Transcript: How to Re-engage Your Email List

May 20, 2021

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AMY PORTERFIELD: Time to put your thinking cap on, because I have a pop quiz for you. Are you ready? Here it is. If you've neglected your email list for longer than a couple of months, you should (a) slowly slip away as if it never was. Nothing to see here, or (b) rekindle your longlost friendship and spice it up with some new content, new freebies, and new value. If you answered B with lots of excitement, then you win a virtual highfive. But if you answered A because, quite honestly, you're feeling a little guilty because that described you to a T and you've gone months or even longer without even a quick “Hey, there,” then, first of all, you're not alone. And secondly, this is totally fixable as long as you approach it the right way.  

If your email has collected some cobwebs, then this episode is for you. I'm going to walk you through a strategy for dusting off the old email list and reigniting those valuable subscriber relationships. It's time, dear listener, time to set aside the guilt of neglecting your email list and the uncertainty about how to land back in your subscribers inbox without the awkward pause.  

I‘m Amy Porterfield, and this is Online Marketing Made Easy 

I have a list of five hundred subscribers, and I haven't engaged with them for a year. What should I do? This is literally a question I get asked all the time. And it's a great question because you don't want to just randomly show up in your audience's inbox. Like, remember me? On top of that, many of my students who are in this situation are afraid that everyone is just going to unsubscribe. But here's the thing that you have to remember. First of all, all of those subscribers aren't a lost cause. In fact, even though it's been a while since you've engaged with them, that doesn't mean you can't get them back. And secondly, you're human and life happens. Maybe it was a family emergency. Maybe your ninetofive job just took over. Life got in the way. You lost inspiration. Whatever it is, it's all right. Now is the time to get back on that newsletter train and rekindle that relationship with your subscribers.  

In today's episode, I'm going to walk you through how to organize and put together a reengagement campaign, including how many emails to send, how far apart, and what to include in each email. And yes, I give you specific examples along with other rules that you must follow if you want to successfully keep your subscribers and, something I know you want to know, how soon is too soon when it comes to selling to your list. I'll be diving into it all, and I'm so glad you're along for the ride. Let's get to it. 

First things first. You may be thinking, “Maybe I should just toss out the old and get in with the new,” as in not even try to reconnect with that list that you've left on the shelf and instead start from scratch. I'm here to tell you—no, urge younot to do that, and here's why. For starters, it's much easier to reignite that relationship with people who at some point along the way, they subscribed to your email list. Something you said did, or offered made them want to hear from you. And even though that may feel like ages ago, that doesn't mean they've shut you out forever. It's far more time effective and cost effective to see if you can cultivate those relationships again versus going out and looking for new onesIn fact, going after a new customer can cost five times more than reengaging with an existing customer. Plus, an existing customer is more likely to convert at 60 or 70 percent versus a new one, who will convert on average of 5 to 20 percent.  

Now, I know not everyone on your email list is a customer, but if you think about them being a warm lead, then you can really start to see that it would be easier to convert them into a customer if you already had a relationship with them once upon a time. On top of that, taking care of a list you already have helps with your list health. And let's be honest, that's something we're all after, right? After all, I know you feel inspired when you hear about my students who have a 40 or 50 or even higher percent for open rates. High open rates is something that we should all aspire to have, and the health of your email list is a big player in getting numbers like those. So all in all, get rid of that thought of kicking your list to the curb, and commit right now to lighting a fire under that email list and make it come back with a bang.  

Hi, my name is Amy Porterfield, and I am obsessed with having a plan. If you know me, you know I always start with a clear plan that is written out. And yes, I write it out with a pen and paper because that's how I roll. In fact, sometimes I even go old school and grab one of those yellow pencils. It just takes me back. I feel so efficient when I do it.  

So whether you want to physically write it out or type it out, you need to start with a re-engagement campaign planNone of this loosey-goosey, I'll just try an email and see how it goes” stuff. You're going all in. Remember, you already committed. So a re-engagement campaign is just as it sounds, a strategic email campaign that you use to reengage with a list that has gone cold, with the intent of showing your subscribers why your emails are valuable in supporting them towards their goal or desire or need and convincing them to stay on your email list 

Start out by planning it out on a calendar. What days will you send an email? What times? I would consider spacing these emails anywhere from five to seven days apart. You want to be diligent about connecting with them, but not too annoying or too passive, so it's just a fine balance you're looking for. And I would consider doing three emails as your re-engagement campaign, and then, of course, email them each week with your consistent content. If you've been with me for a while, this comes as no surprise to you. I'll touch on this in more depth in a bit.  

So now you might be wondering, Okay, once I have my plan, dates, times, days in between, how many emails, and the whole shebang, now what? What do I put in each email? Excellent question. You have options, and you know we're going to break them down one by one. Let's walk through each email that you could choose to send and what you may want to consider including in each. Know that there isn't a onesizefitsall approach to this, meaning you can't go wrong, my friend. So take what I'm sharing and tweak it to make sure it works for your business and your needs and the needs of your subscribers.  

