Getting Your Customers Back: 10 Examples of Effective Re-Engagement Emails

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Scott Cohen
Scott Cohen


I’ve been breathing life into email campaigns since 2007 when the iPhone was the newest thing on the block. Even though the learning resources for email marketers have evolved since then, I still have countless re-engagement email examples in my inbox which don’t prompt me to, well, re-engage.

10 examples of re-engagement emails to clear cobwebs

While getting ignored by your subscribers is bad enough, if too many subscribers do the same, you may end up damaging your sender reputation, which may encourage email service providers to treat your messages as spam.

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Since you obviously don’t want that, I’ll explain everything you need to know about email re-engagement and how you can get your lovely subscribers back — with some added spice from experts as well.

Table of Contents

Like a meetup with an old friend, a re-engagement email is often about remembering the good memories you shared — rather than asking for favors (or asking customers to purchase your products).

In my experience, a well-done re-engagement email conveys “we miss you” instead of “we miss your money” to regain a customer who may have forgotten about your brand.

Importance of Re-Engagement Emails

Importance of re-engagement emails.

While re-engagement emails offer several advantages to email marketers, I typically rely on them for the following use cases.

  • Attract inactive customers. An email subject line like “You’ve Got Mail!” may have given internet users goosebumps 20 years ago, but this isn’t the case now. With about 360 billion emails sent and received daily around the globe, it’s easy for customers to miss your marketing emails. So, I recommend giving your subscribers a gentle nudge to re-engage them.
  • Generate missed revenue. Unlike 25% of new customers who abandon a purchase because they don’t trust a website with their financial details, your existing customers already trust you. This makes them a reliable source of revenue.
  • Improve email sender reputation. While sending emails to all your leads sounds good on paper, it’s a sure way to get exiled into the spam dungeon. According to Validity, 15% of emails never reach the inbox. By sending re-engagement emails, you can decide the fate of inactive subscribers and protect your email sender reputation.

Pro tip: Use re-engagement emails to see where you’re lacking in your regular marketing emails — sort of like A/B testing. This way, you can refine your strategies and improve subscriber engagement.

If a re-engagement email helps you connect with your disengaged audience segment, it might help you get a better open rate from the active audience base as well.

Lina Lugova, chief marketing officer at Epom, emphasizes adding the missing value: “The reason why you have to send a re-engagement email is that your previous activity didn’t bring enough value, so you should do it now.”

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    Common Types of Re-Engagement Emails

    The appropriate re-engagement email depends on the recipients. You can go with a subtle “We Miss You!” or opt for a humorous “Take Me Back!” That said, here are my favorite types of re-engagement emails for improving engagement metrics.

    We Miss You

    Instead of calling a subscriber out for being inactive, you can start on a positive note and remind them of the good times they had with you. When crafting a “We Miss You” email, my goal is to remind inactive customers about the value the specific brand had in their lives.

    Pro tip: You don’t have to include “We Miss You” in your subject line — in fact, I recommend avoiding it since many brands default to it.

    Here’s a “We Miss You” email template I often use:

    Subject Line: Remember When [Past Memory]?

    Preview Text: It’s been too long, old friend ...

    Hi [Name],

    Remember that time [personalized experience].

    But lately, I can’t help but feel like we’ve been drifting apart. I miss the hustle and bustle of having you around. Our friendship just isn’t the same anymore.

    The good news is — it’s never too late for a heartfelt reunion!

    Then I’ll close the email with a strong CTA.

    Tantalizing Offer

    Consider offering discounts. These special offers can help you win back customers. That said, since the recipients are disengaged customers, I recommend opting for this type of email when you offer a higher-than-usual discount.

    While a re-engagement email highlighting a discount isn’t much different from a usual discount email, you must optimize your subject line. Instead of opting for generic subject lines, like “[Name], Claim Your Offer Today!” add recognizable value and personalization.

    For example, I like a re-engagement email with a subject line that says “Get 50% Off Your Next Purchase Because We Miss You!”

    Recommendation Refresh

    A re-engagement email offering personalized recommendations can also help you win back customers. However, a recommendation refresh feels incomplete without segmentation data, so I only recommend using this if you’ve got a marketing automation tool with relevant content, such as purchase behavior, browsing activity, and top-reviewed products.

    Once I have the necessary recipient details, I use a template like this one, and then close with a CTA.

    Subject Line: You Loved These, [Name]. But Wait ’Til You See The New Picks…

    Preview Text: New custom recommendations made just for you!

    [Email copy with recommendations]

    Self-Improvement Pitch

    Personalized recommendations work for ecommerce brands — but not so much for SaaS businesses. Instead, I’ve found that SaaS businesses get higher click-through rates by teasing upcoming revamps, new offerings, or improvements based on user feedback.

    Here’s a re-engagement email template I recommend when sharing how you improved your offering:

    Subject Line: [Name], Your Feedback Helped Us Level Up!

