Bring Them Back! How to Engage Subscribers Before the Holidays


Kellie Boggs, Senior Marketing Strategist

Author Bio

With over nine years of experience in developing and growing email and cross-channel marketing programs to drive revenue, Kellie Boggs brings a track record of success in building multi-channel campaigns across a variety of industries. By working one-on-one with clients to understand their business model and goals, she provides strategic marketing guidance to increase revenue. Boggs offers experience in providing clients with industry best practices, message design, campaign optimization, list growth tactics, segmentation strategies and detailed analyses of marketing campaigns. She truly enjoys helping clients build their customer base, grow their email channel and increase revenue! In her spare time, Boggs enjoys chasing her toddler around and the motherhood adventure. She also enjoys attending NC State sporting events with her family.

Is your list ready for the holidays? Yep, you heard me. It’s time to start thinking about the holiday season and making sure your subscribers are going to engage with you. What better way to do this than with a little pre-holiday re-engagement campaign! It’s a great way to improve your overall metrics because it allows you to rid your list of the truly inactive while hopefully attracting some subscribers back to your brand. So, where do you start? Here is a quick checklist:

1) Determine Your Segment

Analyze the performance of your emails to discover which subscribers have been inactive. You might look for non-openers over time, so contacts who haven’t opened over the past 3 to 6 months, or you may choose to target those who haven’t made a purchase during that time period.

2) Determine Your Cadence

Your campaign can be as simple as one “We Miss You” message, or you could develop a two to three email series. It really depends on how many opportunities you want to give your subscribers to engage. Check out this simple re-engagement message from Pottery Barn. This email works because it gets straight to the point with a simple offer and doesn’t include many distractions. The only thing I would like to have seen is a different call to action that stands out, such as “Welcome Back.”

Pottery Barn example

If you decide to go with more of a series, consider using the last message as a “make up or break up” campaign. With this message, the goal is to clearly give your subscribers one last chance to stay on your list or unsubscribe.

Here’s a great example of this type of campaign from Steve Madden. They make it clear that I have not been opening emails from them and give me three easy options to choose from. The only thing missing is more information about what will happen if I take no action, which would be nice to know.

Steve Madden example

3) Determine Your Offer

Remember: These subscribers have been ignoring you, so you definitely want to offer something that stands out in the inbox, something these subscribers are not used to seeing from you. When it comes to the subject line, think outside of the box, too. What can you do or say to grab their attention?

In this example from LivingSocial, their subject line is “You’re all we ever wanted,” and they are very direct with the “we want you back!” message and MISSYOU promotion code. No question here about the intent of this message!

LivingSocial example

4) Determine What Your Subscribers Want From You

The holidays will be here before you know it, so why not take the opportunity to ask your subscribers what they’d like to receive from you this holiday season before the email frequency begins to rise. You can send a quick survey, or you could go with an “update your preferences” campaign that asks subscribers to revisit their preferences and refresh their selections.

I hope this post inspires you to check in with your subscribers and ensure that your list is ready to go when the holidays arrive.


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