Re-Engagement Emails: 10 Examples of How to Win Back Email Subscribers

Do inactive customers weigh in on your email marketing results? See how to revive your listing with re-employment emails

Re-engagement emails are one of the best secrets to keeping your email list engagement rates high.

In this post, we will show you:

  • Why re-engagement email campaigns are important
  • How to write effective re-employment email
  • 10 great re-employment email examples

But first, let’s talk about its decay. In particular, email list decay.

Email list loss (aka “email address loss” or “email database loss”) is the percentage of email subscribers whose address has been abandoned or deactivated.

List loss can be caused by many reasons, such as someone quitting their job or creating a new email address and leaving their old email address. Or unsubscribe from an email list.

The exact rate of email list loss varies, but it is estimated to be around 22% to 30% per year. This means that if you do not regularly clear your list of inactive subscribers, you will send lots of emails to addresses that are not really active. This will reduce the engagement rate of your email, which in turn will start to suppress the results from your email marketing as a whole.

Not good, is it?

So what to do now? We recommend the best practice to remove a customer who hasn’t opened any of your emails in the last six months. Well, at least I didn’t go down without explaining myself first.

Some email marketers use stricter timelines. In this email from Marketing Brew, they mentioned that the recipient did not open an email in three weeks. Keep in mind that Morning Brew emails every day, but if they are this hardworking they probably have an exceptionally clean list.

Morning Brew sends re-engagement emails after weeks of inactivity

For more information on why and how to clean your email list regularly, check out our blog post on why you should delete a bunch of your email subscribers right now.

How to reactivate inactive customers

If you just think, “Yeah – I don’t want to lose those customers!” We listen to you, but to be honest, most of them are already “lost.” Keeping those inactive email subscribers on your list is hurting your inbox placement rate. However … if you want to try to get those inactive customers back before deleting some, a re-employment campaign (also known as a “win-back email”) is your best bet.

How effective is re-engagement email?

So you want to keep your list “clean”, but you want to keep as many active customers as possible. Re-employment campaigns are a great way to achieve both, but don’t expect every inactive customer to become active again.

Success rates for most email win-back campaigns range from 14% to 29% in the best-case scenario.

Numerous email marketing studies have shown that sending a series of emails can be more effective than just sending an email. A reassignment sequence of three emails seems to be a sweet spot.

So what else works for re-engaged customers? Really, it depends on your listing and how your customers respond. Each list is different. A recent study found that several different strategies would work, but none of them performed significantly better than the others.

Although this means that there is no magic bullet for what to put in a win-back email, you have to give a lot of ideas about what that table might include. Here are some ideas:

  • Survey
    • If your customers do not respond to what you are sending, try asking them what they want from you.
  • Coupons and discounts
    • If you’re into e-commerce, the classic way to get back inactive customers is to send them a juicy discount coupon. Consider it a dollar off discount instead of a one percent discount; A survey of the win-back campaign found that dollar discounts have activated more consumers.
  • Announcement of new products and services
    • Ideal email for sending announcements if you haven’t mailed your list in a few months.
  • Free resources
    • If you haven’t emailed your list in a while, this is another great thing to send. A high-value digital product, such as an ebook or a course, can be a great way to show that their time on your list is valuable.
  • Customer testimonials
    • Use testimonials with other types of content mentioned above. For example, share a few customer testimonials about a new service you have.

How to rewrite engagement email

The goal of promoting your re-employment is to get people interested in your email. So every element of email – subject line, content and call-to-action – has to support that goal.

Subject line

For the re-employment email subject line, we specifically target the best: Get your customers back!

Here is an example of an email from Thomas Boris in Kissmetrics:

Reconnect email subject line example

You can also take a more personal approach from Threadless, like this email:

Reconnect email subject line example

Both subject lines work well, but in different ways grab the reader’s attention: a simple “We miss you!” Lets the customer know that the sender appreciates their readers. It feels more conversational. On the other hand, “Do you still want updates from us?” Direct and inquisitive. It tells the customer that they care about their time and wants to make sure they get something out of the relationship.

I encourage you to review your past emails to see what works for your specific audience. Look for general themes such as subject line length and tone – these are the elements you want to try to replicate.

