How To Re-Engage Email Subscribers And Revive A Dead Email List

Inactive Email Subscribers

Do you want to learn how to re-engage email subscribers and revive a dead email list?

It may sound impossible but it isn’t.

In this post, you’ll learn how to bring your email list back from the dead and engage email subscribers you thought were lost.

Ready? Let’s get started:

1. Decide on the course of action you’ll take to re-engage your list

Now, this can go one of two ways.

There’s more than one way to re-engage your subscribers (while still being genuine and real).

Depending on the email marketing guru you talk too, you’ll hear different strategies to win your email list back.

First, there’s acknowledging your absence, and possibly letting them know what’s been going on.

Then, there’s not addressing it at all. Just getting straight back to usual and reigniting your list with a series of emails to win them (and their trust) back.

Both have pros and cons.

Both have been (and can be) successful.

It’ll come down to several factors. Like the amount of time you’ve been gone, and your personal preference.

Once you decide how you want to approach this – you can begin to organize your emails you’ll send out.

But whatever avenue you choose – don’t put it off! Your email list can have a significant impact on your revenue.

This study revealed that email marketing has the best ROI when compared to other marketing channels:

Channel ROI Ratings

Although the money aspect is imperative to any business, there are other benefits to having an engaged and thriving email list.

You build authority, stand out in your niche, and gain more traffic.

But most importantly, you’re building an asset that you have a decent amount of control over, when compared to social networks.

2. Craft the series of emails you’ll send to win them back

It’s time to combat the fear and write out the first email to reel them back in.

Now that you’ve decided whether you want to resurrect your list by fessing up, or by not acknowledging it whatsoever – you can begin to brainstorm what you want to say.

The best way to look at this first email is like a welcome email.

It’s a way to introducing yourself (or re-introducing yourself) and allow your personality to shine through.

Welcome emails are highly effective, and this gives you the opportunity to re-engage your subscribers in an authentic way that allows them to see you as a human.

WordStream found that welcome emails see more than 3 times more revenue, and a huge increase in open rates and click-through rates:

Welcome Emails 3x More Revenue

No matter which option you’ve decided to go with, you’ll want to follow an order when it comes to the emails you send to dazzle your subscribers.

You don’t have to stick to an exact template by any means. But there are some emails that are more effective when used in a particular order.

Here’s a great way you can order your emails.

Create a series of emails that looks something like this:

  1. EMAIL #1: Introduce (or re-introduce yourself) with something similar to a welcome email. Let them know in the next email you’ll be sending out a mind-blowing freebie just for them. This will help with your open rates with the rest of your emails.
  2. EMAIL :#2 Send out the freebie you promised. Go out of your way to ensure it’s not your usual, regurgitated checklist freebie that everyone has 100 of. Remind them why you’re worthy of being in their ever-so-busy inbox with a freebie that blows their mind! Let them know what’s to come in the next email, again, to improve your chances of it being opened and to keep them engaged.
  3. EMAIL #3: Send an email with your best resources. Don’t fill this with affiliate links. You can sprinkle a few in there of course, but it may leave a bad taste in their mouth if you’re already asking them to purchase products or services when you still haven’t fully won them back yet. You could collect free resources from around the web that you know will resonate with your target audience. Get creative!
  4. EMAIL # 4: And lastly, you should let your subscribers know what they can expect them you going forward. Make sure this is a realistic goal, or you’ll be right back where you started. You may want to include links to that dazzling freebie you offered back in email #2, just incase they missed it.

If you’ve decided to let your subscribers know where you’ve been, or acknowledge your absence – email number one is where you’ll want to add that in.

It’s up to you how you want to begin that part of the email, but here are a few ideas.

You can start off by saying a number of things like:

  • “I’m sorry…”
  • “Remember us?”
  • “I’ve messed up big-time..”
  • “Will you forgive me..”

And the list goes on!

You can find a ton of done-for-you templates to help you with that first email, especially if you’re letting them in on your absence.

But the truth is, many won’t even know the difference.

And don’t take this personally!

