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With the right emails, you can encourage those silent subscribers to step away from the “unsubscribe” button – meaning you can finally breathe a sigh of relief! Re-engagement is a delicate strategy that ensures you target any disengaged reader without sounding like a desperate friend  begging for attention. A growing subscriber list is always exciting, but it’s a list of active and engaged subscribers that’s really worthwhile.

Impact Plus suggests marketers lose 22.5% of subscribers a year, but Loren McDonald of IBM Marketing Cloud argues that you’re losing 10-25% of subscribers on top of that total number – and those aren’t unsubscribers, but people who simply stop interacting all together. While your total list might not look too shabby, a horde of disengaged readers can skew your stats and affect inbox placement. As engagement levels drop so does your authenticity among ISPs, making your sends more likely to be blocked, and your engagement conundrum even worse.

When you’re up against overcrowded inboxes it’s time to remind your recipients why they became subscribers in the first place! We’ve put together a list of strategies to help you revive your subscriber list and encourage re-engagement.

First, identify your inactive subscribers

An inactive subscriber is a subscriber from your list who has not interacted with your emails for a long period of time. Impact Plus identifies this as not clicking on or opening an email, not visiting your website, not making a purchase (or having an incomplete purchase), and not using your app.

Re-engagement emails should be targeted, so it’s important you categorise just who should be receiving them. These subscribers may not necessarily be engaged, but they’re interested enough in your brand to keep receiving your emails – so make the most of it! Create campaigns relevant to them so they’re reminded of your value and great content.

What is a re-engagement email?

Active Campaign says that your first step is figuring out why a subscriber tuned out in the first place. This could include too many emails, overuse of clickbait, confusing design, the emails aren’t suitable for mobile, or repetitive or irrelevant content. Emma boils it down to two reasons: your emails aren’t meeting their needs, or your reader’s needs have changed. Changes and improvements in these areas can be a helpful place to start – and let’s not forget, re-engaging is five times cheaper than acquiring new customers!

A re-engagement email strategy can be done in a small sequence of three emails 30-60 days after a subscriber becomes inactive. Active Campaign suggests looking at a re-engagement email as “just another medium for conversation”. They should sound personal, rather than just another campaign, they should be simple and, if you can, a little humorous. Aim to create a personalized experience with copy, imagery or an offer chosen to suit your contact’s preferences.

What should a re-engagement email include?

We’ve collected a list of tools that can be crafted into an effective re-engagement email send:

Kinds of re-engagement emails you can try:

Design Modo breaks it down into three categories:

Win-back emails are those sentimental, nostalgic messages we mentioned earlier. Think friendly reminders, “we miss you”, or even those featuring an incentive.

Re-activation emails require action that gets your subscriber involved and offers you some insight too. These emails feature a survey or feedback form, as well as that enticing incentive – whether recommended products or a promo code to say thanks.

And lastly, the customer appreciation email. These are often reserved for subscribers who have shown some activity so require nurturing and reinforcement. If they’re only beginning to show a loss of interest, show them you care with holiday emails, birthday messages, exclusive offers and thank you emails. Design Modo describes customer appreciation emails as having a “retention purpose”.

Some key features:

Just like every other marketing email you send, a re-engagement email is you and your company wrapped up in beautiful design features, readable emotions, and a great marketing strategy too – phew! You’re feeling nervous because you don’t know what the recipient is thinking and you want to win them back, while also looking and sounding cool, calm and collected. Here’s some design features to ponder on:

Telling your subscribers all the reasons they should stick around seems daunting, but with this toolkit you’re on your way to reminding your audience why they hit subscribe in the first place. Re-engaging is a worthwhile exercise to get the most from your audience while staking your claim in any inbox. 

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