Are you finding that many of your customers subscribe to your company’s email list but don’t actually open your emails? It might be time to bring back inactive email subscribers and launch a re-engagement email campaign.

That lack of engagement with your emails not only hurts your open and click-through rates, but it also impacts your ability to get your emails to your contacts’ inboxes in general. The less engagement your emails receive over time, the lower the priority mailbox providers will give to emails sent from your address.

The solution is to keep a “clean” email list, meaning pruning inactive contacts — even if it means a smaller list size. One of the most effective ways to clean your list is with a re-engagement email campaign. Re-engagement email campaigns first attempt to bring back cold contacts, reminding them of why they fell in love with your brand and, if unsuccessful, they remove them from your list.

Determining If Re-engagement Is Needed

If you’re monitoring your email open and click rates and notice a decline, it’s likely a good time for a re-engagement email campaign. In Ontraport, you can view your rates via Performance Mode within a specific campaign or in your Contacts collection.

Additionally, a high number of bounces or unsubscribes are signs it’s time to clean up your list.

Ontraport tracks contacts’ activity, such as when contacts open emails or click to visit a landing page. You can set up so that when the system detects that a contact has been inactive for 90 days, Ontraport will automatically add those contacts to your automated re-engagement campaign, firing an email to re-engage your clients.

Creating the Perfect Re-engagement Email Series

A re-engagement email campaign typically involves sending inactive contacts a series of three emails encouraging them to regain interest in your products and services.

Your first email invites them to visit your website and claim a special offer, followed two days later by an email reminding them you value their time and only want to send emails they’re interested in. After another two days, your final email will make one last attempt to engage your contact before you remove them from your list.

Here’s a breakdown and examples of each re-engagement email:

Use a special offer as an incentive to return

First Re-engagement Email: Invite them to visit your website and offer a discount on a product.  67% of consumers say getting personalized discounts based on their shopping history is important, and 77% of consumers say discounts influence who they buy from. Giving inactive customers a great offer on a product makes them feel valued and, at the very least, will encourage them to revisit your website and browse your products.

Jack Wills is a British heritage-inspired, high-quality clothing company for sophisticated young adults. With this email, the company is reaching out with an enticing offer of £10 off when spending £30 with a coupon code. This not only gives their subscribers a great deal, it also shows Jack Wills who’s engaged, clicking and ready to buy.

Make it easy for customers to stay engaged

Second Re-engagement Email: Let your contacts know you value their time. Invite them to renew their activity by clicking a link in the email, logging in to your membership site, or taking any other action you prefer. Use words like “we miss you” in your subject line. This phrasing not only has a read rate of 13%, it also shows customers that they matter to you. You could also remind your subscriber of your business’s purpose and provide them with a quick way to stay engaged. Rather than overwhelming customers with information, sending a straightforward email gives them an easy way to take action and shows you who is still interested. 

Duolingo is a language-learning app that allows people to learn just about any language they want. In their email, the company states that they haven’t seen you in a while and want to know if you are still interested in learning a language.

Another example of re-engagement outreach is from Typeform, an innovative and interactive form creator (which by the way, can be integrated with Ontraport using Zapier). Typeform reminds customers of their subscription and urges them to revisit the amazing things their product can do using their template gallery.

Give subscribers one final push

Third Re-engagement Email: This is the “sorry to see you go” email, where you thank them for their past activity and let them know you won’t be contacting them again … unless they indicate that they want you to by clicking a link or visiting a landing page, etc. Thanking your customer for their previous activity reminds them again of their value to your company, and telling your customer you won’t be contacting them again if they don’t click a link, etc. creates a sense of urgency to act. By giving your subscriber one last chance to engage before you remove them from your list, you can catch the attention of readers who have ignored previous emails.

Though this might not seem like something you’d like to do, it allows you to market and tailor your content to contacts who actually want to hear from you. It shows them that you value their time and only want to send them emails when they actually want them. Having a large list of unengaged users is not the goal.

Another good example of this tactic is from GoPro. They are reminding their subscribers that there are still great deals on their products, and they are pruning their list for more engaged customers. In a case like this, users can be removed from their list if they decide not to open this email or if they select to opt out from receiving these emails in the future.

They use clever wording and imagery to entice their adventure-seeking audiences to stay active on their list.

Re-confirming permission regularly is a great way to get a solid “yes” or “no” response from your current subscribers as well as a smart way to help keep your email list clean.

Peace of Mind With a Clean List

Based on your subscribers’ actions with your email campaign, they will either be automatically removed from your list or will remain on it. With the campaign running continually in the background, this all happens without any work on your part — leaving you with a clean list of active contacts to keep you on the path to high delivery rates.

As an Ontraport user, you can import a pre-built re-engagement email campaign into your account through the Campaign Marketplace and get started right away.

About Loren Cook
Ontraport visual designer Loren Cook was born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, where she earned her BFA in Graphic Design at the Kansas City Art Institute and developed her passion for all things creative. Soon after graduation, Loren relocated to sunny Santa Barbara to work for Ontraport. Outside of work, Loren enjoys freelance designing, laughing until she cries, inserting sarcasm into the crevices of conversations, and perfecting her floral gouache paintings.