Email Marketing

Re-engagement Email Examples That (Actually) Win Back Subscribers

Have a lot of inactive subscribers? Here are some brilliant re-engagement email examples you can try today!

Re-engagement Email Examples That (Actually) Win Back Subscribers

Email list churn is real. Many businesses lose up to 25-50% of subscribers each year.

And this is where re-engagement emails come in: your opportunity to bring back inactive shoppers - with super compelling offers, deals, discounts - you get the drift!

More good news: 45% of email subscribers who receive re-engagement emails - read them - this is a decent opportunity!

What is a re-engagement email? 

A re-engagement email is sent when subscribers have become inactive. 

This includes subscribers who have:

  • Lost interest in your brand
  • Not opened any of your emails
  • Not clicked on email call-to-actions
  • Not made a purchase
  • Not finalized any previous actions

Jump to:

How to do a Re-Engagement Campaign: 13 Examples to Try Today

Re-engagement Emails vs. Win-Back Emails

Why Your Subscribers Have Gone Inactive

How to Build an Effective Re-engagement Campaign 

How to Build a Successful Re-engagement Email Sequence

How to do a Re-Engagement Campaign: 13 Examples to Try Today

Jump to:

1. Offer *early* access

2. Celebrate a milestone

3. Ask subscribers to manage preferences 

4. Highlight your best reviews 

5. Drive urgency with stock alerts 

6. Make it fun to engage with your brand 

7. Remind subscribers about your USP 

8. Let subscribers know if anything is changing

9. Say goodbye – gently 

10. Drive more sales through gift cards 

11. Entice subscribers with a promising referral 

12. Ask for a subscriber’s opinion 

13. Direct subscribers to a different channel

1. Offer *early* access

Exclusivity can always make subscribers feel special. 

Some ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement email campaign:

✔️ Provides relevant info to shoppers such as site URL, time of sale, stock availability, who it is for, shipping, and other details.

✔️ If you can, offer the pricing right away, heightening transparency

✔️ Pre-act CTA that calls for the subscriber to perform a micro-conversion (e.g., join the waitlist), thereby building excitement for the product launch

Frequency: Send to your subscribers based on the product launch timeline.  

2. Celebrate a milestone

91% of shoppers are likely to buy from brands that appreciate them. 

Some ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement email campaign:

✔️ Celebrate the birthday of your store (bonus if you offer them a discount)   

✔️ Acknowledge the date of the sign-up (write copy that says it’s been a year since you joined our community, so here’s a discount code just for you!  )

✔️ If you don’t have birthday or anniversary details of the subscriber, just send them an email asking to update the info. Tell them they will get exclusive offers such as a birthday discount or free gift. 

Frequency: Send to your subscribers annually or bi-annually.  

3. Ask subscribers to manage preferences 

So, your subscribers are not opening your emails. 

Perhaps, you are not sending the right type of pitch. Sometimes, it might be the email service provider at fault (like in the example above). 

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Make it easy for subscribers to change settings and keep it under 3 steps.  

✔️ Write clear instructions on what results the action will generate (‘if you unsubscribe now, you’ll stop receiving any updates on sales and promotions”.)

✔️ Specify the next steps (“you can always subscribe again through our store later”)

Frequency: Send when you have a high number of inactive subscribers, in case you are being marked as spam.

4. Highlight your best reviews 

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Always use real reviews (select the ones that might be funny or unusual to make an impact)   

✔️ If you can, use video reviews (embed only 1 video in the email to balance email load time)  

✔️ Add star ratings or impactful numbers (copy such as, ‘500 customers loved this product’) 

Frequency: Send when your inactive subscribers have browsed some products on your store but left right away. 

5. Drive urgency with stock alerts 

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Let subscribers know when products are back in stock (run exclusive discounts)

✔️ Write subject lines using power words like ‘special edition’, ‘free’, or ‘last chance’

✔️ Use a number to make an impact (copy such as ‘10,000 customers loved this product, so we bought it back!)

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on product stock levels. 

