Getting email marketing right can be a tough job as you have to find the right balance. Hence, if you don’t keep your subscribers engaged, you hurt your relationship with them and have to put more effort into try to win them back. Researchers have suggested that on average, around 60% of subscribers will be inactive at any given time. By trying to re-engage with them, it can potentially lead to a more interested audience and consequently, more conversions.

The crucial role of the Win-back email campaign

If the KPIs show that the engagement with your campaigns is lower than the ideal, you have to devise a strategy to get it back. If your audience loses interest in you, you may lose that potential buyer or avid follower forever. A win-back email campaign is, above all else, something you have to create to keep your mailing list  functional and fruitful. In return, you will be rewarded with an improved ROI.

Understanding the reasons

If someone has subscribed to your list, it means that they are interested in what you have to offer. Thus, users will have high expectations from you, and you have to meet them (or at least try). Inevitably, with time, this interest will diminish, and they will be in situations such as:

• They still receive the campaign, but they don’t open it or unsubscribe from your list;

• They accept it, open it, and unsubscribe from your list.

An excellent position to be in is when the user doesn’t unsubscribe from the list. If you analyze consumer behavior data, take feedback, and understand how to improve your campaigns, there is a chance that you can win them back.

Before doing anything, you must understand the reasons why some people are becoming inactive:


The user receives too many emails, and they don’t have enough time or patience to read your email. Even though they haven’t read your email in a while, they are still interested in what you have to offer. Arguably, this is the best situation to be in as the user doesn’t want to unsubscribe.

Changes in Preferences

Sometimes consumers' opinions and preferences change. This does not have anything to do with you or your email campaign. In the majority of cases, people are too lazy to unsubscribe from your email list, so you still have some time to win them back. Nonetheless, some will inevitably unsubscribe.


Some people will subscribe to your list to take a look at what you’re offering, but they are not interested in purchasing anything from you. If you are lucky, you can try to get them to purchase but without knowing if that will work. In addition to this, people in this category will not open emails all the time. The probability of them engaging with the campaign depends on the subject lines.

Of course, there are other reasons why some people will become inactive. One of them will be the fact that you send too many emails, too frequently. In addition to this, your subject lines are missing creativity. Also, some people have signed up for the one-time offer, and they aren’t interested in what you have to offer further.

What Qualifies as An Inactive Subscriber

TheChecker is an email verifier service that will filter out your list from outdated emails within a short time, so you don’t have to do it manually. Additionally, you are guaranteed accuracy at an affordable price. It is much more accurate to allow an algorithm to do it rather than checking each email manually.

However, you have to choose what stance you take as a company. Two strategies that are common:

• Customer-centric: This strategy will focus on inactive users who are opening your emails, but they’re following the CTA, and they haven’t purchased anything for a while. The end goal will be to motivate the subscriber to make a purchase.

• Subscriber-centric: This approach focuses on inactive users that are not opening the campaigns. The end-goal will be to drive the user to open the emails rather than to make a purchase.

It’s important to understand that if you send email campaigns each weak, some people can be inactive for as long as three months. Also, if you send emails every month, people might be inactive for at least six months.

Ways to Tackle Inactivity with your win-back email campaign

Subject Lines

Subject lines are the most essential part of an email because this is the very first thing a user will see. Thus, many businesses choose to use high-impact words such as:

• “Come back; we miss you.”

• “Is this the end?”

• “Where are you?”

Win-back email example

Such an action will motivate a person to at least open the win-back email. The best advice we can give you is to use shorter subject lines are they are usually the most effective when winning back customers. For example, researche by Return Path showed that subject lines containing “miss you” have a read rate of 13%. Also, subject lines with “come back” have a higher opening rate of 12.7%.

Congratulations! The high-impact subject line has worked, and the subscriber has opened the email. Now it’s time for the content within the email to make an impact. There are two most commonly used strategies:

• Provide an incentive such as a discount code

• Tell them to update their preferences

This will not only allow people to engage with the campaign, but it will also enable you to provide better-tailored emails. Remember, personalized emails have a transaction rate of 6 times higher than non-personalized emails.

To measure how valid a win-back email was, you have to consider the clicks on the CTA button. This is very important if you’re in the situation of winning back subscribers. The golden rule to remember is that those that are inactive aren’t going to check out all of the products or services you provide as soon as you send a win-back email. Hence, you must use only one CTA.

Source: Grammarly
Source: Grammarly

As you can see from the example above, even though Grammarly has used only one CTA button, they got creative with it. They use their badges when you are active and even when you are inactive. Their emails usually give the reader a sense of achievement. The moral of the story? Be creative to connect with the customer (since we Marketers love acronyms, maybe this one can be remembered as CCC?).

The win-back email campaign goal

Great! Now the majority of your subscribers are back on track after your ultimate win-back email campaign. However, as time passes you notice that they’re slowly yet surely are becoming inactive again. If this is the case, it only means one thing. This is a clear indication that the content within the email is not engaging enough, and it needs improvement - keep reading our blog and we're going to keep helping you with that!