10 Best Re-engagement Emails to Win Your Subscribers Back

Matthew Royse
Matthew Royse

Last updated on

January 4, 2023

A re-engagement email can encourage your unengaged subscribers to open your emails again. Learning from some of the best examples is essential to successfully creating your re-engagement email campaign. With 22.5% of your email list dying off each year, improving the quality of your email marketing lists is essential. These subscribers who have disengaged with your emails yet remain subscribed to your email lists hurt your engagement rates.

Generally speaking, an inactive or unengaged subscriber hasn’t opened an email in six months or more. It could also be someone who hasn’t opened your last ten emails. The definition of someone who is disengaged is up to you to decide. Take the time to identify what a disengaged subscriber means to you. Then, figure out how to get them active again.

Some examples are suitable for a business-to-consumer (B2C) audience, while others are better suited for a business-to-business (B2B) audience. When you create a re-engagement email that stands out, you can win back your inactive subscribers.

If you are looking for creative ways to rekindle the flame with your email subscribers, then this guide will help you. 

What is a re-engagement email?

Re-engagement email campaigns are those email campaigns or email workflows used to bring back inactive subscribers, boost email engagement rates, or increase subscriber retention.

Your subscribers can lose interest in your email campaigns over time. But you can remedy that by sending re-engagement emails and restoring your engagement rates.

Why is it essential to re-engage inactive subscribers?

If you have an email list, then it’s a given that not everyone on your list is opening your emails. This is not because you are doing something wrong; it’s a problem plaguing the whole industry. 

But the problem is even bigger than that; Inactive subscribers can damage your sender reputation and adversely affect your email deliverability, causing most of your emails to land in the spam folder.

Another reason for re-engaging inactive subscribers is to get correct analytics data. If your email list isn’t clean and is full of inactive subscribers, this can distort your email campaigns' data. For example, you won’t get an actual open rate for your email campaigns if your emails go to both active and inactive subscribers.

The only solution is to keep your email list clean and healthy with active subscribers.

But these reasons shouldn’t deter you from re-engaging your inactive customers. After all, they signed up for your email list for a reason. A re-engagement email lets you show your brand’s value to inactive subscribers.

3 Types of re-engagement emails

When preparing your re-engagement campaign, the following three emails should be a part of your campaign.

Infographic: 3 Types of re-engagement emails

1. Reminder email

A reminder email is a simple message that reminds inactive subscribers about your business and the benefits of staying subscribed. This type of email can be effective for subscribers who may have simply forgotten about your business or may need a gentle nudge to re-engage.

2. Offer email

An offer email is similar to a reminder email, but it includes an incentive to encourage inactive subscribers to re-engage. This could be a discount, free trial, or exclusive content. This type of email is particularly effective for subscribers who may be on the fence about continuing to receive your emails.

3. Regret email

A regret email is a more formal message that expresses your regret at the subscriber's decision to stop receiving your emails. This type of email can be effective for subscribers who may be hesitant to re-engage due to past negative experiences or misunderstandings. The regret email allows you to address any concerns or issues the subscriber may have had and to offer an olive branch to try again.

10 of the best examples of re-engagement emails

Let’s dig into these ten examples of the best re-engagement emails and find out what makes them unique.

1. Framebridge

frame bridge email

This re-engagement email from FrameBridge, a startup in the custom framing industry, gets right to the point with the “is this the end?” message. The tone of the email is conversational, with sentences like “since you haven’t been checking our emails lately.” This email is simple, direct, and impactful. The big orange call to action button at the bottom of the email helps drive the reader to take action.

Key takeaway: This re-engagement email is an opt-in email where the email recipient has to click on the “wait, keep me on the list” button to continue to receive emails. If they don’t, FrameBridge will remove them from their email list. The email encourages the end-user to fully and clearly express their interest.

2. Webflow

webflow email

Some of your subscribers may take a test drive of your product and change their minds. You can prove your product is worth it with an email like this. This email is from Webflow, a software-as-a-service company that helps its customers build and host websites. This company took a data-centric approach. 

They emphasized what had happened since the reader last opened one of their emails. Webflow provides concrete numbers with their statement, “since we last saw you, 10,234 designers started using our CMS.” The email provides a compelling and fact-based message. In other words, it shows their unengaged audience how popular their product is.

Key takeaway: Take the fear of missing out (FOMO) approach. It’s a great way to re-engage your subscribers, enticing them to come back.

3. Grammarly

grammarly email

Grammarly, a free online writing assistant, re-engages inactive subscribers with a “Wrinkle in Time” badge. Wrinkle in Time is a family story between the real and the imaginative. Grammarly uses a red “Go” button at the bottom of the email as their call to action. The button looks similar to the “Easy Button” that Staples uses to show how they make things easier for their customers.  The red color also adds a sense of alarm, inviting the user to click on the button.

