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Re-Engagement Campaign How To

Re-engagement (win-back) campaigns are the perfect solution for cleaning up your lists, removing non-engaged subscribers and persuading lapsed subscribers to start engaging again. Over 50 percent of the typical email list is inactive subscribers. However, you can easily reactivate 10-20 percent of them with a simple series of automated messages.

Start by segmenting inactive subscribers and tracking their performance over time. Do this prior to your re-engagement series to develop a clear picture of their value, which will help justify the case for suppression of the low/no-value subscribers and focus on the high-value engagers.

You want a healthy, high-quality list. By weeding out subscribers who are not opening messages, you keep your list clean and avoid deliverability problems. The key here is quality over quantity. Top ISPs like Gmail and Hotmail are looking at subscriber engagement in their filtering criteria. Being selective about the messages you send inactive subscribers, and even removing them, can reduce sending costs and increase campaign performance—as you’re only regularly sending to those subscribers who have showed they want to receive your mail.

Prepare Your Re-Engagement Campaign:

Determine Point of Inactivity

Review and analyze the performance of your email program and current segmentation strategy to identify the point of engagement metric you would like to base your re-engagement program on. This point will vary for each brand. Consider opens over time, clicks over time, date of last purchase, date of last login, etc. Again, it really depends on what’s important to you and your brand. While deliverability experts typically recommend a 180-day engagement window, we recommend testing to see if this timeframe aligns with your list dynamics.

  • For Example if you are looking to send a win-back campaign to those subscribers who have not opened within the last 180 days, your segmentation would look like this: date joined is more than—180 days past (to ensure that we are not including newly joined subscribers in this send list) AND have not opened at least one email in the past 180 days.
Evaluate Frequency & Cadence

Based on email frequency (how many times in a week or month you’re currently mailing to subscribers), consider campaigns to re-engage those who have lapsed or have been inactive for the time period relevant to your business.

  • For Example, a swimwear brand could assume that subscribers might only be opening and purchasing once a year. A campaign for those who haven’t engaged in more than a year makes sense; while a publisher with a daily message might look at a window of 60 days. A news brand that sends multiple broadcast updates and emails daily might look at a window of 30 days. Automate (run in the background) your re-engagement campaign to be sent daily to those subscribers that fit your criteria for “unengaged”.

Build Your Re-Engagement Campaign:

Creative Considerations
  • Make sure to explain why the subscriber is receiving this email and set expectations that inactivity will affect their future communications stream, and even, (GASP) removal from your list if they do not take action to continue receiving email communications from your brand.
  • Explain how the subscriber can continue to stay engaged and make it easy for them. For example, “Click here if you wish to stay.” Use Clicker Segments to move subscribers who click “Yes” back onto your main sending lists.
  • Ensure the “unsubscribe” button is prominent and easy to find in the email.
Data Requirements
  • Email
  • Last open date
  • Last click date
  • Date joined
  • Last purchase date (if available)

Post Campaign:

How to Treat Subscribers After Your Campaign
  • For subscribers who don’t open, or open and don’t click, begin removing these subscribers from your weekly sends using an exclusion segment. You can begin suppressing them immediately, noting that if they do open or click at a later time they can be added back to your regular sending cadence.
    • Suppressing these “inactive” subscribers this does not need to be indefinite. You can choose to add these subscribers back for yearly promotions or for an email you feel all subscribers would be interested in receiving.

12 Tips For a Successful Program:

  • The subject line is essential to a win-back program’s success, as these are subscribers who have not responded to your messages for quite some time. It should stand out. Use copy that invites them back, lets them know you miss them, makes them feel wanted and appreciated. For example, “We miss you!”, “Come back to (insert company name) with 25% off.”
  • If possible, include an aggressive offer.
  • Provide opt down options, not just an unsubscribe option.
  • Keep the content of the email short, simple and compelling.
  • Use strong brand imagery.
  • 21-30 days prior to your re-engagement campaign, rest the audience you are trying to win back. This will give your win-back message more punch.
  • Keep your win-back audience out of your main email cadence while the re-engagement program is running.
  • You can try a two to three re-engagement message series to give the subscriber multiple opportunities to continue receiving your emails.
  • Include personalization. For example, first name or purchase history, to create that one-to-one messaging feel.
  • Create a sense of urgency. For example, let subscribers know they should take action now before they are sent to less frequently or are suppressed.
  • Test cadence, content & subject line performance for continued optimization.
  • For those subscribers who don’t respond, or open and do not take action, come up with a game plan. For example, will you begin suppressing these subscribers indefinitely, or will you continue to send to them once a month, or for your annual sale?

Let’s get your re-engagement campaign started! The BlueHornet Team is here to assist you with program development, creative design, implementation and analysis. Contact BlueHornet today to strategize your next campaign.




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