TryInteract Quiz

How to Engage Email Subscribers

no junk mail email marketing feature

Table of Contents

If you really want to engage email subscribers, you’ve got to stop focussing on getting email subscribers and start focusing on engaging email subscribers.

When it comes to email marketing, there’s too much focus on GETTING email subscribers and not enough on how to engage email subscribers in a way that moves them toward becoming customers.

By the time you finish this article, you’ll discover how to engage email subscribers in a way that inspires them to choose you.

Here are some tips on how to come up an email marketing strategy focused on your ideal customer and what they need to choose you.

Understand subscriber or customer intent to engage email subscribers

You know how Google measures “search intent“, it’s your job to understand subscriber intent or customer intent. There are really three types of search intent:

  1. Informational – they are looking to learn about something
  2. Commercial – they want to purchase something
  3. Direct – they are looking for something specific on a specific site

About 30% of all visitors to websites come from Google search. That’s global data, your website might get as much as 70% of its traffic from search (I know mine does).

That means that these visitors were searching for something, landed on your page and saw your resource of offer. Whatever you said around that offer piqued their interest enough to trade their email for information.

When email subscribers gave you their email, there was something about what you offered that resonated.

Then there’s subscriber intent. This is an extension of search intent. But it’s a level deeper. They searched, they found your information and now they are ready to get even more information — or are they?

Prepare Yourself for Unsubscribes

The key to getting engagement from your ideal customers is understanding what their intent was and treating them accordingly.

Inactive email subscribers: What you gave them solved their problem and they didn’t need anything else.

If their search intent was purely informational, then they downloaded your resource and got enough information to move on. They might stay on your list or they might unsubscribe. But these folks may not want to get a TON of emails from you.

Engaged subscribers: They liked what they saw and wanted more.

These folks might be in the active stages of solving a problem. They. downloaded your resource and want more support and information.

These people will open more of your emails and will want to get more frequent emails from you.

Unsubscribes: They didn’t resonate with what you sent and don’t want anything else.

These people will often unsubscribe right away or they will become inactive subscribers. They downloaded your resource but it wasn’t a good fit for them.

Not every email subscriber is an ideal customer. Every email list has a mixture of these three and your goal is to grow the number of subscribers engaged with your content.

Start tracking open rates and getting to know your engaged subscribers

According to this type of segmentation about 30% of your subscribers have the opportunity to be fully engaged. In fact, the average email open rate across all industries is about 21%.

a chart showing email open rates by industry to help you engage email subscribers

(source: Email Tool Tester)

Your goal is to get to know those people who are most engaged with your emails.

Focus on the engagers

  1. Pull those folks who have opened at least one of the last several emails that you’ve sent.
  2. Reach out to them individually and gather information about what they are dealing with. Remember, you’re not selling, you’re learning.
  3. Ask they what type of information will be most helpful to them.

Weed out the inactive subscribers

Keeping inactive subscribers gives you bad data and lowers your open rates.

You can send targeted campaigns to these inactive users. You can send this email a couple times a year to keep your email list free of inactive email subscribers.

After this email, you will remove these inactive subscribers from your email lists. Don’t worry about that, if they want something you have, they will subscribe again.

The “Unsubscribe” Email

This is a bold and honest way to clean and update your email list. You’re going to send people an email actually asking them to unsubscribe from the list — if they don’t want to stay in touch.

Hi There –

I noticed that you haven’t been opening up my emails over the last few months.

Clearly, I’ve not been sharing information that’s valuable to you. My goal isn’t to sell you anything with this email, I’d much rather get to know you better and understand your business better. So, please reply to this and tell me what’s new with you.


If you’d like to UNSUBSCRIBE — and not receive any more emails from me, all you need to do is click here: (UNSUBSCRIBE LINK HERE – you can pull that link from the bottom of your email footer)

Re-Engagement Campaigns

In this section, I’m going to review a couple email templates that you can use to increase engagement from your target audience.

