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Updated Feb 14, 2024

Reengagement Email Strategy (With Examples)

When your audience seems to lose interest in your email marketing campaigns, reengage them with this strategy.

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Max Freedman, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
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Table of Contents

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No company retains all of its customers, but through an email marketing platform, you can determine which of your formerly active customers could use a gentle nudge. A reengagement strategy allows you to send this customer demographic reengagement emails and evaluate whether your reengagement efforts are working.

What is a reengagement email?

A reengagement email is a mass email delivered to your list’s least-active subscribers. Unlike typical communications in email marketing campaigns, a reengagement email acknowledges the recipient’s reduced recent engagement. It also incentivizes the recipient to reengage with your company, hence the title “reengagement email.” A reengagement email may be your company’s last resort to reach inactive subscribers.

How do you develop reengagement email campaigns?

To develop a reengagement email campaign, follow these eight steps:

1. Identify your inactive subscribers.

Begin your reengagement email campaign by identifying your inactive subscribers. Once you’ve gathered your inactive subscribers, place them in a new email list. This list will receive your reengagement emails.

2. Write a catchy subject line.

A key challenge with reengagement emails is that your company sends them to people who are already disengaged. As such, your chances of reengagement dwindle significantly without something to immediately hook your target. Sometimes, catchy subject lines are your only shot at catching a disengaged recipient’s attention.

3. Incentivize disengaged readers.

You can think of the most unexpected, surprising subject line and still fail to reengage consumers. Just because you have someone’s attention doesn’t guarantee a sale — surely, you’ve seen things that initially appeared exciting, only for you to quickly lose interest. Back your catchy subject line with an incentive to click. Consider offering a discount, advertising a sale or extending another financial incentive in your subject line.

4. Restate your value.

Assuming that your inactive recipients subscribed to your list, use your reengagement email campaign to restate your value to these customers. What do your emails give subscribers that they can get only by remaining active? This value could be as general as subject-specific news roundups or as specific as discount codes they will not find elsewhere.

5. Introduce new value.

In addition to restating the value you’ve long brought your subscribers, discuss new, additional value that your company delivers to your target audience. If your company has launched a new product or service, discuss that. You can also mention partnerships, integrations or other ways your company has become newly connected with other products that might benefit your target audience. The more you show your value, the more likely you will be to reengage consumers. [Read related article: 6 Reasons Why Product Quality Affects Your Brand]

6. Give updates.

Depending on what you usually include in your emails, you may be able to share updates as part of your reengagement campaign. For example, if you’re trying to reengage customers with an email list that includes your company’s most recent blog posts, include a “blog posts you might have missed” section in your reengagement email. There, list each blog post’s title, link to the post and briefly describe its subject matter. This easy road to reengagement may yield results in the form of increased click-through rates.

7. Offer several subscription options.

While you can’t guarantee that an inactive customer will become engaged again after receiving your emails, perhaps you can offer them a few subscription options instead of just one. Maybe your customer stopped engaging because they felt bombarded with emails. In that case, the option to subscribe to only certain kinds of updates can reengage them. However, you must have an unsubscribe option; it’s the law.

8. Don’t stop with one campaign.

Reengagement campaigns don’t have to be one and done. You can — and should — send follow-up emails. Don’t assume that one failure to open a reengagement email means that all subsequent communications will go unopened; sending one or two more emails may make all the difference. But make sure subsequent emails differ substantially from previous ones, and keep all of the above steps in mind.

Did You Know?Did you know
The best email marketing services on the market can help you automate your marketing emails and reengagement strategies.

What are examples of successful reengagement emails?

While the above steps sound simple in theory, sometimes they’re tricky to implement in practice. Reengagement emails involve a balancing act of tact, smart marketing approaches and respect for people’s boundaries.

Large companies regularly implement successful reengagement campaigns using the aforementioned steps. Below, we’ve provided three especially strong examples.

