Must-Have Email Campaigns: The Re-Engagement Email

Did you know that the average email list churn rate is about 25-30% per year? This happens for various reasons: you are sending too many emails, or not enough; the content you’re sending may not feel relevant or personal; or your messages aren’t providing any value to your subscribers.

Re-engagement emails are designed to battle list churn. These campaigns are a series of emails sent to inactive subscribers with the objective of re-engaging them and moving them further along the customer journey. As the final piece of our “Must-Have Email Campaigns” series, these emails are among the most important for maintaining your subscriber list and protecting your sender reputation.

Why are re-engagement emails important?

Low email engagement affects your reputation in the purview of email servers, resulting in a drop in deliverability. While it’s tempting to continue sending your regular emails and newsletters in hopes that eventually a person will re-engage, you likely don’t want to end up in subscribers’ spam folders. Re-engagement emails specifically address this issue, targeting these inactive subscribers.

Creating an impactful re-engagement email campaign

How can you reinvigorate people who have stopped opening your emails? Follow these best practices.

  1. Segment inactive subscribers
  2. As with most email campaigns, re-engagement emails are most effective when they are created to target different segments of your audience. Rather than creating an umbrella “inactive” segment, split it up based on most recent activity, purchase history, or the source from which they initially subscribed to your list. This way you can get more personal with subscribers and provide them with content they are more likely to engage with.

  3. Get feedback
  4. What is causing people to disengage from your emails? You won’t know for sure unless you ask. Include a message within your emails that provides a way for people to give their feedback and let you know why they lost interest. In general, consumers like to share their opinions, so this opens the door for further communications and shows customers you value them.

    You can even make this one email in itself, with a subject line such as, “Was it something we said?” or something similar to prompt them to open.

  5. Try a new approach
  6. Have you been using the same general template for every single email? Mix it up a little, especially for those who have stopped interacting with your messages. The reason for their inactivity could be due to the repetitive nature of your emails, and since they are already disengaged, you have nothing to lose by trying something new. Be bold and change up the tone, visuals and/or layout of your emails. Also, provide an incentive to pull them back in, including a relevant offer within the subject line.

  7. Know when it’s time to say good-bye
  8. If, after all your effort, a person is still not engaging, don’t force it. Understand that email churn can and will happen, and it’s better to let stagnant subscribers go than to continue flooding their inbox with emails they aren’t going to open. The more emails you send that get no response, the more likely you will be marked as spam.

    Set window of time-for instance, six months-after which, if a person still has not re-engaged, you remove them from your list altogether. Establish this rule in advance so there is no question whether a subscriber should be removed.


Remember: with your email list, it’s about quality over quantity. Of course, ideally every single subscriber will open, read and click through every email you send, but unfortunately that will never be the case. A clean list is what maintains your sender reputation and improves deliverability.

This is not to say that a re-engagement campaign isn’t worth it. There are some members of your audience who just need a reminder of your value. A strategic series of emails with relevant information and promotions may be all that’s needed to bring those subscribers back into the fold.

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