I bet you have a large number of emails flooding your inbox every single day, don’t you?

Well, it’s exactly the same for your subscribers.

This is when it can be handy to not address your absence at all; when they’ve forgotten they are on your list altogether because of their overflowing inboxes.

Then when you email with this carefully thought out copy – they won’t second guess it.

But more than likely, they’ll remember.

However, it’ll be such a small percentage of people that actually hit the ground running – that it won’t make a difference in the long-run.

3. Offer a show-stopping freebie

We touched on the fact that you’ll need to send out an incredibly valuable and helpful freebie (otherwise known as a lead magnet) – but you may still have no idea what type of freebie you can offer that’ll stand out.

You want to resurrect your email list, for good. So, of course, it has to be show-stopping.

But, don’t overthink it.

You may already have something tucked away that you hadn’t even thought of.

Let’s put it this way: you want this freebie to be so valuable that they’re wondering why it’s free.

In simple terms – if you already have a paid product (not a several hundred dollar course, but something of value), then you can use that as your “freebie”.

Since it’s a one-time offer, you may find this is the best course of action to keep as many real, genuine subscribers as possible.

If you don’t already have paid product – don’t fret. You can whip up something ultra-valuable in no time!

How do I create a freebie full of value?

The main component of an excellent freebie that screams value, is to create something that resonates with your subscribers and offers major value.

The whole point of creating content is to carefully craft it, so it helps your audience with whatever their unique struggles, challenges, and desires are.

Just like any content on your blog, your freebies should help your audience in some way. Otherwise, what’s the point?

When it comes to bringing your email list back from the dead, you want to put all you’ve got into crafting the best freebie you can manage.

If you can accomplish this – your freebie will more than likely sway them to stay on your email list.

And if not – remember, some of your subscribers are dead weight, to begin with.

So it’s okay to let them go!

You’re simply making room for people who genuinely care about your content and your brand.

If you’re wondering what type of freebie to create, if you don’t already have a paid product (like a short e-book) to give away, we’ll get into some examples.

Freebie Ideas:

  • E-book
  • A free course ( not a course worth hundreds, but an e-course in the $30-60 range would be ideal)
  • Free workshop or video training
  • Valuable cheatsheet
  • Email course
  • A workbook
  • Swipe files
  • A high-quality checklist (if you’re going to offer a checklist, ensure it’s valuable and highly helpful for your audience. And if you can, add another freebie, like a workbook to boost the value).

Here’s an example of a valuable checklist Alexa created:

Alexa Checklist On SEO

They made the checklist work because it’s highly valuable and brings a lot of information to the table.

Another example of an irresistible freebie is Funnel Overload’s (now rebranded to Startup Bonsai), where Adam offers a content promotion handbook, and access to his newsletter:

Funnel Overload Marketing Strategies Freebie

Whatever freebie you decide to create; I cannot reiterate enough: make this freebie (or freebies if you really want to make them smile), as relevant and useful as possible.

Nail this, and you’re well on your way to reeling those neglected subscribers back, for good.

4. Prepare yourself for unsubscribes

Here’s the thing.

Even if you hadn’t neglected your email list for while, you’d be dealing with unsubscribes all the time.

The bigger the list you have – the more you’ll get every time you send out an email. And this is going to triple when you’re sending out an email when you’ve been MIA for months.

First off, don’t take it personally.

Easier said than done, yes. But 9 times out of 10, it has nothing to with you, your content, or your business.

If they unsubscribe – they’re likely not a good fit for being on your email list. So this is actually a good thing!

Look at it like a new era.

Those who have supported you all the way will always be there.

And those who came merely for your free stuff, or weren’t a good fit for your brand – probably won’t stick around.

It’s doing both of you a massive favor.

One option is to include a prominent unsubscribe button that can’t be missed.

Here’s a great example from ReturnPath:

HubSpot Email Marketing Tactic

The crying monkey may be a bit much, but it gets the point across. And it’s a lot more eye-catching than a regular unsubscribe link.