Key takeaway: Make your call to action button stand out. Also, the email also helps restate Grammarly’s value proposition.

4. Duolingo

duolingo email

This email from Duolingo, a free language-learning website and mobile application, is a classic “we miss you” re-engagement email. Using their avatar, they tap into the “emotional heartstrings” of their inactive users. They also take a casual and conversational approach to win their subscribers back.

Key takeaway: If your branding fits the “come back” message, use it in your re-engagement email.

4. Starbucks

starbucks email

Remembering your reader’s birthday is a great way to win him or her back. They will appreciate it because who doesn’t love getting free stuff on their birthday? Starbucks, one of the world's largest coffeehouse chains, offers a special present. This is a great B2C re-engagement email. Starbucks encourages its audience to update their accounts to claim a free gift on their birthday.

Key takeaway: Remember the important parts of your subscribers’ life. Tie those special moments into your re-engagement email.

6. Pinkberry

pinkberry email

Pinkberry is a franchise of frozen dessert restaurants. What better way to engage your audience than with something their customers usually pay for? A yogurt. This email is simple and to the point. It shows the brand cares. The statement “a free yogurt has been added to your Pinkcard” subtly points out their loyalty program and the benefits of being a member.

Key takeaway: Give something away for free if you have the budget.

7. Crocs

crocs email

Crocs, a company that distributes and once manufactured foam clog shoes, sent this simple yet effective email with a $10 coupon. The copy is compelling, with larger text at the top and smaller text at the bottom. 

The email uses the company’s different branding colors to convey its messages. In small letters, they say, “if you don’t click on this email,” they will remove the subscriber from the list. At the bottom of the email, they mention Croc Cares, the corporate social responsibility initiative they launched in 2007.

Key takeaway: If you present more than one message in your email, ensure a message hierarchy. Use different font sizes and different colors to make your messages stand out.

8. Google

google email
Image Source

Google, a technology company, focusing on Internet-related services and products, encourages its subscribers to add photos to their Google Maps page. The headline “it’s been a while…” works for a B2C audience. It matches the sad dog photo.

Key takeaway: Less is more. When you quickly scan this email, you see the three most important things: an image, a headline, and a call to action button, all inviting you to come back and use Google’s service.

9. Dropbox Paper

dropbox email

Dropbox Paper is a free product from Dropbox, a file hosting service that brings “creation and coordination together in one place.” This email provides Dropbox Paper’s unengaged email recipients with many images to show the variety of ways they could use their tool. 

This email is easy to scan. Its simple, right-to-the-point headline entices readers: “Here’s what you’re missing on Dropbox Paper.”

Key takeaway: If you have real estate, include a call to action at the beginning and end. Also, use multiple images to support your re-engagement cause if you have space.

10. David Lloyd

david lloyd email

David Lloyd is a British multinational sport, health, and leisure business that runs health clubs and gyms across Europe. The company provides an emotional image of a teddy bear that your eyes are immediately drawn to. 

The eyes of the teddy bear fit perfectly with the headline “we feel lost without you.” Short and sweet. This email fits the phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

Key takeaway: Make sure your image in your email matches your headline, email body copy, and call to action.

Re-engagement email subject lines

Re-engagement email subject lines
Image Source

Re-engagement subject lines must be done right to spur inactive subscribers into action. Because remember, this will be the last time you interact with your inactive subscribers. Therefore, you need to think outside the box to wake them up. Here are a few subject line examples you can take inspiration from:

  1. Where have you been?
  2. You look grumpy? Wanna talk?
  3. Howdy partner! Long time no see!
  4. John, we have something for you!
  5. We miss you. Let’s reconnect
  6. Can we talk tonight?
  7. Lonely, we feel without you!
  8. Never gonna let you down!
  9. $x off your next purchase
  10. Please come back
  11. So long, goodbye?
  12. Wanna hear from us still?
  13. Am I talking to [name]?

Like what you see? Then you can create subject lines like these using Mailmunch’s free email subject line generator: AI Copy Assist. It’s a powerful, innovative, and intuitive way to generate creative subject lines without the hassle of thinking about them all day. Here, give it a try!

How to create a re-engagement campaign campaign strategy.

Sending a re-engagement email without any meaningful strategy won’t achieve the desired result. So, it’s imperative to come up with a re-engagement strategy that is consistent with your objectives. Here’s how you can create one:

1. Segment inactive subscribers

The first step in your re-engagement strategy is segmenting your inactive subscribers into a separate email list.

Usually, there are a lot of segmentation factors to consider, but in the case of re-engagement, the time frame should be the most critical factor to consider.

If subscribers haven’t engaged with your emails for at least six months, they should be considered inactive and placed on the re-engagement email list.

2. Create your re-engagement email

Once you have segmented the inactive subscribers into an email list, it’s time to go to work and create a re-engagement email.

