In last week’s blog, I explained why it’s so dangerous to continually send emails to all of your unengaged contacts – these are the ones that might not have opened any of your emails for weeks, months or longer.
Today I’m going to explain how to reach out to your unengaged contacts and give them a final chance to engage with you. This is known as re-engagement.
Why is Re-Engagement Important?
Re-engagement matters because, in most cases, you don’t want to lose your audience without at least a little fight. You worked hard to attract them in the first place, so it’s definitely worth having one last go at getting them to engage with you.
But, at the same time, you don’t want to continue to send to people who aren’t opening your emails, because it will hurt your sending reputation.
What to Do
The general principle is quite simple. When a contact reaches a certain threshold of unengagement, normally 90 days without opening/clicking anything, you can send them a very short email sequence (I’ll describe this below) encouraging them to open your email and click through to a link.
If they don’t open or click any of those re-engagement emails, I would normally recommend that you unsubscribe them, unless they are one of your recent customers.
If it’s one of your recent customers who’s not engaging, you might prefer to call them first and make sure that your emails are still getting through to them.
A Suggested Re-Engagement Email Sequence
You’ve got many different options when sending re-engagement emails.
I normally suggest a series of three emails, with 2 or 3 days’ delay between each email, similar to the following.
The first one can be quite subtle. At this stage, I’d suggest “bribing” your unengaged contacts with some of your best content. The subject line can hint at this, maybe something like “Especially for you, Firstname” and the email content could say something like “hey, it looks like it’s been a while since you opened one of my emails so I wanted to share something really special with you, click here to get your copy of XYZ”. Then, when they click the link, they’ll download whatever it is that you’re sharing.
With the second email, I’d suggest making it sound a little more urgent. A one-question survey works really well here and my favourite question for this kind of approach is a subject line such as “Please help :-)” (which worked really well when I recently sent a mini-survey to my own list). You could ask something like “what’s your greatest challenge at the moment” and then give them 3 or 4 links to click on, where the wording of each link describes one of the most common challenges your audience typically faces.
This is also a great opportunity for you to follow up personally with the people who click at this stage, as you now know exactly what they’re looking for and it’s the perfect time to reconnect and offer your help.
The third and final email is the least subtle of all. A typical subject line might be “Does this mean it’s time to say goodbye?” and the content of the email could say “it’s been a while since you’ve opened any of my emails and it’s important that I only email the people who really want to see my content. Please click this link to confirm you want to continue receiving my emails, otherwise I’ll remove you from my list within 48 hours”. Of course, you don’t have to only keep them on your list if they click – as long as the email shows that it’s been opened, that person is deemed to have re-engaged and you can continue to mail them.
How to Implement Your Re-Engagement Campaign
The best way to do this is to set up an automated email sequence in your marketing automation platform that will be triggered when any contact reaches 90 days of unengagement. In most cases, you can create the email sequence in such a way that, as soon as the contact has re-engaged, the rest of the sequence will stop automatically.
Some platforms allow you to automatically trigger your re-engagement sequence; in other cases, you might need to run a manual search, maybe once a week, and add all newly-unengaged contacts to the sequence.
If you use Infusionsoft or ActiveCampaign, my Deliverability Defender tool makes it incredibly easy to identify all contacts as they become unengaged, trigger a re-engagement campaign, and then unsubscribe them if they don’t respond to the re-engagement sequence.
Next Stop: Engagement Management
In my next blog, I’ll start talking about Engagement Management and how you can use that to stack the odds in your favour to get more emails into the inbox. Check back soon!