While email is a top generator of marketing dollars, far too many people take a simplistic approach and don’t use it to its full potential.

One of the most obvious areas where companies fail is with re-engaging customers who are no longer interested in what you have to offer.

Cleaning up your email list makes sense, as people who don’t open your emails are dead weight that’s costing you money. Every single email service provider (ESP) charges you based on the number of emails you send. If you’re sending emails to people who are no longer opening them, you’re still paying for that privilege.

Furthermore, companies like Google look at overall open rates when they receive emails from your newsletter. Lower overall open rates mean it’s more likely Google will filter your emails into the spam folder - somewhere you definitely do not want to be.

So it’s important to develop a strategy to try to re-engage people who are no longer responding to your emails.

To make it actionable, here is a checklist on how to approach things:

1. Segment your non-responders

We know that segmenting can be incredibly powerful. With that in mind, segment out anyone who has not opened your email for the past 90 days or 10+ campaigns.

Segmenting is incredibly powerful (just see MailChimp’s stats), and it allows you to take a more personalized approach.

2. Figure out the ideal time to message them

Don’t forget that your subscribers are human; insert yourself into your consumers’ minds and think of when they most likely will want to engage with you.

For example, if business owners are your customer base, it makes sense to send your email out a bit later (as they’re usually dealing with more pressing issues early in the day).

On the other hand, if your customer base is more leisure-oriented, it makes sense to send your email out on the weekend (as that’s when they will have downtime to read your email).

3. Re-engage

Now that you’re ready, you need to send out an email that piques their interest and gets them back into being invested in you.

There is a myriad of things you could do - e.g., a contest, a giveaway, a discount, a free trial, or even soliciting feedback. Whichever you choose, here are a few things that will increase your chance of re-engaging your audience:

  • Write a strong subject line - Make sure your subject line gets their attention. The subject line is the one thing they’ll see before they make their decision to open up your email.
  • Personalize - Because we’ve segmented the audience, we know which people are not engaged. Focus on them. You can even use a tool like to further personalize.
  • Ask them for help - Ask your consumers what they think, or even what they want. Make the answer open-ended. Do not guide their answer.
  • Tell them you need them - Without them, you are nothing. Be honest about it.
  • Offer value - As mentioned, through a contest, a giveaway, a discount or something else, get them wanting to re-engage with you.
  • Throw a Hail Mary - This one has both an upside (It can get people to respond) and a downside (It can annoy people). Just send an email with “I’m about to unsubscribe you,” and people will respond asking you to keep them on.


People hate receiving too many emails. So you need to impress upon them why it’s worth their time to open up and read your emails. Remember, they are doing you a favor, not vice versa.

Be fun and personable. Hire a copywriter to clean up your writing. Remember - these are people who were not previously responding, so you have nothing to lose.

One extra option you can offer is to give them the choice of a digest email, so that they still get all of your content, just less frequently.

Use Custom Audiences

A great way to keep people engaged with your brand is to use Facebook and Google to re-target them.

By uploading our email list to generate a custom audience and then targeting them with our existing content, we’ve found that people are very responsive for a very low overhead. It’s another great way to hit your dormant subscribers so that they are more likely to open up your next email.

6. Rinse and repeat

Don’t sit on your laurels. Remember, different audiences will respond to different things. What may work for one company may not work for another.

So test out something, look over your reports to see how the re-engagement went, and try something else.

7. Remove the fluff

At the end of the day, if your attempts at re-engaging a subscriber haven’t worked, the best choice is simply to let them go. You’ll save money by sending out fewer emails.

The increase in open rates and click-throughs and the decrease in bounce rates and unsubscribes will favorably affect your email deliverability.

And there you have it. A simple seven-step process to re-engage your dormant email subscribers to maximize the revenue you generate from your email list.

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Talk to our Data Specialist Mike Floyd +1 (206) 629 6016