What’s the point of email marketing if most of your emails are getting ignored? These win-back email templates and engagement campaigns will help you re-engage lost subscribers or cut them from your list.
If you want to make your email marketing campaign more effective and, therefore, convertible, you shouldn’t ignore subscribers who stopped opening your newsletters for any reason. In this article, you’ll learn how to define so-called “zombies” in your email list and what to do to re-engage and win them back. Keep reading for the win-back email templates!
As a big shot marketer, you want all customers to open and give feedback to your emails, right? But no matter how hard you try, there is always a segment of your target audience who ignore your messages.
Why Won’t Customers Open My Emails
Your subscribers are not opening your emails:
- Subscribers aren’t receiving your emails. They could have gone into a spam filter or could be blocked by their server. The best way to make sure that your emails are getting delivered is to authorize yourself as an email sender with an SPF record. . Setting up an SPF record helps to prevent malicious persons from using your domain to send unauthorized (malicious) emails, also called email spoofing.
- Your emails aren’t relevant. Email is NOT a marketing strategy. Email is a communication channel. Your emails should be supporting the marketing strategy you choose. So, if you’re using a content marketing strategy, then your emails should be focused on content end not on direct selling of products or services. Send emails that match the subscriber’s intent when they shared their email address. If they gave you their email to receive shipping updates, then don’t send them coupons. Ask them what they want to receive and send them what they ask for.
- Your emails may be too frequent or not frequent enough. One way to solve this problem is to ask subscribers how often they like to receive emails. Another idea is to give subscribers a selection of email types and how often they are delivered. Most email marketing platforms have AI (artificial intelligence features) that will automatically determine the best time to send emails.
A Little About the Zombie Email Apocolypse
About 80% of all emails sent and unopened are known as “zombies” or “dead.”
No wonder: with 300+ billion emails sent and received daily, your customer’s inbox is bombarded with unwanted messages. Considering most of them as spam, they ignore yours too.
And that’s the problem:
- If you are among the 81% of small businesses that rely on email as a primary customer acquisition channel. Then “zombies” hurt your conversion and ROI more than you realize.
- With so much time and effort spent on growing your email list, it stands to reason you want to reactivate those “dead” subscribers and maximize your email marketing campaign results. However, sending an activation email isn’t enough: they won’t open it anyway.
Is there anything you can do to win-back those subscribers? After all, they signed up to your website for a reason. So, maybe you can bring them back and improve your email marketing endeavors.
Here are the steps to take for activating “sleepy” customers, re-engaging them, and therefore turning your email campaigns into strategies that work.
Define Dead Emails and Check If They Are Valid
You work with a valid email list. Valid emails are defined as being deliverable. In your email marketing system, you’ll find those under the “bounced” category. Here are a few reasons why emails become undeliverable:
- Non-existent email address: This is usually an email with a typo.
- “Undeliverable”: This could mean anything from their mailbox being full to something being wrong with their setup or server.
- Blocked: In this case the receiving server has some filter in place. This often happens with large organizations or even with emails such as “aol” or “yahoo” any third-party free email system.
An email is NOT a person
While it’s tempting to have hundreds or even thousands of contacts in your email list, some of them are worth saying goodbye to. Use email validation tools to delete suspicious and non-working addresses, as such contacts do nothing but harm your inbox deliverability and overall online reputation.
As you probably know, mail providers have requirements for a mailing list quality. And if you exceed their limits on allowable returns and complaints, your emails get blocked. That’s why a regular validation practice can help you stay safe and even reduce your bounce rates up to 90%!
Once you’ve checked the database and confirmed all contacts in your mailing list are valid, it’s time to define those “dead.” Divide all subscribers by segments:
- Active: those opening and clicking your emails.
- Inactive: those who last time opened your emails about 6-12 months ago.
- “Dead:” those who haven’t been opening your emails for the last 12+ months.
What to do with those “dead” emails?
Well, you can follow the lead of Carol Tice, who’s a six-figure freelance writer and a top-notch email marketer: Just cut them.
Indeed, cutting inactive subscribers from the list may help you save deliverability metrics and concentrate on feedback from those available. But here’s a flip side to the coin: according to studies, you may spend five times more effort on acquiring a new customer than on trying to keep an existing one.
So, maybe, it’s better to understand why they’ve lost interest in your emails and organize a win-back campaign?
Understand Why They’ve Lost Interest
Reasons they don’t open your emails and don’t provide you with feedback are many. The most common ones are as follows:
- Technical. Those subscribers simply don’t receive your emails: It may happen if you change email service providers or decide to choose some email settings, so please check your delivery rates regularly. Or, the reason may be that your email provider just doesn’t record emails as “opened.”
- You send irrelevant emails. Customers signed up for one reason, but you send them emails about unrelated subjects. Such expectation vs. reality misunderstandings lead to the loss of customer engagement and trust.
- You send emails too often, overwhelming customers by the number of messages in their inbox. Moderation is the key here: Don’t send emails every day or every second hour; it does nothing but frustrates.
- They are too busy to read your emails right now, forgetting to get back to it later.
Also, please note how they came to the website and what made them subscribe to your emails. Check their “recent” click activity: What was the last subject line, link, or CTA that engaged them to interact with your email. Sometimes, one short word can influence your email conversion by far.