6. Make it fun to engage with your brand 

Gamification can make subscribers feel a sense of excitement. 

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Let subscribers choose their preferences and get personalized recommendations.  

✔️ Enable a spin-wheel with multiple discounts to let subscribers discover new products.

✔️ Let subscribers build a bundle across product categories. 

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on engagement levels. 

7. Remind subscribers about your USP 

USP is the most important piece of messaging on which a brand and its products stand. 

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Give shoppers a peek into your “brand philosophy” with a tone that helps build trust while selling the USP.

✔️ Let subscribers know how you are unique (for example, if you offer 24/7 customer service, highlight it). 

✔️ Enable individual CTAs for each section that ensures no conversion opportunity is missed.

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on engagement levels. 

8. Let subscribers know if anything is changing

Some changes can be exciting. 

Especially if it’s a win-win for your brand and shoppers.

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Let customers know what exactly is changing (if it’s your store website URL, then specify it right away in the subject line)

✔️ Specify the next steps (‘click here to check out the new product range’)

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on changes in your store. 

9. Say goodbye – gently 

Removing subscribers from your email list might make you hesitant. 

But if they are not converting into sales, then it only affects your results.   

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Don’t insist on offering discounts (try a text-only email)

✔️ Spin the CTA with a positive copy (‘keep me on the list’ or ‘update my preferences’)

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on engagement levels. 

10. Drive more sales through gift cards 

Gift cards are often overlooked in email marketing strategies. 

Pitched with the right messaging, gift cards can help to re-engage subscribers. 

A couple of ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Time your gift card marketing according to different holidays and celebrations for maximum results.

✔️ Let subscribers personalize the cards based on the special days, designs, and messaging.

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on engagement levels. 

11. Entice subscribers with a promising referral 

Referral programs have proven to significantly increase ROI for eCommerce stores. 

Here are a couple of ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Offer incremental tangible rewards to those who were willing to refer their friends.

✔️ Specify the benefits that both parties will receive through the referral program. 

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on engagement levels. 

12. Ask for a subscriber’s opinion 

Feedback can help you to understand the behavior of your subscribers and the real reason why they might not be shopping on your online store.  

A couple of ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Limit the number of questions and use more multiple-choice questions. 

✔️ Follow up with an appropriate response (for instance, if the subscriber found the product expensive, then offer them a discount code).

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on store engagement. 

13. Direct subscribers to a different channel

If you have a good presence on social media with a good engagement rate, perhaps your inactive subscribers might find it more accessible.  

A few ideas on how to send this type of re-engagement campaign:

✔️ Ask subscribers to follow you on one social media channel per email

✔️ Give a glimpse of what they can expect from following your channel

Frequency: Send to subscribers based on engagement levels. 

Some last-minute tips:

✔️ Regularly clean up subscription lists.

✔️ Use a double opt-in to onboard subscribers who are interested in your brand.

✔️ Ask for feedback and reasons why a subscriber wants to opt out.

✔️ Track deliverability rates to assess whether you have problems with your provider, IP reputation, server, etc.

✔️ Don’t make assumptions. Always test the subject line, content, design, and offer.

✔️ Listen to your subscribers.

Re-engagement Emails vs. Win-Back Emails

Win-back emails are sent to customers who have purchased in the past but haven't bought from you recently. They have also stopped responding to your emails. 

Re-engagement emails are sent to subscribers (who haven’t made purchases) and have signed up to receive your email updates but haven’t been responding. 

The key difference is that win back subscribers have an AOV while re-engagement subscribers don’t have any.

Why Your Subscribers Have Gone Inactive

Before moving into re-engagement email examples, let’s understand why they have become inactive.

Depending on the reason why subscribers stopped engaging and the type of inactivity, you can build customized campaigns.  

