Everything you need to know about reactivating “sleeping” subscribers

Users subscribe to newsletters for various reasons. Someone expects the mail to become a useful source of information in this way, while someone just wants to get a discount on a product or win a ticket to Amsterdam. In all cases, subscribers show an interest in the company, which needs to be fed regularly. If you don’t do this, the subscriber base will eventually decrease – one part will unsubscribe, the other will stop opening emails.

You can return “sleeping” subscribers through a reactivation campaign, which allows you to awaken interest in the mailing and makes it more effective. How all this works and why it is necessary – we will tell you in today’s article.

Types of subscribers

To understand who the “sleeping” subscribers are, let’s deal with the entire life cycle of readers of any newsletter. Yes, it is customary to divide the audience into several types:

  • Active These are the subscribers who are constantly interested in all newsletters. They can be both recently arrived and the oldest. The latter, as a rule, are stored in cases where the mailing satisfies their needs for a long time.
  • Ripe Such subscribers do not respond to all mailings, but remain active. Most often, they selectively open letters – only those that interest them. For example, a mature audience knows when there will be a promotional newsletter: as soon as it starts, they immediately go to study it.
  • Sleeping She once showed interest in your email campaigns, was active, but suddenly stopped opening emails and at the same time did not unsubscribe from newsletters. This type can be reactivated – again transferred to an active audience.
  • dead Similar users subscribed but have not opened any emails since then. For example, they forgot about the mailing or no longer access their mail.

This is how we can conclude: readers start their journey from the active side or immediately from the dead side, if they subscribe and instantly forget about newsletters. Active and mature audiences can turn into dormant audiences for a variety of reasons.


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Why does a “sleeping” audience appear

The reason for the appearance of such an audience related to interests is one of the most obvious, but it is not only because of this that they can forget about your newsletter. Here are a few more reasons why this might happen:

  • Change of email address. This is one of the most common reasons why users become “dormant”. They simply register a new email, and forget about the old one to which the mailings come.
  • Letters go to spam. Sometimes it happens that the subscriber becomes “asleep” through no fault of his own. For example, emails may not arrive or for some technical reason end up in the spam folder.
  • The user forgot about the subscription. This happens most often because the welcome email has not been started. Its essence is that you immediately remind the subscriber about yourself. If this is not done, after a while the user may forget who you are and why you are sending emails.
  • The user initially subscribed to the newsletter not for the sake of regular letters. Perhaps there was some promotion, and a person left his mail for her, and she does not need the mailing itself. Converting such an audience to an active one will most likely not work, since they are not interested in mailings. But at the same time, you can make it mature – the one that will open only promotional offers.
  • Letters without a beautiful design. Subscribers are spoiled for attention and original letters, so if your mailing looks unattractive, and the elements in it are arranged illogically, then no one will want to understand it.
  • The mailing did not live up to expectations. For example, you promised to send promotional products from the “sports” category, but instead started sending advertisements for children’s products. The subscriber might not like this, because of which he simply stopped opening the newsletters or unsubscribed altogether.
  • Irregular mailing. Regularity is very important in email marketing, because if you send letters from time to time, subscribers may forget about you and your newsletter.

As you can see, there are quite a few reasons why a subscriber has become a “sleeper”, but even such situations can be resolved. The main thing is not to wait for the moment when the reader becomes a “dead” audience.

How to properly carry out reactivation, we will consider a little later, but for now let’s deal with its advantages.

What is the benefit of reactivation

At first glance, it may seem that reactivation is an unnecessary process that only takes time. After all, it is better to spend it on getting new subscribers than waking up old ones. On the one hand, yes, but it will be easier to wake up “sleeping” subscribers: they are already familiar with your company and may show interest again. And the reactivation process itself will be much cheaper than any advertising campaign – it is enough to launch a series of letters, and part of the audience will return.

Also, you can immediately start earning on “sleeping” subscribers. After reactivation, they may be interested in advertising campaigns that they did not know about before. In addition, it will allow you to improve the reputation of the domain – there will be more message openings, a lower percentage of unsubscribes, and the letters themselves will be less likely to end up in spam.

Read also

How to increase the conversion of promotional mailings

How to increase Open Rate and CTR for email distribution

We are launching a reactivation email campaign

Reactivation mailing is a series of letters aimed at restoring inactive subscribers. Let’s consider the main steps of its implementation.

