What Is a Re-Engagement Campaign?

What Is a Re-Engagement Campaign?

Over time, email lists inevitably become less engaged. Some subscribers simply lose interest and stop opening your emails. When that happens, you have three choices:

  • Keep emailing them, and let your open rate continue to decline
  • Remove them from your email list
  • Start a re-engagement campaign

A re-engagement campaign is a focused effort to reactivate your inactive leads. Instead of continuing to send the same emails they’ve been ignoring, you make a focused effort to get their attention, usually by calling out the fact that they’ve been ignoring you.

So how does a re-engagement campaign actually work?

When subscribers stop reading your emails—let’s say they don’t open one for three months—you bump them over into a segment of your list and start sending emails focused on re-engagement.

You could offer them a “welcome back” gift, or just remind them what they’re missing by not opening your emails. If they don’t re-engage, you can also consider removing them from your list altogether. This can prevent your list from getting bogged down with “dead leads,” and can help you avoid sending emails directly into someone’s spam folder.

Dead leads don’t have to stay dead

Sometimes people ignore your emails because you just haven’t sent anything that caught their attention yet. Or the first email they opened wasn’t valuable or interesting to them. A re-engagement campaign is your opportunity to break the cycle and show them that your emails are worth opening.

Whenever you invest in lead generation, it’s important that you have a plan in place for getting and keeping those leads engaged. A lead nurture or drip campaign is a good place to start, but creating a re-engagement campaign is part of maintaining a healthy list.

Maybe you got a bunch of leads from a partner email you sent over the holidays, or an ad campaign you ran months ago. And now your new subscribers are ignoring you. A good re-engagement campaign quietly runs in the background, helping you maximize the value of any leads you acquire and ensuring you don’t keep leads that aren’t doing anything for you.

Every email list naturally loses engagement over time. If you don’t do anything about it, your ratio of unengaged to engaged users can steadily increase. But as a small percentage of your subscribers disengage, you can recover some of them with a re-engagement campaign, slowing the attrition.

Is a re-engagement campaign worth the effort?

The alternative to setting up a re-engagement campaign is to either get rid of all your unengaged leads or continue having low engagement and risking high spam complaints. So yes, if your list is big enough, having a re-engagement campaign is worth it. The trick is knowing how much effort to put into it.

You really only need one automated email in your re-engagement campaign. More than that could be obnoxious to your subscribers, and if people don’t respond to your first re-engagement attempt (after they’ve been ignoring you for months), a second or third re-engagement email probably won’t do much good.

Once you set your email up and A/B test it to create the best possible version, it can run forever, reviving dead leads for months or even years. All you have to do to maintain it is make sure it remains relevant. (You wouldn’t want to “re-engage” someone by giving them an expired coupon.)

Not every list needs a re-engagement campaign. But if you have an email list that you’ve invested a lot of time, money, and energy into, or you’re struggling to keep subscribers engaged, re-engagement should be part of your strategy.

Just because your leads give up on you doesn’t mean you need to give up on them. Win them back.


About the Author:

Ryan Nelson
Ryan Nelson is a writer for Overthink Group, where he helps brands tell their stories and climb search engine results pages.