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How to Re-Engage Inactive Customers Through Email

Providing optimal customer experience is every organization’s goal. Did you realize that those efforts extend to everyone on your email lists, too? Over time, the engagement rate of a customer may gradually drop to the point that they stop interacting with your emails. There’s a natural attrition rate when it comes to email engagement.

As long as you’re prepared to work on maintaining your subscribers’ interest, you’ll be able to provide value to their lives, making it easier for them to engage with your brand long-term. It’s challenging to keep every customer engaged, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor. After all, it’s infinitely easier to re-energize people who already have an affinity for your brand than to find new customers.

Studies show that, on average, an inactive subscriber is worth 32% of an active subscriber. In other words, if you don’t attempt to win back inactive subscribers, you’re leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table. Assemble your list of inactive subscribers and take these steps to reignite your email list. To illustrate our to-do list, we’ve included real-world examples from some recognizable brands.

Make sure your emails are relevant and engaging.
Customers are often overwhelmed by email, with the average office worker receiving about 121 emails daily. With time at a premium, they must believe that they’re going to get real value from an email before they bother opening it. Show your people that you respect their time by giving them the content they deserve — and make it engaging, as Urban Outfitters does in this playful message.

Provide exclusive offers and discounts.
We’ve established that customers will open your emails if they find them valuable. In addition to worthwhile content and resources, you might also give them a monetary incentive to engage. When it comes to winning back inactive customers, it’s hard to beat an exclusive discount or offer. By driving a sense of urgency and triggering fear of missing out (FOMO), limited-time offers can nudge consumers to make a quick decision about a potential purchase. Tapping into this emotion might persuade your customers to return to the fold. Look at how Teavana makes this play for re-engagement.

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Include a call to action.
One effective way to rekindle your subscribers’ interest is to come right out and boldly state the purpose of your email. In this case, you’ve noticed their lack of engagement and want them to come back. Include statements like “We miss you!” or “Where have you been?” Follow this with a clear call to action that indicates what you’d like the reader to do. A great example of a re-engagement email comes from ISO Student Health Insurance.


Get more personal.
One of the easiest ways to re-engage inactive customers and remind them that you care is to provide them with highly personalized content. Who can resist a very helpful product recommendation or an unexpected anniversary or birthday discount, similar to what Converse offers their customers? This can also include a nudge about something left behind in a shopping cart, too. It’s simple, and it’s one of the most effective ways to wake up sleepy customers.

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Give them more control.
To prevent your followers from unsubscribing, give them the option to change how frequently you send them emails or whether they prefer a different form of communication. Make them feel heard by asking what kind of content they’re looking for and providing them with options, as Sephora does.

Remind them why they signed up and what they could miss.
Maybe you lost a subscriber because your communication or materials didn’t resonate with them. Perhaps you didn’t have a product that fit their exact needs. For these reasons, sending product, design, or company updates can be a great way to prompt unengaged customers. Keep them informed about your new updates, as in this example from Mint. You never know, it might just be exactly what they were looking for!

It’s natural that your list will lose a bit of vitality after a while. It happens to every brand, no matter how iconic it may be. The deciding factor is what you do about it. Re-engagement is an essential part of email marketing, a great opportunity to rejuvenate a once-thriving relationship and nurture your relationships with your customers.

What strategies do you use to keep customers engaged? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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