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Re-engagement Emails: The power of second chances to win customers

Have you ever wished for a second chance at a first impression? Like an undo button in real life. In the world of email marketing, that’s not just a daydream — it’s a tactic! Welcome to the land of re-engagement emails, where we don’t just knock on the doors of those who’ve ghosted us; we do it with style, charm, and a bit of humor. 

Imagine this: Your email is like that ex who shows up at your door with a boombox, except instead of playing Peter Gabriel, it’s blasting irresistible offers, social proof, and valuable tips. It’s about turning “Oops, I did it again” into a confident “I’m back again!” 

Buckle up and get ready to learn how to woo your users back into the fold because, in marketing, it’s never too late to make a grand re-entrance. In this post, we’ll share re-engagement email examples, tips, and tricks to activate your inactive users.

Let’s dive!

Crash into your users’ inbox like a Terminator. Or maybe not so aggressive… 

What is a re-engagement email?

A re-engagement email, also known as a win-back or revival email, is an automated follow-up email used to reach out to inactive or disengaged subscribers, leads, or customers. It aims to reignite their interest, re-establish a connection, and encourage people to engage with your product again. 

Re-engagement emails are typically sent to individuals who have not interacted with your emails or product for a certain time. 

The goal of the re-engagement email is to:

  • Remind people of the value your product offers.
  • Remind users of their past engagement with your app and demonstrate the value they lose if they fail to come back (employing the loss aversion principle).
  • And ultimately, convince them to take action with a compelling call to action

Re-engagement emails can be highly effective in re-engaging dormant customers, strengthening customer loyalty, and boosting overall engagement rates.

Insider perspective: Are re-engagement and reminder/nudge emails the same thing? Yes and no. It depends on the semantics you adopt in your team. At Encharge, we send  “nudge emails” to remind people to complete a mission-critical activity. These people might still be active but failed to perform an essential action in the app, so they must be reminded. Conversely, we use “re-engagement emails” for inactive people who haven’t been on the app/website in a certain period.  

Re-engaging dead lists with email blasts

A word of caution before you start implementing re-engagement emails.

Compare these two scenarios:

Scenario 1:

You implement an automated re-engagement email to remind people to return to your app after being inactive for more than seven days.

Scenario 2:

You are re-engaging a large two-year-old contact list with a one-off email blast.

The first scenario is an intelligent email marketing strategy. 

The second is a surefire way to destroy your email reputation and get banned by email marketing tools. It represents “warming up a dead list” — reviving neglected outdated audience, which leads to a ton of spam reports, bounces, and other issues. 

In the first scenario, it’s the user who has been inactive. 

In the second, the email marketer is the inactive one, as they have failed to maintain their list and follow the best email practices. At Encharge and most other platforms, we forbid re-engaging dead lists in that way. 

How to handle old lists

If you haven’t been in touch with your contacts for more than three months, you can consider them cold contacts, and it’s best to re-engage them using a cold outreach tool. Then, you can bring the re-activated people back into your email marketing tool and continue with regular email communication.

The benefits of re-engaging with inactive people

Reduces churn

With churn prediction platforms like Churn360, Akkio, and others, you can predict which customers are most likely to churn and re-engage with them with an automated email. A simpler approach to churn prediction is to use lead scoring and segmentation in marketing automation tools like Encharge and trigger the re-engagement email when a customer drops below a certain score threshold. 

Encharge enables you to create a segment of inactive customers who have not logged into your app in a certain timeframe. Alternatively, you can be more precise and build a segment based on app action like “Has not connected an app in the last 14 days”.

An automated re-engagement email will be sent to people who enter this segment:

Increases CLTV

By reconnecting with inactive customers and suggesting other relevant ways for them to get value out of your product, you can enhance customer loyalty and extend their lifetime value. Ultimately, this leads to higher revenue and contributes to the long-term success of your business.

Grammarly re-engages with inactive customers, showcasing metered value (i.e., user activity stats) and shares tips on proper grammar.

