How can I re-engage inactive subscribers?

The benefit of removing subscribers that don't open.

As you run your campaign, you may notice that your list of subscribers is growing along with it. As time passes, you will want to determine which subscribers will provide the most value to you. We suggest running a re-engagement email to re-engage your subscribers that may not be opening your messages, and most importantly remove the ones that don't engage.

The last step of this process is to remove the subscribers that do not engage with the re-engagement email. This step has a substantial benefit for your email deliverability moving forward. Your overall open rate will increase and the risk that your future messages are put in the spam folder will decrease. By dropping the subscribers that are not viewing your emails you ensure that the subscribers who are viewing your messages will continue to be able to.



Why are my subscribers no longer active?

In order to figure out if a reactivation campaign is needed, it is helpful to know why your subscribers may not be actively opening your messages anymore. This will help to determine if there are any particular reasons for why those subscribers have become inactive and what you can do to help them get back into the flow of things. A common occurrence that can result in inactive subscribers is if you have not varied your content, which may have resulted in the subscriber becoming disinterested in what it was you were sending. So if you have any new offers or content to send to your subscribers, make sure you are letting them know about it.

Message are sent to SPAM because of low engagement

Another thing to consider is that what you have to offer just does not fit into the subscribers life anymore. There is nothing wrong with this, it just means that they no longer want to be part of your list and have not taken any action to be removed from it. Also, the email address that you have for them may also be old and outdated. This means that they may have changed their email address or they just do not use the one that you have on file anymore.

How do I run a reactivation campaign?

First, you will want to create a segment of your inactive subscribers. When creating this segment, it is important to determine what time frame to use for seeing whom your inactive subscribers actually are. When determining this time frame, you will want to consider the following things:

  • How long has your campaign been running?
  • How often do you send out messages to your subscribers?
  • What type of content have you been sending out?

Once you have taken these into consideration, it is time for you to create your segment of inactive subscribers.

Creating a segment of inactive subscribers

  1. First, go to your "Subscribers" tab and click "Subscribers."

    Subscribers tab

  2. From the "Search Option" drop-down menu, you will want to select "No Opens." From the middle drop down, will select "since" and in the input box you will want to select the date you came up with when considering your inactive subscribers.

    No opens search

  3. Next hit the Plus button button to add another search criteria for your segment.

  4. From the new "Search Option" drop-down menu, you will want to select "Date Added." From the middle drop down, you will want to select "Date is on or before" and you will want to choose the same date that you chose for "No Opens." Click the "Search" button.

    Date Added search

    This will find any subscribers added on or before the date that you specified and have not opened any of your messages since that date. You can do any date combination that you like, but this kind of search will ensure you do not include new subscribers that haven't had a chance to open your message in your search. 

  5. Once the search has completed, save the segment by naming it and clicking the "Save" button.


Now that you have your segment of inactive subscribers saved, you can now create a broadcast to re-engage those inactive subscribers.

Creating a re-engagement broadcast

When creating your broadcast message it is important to create something that will grab the attention of your inactive subscribers and get them excited for what you are offering. When developing your subject line for your message that will be the most important part when trying to grab the attention of your inactive subscribers. One great way to grab that much desired attention with your subject line would be to develop a sense of urgency for your subscribers so that they know that this is their last chance to get involved. Here are some examples of subject lines that are built to draw attention or create urgency.

Subject line of message in email client

Once you have their attention, you will want to make sure you can back up that subject line with some compelling content as well. You just got their attention and now you want to keep it. To do this you might:

  • Mention anything new happening on your end, such as any new products, content, or offerings. If they have not been reading your messages it is important to fill them in on anything that is new.
  • Include any relevant pictures or testimonials that they may want to know about.
  • Link to any RSS feeds or social media sites that you may have. They may just need to be connected to you in more ways than one to know that you are still around. The more connections you have to them, the more engaged they will become.
  • Make sure you remind them of any of the benefits that got them to sign up for your mailing list in the first place.

Now that you have your reactivation message created, you will want to send it to the segment you created earlier. Once within your "Broadcast Settings", click "edit" next to the header "Who should receive this message?" section, select your inactive segment from the dropdown menu and click "apply" to send the message to just that segment of your list.


Note: Reactivation broadcasts are meant to be sent on a per list basis. So you should not include other lists in the send of your reactivation broadcast. Instead you will want to create your inactive subscriber segment and send the broadcast in each of your lists individually.

Other things to consider

Before sending out your message, you may want to consider that some of your inactive subscribers may be engaged on other lists that you have running. If these lists have to do with the same subject matter as the list that they are inactive on you may want to exclude them from the send of this message. This is done by choosing to exclude your other lists that have to do with this same subject matter.

You will also want to make sure that you have "Social Media / Sharing" disabled for this broadcast as this broadcast is only meant for your inactive subscribers and there is no reason for anyone else to see it.

Once you have sent your broadcast and given your subscribers good amount of time to respond, it is time to check to see who has opened your reactivation broadcast and who has not.

Those Who Opened It

For any of those inactive subscribers that are now engaged in your campaign you may want to ease them back into the flow of things as opposed to just automatically sending them all of your regular messages. Consider the amount of time that they have been inactive for and then try sending them a message or two that is targeted towards them specifically in order to get them back into the flow of things.

Those Who Did Not Open It

Now that you have put your best foot forward in an attempt to contact inactive subscribers, you may still notice inactive subscribers whom have not opened your reactivation broadcast. It is at this point that you will just want to unsubscribe subscribers from your list. Continually sending to them is not doing you any good since they are not opening your messages, in fact it will hurt your campaign more by continually sending to them. Things to consider about these inactive subscribers are:

  • They will drag down your deliverability. This is because the more you send out to subscribers that do not open your messages and/or delete them, it will reflect badly with the email service provider that they are with. The more your messages are ignored by those you are sending them to then the chances are higher that the email service provider will not recognize you as a "real" sender and they may base how well they deliver messages to the rest of your subscribers on this.
  • They are obviously not opening your messages at this point, so there really is no advantage to keeping them on your list. So it may look best for you to stop sending to them altogether as opposed to continually sending them messages that they will never open.

Once you have decided that these subscribers are no longer of value to you, it is time to unsubscribe them from your list. To unsubscribe them, first you will just want to your "Subscribers" page and do a search for subscribers that have not opened that reactivation broadcast that you sent out.

Message not opened search

Once the search has completed, you will see the list of subscribers that have not opened your reactivation broadcast. To the left of the search results you will see a bunch of checkboxes. Check the top box to select all of the subscribers and click Actions > Unsubscribe to unsubscribe those subscribers from that list.


If you have a lot of subscribers that you would like to bulk unsubscribe you can always export those search results and then unsubscribe them using our Bulk Unsubscribe Tool.

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