Are your inactive customers still active in other channels? Do they visit your website, order from you, or subscribe and comment on your social media posts? (It may become your alternative option to opt them back and improve your customer satisfaction metrics.)
And don’t ignore their past feedback, purchase activity, and its attributes: You can appeal to them for re-engaging your “zombies.”
Most of the reasons are about the wrong personalization and behavioral segmentation. Distilling all inactive customers into smaller segments, you’ll understand what strategy will work best for winning them back.
Prepare Win-Back and Feedback-Friendly Content
Sounds counter-intuitive, but re-engaging your “zombie” list can take less time than managing your active users. Since your only purpose here is to get them open an email and re-engage with your brand, make sure you send short, up-to-the-point, and really cool content.
What does a successful win-back email campaign look like?
- It’s personalized, and it has a helpful tone.
- It’s short and clear: a customer understands who you are and why you write to them.
- It gives them a reason to engage again: educational benefits such as a free PDF or online course, a giveaway, or an invitation to competitions.
- It shares an additional opt-in and specifies a way to unsubscribe.
- It’s properly formatted, follows email etiquette rules, and is optimized for mobile devices.
How to write good emails?
Avoid damaging words, be brief and feedback-friendly, and consider short subject lines. “We miss you” or “Come back?” are just a few options for your message to sound empathetic and personal.
Also, rumors have it that birthday emails have a 179% higher CTR and generate 342% higher revenue. So, a marketing approach such as “birthday hack” is worth trying too.
Do your best to focus on clear calls to action. “Zombies” are less passionate than your loyal subscribers, so make sure you don’t sound annoying. Show that you’re listening: use the data from their past activity as the basis for your communication.
Other win-back email strategies:
- Remind them of the benefits of being your customer (extra offers, discounts, etc.) Consider argumentative writing techniques to structure your email text accordingly.
- Give them alternative ways to connect with you — share the links to social media and other channels.
- Explain how to unsubscribe and why you won’t send emails to them anymore. (A psychological aspect such as “fear of loss” may snap into action here.)
- Add interactive elements to your emails. Surveys, games, videos — all they drive engagement and may help you get customer feedback on what they want from you.
- Try using a P.S. in your emails: 90% of people read it before a letter, so it’s your extra chance to grab their attention.
Re-Engagement Email Template
Think of your win-back campaign as another phase of your list cleaning exercise. You’ve already cleaned out the technically “bad” emails with no “people” behind them. Now you want to find those needle-in-a-haystack people who like your content enough to become engaged members of your community.
To re-engage these “dead” email subscribers, will take from two weeks to sixty days depending on the kinds of offers you have. In these re-engagement emails, you’re going to face the reality of the fact that these subscribers are ignoring you. This is what makes them effective.
Send these emails to people who haven’t opened your emails in at least 60 days. This number can vary depending on how frequently you send emails. For example, if you only send an email each mont, then you may want to make it 90 days or a year. This is up to you. Just make sure that enough time has gone by to where you’re reasonably certain they are ignoring you.
DIYMarketers has a 60-day re-engagement sequence email template that you can use.
Make sure that you tag the emails who received the re-engagement email sequence so that you see which subscribers have returned.
After you run this sequence with your email list, it’s important that you remove the “dead” or unresponsive emails from your list. You can do that by adding an “unresponsive” tag and keep them inside your email system. Some email marketing systems actually charge you based on the total number of emails that are in your account, including the unresponsive ones. If that’s the case for you, then you want to download these unresponsive emails out of your marketing automation platform and file them away.
Win-Back Email Templates
At this point, you should have a segment of subscribers who have re-engaged and returned to the fold. Understand, this number might be very small, but at least you know that they are loyal.
These returning subscribers can now go into a win-back email sequence where you remind them of all the wonderful benefits they get from being on your email list.
For a better email campaign, try the Gain-Logic-Fear approach.
This is a three-part email sequence focused on the psychological part of the buying process. Tim Dodd has shared email templates for you to use here. In the case with “zombie” customers, your focus will be on the “Gain” email, as your primary goal is to make them open your message.
Sure enough, some customers aren’t going to engage with you again. Don’t be afraid of cleaning up your database from time to time, and delete those indifferent to your feedback campaigns. After all, sometimes it’s better to let go: one of the most common email marketing mistakes would be to spend time and effort in vain.
Some email marketers don’t even have a plan to use win-back email with their “zombie” subscribers, it would be wrong to ignore such an opportunity. The above-described win-back email strategies can influence the overall performance of your email marketing campaign, as it’s easier to re-engage and get feedback from existing leads than win new ones.
Most subscribers still want to hear from you, and they are ready to answer your survey questions and be a part of your brand family. They simply need to be reminded of your brand from time to time. Drop them a line, invite them to take a survey or visit a free webinar, ask them for feedback, share informative content — and they’ll thank you. Sure, not all of your subscribers will re-engage again, but you’ll get the most loyal followers back.
And, to make your win-back email marketing campaign even better, review its content and metrics regularly, as well as collect feedback to monitor complaints and unsubscribes for better and timely optimization.