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9 re-engagement emails that won us over for good

Turning “We Are Never, Ever Getting Back Together” into “You Belong With Me"

You’ve tried everything.

You’ve used different subject lines, experimented with send times, mixed up your content… and nothing. Your subscriber still won’t engage with your emails.

That’s when it’s time to launch a re-engagement campaign. According to a study by Salesforce, 63% of marketers surveyed said that re-engagement campaigns are “very effective.” And a study by Return Path found that 45% of recipients who received win-back emails read subsequent messages.

By sending your inactive subscribers a re-engagement email, you’ll not only see who’s still interested in your brand – you may even generate some immediate sales! And worst case scenario, you’ll be able to clean up your email list. It’s really a win-win. So for inspiration, here are a few awesome ways different brands have approached the re-engagement email.

1. Missguided

This email from Missguided (a women’s retail brand) is a classic re-engagement message. The basic idea is, “You’ve stopped clicking on our emails and visiting our site, so here’s a juicy offer to win back your loyalty and your business.” It’s a tactic utilized by a lot of brands because it really works. Sometimes all it takes to win back lost subscribers is a cute, casual message that shows you’ve been paying attention to them – plus a little bonus, like free shipping or a discount.

2. Boulevard Brewing Co.

Sending a re-engagement email like this one from Boulevard Brewing Co. is a great idea when you’ve gotten a little lax about your sending. If you haven’t been in contact with your subscribers in a while, it’s a good idea to make sure they still want to hear from you. Remind them why they signed up, then ask for their permission to remain in their inbox. And bonus points for using clever CTAs like these!

3. Office

Sometimes it might not even be that your subscriber has lost interest in your brand – it’s that you’ve been sending them content they don’t want! A whopping 56% of people unsubscribe from emails due to content that’s no longer relevant to them (Chadwick Martin Bailey). So be sure you’re giving your subscribers exactly what they want by simply asking for their demographic information (like gender) and email preferences.


4. Starbucks

This email from Starbucks is pretty tricky – by offering something as enticing as a free birthday treat (who doesn’t love to feel extra special on their birthday?), the brand manages to get more precious data from their inactive subscribers. That additional information helps them send even more relevant – and therefore more effective – emails, plus it draws those people back to their website, where they might be compelled to make a purchase.

5. Yumi Kim

This one’s especially great because of the preheader text which, if this were being viewed on a mobile device, would appear directly under the subject line. There’s also a great free shipping offer, and the brand blatantly tells this segment that if they don’t respond, they’re going to be removed from their list. It’s a bold move that creates a sense of urgency for subscribers to act fast so they don't miss out.


6. Kate Spade

And maybe it’s not your email content that’s the problem, but where it’s landing. Kate Spade felt like too many of their emails were getting lost in the Gmail Promotions tab, so they simply asked subscribers to move them to Primary to put them front and center in the inbox.

7. JetBlue

One of the best ways to win back lost subscribers is to remind them why they subscribed in the first place, then ask them what you can do better. We absolutely love the way JetBlue broke it down in this email; they gave subscribers the option to keep things the same, change their preferences, or unsubscribe entirely.

8. Not On The High Street

This email from Not On The High Street had a similar strategy: By offering subscribers every possible option (which in this example include a discount, following your social channels, updating preferences, and unsubscribing) for engaging with you, you’ve done everything you can to retain their interest and loyalty.

9. David Lloyd

And if all else fails, play the emotion card – you’ll be amazed at how great of a response you can get. Who can say no to a sad, crying teddy bear that's trapped out in the rain? Is it emotional manipulation? Maybe. But pull on your subscribers’ heart strings and watch your engagement soar.

BONUS: Hubspot

If people do choose to unsubscribe from your emails, don’t miss out on the opportunity to engage with them via different channels. After all, marketing is all about creating multiple touch points.

When someone unsubscribes from Hubspot’s emails, for instance, they’re directed to this video. Not only is it super hilarious (our department was cracking up when we first saw it), it also directs you to different ways you can continue to engage with the brand.