Improves onboarding

On average, between 40 and 60% of users who sign up for an online product log in once and never come back. You need to remind these people that your product exists. Nudge emails focus on proactively assisting users at their current stage in the customer journey. If you observe any successful SaaS company, they incorporate at least one or two reminder emails in their onboarding process.

Flatfile reminds people to import their CSV file into the platform.

Boost email engagement metrics

Following up with re-engagement emails can boost your email marketing performance. We’ve noticed that sending a simple follow-up email can increase the total open rate of an email by a zesty 7% or more by simply changing the email’s subject line. This is a great, easy way to increase the engagement of one-off broadcasts, sequences, and even automated emails. The only trick is you need to master your subject lines. It’s like putting a party hat on a Monday morning memo — suddenly, everyone’s paying attention. 

Struggling with subject line ideas? Check out our subject line generator or our tips on writing powerful subject lines.

Improves email deliverability

Think of removing inactive subscribers from your email list, like decluttering your closet. It’s all about saying goodbye to those “never-worn” contacts and hello to a neat, spam-folder-avoiding, high-flying email deliverability. The goal is simple: you want to sunset inactive subscribers every month or every other month at the latest. To do that, you want to send a regular re-engagement email. The people who don’t open the email will be removed from your account.

Here’s a simple but effective way to gauge the activity and interest of your email subscribers by Lowe’s. They further ask users to click on the email to show interest. 

We at Encharge recently trimmed down our subscriber audience by 10,000 people and saw a remarkable 12% increase in the total open rates of our newsletters.

Keep in mind that when you first (or after a long while) clean up your email list, you might see an uptick in spam reports. This happens as a higher number of genuinely active subscribers are now seeing your emails, unlike before when poorer deliverability might have prevented them from receiving your messages. That’s why it’s important to sunset inactive contacts and regularly engage your audience.

Types of re-engagement emails based on your audience

What type of re-engagement email you send will depend on the receiving audience and the goal of the email. 

Email subscribers

When to send: 2-8 weeks after the last activity of the subscriber.

The premise here is simple. You have a list of email subscribers and want to ensure they are engaged. Having a ton of inactive subscribers is worse than having a small list of active ones, as this could be detrimental to your deliverability and hinder some active people from seeing your emails, as we discussed in the previous chapter.

The most common strategy in that case is to send a re-engagement email asking subscribers if they still want to receive communication from you. In my lifetime as a marketer, I’ve stumbled upon some gutsy re-engagement campaigns that took no prisoner with their subject lines. I am talking about bold statements like  “I don’t want you on my email list unless you read it” and the cheeky “Please unsubscribe”. How assertive you want to be with your subject lines depends totally on your propensity for sass and your readers’ sensitivity, but one thing is sure — you need to cut off people who don’t open your emails.

Topman employs a traffic light CTA combined with a needy romantic ultimatum to cut off ties with the tire kickers.  

Leads

When to send: 1-12 weeks before the last activity of the subscriber.

Leads are those who’ve dipped their toes into your product or are interested in your premium offerings. But hey, life’s a whirlwind, and sometimes they’ll forget about you – it’s not you, it’s them. Don’t fret. It’s not the end of the road! Re-engagement emails allow you to reconnect with cold leads and check how their life is going.

We’ve observed two practical approaches in this scenario.

Inquire about their needs

Depending on how much time has passed since your last interaction with the lead, things might have taken a full 180 for them. A sensible tactic is to ask if they are still wrestling with whatever problem your product is solving. A casual “Do you still need help with creating social proof for {{Company name}}” is more than well enough. 

You can use the template below.

Offer a promotion

If someone’s been off the radar for a while, there’s nothing quite like a classic discount code to spark their interest. Keep it clear and straightforward, and let them take it from there. It’s like dangling a carrot — simple yet effective!

Remember that these are leads we are talking about, not simple email subscribers, so they should be further down the overall funnel. Hence, it makes sense to be more salesy and offer a discount.

Here’s a great example by Not on the High Street:

Trials

When to send: Depending on your trial length, send when 1 to 14 days of inactivity occurs.

With trials, our approach has to be a bit different. These people have signed up for your product and showed interest in what you offer, but something got in the way, and they turned cold during the trial process.

