How to Succeed With Re-Engagement Campaigns

Brian Willis and Wael Elasady
Email Marketing

Despite our best efforts, some contacts inevitably stop engaging with our marketing emails. Re-engagement campaigns are designed to help identify and win back valuable contacts before their chilly engagement turns into a deep freeze with your brand.

Re-Engagement Campaign

Ideally, re-engagement campaigns result in renewed subscriber interest in your communications — increasing the value of your email marketing efforts and extending the customer lifecycle. At worst, these re-engagement campaigns allow you to clean your email marketing lists by identifying and sunsetting stale data. 

Either way, it’s a win-win! 

Early Re-Engagement and Back-Off Campaigns

Contrary to popular belief, a re-engagement campaign shouldn’t be a final “Hail Mary” sent after months of silence. In fact, the earlier you attempt to re-engage a contact after they go silent, the more likely that contact will re-engage with your brand — for two reasons:

1) Your brand is still fresh in the contact’s mind since they only recently opted into your marketing campaigns. Remaining top-of-mind and establishing familiarity with your prospects and customers throughout the buying journey is critical to short- and long-term engagement. 

2) Your emails are still likely reaching the inbox. The longer your emails sit untouched in an inbox, the more likely the smart logic of their mailbox provider will start moving your mail to the spam folder.  Once this happens, it becomes very difficult to re-engage. 

Early re-engagement campaigns are typically launched within 30-60 days of a contact going quiet.  While it may be too early to sunset a contact if you’re unable to win them back with this first attempt, we recommend gradually backing off from your normal cadence. Emailing these less-engaged clients less frequently will improve your sender reputation by increasing your engage-to-unengaged sending ratio (while not eliminating the possibility of future re-engagement campaigns). 

How to Convert More Leads Into Customers

Final Re-Engagement and Sunsetting Campaigns

So you tried an early re-engagement campaign without any luck. Now, several months later, you’re still not seeing meaningful engagement  (no opens, no clicks, and no conversions). So what now?  

At this point, it’s time to attempt your final re-engagement campaign. This campaign should include straightforward language and consist of no more than 2 attempts. For example, “Is this the end? Do you want to still hear from us?” Keep things simple and direct, and you’ll get a simple and direct answer.

From an email deliverability standpoint, sending to unengaged contacts can be very dangerous. Chronically unengaged email addresses are more likely to become invalid, therefore driving up your “Hard Bounce” rate, which hurts deliverability. Further, these email addresses are most likely to be abandoned and likewise converted into “Spam Traps” by major ISPs to identify senders with bad data management practices.  

So, if your final re-engagement effort fails, it’s time to throw in the towel and sunset these marketing contacts. The risks of tanking your email reputation and minimizing your chances at reaching your most engaged contacts far outweigh the very low chance of future engagement. 

Tips for Successful Re-engagement Campaigns

  • Be Direct: At this point, it’s time to face facts. These subscribers have already gone quiet on you, so there’s no point in being cute or clever. Use bold language that will catch their attention and clearly express the purpose of your email.  
  • Give Them Options: Maybe your subscriber doesn’t want quite as many emails, or maybe they only want emails for a specific product line. Whatever the case, they only want relevant content. Put your subscribers in the driver’s seat by allowing them to manage their subscription preferences. This allows you to mail them what they want, and, in turn, often increases future engagement.
  • Prove Your Value: Give your subscriber a reason to re-engage. What you’ve been doing clearly isn’t working, so it’s time to bring your value to the forefront. Send them your absolute best and most relevant content and promotions — and share your roadmap for future improvements and new products.  
  • Avoid Long Goodbyes: Whether you’re looking to win them back with special offers or simply asking them to re-confirm their interest in your email, you should limit your re-engagement campaigns to two emails. If they’re still not re-engaging, it’s time to put your effort elsewhere rather than potentially agitating the contact and causing them to mark your message as “Spam.” 
  • The Golden Deliverability Ratio: Limit your re-engagement campaign to no more than 20% of your daily mailing. Showing major email providers like Google, Microsoft, and the Verizon Media Group that you’re regularly mailing a primarily engaged group of contacts is an important part of maintaining a healthy email reputation. And a healthy reputation will impact the overall inbox placement of your re-engagement campaign!

Contact Act-On to Perfect Your Re-Engagement Campaigns

Need an extra hand? Act-On is here to help you become an engagement pro! Our Email Deliverability Team has years of experience and a mountain of knowledge that we use to diagnose your obstacles and identify effective strategies for sustained email marketing success. 

If you’d like to view a sample re-engagement campaign and how you can automate this process, please check out our campaign playbook here! You can also schedule a free demo to learn about the features, benefits, and use cases of Act-On. 


Not ready to speak with one of our marketing automation experts? Click here to take our interactive product demo!

How to Convert More Leads Into Customers