Step 1: Preparation

Before proceeding to the reactivation of “sleeping” subscribers, it is necessary to understand why they became so. Perhaps the newsletter was not interesting or the reader simply forgot about you. Go back to the information above where we discussed why a subscriber can become “dormant”. Think about why this happened in your mailing and write everything down in a notebook. This will help you focus on a specific cause and direct all your efforts to its solution.

Answers to the following questions may also help you: How long have you been subscribed to? What kind of activity does it have: open rate, link conversions, and so on? When did the user become inactive?

As a result, you can divide the audience into several categories:

  1. They do not place orders within a specific period: a month, two, six months, etc.
  2. They read the letters, but do not follow the links.
  3. Do not open mailings for a certain time.

Once you have determined which users are being reactivated, proceed to the next step.

Step 2: Choosing a reactivation method

There are two of them:

  • Quarantine. It includes all subscribers who stopped responding to regular mailings. For such a group, you should send a monthly digest of useful mailings for the entire period. If the subscriber opens the letter, it can be considered active again – start sending regular newsletters to such users.
  • Rectification series This method involves sending letters to attract attention. If the subscriber opens such a mailing, he can also be considered active again.

What to write about in such letters? Let’s look at some examples that will help you create a reactivation email.

Letter with a proposal to change the mailing frequency

Not all subscribers like to receive and read emails every day: some simply do not have time for this. Therefore, you can specify how many letters subscribers want to see per week or month.

Surveys can be launched, for example, on social networks or in the nearest newsletter:

Frequency of survey mailings example

A letter with a proposal to change the mailing parameters

It is likely that your subscribers are no longer interested in the newsletter. Suggest other options for this category. This can also be done through a small survey.

This is how it can look in the newsletter:

An example of a mailing to reactivate dormant subscribers

A letter asking why the subscriber became inactive

If you still don’t understand why your mailing stopped being popular, ask the person directly. Such letters work well with subscriber bases that open but have stopped buying. Perhaps you will learn about new problems that you did not know about, for example, you have difficult delivery, low-quality assortment, and so on.


As we said above, launching the digest will help get subscribers out of quarantine. Tell what has happened to you recently, and also invite readers to study the material that passed them by.

For example, it might look like this:

An example of a digest in a newsletter

A letter with a gift or discount

Such emails are often sent several times after the last interaction. Try to use two such letters: the first will be sent to everyone who gets into the inactive database, and the second – to those who did not open the first. With the help of these letters, you will understand whether subscribers are waiting for profitable offers, or whether they have already become “dead”.

Example letter for reactivation of dormant subscribers

If “sleeping” subscribers do not respond to such messages, then they can be woken up in another way – push messages. These can be messages in the browser or mobile application, as well as SMS.

Here is an example of a rip off from reactivating subscribers:

An example of a funnel for reactivating a dormant subscriber

Step 3: Testing

Before proceeding with a full reactivation, we recommend that you first run a test mailing to help you determine a more effective strategy. Consider in it not only the content, but also the time of sending – it is possible that no one reads your messages because of it.

Also, do not forget about the subject of the letter – it should certainly attract attention. Subscribers have already forgotten about you, and now they need something provocative. This can be a topic related to recent events, a big sale, and more. Test different options, and then you will find something that can wake up sleeping subscribers.

What to do after reactivation

After the reactivation email campaign, be sure to delete the addresses from your database that did not respond to any email. Such subscribers, most likely, cannot be returned and it is better to say goodbye to them finally, so as not to waste resources. Although there will be fewer subscribers, you will still be able to build effective email newsletters. Your base, on the contrary, will become fresher thanks to an active audience.

And to minimize the appearance of new “sleeping” subscribers, follow the recommendations:

  • Use welcome letters. We already briefly mentioned their importance above: they will help you interest the reader and make him more loyal to the company. The gesture of greeting is appreciated in life, but also in mailings – it shows respect for the audience and reminds you of yourself.
  • Study statistics. It will show you that there has been a wave of unsubscribes or spam complaints. So you can quickly review your email strategy and use new ways of engaging your audience. As a rule, you can see statistics in mailing services. For example, in Cheapsender, this can be done in the “My mailings” section.

How to view mailing statistics in Cheapsender

  • Conduct audience analysis regularly. So you can find out what she likes and what kind of mailings she expects to receive. In this way, the audience will actively read received letters, and the number of “sleepers” will be reduced to a minimum.


Reactivation is an ongoing process that should be involved in any email campaign. It will help you bring back the “sleeping” audience, save money on replenishing the active base, and also preserve your reputation and increase your income due to awakened subscribers.

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