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Warming A Cold Email List: Re-Engagement

We all do it. We get caught up with the day-to-day of the business, errands, hanging out with friends and family (a resounding yes, to taking breaks to be with the ones we care about!), and let our coveted email list go cold.

Instead of playing the shame game, let’s focus on how to get things moving again and warm them right back up. You might be thinking, “Great! Time to blast everyone on my list with an ‘I’m back baby and here’s what I sell!!”

Not so fast. While re-engaging is not difficult, it is an art form. Let’s talk about the do’s and don’ts of getting your audience back into the habit of hearing from you.

Step One: If It Isn’t A, “Heck, Yes!”, Then It’s Probably A, “No”

First, we need to make sure you are emailing a list of contacts who have explicitly said they want to hear from you. This is normally done through an opt-in process. If this isn’t the case or it’s been over a year since you emailed them, then it’s important to get their consent before moving forward.

You might be worried this step will cause people not to opt-in or unsubscribe. Fair worry, but in the end you want contacts to unsubscribe versus marking you as spam. Being marked as spam can cause massive issues with your deliverability that are difficult to come back from.

Typically you’ll want to run this process outside of your normal email sender to not hurt your record with them as well. If you have a smaller list, consider emailing them individually.

Step Two: Woo Them Back

Instead of coming in hot with some Sagittarius, “Look At Me” vibes, it’s important to start with a few key steps to nurture them back into the habit of reading your emails. Let’s look at some key components to include.

  1. Remind them how or when they opted in (the free handout on your site, the conference in California, etc.)

  2. Provide something useful for them. Did they opt-in via your “Best Apps To Bring to A Holiday Party” PDF last year? Then send them one for this year.

  3. Clearly say where they unsubscribe. Again, you would rather they hit unsubscribe than spam if they don’t want to hear from you.

Step Three: MySpace Top Five

Similar to your friend grid back in the day, you want to focus on your top contacts first. There are different ways of measuring the best route, but some combo of most recently subscribed and most active in opening previous emails or on your website is a great place to start.

Emailing this group first helps keep those spam rates low and open rates high. Then this first group will enter your follow-up process (we'll talk about that next) at the same time as you re-engage small batches of your less engaged contacts. This will help to balance the types of contacts you are reaching to at any given time.

Step Four: Back To Back To Back

Is it cliche to say the last step may be the most important? Well, it is key!

Putting in all of this work to re-engage means nothing if you don’t have a plan for consistent follow-up in place. These will be different strategies and timings based on your audience and capacity, but we recommend at least once a month.

Set yourself up for success by creating an evergreen sequence to have in place before you send this re-engagement campaign. This will give you a runway for contacts to hear from you for a while before needing to come up with a longer-term plan.

Ready to re-engage your list? Get a free email template here.

Looking for more help in your re-engagement? Reach out to work together. We love helping clients get the most out of their email marketing and automation. P.S. If it's been more than a year since your contacts have heard from you, we highly recommend working with an expert on the best steps for you and your list as it's going to require a bit more work than what we were able to lay out here.


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