Re-Engaging Your Email List


Re-Engaging Your Email List – Part 1

Many brands are spending most of their time and $$$ on new customer acquisition, when it’s roughly five times more expensive to acquire a new lead than it is to retain an existing one.

They’re leaving one valuable resource of their existing audience completely untapped:

📣 Inactive or unengaged email subscribers. 📣

A percentage of your list will eventually stop engaging with your emails. It’s just a reality.

But if you don’t have a plan to re-engage these inactive subscribers, you’re missing a huge, inexpensive opportunity to win back customers.

Not only that, your email metrics, sender reputation, deliverability, and ESP costs will all take a hit, too.

Never fear, DTC Fam. ✋

There are tried-and-true email strategies that, when used together, can help you:

  • Win back customers at a fraction of the cost.
  • Maximize email engagement and potential revenue.
  • Maintain healthy “list hygiene,” and thus improve your sender reputation and email deliverability.

And over the next few newsletters, we’ll be breaking down each of these strategies in a comprehensive three-part series!

📧 Part 1: Re-Engagement Campaigns.

📧 Part 2: Winback Flows.

📧 Part 3: Sunset Flows.

By weaving each of these into your brand’s email program, you’ll be able to re-engage your list, win back customers, and lower costs. 💥

Today, we’re dropping Part 1: Re-Engagement Campaigns! 👇

Re-Engagement Campaigns are targeted emails sent to a segment of unengaged subscribers, with the goal of getting them to re-engage.

According to the Pilothouse email team:

“A Re-Engagement Campaign can be very complex, but at its heart, it’s really simple – the goal is to figure out who these people are, how long they haven’t been engaged for, and what your goal is to get them back in the fold. Those things are really important for how you craft your message.”

⏲️ When to send a Re-Engagement Campaign:

Typically you’ll want to send a Re-Engagement Campaign when subscribers haven’t engaged with you in a period of time.

Typically, “unengaged” means a subscriber hasn’t:

  • Clicked a link in an email
  • Visited your website
  • Made a purchase

The timeline you choose depends on your personal brand and product, but most brands will consider a profile unengaged if they haven’t done any of the above in 30–180 days.

⚠️Notice “opened your email” is not on this list!

The iOS 15 update will skew open rates for Apple Mail users, so unless you want to segment out Apple users, we recommend no longer using opens as an engagement metric.

📓 The structure of a Re-Engagement Campaign:

The main goal of a Re-Engagement Campaign is to get your subscriber’s attention and give them a reason to engage with your emails again.

The Email Team at Pilothouse recommends the following structure, delivered in 1–2 emails:

  1. Re-introduce your brand.
  2. Remind them why they signed up for your list.
  3. Offer them something valuable (or tease value that’s coming).*
  4. Include a clear CTA to manage their email preferences or unsubscribe. While this might seem counterintuitive, it’s always better for someone on your list to unsubscribe than to mark you as Spam or remain unengaged!

*Brownie Points: Use onsite data to tailor your offer! 🥰

  • Have they visited blog posts or content pages on your site? Consider sending free, valuable content.
  • Have they viewed a product, but haven’t purchased lately? They may be primed for a free gift or discount.

Even if you don’t have access to this data, you can try testing both types of re-engagement offers to see what works best.

You may also want to separate purchasers from non-purchasers and send different offers to each.

💡 Examples of Re-Engagement Campaigns IRL:

9 Clouds’ re-engagement email does a great job of reintroducing the brand, and delivering a valuable piece of free content to get the subscriber re-engaged.

If you think your list is primed for an offer, you could use a strategy like Pinkberry and re-engage them with a free gift.

Or, if it fits with your brand, send a straight-up discount or sale like H&M (just be cautious of training your subscribers to only engage with discount offers).

😬Wait… What if I haven’t been emailing my list?

If you’ve been snoozing on your list and haven’t emailed them in a while (or maybe ever), you should still take efforts to re-engage them.

But keep in mind that they may not even remember who you are, or why they’re on your list. 🤔

So, in order to avoid scaring subscribers away (and landing in the dreaded Spam folder), you’ll want to send a softer, more personalized message.

The Pilothouse Team suggests using the following tips:

Email Style: Conversational, text-based email from the founder or someone at the company.

Message: Include a friendly reminder of why they signed up for your emails. Consider saying something like, “It’s been a while since we’ve last talked, but we still have something valuable to offer you.”

Offer: Sending a discount in the first email isn’t recommended here, as it can come across as spammy.

Instead, you can tease a discount that you’ll send in a later email, or offer valuable content like a blog post, free download, or free service call.

CTA: Have them click a link or reply to let you know if they want to stay on the list/get the value.

Need inspo? 👇

This email from Typeform softly re-engages their subscribers by taking them to a library designed to give them ideas of how to use the service.

Obviously, the message of “we haven’t seen you in a while” wouldn’t apply if you haven’t actually been emailing them!

Trello’s approach could work if your subscribers initially signed up for a service, but haven’t heard from you in a while, or haven’t taken you up on your offer.

They also include a helpful Getting Started guide to help users that might have questions.

😟 What if they still don’t engage?

If subscribers don’t engage with your Re-Engagement Campaign, don’t worry!

You can further segment them, and add them to automated flows as a final attempt to win them back.

  1. Purchasers: Add them to a Winback Flow (coming in Part 2).
  2. Non-Purchasers: Skip the Winback and add them to a Sunset Flow (coming in Part 3).

And that brings us to Part 2 of this series: Winback Flows! Stay tuned – it’s coming soon.

Special thanks to our friends at Pilothouse for their insights on this topic.
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