Design Inspiration

How to Re-engage Email Subscribers: 5 Easy Ways

How to Re-engage Email Subscribers: 5 Easy Ways

Unless you keep them engaged, subscribers are bound to tune out. Depreciation is normal, but it’s important to try to keep your list as active as possible—if engagement rates drop too low, your messages could be marked as spam. Don’t fret. Sending a great re-engagement email can help keep your list healthy. A successful reactivation email reignites interest from subscribers while allowing disinterested ones to unsubscribe. We rounded up five excellent examples of messages that show how to re-engage email subscribers – and threw in some key design tips – so you can get inspired to create your own.

1. Don’t be afraid of a little humor

As with any email you send, infusing some personality in your tone of voice is a must. Brands with light-hearted, friendly, witty copy styles have a great opportunity to use some humor in re-engagement emails. It’s a move we see a lot—probably because adding levity to these messages prevents you from sounding pushy or clingy. Check out this playful example from Design by Humans.

Subject: Trapped in Quicksand?

design by humans returning customer email

The sinking-in-quicksand concept is a clever, innovative way to capture readers’ attention, and it’s a perfectly silly metaphor for a re-engagement campaign. Note the extra large font size used for the header (super easy to read) and the live text used for the body copy. One thing we especially love about this email are its call-to-action buttons. They span the full width of the email (easy to tap on mobile) and employ playful, compelling copy. And color matters. Notice how the subscribe button is an ultra-engaging blue, while the unsubscribe option is black.


2. Cut to the chase and keep it simple

Here’s another example of a re-engagement email that uses humor. What was notable about this one from The Knot is how succinct and clear it is. Whenever you’re striving to engage readers, we suggest design simplicity. Cut out extra CTAs, links, deals, offers, and clutter so that readers’ eyes can focus on what’s most important—and then act.

Subject: We Haven’t Heard From You

the knot engaging email example

Like Design by Humans’ email, The Knot creates a playful, lighthearted tone to capture readers’ attention. It also deemphasizes the opt-out option—this time with a link instead of with a button—thereby helping move readers’ eyes toward acting on updating their subscription instead of canceling completely. Beyond that, there’s not much else going on with this email, and that’s ok! It serves its purpose with creativity and simplicity.


3. Offer an irresistible discount

It’s common practice to re-engage subscribers by offering a special deal. What’s better than a free gift, free shipping, or spectacular coupon? If you’re going this route, it’s important to make sure your offer truly is special. It should be exclusive to this target audience, and probably more substantial than other ones you make. Take this sample email for winning back old customers from General Assembly, which offers a whopping 30% off in an attempt to get disengaged readers to act.

Subject: We miss you.

thrive customer engagement email

Instead of a splashy, visual approach, GA opts for a more personal, intimate tone with this letter-style message. We’re guessing it would be personalized, too, if they had our data. The email takes a two-pronged approach: it offers the discount with a CTA button, plus links to relevant content. The latter option not only adds another reason to click, but it gently reminds readers of the benefits GA offers: great content, for free, at your fingertips.


4. Leverage inspiring visuals

At the opposite end of the spectrum from General Assembly is this photo-forward re-engagement email from Jetsetter. Brands that have a heavy focus on visual elements might find a strategy like this better suits their audience. Because when you’re thinking about going on a vacation, what’s better than inspiration from beautiful places?

Subject: We Miss You!

jetsetter sample email to win back old customers

In this re-engagement email, Jetsetter doesn’t provide a single call-to-action. Instead, multiple pieces of content are presented with their own CTAs, from trip ideas to hotel recommendations. The Z-pattern layout is an effective way to present multiple modules, and orange is a great standout color for the buttons. We also love the live text placed atop an image in the header (an easy move in the BEE editor!), which makes this email even more inbox friendly.


5. Take a moment to educate

If your platform or product isn’t 100% straightforward to use, you already know how important it is to have educational material on your blog and on social media so that you’re empowering customers. Why not extend that to email, too? This customer engagement email from Thrive Market offers readers some insider tips to help them navigate the shopping platform, and the result is a friendly, warm, helpful campaign.

Subject: We Miss You!

thrive reactivation email

The live text and bullet point lists work well to highlight for readers what they might’ve been missing. What’s not here, notably, is a great CTA button that pops. The “Click to activate…” link is definitely minimized, leaving us to wonder if the strategy is intentional. (A nice way to test if design moves like this might work for your brand is with an A/B test.)

Create your own re-engagement email in BEE

Enjoyed these engaging email examples and ready to build your own? The BEE editor has dozens of ready-to-use templates that can give you a leg up in designing your own re-engagement email – and in designing emails that will keep your returning customers engaged to begin with!

responsive email template html

Browse through our catalog, or start from scratch—either way, the drag and drop tool is intuitive, flexible, and fun to work with. You can be on your way to re-engaging email subscribers in minutes. Happy designing!

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Kelly Shetron

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