Email marketing may be the best communication channel for reaching consumers, but it does come with its own challenges. In this time of information overload, more and more businesses are finding it harder to stand out in the inboxes of consumers and resonate with them. As far as statistics dictate, 60 percent of your average email list will consist of inactive or “dead” contacts.


Let’s change that.

The following tips and best practices will help you re-engage those inactive contacts for good:

1) Define What “Inactive” Means to You

Your first order of business should be to analyze and understand your database and email lists. Use this time to segment and separate the inactive email contacts.

Since each business is unique in one way or another, your definition of an “inactive email contact” will probably be different than someone else’s. Inactive email for one business could mean no opens in one month, while another business could classify an unengaged contact as one that has not opened an email in over a year.

So determine an appropriate threshold or criteria for defining what an inactive contact is and then start to separate them.

Also, find out whether the email was ever ‘Active’ in the first place? If they have never opened, clicked and responded to your emails before there is a chance they never will.

2) Pinpoint What Went Wrong

Once you have segregated the unengaged contacts, you must try to understand who they are and what exactly hindered your communication with them.

Work towards answering these two important questions: What was the last time those contacts were engaged or responding to emails? (if ever?) and What made them engaged in the first place?

Such insight can help you determine what might have gone wrong and why.

3) Ask For Honest Feedback

Following up on the previous tip, what better way is there to understand the issue if not from the horse’s mouth?

Ask your subscribers if they have any recommendations for you to improve your email marketing practices. Maybe they feel overwhelmed with too many emails? Maybe these emails always end up in their spam folders so they can’t see them easily? Or maybe your content isn’t interesting enough? Feedback such as this will help you gage what their preferences are and how likely you are to get them to become re-engaged again.

Ask, listen and improve.

P.S. Try another channel to get this feedback if they are not responding to your email.

4) Don’t Underestimate the Power of Personalization

Consumers are always looking to connect with a business on their terms and preferences. So when shooting a “We Miss You” email, or just another CEM, it never hurts to use the right emotions and personalized content to engage the subscriber.

Use these messages to sell your brand’s personality.

5) Don’t Forget to Make a new Offer

Offer the consumer something valuable in exchange for their continued subscription to your  newsletters. If they were not responsive to your previous messages, ensure that they act on the enticing offer. You can even put in a deadline to encourage immediate action.

Your offer can be something as simple as a free download or a coupon. So use your sales and marketing skills to write engaging subject lines and overall content to hook inactive subscribers.

6) Remind Them Why You’re Right For Them

Often times the reason behind why the communication stops between you and the subscriber, is because they are not yet ready to become a customer or continue buying.

It’s that simple.

So why don’t you use this time to remind them why they need your products and services? Explain to them the advantages of your services over your competitors.

Convince them of your value proposition!

By generating relevant and valuable content for your consumers, you will be able to not only educate them, but also encourage them to seek you out.

7) Invest in Lead Nurturing Tools

Make the simple decision of automating your lead management processes.  Specifically, by automating email “nurture” sequences, you can provide a steady stream of information to specific groups of subscribers and leads, while also saving time.

Since not all your leads are ready to buy your products, these automated email messages can keep them up to date regarding latest promotions and other relevant content. And what’s even better is the fact that you can control the frequency of these emails by generating a nurture sequence that caters to your subscriber’s preferences.

Once these automated sequences are set in place, you can step back and watch the magic happen.

Factually speaking, majority of B2B marketers find that with automated lead management processes, their sales offer responses allow for at least a 10 percent increase in their revenues in a 6 to 9 month period. [2]. This is because by then, the lead nurturing sequences will have communicated relevant content to the sales-ready contacts.

By using the tips and best practices listed above, you are sure to reduce costs, time spent on seeking new leads, and increase in return on your email marketing investment.


[1] – Kissmetrics Blog

[2] – Gartner Research