How to Get Your Reactivation Email Campaign Started

October 4, 2019

If you have a digital strategy to reach your donors, growing your email list is likely a priority for you. After all, more subscribers = more money, right? But in the world of digital marketing, sometimes less is more. In fact, you can read a whole blog post by my fellow Good Worker Charlotte Field, who explains why you should practice better list hygiene.

To sum it up, your campaign metrics (open rates, click rates, bounce rate, etc.), can easily be swayed by “inactive” subscribers. These are people who haven’t engaged with your emails in quite some time. And these inactive subscribers are not giving you an accurate picture of what’s really going on with your email campaigns.

And to add money to the mix, many email marketing platforms will have different pricing based on the number of contacts or subscribers you have on your list, regardless if they engage with your emails.

But you’ve probably spent some time and money getting those people to subscribe – and all is not lost! Before you start deleting contacts from your list, you might want to consider creating a reactivation series.

Here are 5 steps to get you started:

Isolate your “inactive” subscribers

What’s an “inactive” subscriber? The answer will be different for each organization. If you send 5 emails per month, you’ll have different criteria than someone who sends 2 emails per year. You can use your email marketing platform (MailChimp, Constant Contact…) to look at your stats from the past 6 months, 12 months, last 5 campaigns, 10 campaigns, etc. and isolate those who have not clicked or opened your emails for some time. The choice is yours!

Determine “reactivation” criteria

You will also need to choose the criteria for being “reactivated”. For some, it will mean that someone opened an email in the reactivation campaign. For others, it will mean that someone has opened an email in the reactivation campaign and clicked on a link.

Create engaging content

Next, you’ll want to start thinking about the flow of your campaign and ensure you are giving multiple engagement opportunities before you give those inactive subscribers the boot. Once you determine how many emails you want to include in your series, you need to start crafting your content. The content for your reactivation series will be different from your other fundraising campaigns. You’ll want to catch the reader’s attention. You might want to dive right into the goal of the series with a straightforward message: hey, we haven’t heard from you in a while! Or, you might want to repurpose some content from your past best-performing emails, ones that you know have had a high open or click-through rate.

Build the series

If you’re including more than one email in your campaign, you’ll want to create an automated workflow of the emails based on those reactivation criteria you selected. For example, you can send the second email of the series only to those who did not open the first email. Or, you can choose to send the series to all of your inactive subscribers. Again, the choice is yours!

Cleanse your list

Sorry to see you go. You will be removed from our list unless you re-subscribe.

Most email services providers allow you to set up a post-send action to unsubscribe those on your list who do not engage with the last email in your series. Or you can also manually unsubscribe them from your list – the point is that you will be cleaning out all those inactive contacts.

And there you have it… 5 simple steps to start your very own reactivation campaign. It may be a bit scary to see your list shrink, but remember, quality subscribers will boost your KPIs and also help you better customize your emails for those who want to hear from you.

Speaking of which, we want to hear from you! Have any questions? Want to chat about your digital strategy? Let us know!


This post was written by Kimberley MacDonald, former Communications, Digital & Marketing Coordinator at Good Works.

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The Good Works Goldfish

The Good Works Goldfish