How to Create an Email Marketing Reactivation Strategy

Posted by Rowland Marsh on 06/09/16 16:30
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Rowland Marsh

Implement an email marketing reengagement strategy

Why does your business need an email marketing reactivation strategy? Not sure? Let's pose another question: Would you knowingly send regular marketing emails to subscribers who have not engaged with or even opened one of your emails in the past year?

Basically, it's a waste of time and resources to continue to send regular marketing emails to inactive subscribers. You need to analyse your engagement rates and create a reactivation strategy, which segments your lapsed subscribers and targets them with content specifically aimed at reactivating them.

Here are 6 key reasons for creating an email marketing reactivation strategy:

1. Cleaning up your subscriber list health

To slightly change the wording of my earlier question, here is a rephrased question: If you had 100 subscribers in your database who had not opened your brand’s marketing emails in the past year, would you continue to send them regular marketing emails?

I'd hope the answer is “no”, but this is happening across a large number of businesses who use email marketing as a key engagement channel. You should always be closely monitoring your subscriber list and continually checking the health of your list.

How many people in your database are not actively engaging with your content? Are these email addresses still operational? How many are simply disengaged subscribers? The email marketing reactivation process cleanses your subscriber list, removing addresses which are obsolete and pinpointing subscribers who qualify for targeting with reengagement emails.

2. Giving you a clear picture of subscriber value

Once you've cleaned up your email list health, you'll get a clearer picture of the value of your subscribers. Gaining new customers is a lot less cost-efficient than retaining existing customers. It's vital that your business puts adequate time and resources into monitoring engagement performance and nurturing customer relationships. This will help you when it comes to reporting the success of your email marketing activities, as you'll be able to gain true insights into engagement levels of your genuine customers. 

3. Waking up sleepy subscribers

There's a whole host of reasons for subscribers growing less engaged with your content. Disengaged subscribers don't always instantly unsubscribe, they often just stop engaging and opening emails. Here are a few examples of the factors involved in subscribers becoming disengaged:

  • Content is too frequent
  • Content is not frequent enough
  • Subscribers have had their heads turned
  • Circumstantial disengagement
  • Content is not dynamic or innovative

The marketer’s job within the reactivation process is to wake up sleepy subscribers by gaining insights into their behaviours and preferences, and their reasons for inactivity. Play to subscriber pain points and work harder to be persuasive, innovative and dynamic, as these subscribers are not warmed up and need convincing as to why they should open your emails.

4. Reviewing your content and highlighting issues

Reactivation focuses marketers on the true quality of their content, as it puts an emphasis on reviewing marketing content and analysing reasons why it may not be connecting with portions of their subscriber lists.

Once you've pinpointed potential reasons for inactivity, you can segment subscribers accordingly. During this process, you'll find out a lot of things about your content and your customers’ needs that you may not have realised. This will help with the process of optimising content, for both your inactive subscriber win-backs and your content aimed at engaging active subscibers.

5. Enhancing the customer lifecycle

If your business is focused on delivering customer-centric content within the customer lifecycle, reactivation should become a key cog in the process. This means that whenever there are significant dips in engagement from certain subscribers in your database, you can review the content they're receiving, get insights into their behaviours and preferences and target them for reactivation.

Define what an inactive subscriber is, according to your business and the type of email content you're delivering. Set parameters, so that you know at what point a subscriber becomes inactive, and put in place triggered workflows to establish a multi-stage process for reactivation attempts. Don't be afraid to encourage subscribers to think about whether they want to continue receiving your emails. Ultimatums can help to win back customers or remove subscribers who are no longer prospects for reengagement. Check out our blog on dealing with unsubscribes.

We recommend using email marketing automation to efficiently deliver target emails and manage the reactivation workflow within the customer lifecycle.

6. Optimsing and segmenting content for less engaged subscribers

In the same way as you should be targeting segments of your subscriber list with optimised email marketing content – related to engagement triggers – with your reactivation strategy, you need to optimise and tailor content for lapsed subscribers. Think about what persuasion tactics will help reengage these subscribers and the type of email subject lines which can grab the attention of those currently blind to your content.

Consider incentives and reaction-inducing hooks to bring lapsed subscribers back to your active customer pool. The key is to test, analyse and refine your content to help deliver the most impact.


Email marketing reactivation will help you establish a cleaner, clearer and more valuable subscriber list. This effective strategy can become a key part your customer lifecycle and help you to deliver more tailored and engaging content to your email subscribers.

We recently created a handy Email Marketing Reactivation Guide for Retailers, which outlines expert tips, tactics and brand examples to help you implement an effective reactivation strategy and awaken your sleepy subscribers. Get the free guide now!

Get email marketing reactivation guide

Enchant is a leading UK customer lifecycle marketing agency, specialising in email marketing. Our email experts help brands to reach their potential and create big impact fast with customer-centric strategies. If you need help with your email marketing strategy, get in touch and see how we can supercharge your performance!

Topics: customer lifecycle, Customer win-back, Email content, Email list, email marketers, Email Marketing, Email marketing reactivation, Email marketing strategies, Email marketing strategy, Lapsed subscribers, Marketing strategies, Marketing strategy, Reactivation, reengagement, Reengagement strategy, Retargeting, Segmentation, Subscriber list, subscribers, targeted content, Targeting

Rowland Marsh

Written by Rowland Marsh

Rowland is the Marketing Manager at Enchant Agency. He is a writer, content marketer and former film reviewer. Rowland studied Literature and Philosophy at UEA and has a background in promotions, marcomms and print media.

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