These email templates will guarantee a response from any non-responsive prospect because it offers benefits of what they have and provides an offer with a time limit so they feel like they’re on the spot.

You can also use these re-engagement email templates for existing customers who may be interested in upgrading their products/services!

Here are some of the most effective engagement email templates for moving your sales process forward

The ABC Email Template

I know — you’re going to think this is like middle school. But like most things you think are cheesy and annoying, it works.

Being too long-winded or self-focused can kill a sales email and fast. Instead, follow this repeatable approach from Barry Moltz that will generate responses and reduce ghosting.

The subject line of the email should read “Please reply” and within the email, you want to offer three choices:

A: I’m ready now, let’s get started.

B: I’m no longer interested in doing business with you.

C: I’m busy now, but call me in a month 

Why the ABC Email Works

If someone isn’t interested in doing business with you, the easy way out is to avoid talking to you at all. This happens to so many people in sales, which ends up wasting a salesperson’s time trying to follow up with people who are dead ends.

With this email template, you’re giving permission for them to say no: they just have to respond “B” and you can take them off your list. It’s low friction. 

When to Send the ABC Email

This template does not work as a cold pitch. The person on the other end is not invested at all, so there’s a good chance they still won’t reply. Instead, save this for when someone has some stake in the relationship with you. If you’ve had a conversation with them, for example.

If a prospect made you feel like they were going to do business with you or actually said that on a previous call, they’re going to likely give you the courtesy of responding to one of the three options in your email. This frees you up to pursue other sales if this person is no longer a good fit, but it also gives you some permission to circle back with them later if they tell you that they’re just busy at the moment.

Sending this email releases not only those clients who are no longer interested, but it’s an important psychological step for you, too. You get to release yourself from the expectation that this is going to end in a sale, which is important closure for your own process.

The “I’ve Dropped the Ball” Re-Engagement Email

 It’s one thing to grow your email list, but if the bulk of the people on your email list aren’t engaging with you, you don’t really have them.

So, how do you re-open a conversation with the people on your email list who haven’t been opening or clicking on your emails?

Ely Delaney has a killer recipe. I tried this recipe myself and was able to re-engage a list from 2014 and go from 20% open rates to over 70% open rates!!!!

Here’s how it works:

Who to send it to

Select the people who haven’t opened an email in at least 45 days.

NOTE: for this email, you’re NOT going to do anything fancy. No formatting, no fancy graphics. This email should look like a personal email that you would send to a friend.

What to put in the email

Following is a very general message script that you can use. Of course, you make it your own.

Hey, there. I feel like I haven’t done a great job of building our relationship the way I really should be. And I want you to know, first and foremost, I care about you as a person, as a client and somebody who is in my world. I haven’t stayed in touch the way I should be, and that’s going to change moving forward.

I would love to chat with you and see what’s going on. Tell me what’s going on in your business right now. I want to see if there’s anything I can do to help you out. Even if it’s not my services, maybe it’s just a connection with somebody I know. Just reply back. 

The most important thing with this message is to NOT sell anything. Your only goal is to get into a conversation with the people on your list.

Some results from this email template

One of Ely’s clients had received more than 20 responses and closed a quick $500 sale from one of those conversations. So that’s just from having a conversation with that person.

Another client closed more than $12,000 of business from running an entire re-engagement campaign using this type of email.

What if your list is REALLY old?

If you have a really old list that you’ve cast aside, you can still send this type of email. The biggest difference would be that you break it up into much smaller segments and send to a much smaller group.

People may have moved on from your brand — that’s a possibility. Make sure you remind them about their connection to YOU and how they were involved with your brand.

No sales pitch, just a friendly conversation

You’re reaching out because you want to talk to THEM. This isn’t a sales pitch! Instead, simply ask questions

Hi There – WOW! It’s been a while and that’s my fault. About three years ago, you [downloaded X, registered for Y, etc]. And, I haven’t been in touch since.