1. West Elm

This West Elm reengagement email deftly blends a strong incentive with a nifty subject line. Customers who see “20% Off. Because We Miss You ❤” in their inboxes may feel drawn to the email for both the potential discount and the emotional appeal, especially because the phrase “we miss you” doesn’t attempt to guilt the reader. Neither does the email itself; the body provides the discount code and a gentle, welcoming invitation to shop again.

2. Hootsuite

Prominent social media marketing company Hootsuite takes a reengagement approach based on restating and introducing value. As you’ll see in the screenshot below, Hootsuite discusses not only its changes since the recipient’s last engagement but also how these changes originated from customer feedback. Demonstrating both value and customers’ power is a winning combo for reengagement.

3. Duolingo

The language learning app is known for constantly emailing users to remind them that they’re falling behind on their lessons. In this reengagement email, Duolingo appeals to readers’ emotions to encourage them to give the platform another try.

How do you track reengagement success?

Your reengagement emails are only the start of your reengagement campaigns. To guide your next steps, you should measure the extent to which your emails engage people.

Start by looking at your campaign’s open rate. This metric tells you the percentage of recipients who opened your email. Low numbers suggest that your approach isn’t connecting. Even high numbers, though, don’t mean reengagement; that’s why you need to check the click-through rates.

High click-through rates mean that you’re successfully convincing inactive subscribers to reengage. Low click-through rates, even with high open rates, suggest you’re not doing enough to convert email opens to actual customer follow-through.

>> Learn more: Email Analytics You Should Be Tracking

To pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, compare and contrast your click-through and open rates for several reengagement campaigns. Next, move your reactivated subscribers to your general active subscriber list, and keep inactive subscribers in a separate list.

Continue targeting your inactive subscribers according to the above steps. You’ll likely see one immediate change: Your active subscriber list will be more active now that you’ve removed inactive subscribers and added newly reactivated customers.

When you have an optimized target audience, more successful marketing efforts may follow.

FYIDid you know
Once you get engagement from your target audience, you can use email retargeting strategies based on each consumer's personal experience.

What are the benefits of using email to reengage customers?

Here are some of the benefits of using email to reengage your subscribers:

  • Reactivation of inactive subscribers: Reengagement campaigns seek to reconnect inactive subscribers with your brand. A compelling email subject line that incentivizes subscribers to click, coupled with further incentives in the email itself, can reactivate customers you thought were entirely lost.
  • Identification of lost subscribers: Reengagement campaigns rarely activate all inactive customers, but they do consolidate your active subscriber base. These campaigns help you identify lost subscribers, and with emails going solely to active subscribers, your analytics — open rates, click rates and more — are higher than when inactive subscribers are included in the list.
  • Smarter marketing decisions: By consolidating your active subscribers, you can gain a clearer picture of how well your company’s marketing efforts are working. In turn, reengagement emails may help you create better future marketing campaigns.
  • More sales: With active and inactive subscribers segmented and your marketing approach more refined, you might generate more sales. That’s because email campaigns with a smaller but more active audience connect loyal customers with the items they want to buy.
  • Superior sender reputation: If you are sending emails regularly and subscribers are barely interacting with your campaigns or they are marking your emails as spam, your sender reputation decreases. Your sender reputation is a numeric score, ranging from zero to 100, assigned by email service providers such as Gmail and Outlook. The lower your score is, the more likely it will be for email platforms to mark communications from that address as spam, and they may not even be delivered at all. If your company has a high sender score, though, there’s a high likelihood that your emails will land in customers’ inboxes.

Skye Schooley contributed to this article.

author image
Max Freedman, Senior Analyst & Expert on Business Operations
For almost a decade, Max Freedman has been a trusted advisor for entrepreneurs and business owners, providing practical insights to kickstart and elevate their ventures. With hands-on experience in small business management, he offers authentic perspectives on crucial business areas that run the gamut from marketing strategies to employee health insurance. Freedman's guidance is grounded in the real world and based on his years working in and leading operations for small business workplaces. Whether advising on financial statements, retirement plans or e-commerce tactics, his expertise and genuine passion for empowering business owners make him an invaluable resource in the entrepreneurial landscape.
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