How Targeting the Unengaged Improves Your Bottom Line

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We all know that inbox providers would love it if you only sent emails to engaged segments. The more you send to people who aren’t interested, the more spam-filter rejection you will face. On the other hand, sending only to those who have opened, clicked or bought will make you more welcome in the inbox and deepen relationships with your best customers. 

But what if I told you that you could reactivate large portions of your list, make more sales and expand your engaged segment without hurting deliverability or spending additional money?

Every subscriber is important to you as a store owner. After all, you spend a lot of time, effort and money to recruit them into your list. Further, you need a list bigger than all your regular customers because the same people can’t buy from every promotion you send. So how do you engage with the unengaged without hurting deliverability?

And no, I am not going to suggest sending those cats and dogs banners with “we-missed-you” captions. 

Instead, pepper your engaged segments with small fractions of your unengaged list every time you send a campaign. Keep these unengaged fractions to no more than 10%. That way you’ll largely maintain your open rates, while pitching people who once signed up but have mostly forgotten you.



  1. After running a re-engagement flow, copy off the profiles that are still inactive onto a folder in a storage drive.
  2. Select a subset of these records and re-upload them to your email list, labeling it Unengaged after Re-engagement Flow, including the flow’s date.
  3. Select, say, 1000 records from this flow for inclusion in a segment labeled Sample 1 with the flow’s date in the title. Include Sample 1 in your next campaign send.
  4. Then repeat the sampling process with another 1000 records each time. Create numbered sample segments that each exclude all of the prior samples, until the entire unengaged list is apportioned into bite-sized pieces.
  5. Include into subsequent sends each successive segment, one at a time. Open rates will drop somewhat, but revenue will increase. 

Why it Works ✌:

  1. Timing is everything. Sometimes the right offers come at the wrong time, when prospects just purchased an item. Occasionally the item is something you sold, which explains why revenue among your regulars may decrease despite steady open rates. Or the item is something a competitor sold which causes reduced demand and unengagement. 

If a re-engagement campaign hits at the wrong time, it can force recipients to decide against continuing to receive emails when a purchase is either unwanted or infeasible. This, in turn, generates inactive subscribers who could very possibly become loyal customers in the future.  

  1. External circumstances change. Just as the factors in prospects’ lives change daily, so, too, does your product mix and that of your competitors. Prices change as well, while gift ideas and gift recipients come and go, too. The right product at the right price marketed in the right way could be right around the corner, so having dormant lists that stay dormant is missing opportunities.

What re-re-engagement success stories do you have? Comment below, and let us know! 


Anna Hrychukh and Thomas McClintock, Hustler Marketing

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