I’m reaching out today because you were interested in X and I’m looking at updating this content and I’d love to reconnect with you and hear what your biggest challenges are around [this topic]

PLEASE understand, this is NOT a sales call. I have no intention of selling anything, I just want to understand what’s happening in your business.

You don’t need to send these from a fancy email marketing system, you can also send these types of emails straight from your regular business email.

My favorite tool for this type of outreach is to use Nimble – because you can send a group email that comes directly from your personal account. Nimble’s technology allows you to track opens, clicks and responses. So you get the best of both worlds.

The FREE Gift Re-Engagement Email

I wouldn’t recommend you run this email with a list that you haven’t reconnected with in a while.

I would recommend that this be your “next step” re-engagement email after you’ve reached out already or with people who have started engaging with you — think of this as a reward email.

Hello Again!

I promised I’d be back in touch — and here I am. You’re busy, so I get that you didn’t respond to my last email, I thought I’d give you this FREE ACCESS PASS for my upcoming event that’s currently selling for $197. This is something I’m only offering my VIP folks and since you’ve been part of my community for so long (and I’d still like to connect with you), I wanted to give you this opportunity.

If you’re a retail business or selling different kinds of products or services, you can also offer a generous coupon.

The idea is that you reward them for coming back and re-engaging with you.

Tips for Writing Your Very Own Re-Engagement Emails

It can be tough to keep in touch with all of your contacts, especially if they’re not always interested in what you have to say. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when writing your own re-engagement email:

Write to ONE person

It’s easy to forget that the email you’re writing is going to be read by ONE person at a time. So write that email to a single person.

Be honest and upfront about why you’re reaching out

Before you craft your own email, it helps to make a list of exactly WHY you are reaching out to them. This list is only for you, so there’s no need to wordsmith this.

Take a look at your tags or categories and think about what how they might benefit from what you are offering them.

Use clear, concise language

You’re their friend, not a stranger. When you’re emailing them from your personal account, they can expect to have a friendly conversation with you. So speak to them as if they were standing in front of you and the tone of your emails matches what it would be like face-to-face.

Avoid being creative or clever

While a creative email may seem clever and irresistible, unless it’s a part of your brand, the people on your list may perceive it as — sleazy and desperate.

Keep it short

There are a few reasons why you should keep your re-engagement emails short.

First, people are busy and they don’t have time to read long emails.

Second, if you’re not careful, you could overwhelm people with too much information.

Finally, it’s important to remember that you’re reaching out to people who may not be interested in what you have to say.

Include gifs, video or even audio if it matches your brand

If it matches your brand, and it’s something that you normally do, then adding a visual element to your re-engagement email can add a lot more fun and emotion to your outreach.

Helpful Tips for Email Marketers

  • Don’t be cute with subject lines. Remember, your email subscribers subscribed to solve a problem.
  • Instead, create personalized Subject lines and personalized emails. Be descriptive with your subject lines. Tell then what you have and how it will help them. For example, you can add their name, or insert a specific product or service you know they are interested in.
  • Deliver relevant content. If they signed up for information on a specific topic, then send them information on that topic or solutions for a specific problem. This might include a relevant blog post or a video.


Email marketing is a great way to reach out and connect with your contacts, but it can be tough to get responses from people who are not interested in what you have to say.

Recent Posts
  • My Honest BNI Review: Don’t Join Without a Solid Referral Strategy
  • Getting to the Bottom of the “Book a Demo” Call to Action Controversy
  • Get More Leads with These Clever QR Code Call to Action Examples
  • Boost Your Sales: 7 Effective Upselling Techniques That Get Customers to Pay You More
  • Gmail Ads: With Advertising Costs Higher Than Ever are Gmail Ads Effective?
  • 10 Fun Ways to Find Your Ideal Customer
  • Mastering Your Next Multimedia Presentation: Essential Tips and Strategies
  • 10 Innovative Strategies to Differentiate Your Business in a Competitive Market
  • 10 Procrastination Tips for Entrepreneurs
  • Quiet Power: 8 Effective Networking for Introverts Techniques