Re-engagement Emails: Wake Up Your Subscribers

As marketers, it's difficult to push engaging, relevant, timely content in every single email you send. When you start to see those open and click rates dip, it may be time to wake them up with a re-engagement campaign.

After pouring through various marketing email examples, we've compiled a few of the reoccurring tactics marketers use to get a subscriber's attention.

The main message of this tactic is to encourage subscribers to make the most of their subscription. Give instructions on how subscribers can get the most value from your emails. Unengagement may mean they have a lack of understanding of how your service or product works. RunKeeper shows us how to take an educational approach to engaging subscribers.

Click to see full RunKeeper re-engagement example

The Subscription Reminder:
Even though most email newsletters are free, opt-in is still required. Drawing on the metaphor of the printed magazine or newsletter communicates that your emails have a high value, and reminds subscribers that they were the ones who signed up.
Florida Power and Light reinforces the benefit of their newsletters by calling their re-engagement email a subscription reminder.

Click to see FPL Subscription Reminder email

The Guilt Trip:
Some brands guilt you into being engaged (or at least not unsubscribed) especially when relationships are involved. Although not a common message in email format, the best example of this tactic is the "deactivate your account" link on Facebook. It prompts an "are you sure?" page that populates photos of your friends with a message that they will miss you. This LinkedIn example shows something similar after a time of unengagement, showing avatars of contacts you most likely know. If content, not relationships, is the main selling point of your emails/website, present its value by displaying a few top articles, positive reviews, or popular features.

Click to see LinkedIn Re-engagement by guilt example

The Deadline:
A message of urgency in marketing communications is not new. When it comes to email, timeliness is everything, and if the consequences is being unsubscribed, giving details around when, why and how it is going to happen, can help give a subscriber enough of a nudge to re-engage. This Mint.com deadline example is not a standalone re-engagement message - the trigger was software updates, not unengagement.

Click to see Mint.com re-engagement example

The Incentive:
Sometimes content alone can't make a subscriber fall back in love with your brand. Many retailers give discounts on products as part of re-engagement strategies. Depending on the product, service, or content you give in your emails, this could not only be discounts, but points earned, VIP purchasing privileges, free shipping, an achievement/badge, or gift cards. Even helping others can be a carrot at the end of a stick; Zappos asks you to help others by reviewing a product you purchased. This Crocs example is a nice, concise example of incentive in the form of 20% off your next purchase.

Click to see Cros re-engagement example

A few re-engagement basics: remember to always give two calls-to-action - one for opting-in, one for opting-out. Give an opt-down option if available, as daily subscribers may find a weekly format much more digestible. Also clearly list what will happen if no action is taken. Design your re-engagement emails in a short, concise postcard format; you're speaking to unengaged subscribers who won't spend much time, if any, looking for the value. Use large, clickable buttons to make it clear that an action needs to be taken.

A highly engaged, albeit smaller, list is not only better for deliverability, but also for increased metrics! For more interactive marketing tips and advice, read our past blogs or follow @ETDesign on Twitter.

Kristina Huffman
Senior Design Consultant
ExactTarget Campaign Solutions Team

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