You might try using personalization, such as including your customers’ first names in the subject line. It’s no secret that personalization helps you connect with your customers and be a little more different in the inbox. For example, a threadless email goes one step further by saying, “We miss you, Sam!”

Since these details depend on how your audience responds, try different variations and find that sweet spot.

Email content

Most reassignment emails are short – like two or three paragraphs. All you have to do is clarify the purpose of your email: “Do you still want to receive emails from us?” And then probably explain the value of your email.

Remember: these are people who have signed up to receive messages from you but have stopped reading at some point. They wanted to hear from you before, so how can you make them interested in what you mean? Ask yourself a few questions:

  • What do my subscribers actually sign up to get?
  • Am I continuing to send them content based on their original expectations?
  • Have I made any changes to my email strategy to stop them from engaging with my content?
  • Can I offer their interest again?

Once you have those answers in mind, it’s time to start writing your email.

Here is an example of a re-employment email sent to our inactive blog newsletter subscribers:

Example of re-engagement email from AWeber

It’s easy to format, and makes a great template for any re-employment email:

  • You haven’t opened any emails from us in a while
  • We want to make sure you’re still interested
  • If you still want to subscribe …
  • Click this button to stay on the list

That’s it. If you want to keep it simple, you need to say in a re-appointment email.

Although you may notice that we’ve added a section about the value of our emails. It’s still short – just one sentence and a few bullet points. The shorter your email, the more likely it is that people will read it and click the button.

If your inactive customers haven’t read your emails in a while, they may also miss important public updates or products you publish. Accelerating them can lead to a renewed interest in your content, so you may want to add a short bullet list of your “biggest hits”, regardless of the product, content or promotion you’re promoting.


Speaking of promotions … giving an incentive like a white paper or coupon code can help you re-engage customers. If you have added them to your list with a content in the past, consider how you can replicate those successes when promoting your re-employment.

Check out this example from Paperworks, a static and premium paper supplier:

Re-engagement email with a discount offer

Offering a special discount is a great way to get customers interested in your emails again. Not only are you giving your customers something in return for their time and attention, but you can also get another sale from it.

Feedback Invitation

To help customers learn more about why they’re uninterested in your content, it can help them fill in the blanks when asked for specific feedback.

Could you do something better for these customers? What stopped them from being hired in the first place? If you find a customer who thinks their opinion is really valuable, they may want to stick around. Also, it will give you valuable insights into their needs that you won’t find anywhere else.

Once you get feedback and notice the general themes, you can use it to apply in the future.


The whole point of your email is to ask customers to take action, so make sure your emails have a call to action that is bold and clear.

To increase the click-through rate, limit yourself to one call-to-action. Too much CTA can be irresistible, which reduces the chances of your customers getting involved.

Whether you ask them to be on your list, learn more about a product or service, or download an incentive, make sure it’s easy for them to do.

Check out this email and CTA from Grammarly:

Example of re-engagement email from Grammarly

Although one call to action is the classic method, the re-employment email examples we’ve seen lately include an unsubscribe link.

Choose this email from a non-profit organization:

Win-back email example from Pew

And some re-engagement emails even allow customers to choose to receive less frequent emails:

Example of re-engagement email from Mary Forlio

Re-engagement email sequence

All email lists are different, so what works well in one situation may not work so well in another. One message can do the trick, but you can be more effective by sending two or three emails to warm people up and reactivate them.

Since these customers are already less busy, aim to keep your campaign small. Send an email, wait a few days and see who interacts with your content

If they click on your content or say they want to be in your email list, great! They can stay on your list and continue to receive your great emails.

Here are two examples of reassignment emails that were sent a few days apart

This is the first. Notice how brief it is?

They re-engage email example from Reed - 1

And here’s the next one, posted two days later:

They are a win-back email example from Reed - 2

What if they don’t open the email?

You took the time to create your reassignment emails, but some subscribers did not respond at all. In that case, it’s time to say goodbye.

And hey, okay!

You’ve done your best to get them back, but if they don’t want to receive your emails, it’s best to let them go. Not only will they appreciate a clean inbox, but it will also help increase your email delivery – which will improve your email marketing in the long run.

We know that sometimes, writing your emails can be really difficult. That’s why we made ours Complete what you write in your email guide and course, with 45+ email templates. This will save you hours of work every month.

How do you plan to run your own re-employment campaign? Leave a comment below to share your ideas.

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