The first 2-3 days of your trial window are critical, so we recommend sending these reminders early. With a platform like Encharge, you can check if the person has performed a specific product action and email them to remind them. Like this:

Flow in Encharge:

Re-engagement email in Encharge:

Customers

When to send: 2-4 weeks of inactivity.

Inactive customers are a surefire signal for churn. What an inactive customer is will depend on your app engagement patterns. For an app like Asana, you want people to log in daily or at least weekly. Conversely, a tool that works in the background and doesn’t require much input from the users might only want to check in with people who have been inactive for more than a month. 

Here is a KISS re-engagement template you can use with inactive customers:

10 re-engagement email examples to inspire you to get your customers back 

Briink

Briink is an AI platform that allows socially conscious investors to screen potential investments by evaluating ESG data from any PDF document.

Below is a reminder email that Briink sends to all signed-up users who miss uploading a document. The email contains humor, a GIF showcasing how the process works, and an attention-grabbing CTA.

The second re-engagement email from Briink is for people who have created an assessment but haven’t checked the platform in a while. This time, the process is demonstrated with a video with an enticing thumbnail. 

Reword

Reword enables you to train your own writing assistance with the voice of your blog. A reword user gets all cozy with training a bot, but then – plot twist – they ghost before creating or editing an article. Enter the rescue squad: a re-engagement email. The email highlights the benefits of AI-assisted bots and offers additional information in the form of a step-by-step walkthrough and a help doc.

Scanz

Scanz, a stock market scanner and trading platform, goes on a mission to woo back those who left their registrations hanging and attempts to get signups back to the app with this re-engagement email. The single CTA (link) in the middle of the email is hard to miss.

Fera.ai

Fera.ai, a platform for beautiful Shopify reviews, gives users a friendly elbow nudge to add a review request campaign by highlighting an important social proof number and the benefits of product reviews. It’s their way of saying, “Hey, let’s make your products the talk of the town!” 

Notice the liquid dynamic code — Fera.ai uses Encharge to personalize messages for their audience based on whether they use Shopify.

Runkeeper

Runkeeper, a mobile app for tracking running activity, reels you back in with a no-nonsense list of steps and a CTA that’s as hard to ignore as a high-five at the finish line. 

Chain Reaction Cycles

Chain Reaction Cycles reminds inactive subscribers of all the good stuff they offer and incites them with a small discount code.

Chain Reaction Cycles pokes their dormant subscribers with a wink and a nudge, saying, “Hey, remember all the cool stuff we’ve got?” and then sweetens the deal with a cheeky little discount code. 

Hulu

Popular TV streaming service Hulu uses strong visuals to remind you of all the interesting shows you are missing and draws attention to their free trial — a low-commitment entry point for inactive users (remember the dangling carrot metaphor we used?)

Jetblue

JetBlue Airways crafts a re-engagement email with a twist, hilariously playing off the classic breakup scenario. They lay out three quirky options for their subscribers, like choosing your own adventure in the sky of airline emails: “Stay together” (confirm subscription), “It’s complicated” (change email preferences), and “We are on a break” (unsubscribe from emails).

Mini

Let’s finish our list of examples with this brilliant re-engagement email from Mini, the car company. They give their inactive subscribers a bunch of hilarious options like: “Are you in Jail?”. “Are you a vegetarian?”, and “Are you hibernating?” Each one leading to an equally original landing page. You can find the full list of landing pages screenshotted here.

Wrapping it up

And that brings us to the end of our thrilling ride through the world of re-engagement emails – the email marketer’s secret weapon for turning “See ya!” into “Welcome back!” 

We dove into the deep end with re-engagement emails, those crafty little messages that remind your users that, just like a good TV show, there’s always a reason to come back for more. The best part is that they help with onboarding, churn reduction, and overall email engagement, so why not implement a few re-engagement emails for your app?

If you need assistance with that, I and my team at Encharge are always here to help. Book a quick call with us, and let’s discuss your strategy. Over 1,000 businesses use Enharge to automate their marketing and email communication, we might be able to help you as well.

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