When designing your email, you should focus on creating emails tailored to that specific audience.

The thought behind creating a re-engagement email should be to restate your value proposition. Also, you want to grab your subscriber's attention because most of these people won’t even remember signing up for your list.

The call to action or CTA should be inviting enough for the recipient to take action. Think about what should make the recipient take action. Place the CTA where it’s visible, and use colors and fonts that make it pop.

 If they don’t intend to take action and don’t want to hear from you, you should also provide an unsubscribe option. Yes, it will be painful to see a subscriber go, but it will be beneficial for your costs and statistics.

3. Automate your re-engagement emails

A single re-engagement email might be enough to win back some subscribers, but it takes a few interactions to convince others. 

So, a better way to increase your interactions with subscribers is to automate your re-engagement email campaign with Mailmunch’s automation feature. Here’s a glimpse of a re-engagement email workflow designed using our automation builder.

Automate your re-engagement emails

With Mailmunch’s automation builder, you can build customized email workflows with custom triggers. Also, you can design each email within the builder for each condition.

4. Analyze the results

To ascertain the success or failure of your re-engagement email campaigns, you must look at the following metrics. A successfully reactivated subscriber is determined by the following:

Both of these metrics will give you a holistic view of how your re-engagement efforts have been. Click-through rate will tell you how your disengaged subscribers engaged with your emails -  whether the content was effective enough to motivate them to take action.

You should then segment the re-engaged subscribers into your email list and continue nurturing them to solidify the relationship further.

Also, dormant subscribers who neither open nor click through should be removed from the list. Because if you continue to email them, you will only damage your sender reputation and skew your data. 

If your spam complaints decrease, your deliverability rate increases, and your email conversion rate improves, then it means that your re-engagement campaign is successful.

10 Tips for sending re-engagement emails

Here are a few tips for making your re-engagement email better.

1. Segment your subscriber list

Instead of sending the same re-engagement email to your subscribers, consider segmenting your list based on their activity level or interests. This will allow you to tailor your message and incentives to specific groups of subscribers, increasing the chances of them engaging with your email.

2. Use A/B testing

A/B testing allows you to test different email versions to see which one performs better. You can test subject lines, content, and call-to-action buttons to see which version gets the best response.

3. Keep the email brief

People prefer to read only a short email, especially when trying to re-engage with your business. Keep your re-engagement email brief and to the point, highlighting the benefits of staying subscribed and any incentives you are offering.

4. Offer an incentive

People are more likely to engage with your email if you offer them something in return. Consider offering a discount, free trial, or exclusive content to incentivize inactive subscribers to re-engage with your business. This example can illustrate the point.

Re-engagement email: offer an incentive example
Image Source

5. Add emojis

Emojis can help make your email more visually appealing and can also help convey your message more engagingly. Just be sure not to overdo it – a few well-placed emojis can go a long way, but too many can be overwhelming. Here’s an example:

Adding an emoji example
Image Source

6. Include an unsubscribe option

Giving your subscribers the option to unsubscribe is essential if they no longer want to receive your emails. This shows respect for their preferences and helps maintain a clean and engaged email list.

7. Make your email mobile-friendly

Most people read their emails on their phones, so it's essential to ensure that your re-engagement email is optimized for mobile viewing. This includes using a responsive design and keeping the email brief to load quickly on mobile devices.

8. Use your employer's branding 

Using your company's branding in your re-engagement email can help to increase recognition and trust. Include your logo and use your company's colors and fonts to create a cohesive and professional look.

9. Take advantage of email marketing tools

Many email marketing tools available can help you create, send, and track the performance of your re-engagement emails. These tools can save you time and help you analyze the results of your campaigns so that you can make data-driven decisions.

10. Determine email send frequency and time

It's essential to strike the right balance regarding the frequency and timing of your re-engagement emails. Sending too many emails can be annoying, but sending too few may be ineffective. Consider using data and testing to determine the optimal frequency and time to send your re-engagement emails.

Improving your engagement should be the end goal

Whether you work at a B2C or B2B company, a re-engagement email is a great way to win back your disengaged contacts. This group of contacts is holding your email marketing efforts back. Once you implement a re-engagement email campaign, your statistics of opens and clicks should improve because 45% of recipients who receive a re-engagement email read subsequent emails.

Start implementing your re-engagement strategy with Mailmunch, a complete email marketing tool that can scale your marketing efforts manifolds.

Author Bio

Matthew Royse

Matthew Royse has 20 years of experience in marketing and communications working in many industries such as financial services, technology, media, and entertainment. Matthew taught social media and digital marketing classes at Duke University. He has spoken at national marketing conferences in the United States and he writes about digital marketing on his blog, Knowledge Enthusiast. You can follow him on Twitter @mattroyse and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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