practices determine the success of reactivation emails.

That’s why it’s vital to choose a reliable ESP to automate and send re-engagement email campaigns.

How Campaign Refinery Helps Reactivate Subscribers

Campaign Refinery ensures your emails land in subscriber inboxes by following email marketing best practices and using premium tools.

As our client, you’ll get access to top-rated features and tools that help engage subscribers and maintain deliverability rates, such as:

  1. Advanced segmentation: Segment lists based on factors such as demographics, purchase behavior, engagement levels, and time since the last interaction. “Tags” allow you to group subscribers into sub-categories and engage them with appropriate content.
  2. Automated workflows and triggers: Automate reactivation campaigns depending on specific subscriber behavior such as ‘inactive for a set period’. 
  3. Integrated list hygiene: Campaign Refinery uses an automatic email list cleaning tool to remove harmful email addresses from your list. This ensures your reactivation emails reach active inboxes and increase the chances of being seen.
  4. Pre-built campaign templates: You can customize and use pre-built win-back email templates instead of designing from scratch. The Campaign Library consists of dozens of campaign templates to make sending reactivation emails easier.
  5. Advanced analytics and reporting: The reporting tab shows a birds-eye-view of your reactivation email campaign metrics to help you refine strategies immediately.
  6. Exclusive features: The engagement rewards feature allows you to use a points-based system and convert them to rewards whenever a recipient takes action on your emails. The evergreen flash sale feature helps send time-sensitive offers encouraging recipients to act quickly.

Reconnecting with inactive subscribers takes more than sending them offers or updates. You must address their pain points and meet expectations. Most importantly, ensure your emails reach your audiences on time so they notice and take action. 

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Campaign Refinery offers the highest email deliverability rate on the market. This is because we believe in clean sending policies—all the emails clients send out are stamped with DKIM and have a true one-click unsubscribe button. Plus, our high-speed email-sending mechanism ensures your email deliverability rates are intact. 

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