Come Back, We’ve been Looking Everywhere for you – Top Tips for Re-Engagement Campaigns

Just like you may have used our tips for cleaning your data, customers may have a spring clean of their own too. Make sure you make the inbox cut, even if they haven’t engaged with you in a while, by reminding them of your emails’ value.

What are re-engagement campaigns and why should you use them?

Re-engagement campaigns (sometimes called reactivation or win-back campaigns) are emails designed to attempt to bring inactive contacts back into your marketing communications flow. Some of them have words like ‘we miss you’ in the subject line, and may contain an offer of some sort if the recipient re-engages with the brand.

Because they address only inactive contacts, using re-engagement campaigns can give you a more accurate perspective of the activity levels in your list. This can help you suppress contacts that do not want to hear from you, who may be wasting your business’ money. After all, if they don’t open or click-through from your emails, how can you benefit from keeping the relationship open? If you’re worried on the effects of using this strategy on your deliverability, read how staggering your launches could help.

Answer these questions to choose the right segment of subscribers

When starting a re-engagement campaign, you have to define a clear objective in order to measure the success of this strategy.

  1. Are you trying to re-engage contacts who haven’t opened your emails in the past 6 , 12, or 18 months?
  2. Or the ones who haven’t clicked?
  3. Perhaps the ones who haven’t purchased anything in the past year?
  4. What uplift are you hoping to see from the campaign?
  5. When are you going to review the results?

Tips for re-engagement campaigns

  • Think outside-in: these contacts haven’t engaged with your emails in a while, so your time is running out to impress them. Start with your subject line: make sure it’s different from your usual strategy, short, punchy, and to the point. You need to gain their attention here to even hope that they’re going to read your persuasive copy inside the email. American Eagle used this well with “There You Are! We’ve Been Looking Everywhere”.
  • ‘Come back’ or ‘ Do you still want to hear from us’? There’s only one way to find out which one works better: test! And don’t limit your testing to the subject line, try the copy and images in the email too. Just remember to test one element at a time, otherwise you won’t know what caused the change.
  • Include an offer or discount: after all, it would cost you less to give something up, then to acquire new customers.

  • Keep it distraction-free: the subscribers have already had a chance to see your sale emails, your vouchers and your newsletters. This is the final step before you lose them, so don’t distract them with too many calls-to-action. After all, you only want to know the answer to one question: are they staying?

  • Be bold: This is your last chance to make an impression on inactive contacts. So try a different approach, while staying within your brand personality. Threadless employed this very well – known for their light, quirky personality, they infused the re-engagement email with lots of humour to spark action.

  • Offer alternatives: just because email is the preferred channel for 72% of customers, it doesn’t mean you should approach all of them in the same way. Why not direct the un-engaged ones to your social channels instead?
  • Make it a series to generate more impact:
    1. First email – remind customers what they’re missing out
    2. Second email – follow-up if they still haven’t engaged with the first email
    3. Third email – confirm that they are now unsubscribed unless they clicked on any of the first two emails

How do you know if you’ve been successful?

Go back to your objectives. You might look at open and click rates first, and see if there is an uplift compared to your average campaign. However, these could be affected by changes in your content or subject line strategy. So it’s also important to monitor the growth of your suppression list for unsubscribes, the unsub rates, and the spam complaint rates. If your campaign (or series) re-engages the subscribers you thought you had lost, you should see the last three elements decrease.

But even if they don’t decrease, don’t consider it a failure. After all, if you have contacts on your list that don’t engage with your emails, then you can’t build a relationship, or sell to them. Why waste money in emailing them?

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