5. Create an email marketing plan to keep your emails consistent going forward

There’s no denying how crucial email marketing is to your entire content marketing strategy.

And your business as a whole.

SmartInsights found that email marketing is the most effective digital marketing technique:

Email Marketing Effective Digital Technique

That’s why if you find yourself in this situation, where your email list needs resurrecting, it’s imperative to come up with a solid plan of action.

… A plan you’ll be able to stick to.

If you say you’re going to email twice a week, and then send one sub-par email once per month – engagement is going to fall.

Consistency is everything if you want your email marketing plan to work.

So, it’s vital to put as much effort into your email marketing strategy, as it is your overall content marketing strategy.

If you want to see rapid growth with your email list –  it’s time to get serious about it all.

There are certain practices you should always follow with email marketing, especially when you’re trying to win your subscribers back.

To ensure success with your email list, follow these simple tips:

  1. Always be consistent
  2. Never break your word to your subscribers
  3. Use great copywriting. And if you’re unfamiliar with copy, find resources to help you learn the ropes.
  4. Tell them what they can expect in your next email. This’ll build anticipation.

Note: Writing emails for your subscribers is best done in batches.

This means you’ll end up spending less time working on them, and you can schedule them in advance so you know you’ll always have something going out.

And it gets better because you’ll find it a lot easier to tell subscribers what to expect in the next email.

Revealing something about your next email is a basic example of a story telling concept known as an Open Loop.

Here’s what they are all about:

Our brains naturally seek out conclusions to stories.

A good example is that feeling you get after watching a cliffhanger episode of a TV series or a film. Where you desperately want to know what happens next.

This is the point at which the Open Loop is created. Then, in the next episode, that loop will be closed when you find out what happens.

Stories are powerful. And they’re well worth using to connect a series of emails together – your open rates will increase as a result.

6. Learn from your mistakes

You’ll get more mileage out of your email list if you continue to send out emails consistently.

But if you find yourself struggling to stay consistent again, it may be time to revisit your “why.”

Without your “why” you’ll be more vulnerable to falling back into the trap of inconsistency.

It’s a hole you don’t want to dig yourself out of again.

When thinking about your particular “why”, ask yourself these questions:

  • Why are you spending the time to resurrect your email list, to begin with?
  • Is it for more revenue?
  • Are you doing it to build a thriving community?
  • Perhaps it’s a healthy combination of both?

During this process, I suggest writing down your goals with email marketing and your business in general.

When you write down your goals, it’s been proven over, and over that you’re far more likely to achieve them.

Aside from goals, simply writing things down in general can have a positive impact.

Now that you’ve brought your list back from the dead – you want to keep it that way.

You’ll need a robust email marketing tool with great deliverability like ConvertKit, but what else will ensure your email list stays alive and sizzling?

How to keep your email list alive after reviving it:

  1. Make your email marketing plan and stick to it.
  2. Write out your emails in batches and schedule them in advance.
  3. Create a few more freebies that’ll continue to help solve problems for your audience. Send them their way in the coming weeks after you revive your list.
  4. Be consistent, and keep your word. This is the most critical component if you want your subscribers to stay put.
  5. Create a welcome series, if you don’t have one already. This’ll help to keep subscribers engaged and eager to read your content.
  6. Take note of what was working with your email list, and what wasn’t. Read, research, and soak up as much knowledge as possible.

Wrapping it up

I know it may feel like the end of your email list if you’ve neglected it for a long time.

But, you can re-engage your email subscribers and revive an email list you thought was dead.

However long it’s been since you last emailed your subscribers, try out the steps above – and I guarantee you’ll find the experience far less daunting than you’ve built it up to be in your head.

Everything is a learning experience.

That’s how we grow as bloggers and entrepreneurs.

Trial and error.

Don’t beat yourself up about it – just get back out there and show them why they signed up for your email list to begin with!

After you’ve brought your email list back from the dead, you’ll likely want to work on building your list. Adam has a comprehensive post with over 30 strategies you can put into action!

Related Reading: 30+ Email Marketing Statistics You Need To Know.