    Preview Text: You helped shape something awesome. Come see what’s new!

    Thanks to invaluable input from users like yourself, we’ve recently rolled out some major upgrades. We revamped the [key updates] based on your requests. And let’s just say the results will have you rejoining the fan club in no time.

    [Quick tease of one to two new updates/offerings and then close with CTA]

    Tough Love Conversations

    Last but not least, I treat email marketing as a conversation with my customers. So, I consider it fair to be brutally honest about the fading relationship with a bit of drama or humor.

    You can try your luck with a cheeky subject line, like “Did We Fail You?” Similarly, you can go for “Did We Unintentionally Break Your Heart?”

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    Organize your email marketing strategy and metrics with this free template.

    • Gather data
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    • Manage A/B tests
    • And More!
    Learn more

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      All fields are required.

      You're all set!

      Click this link to access this resource at any time.

      1. Apple Music

      Apple Music’s email newsletter features a list of the hottest new music.

      Image Source

      To re-engage inactive users, Apple Music sends out a selection of new music they might be interested in. While it’s not as personalized as I’d like it to be, it features a curated collection of the latest music across different genres to ensure there is something for everyone.

      2. Asana

      Asana showcases the new products and features it has added to its platform.

      Image Source

      I love what Asana’s doing with its re-engagement email campaign. It has everything that’ll warm a reader’s heart — a friendly tone, personal connection, and new features offering value. Impressively, Asana also added a human touch by including an image of Nikki Henderson, the Asana Education Buddy.

      3. Roaman’s

      Roaman’s offers an extra 40% off on an item to encourage customer retention.

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      Roaman’s win-back email has several things going on. First, I really dig its big “We Miss You!” Besides that, it also offers a hefty discount to get the recipients to click through. Plus, the call-to-action — “one-time exclusive offer” — creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity.

      Pro tip: While you might feel pressured to offer a discount in a “We Miss You” email, it’s not necessary if your brand doesn’t do discounts.

      Greg Zakowicz, senior marketing expert at Omnisend, agrees: “If a brand frequently discounts, I’d use a discount to generate a sale. If a brand doesn’t frequently discount, I wouldn’t feel pressured to offer one.”

      4. The Hut

      The Hut plans to remove uninterested subscribers to make room for new customers in its email list.

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      The Hut isn’t trying to make a sale right away. Instead, it’s giving its email subscribers an option to update their email preferences or unsubscribe. While this kind of email won’t get you sales, it helps you clean up your email list and improve your email deliverability rate.

      Pro tip: Give inactive subscribers a chance to opt out if they no longer wish to hear from you. As heartbreaking as this is, it’ll massively improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.

      5. Cole Haan

      Cole Haan nails its email campaign with personalized recommendations to win higher click-through rates.

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      When it comes to apparel, I’ve found that personalized recommendations rule the game. And Cole Haan seems to be rocking that philosophy with its re-engagement email — even complimenting the recipient. I love how the models are gazing expectantly at the recipient.

      6. Venmo

      Venmo’s re-engagement strategy revolves around FOMO.

      Image Source

      The cheeky email marketers at Venmo aren’t just hinting at the fear of missing out (FOMO). Instead, they’re straight-up telling you that you’ll be missing out if you don’t download the latest version of the app.

      7. Arc

      Arc’s email marketing strategy involves highlighting the changes it made to address customer feedback.

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      I love the “You Asked, We Delivered” theme from Arc. It highlights all the user experience feedback Arc applied, encouraging unengaged customers to give Arc one more chance.

      8. Acumatica

      Acumatica requests that customers update their email preferences.

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      Acumatica is taking subscriber list hygiene to a refreshing blunt level by issuing the “Do you still want to hear from us?” reality check. A low sender reputation with inbox service providers (ISPs) renders an email marketing campaign a failure, so I like what Acumatica is doing.

      9. Section

      Section shares five courses recommended by its other students.

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      I have a knee-jerk aversion to “You Cannot Miss” headings because I find them overused — there are countless flop movies with the same phrase in their trailers. That said, I like it in this email subject line because Section immediately adds social proof by saying “we asked our students.”

      10. RY

      RY says, “We Miss You,” and offers a 25% discount.

      Image Source

      RY is cutting straight to the chase with its “We Miss You” email. Besides the subject line, the only other thing in the email is a coupon and a CTA. While relatively blunt, I think it’s an effective re-engagement email for giving a last chance to inactive customers.

      Pro tip: If customers still don’t respond after several nudges, it’s better to remove them from your email list instead of making the spam folder your destination.

      Get Ready to Re-Engage

      While other digital marketers might panic over an uptick in dormant email subscribers, I think of them as my personal test audience for fresh content ideas and out-of-the-inbox wooing techniques.

      Instead of losing sleep over it, use the templates in this guide to develop your own re-engagement email sequence and win back customers.

      Editor's note: This post was originally published in October 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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