Here are some reasons why subscribers have become inactive: 

  • Product (poor quality, high prices, expensive shipping options, fierce competition with valid alternatives to your product, etc.)
  • User experience (the store site is not optimized for mobile, unusual interfaces, long checkout process, etc.)
  • Email campaign (too many emails, emails without value, spammy emails, pushy content, irrelevant content, repetitive emails, etc.)
  • Deliverability problems (email takes too long to load, infrequencies in timing, etc)
  • Personal reasons (busy working schedule, changes in customer’s needs, etc.)

How to Build an Effective Re-engagement Campaign 

1. Segment your subscribers according to inactivity and business value

Segmenting your inactive subscribers will ensure your re-engagement email campaign’s success. 

You can segment your inactive customers based on: 

Open rate: When was the last time the subscriber opened your emails? An open rate of less than 17.1% means the user is inactive. 

CTR: If the click through rate is 2.91% and the user hasn’t opened in 3 months, the user is inactive. 

Average session duration: You’d want to look at the time spent back and forth between the pages on your site. The ideal session duration is 2-4 mins. If it’s any less, your user is inactive.  

Recency: When was the last time the user opened your email? Has it been more than a month?

Frequency: What’s the engagement pattern? How regular is the user in responding to your email or purchase? 

Monetary Value: What’s the LTV of the user? Is the user a heavy spender or a low-value buyer?  

2. Gather data to drive personalization 

Let’s dive into what type of data can help you supercharge your re-engagement email campaigns:

Behavioral Data: Take a look at what your inactive subscribers last browsed, added to the cart, or the search term used. This can help create content based on their recent activity.

Third-party integrations: Understand preferences, customer touchpoints, and customer loyalty data to pump your re-engagement emails with compelling content. 

Channel engagement: Find out data from other channels such as in-store, SMS, push notifications, and social media. Use these data to better personalize your re-engagement emails. 

3. Offer compelling incentives  

Every re-engagement email is only interesting as its incentive. 

Based on past data, you can offer: 

Bundles: Product bundling attracts value-conscious customers while driving 10-30% in sales. 

Limited-time offers: Time-sensitive offers increase the perceived value of products. You’ll see a 400% increase in conversion rate when you use a countdown timer. 

Gift cards: Gift cards prompt customers to spend more with the average buyer spending $59 more than the value of the gift card. 

4. Test and iterate for mobile 

Like other campaigns, re-engagement emails will work if it translates naturally to mobile. 

Here’s how to optimize your re-engagement emails for mobile:  

Single-column layout: A single-column layout makes it easy for subscribers to read as images, text, and other elements won’t overlap. 

Fonts: Ideally, 16-18 px is the font size we recommend using. Use web fonts that work seamlessly across all devices. 

CTA: Use power verbs in CTAs such as Buy Now, Get it Now, and Unlock 20% off. Choose a round-edged button as they are more welcoming as compared to pointed buttons. 

How to Build a Successful Re-engagement Email Sequence

Here’s a re-engagement email workflow template you can follow:

Email 1 -  This is a gentle reminder to your user. A promo code or discount applied at checkout is a great opener. Send this 60 days after the last interaction. 

Email 2 - Be more persuasive with a gift. Offer a free product recommendation quiz. Interactive emails drive a 73% increase in click-to-open rate. Send this 3-4 days after the first email. 

Email 3 - Ask your inactive subscribers about why they aren’t interested in your emails. Offer them to update their preferences. Send this 7 days after the third email.

Email 4 - Tell them you’re sorry to see them go. And offer a link to unsubscribe and close with a post-unsubscribe survey. Send the final email 3 days after the third email.

Transform Email Marketing Into A Revenue Machine

Most eCommerce store owners don’t see email as a serious revenue stream.

Ask them about the importance of email marketing, and you'll hear: “we don’t really have a major strategy,” “we mostly use generic templates,” or “we just send emails to people on our list.”

BUT AT THE SAME TIME:

There are stores out there that drive 30%+ of their revenue from email marketing.

Engage can help you do the same - Book a free demo.

We’ll show you:

  • workflows we can create for your store,
  • proven ways to drive 30% or more $$ from email alone, and
  • successful templates and strategies from your industry (and others).
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