Let's talk about email number one. This is the very first email that your longlost friends are going to receive. So no pressure, right? All right, all right. Take a deep breath. You're going to be just fine, because you're not going to dwell on the fact that you've been quiet for a bit. Deal? It is what it is. You're back. And that's all that matters.  

So here are some things that I suggest you consider including. First of all, you want to make this first email all about your audience members, not about you. So while you may want to briefly call out your absence and reintroduce yourself, you'll want to get back to how you're serving your audience right away. That's right. So you may or may not want to mention that you've been gone for a while, but you sure as heck are not going to dwell on it. So if you do want to say something, you could be really casual and say something like, I know, I know, I've been a little quiet. But the truth is I really missed you. And I'm kind of hoping you've missed me, too. And since we're getting reacquainted with one another, I thought it was high time I reintroduce myself. Oh, and did I mention I have a little gift for you? Keep reading to find out how to get it. You want to call it out early that there is an incentive in this email for them. So you could say something like that 

And then you would go on to share a tiny bit about you in relation to how you're serving them. That last part is important. Your subscribers don't want to know about your travels, the new house you moved into, or how your family has grown. Of course, unless that's part of how you serve your customers and your subscribersBut what I mean is they want to know and they need to be reminded of why you're the person to lead them and what you stand for and how what you have to offer can help them achieve their desire or need or goals. So include these things when you reintroduce yourself, emphasis on why you're the person to help them.  

Now, here's the meat of the email. You're going to tell them about the freebie that you've included, and make sure it's irresistible for your audience member. This is something they should need or want really bad. After all, it's kind of like they're trading their email for your lead magnet all over again. And if you need more help with creating a lead magnet, check out episode number 271, How to Create a Profit-Driven Lead Magnet to Boost Sales. I’ll link to it in the show notes.  

From there, you prime them for the upcoming email, the next email, where you'll include a handful of even more free goodies to support them on their journey and to get them hooked on what you have to offer and on your newsletters.  

And lastly, you may want to consider including the option to unsubscribe at the bottom of this first email. Listen, I know that's probably not what you wanted to hear, but just let me explain. If a subscriber on your list no longer wants to interact with you but stays on your list, let's just say even a quarter or half of them feel this way, well, that's going to make the health of your email list struggle big time. It's better to have a clean list with engaged subscribers who are actually opening, responding, and clicking through than a bigger email list full of unengaged people.  

But again, you can be clever with this. So here are a couple of cute examples that I've seen. The first one is from the brand Newsette. At the bottom of their email, they say, “You can unsubscribe and break our hearts,” and then include a brokenheart emojiOr another cute example is from Framebridge, and they say, “Is this the end? and then include a link where you can unsubscribe. Another one is from Urban Outfitters. Theirs says, Are we seriously breaking up? Obviously, all email platforms have the unsubscribe link in the footer of the email, but I'm talking about a different approach. This is something to consider to give your email list a clean scrubbing. So it could be in the PS. It could just be at the bottom of the email. It doesn't have to be a PS. But it's boldI know. But the goal here is let's just get a clean email list.  

Okay. So on to email number two. In this email, you want to continue to nurture your email list and show them how you're going to help them achieve their goal or desire and, again, why you're the person to help them get there. So I would include a story and a list of further free resources to support them. Start with a story they can relate to. And when you're selecting the story you're going to share, make sure it serves two purposes. The first, to nurture and rekindle that connection with them. And the second, even more important purpose, is to tie it back to how you can help them.  

For example, I like to tell people on my webinar a little bit about my family and how once upon a time I used to work for worldrenowned coach Tony RobbinsHowever, I’m intentional about why I'm sharing this. It's because it shows that not only am I qualified to teach them, it also helps me to paint a picture of being able to say yes to the projects that light me up and no to the ones that don't, because after I share this, I ask them to imagine what it would look like in their life if they had set up a business and a life they love. And my family is a big reason for saying yes to only the things that light me up. On top of that, it makes me more relatable and helps them to dream of what's possible for them.  

Okay, after that, I want you to dive into the resources you promised them in your last email. So here are a few things that you might want to consider including. Maybe you have a blog post or a video or a Facebook Live that you've done in the past that would serve your audience well. Maybe you include those here. Or if you're going to be doing a Facebook or Instagram Live, you include the date, time, and topic in this email. You could even go the extra mile and include a link where they can add it to their calendar.  

Basically, you want to focus on continually giving them that value and convincing them to stay subscribed. You're retraining them to open your emails. In fact, you not only want them to open the emails, you want them to look forward to receiving them. Your goal with your email list should always, always, always be to become one of the emails they look forward to receiving in their inbox each week, and I say each week because you and I both know that once you kick off the re-engagement campaign, there's no going back. You’re going to show up for your audience every single week, rain or shine. 

All right. Onto that final email. In this email, you're going to ask them what they need, and ask them to tell you directly by replying to your email. This shows that, “Hey, I'm looking to serve you as best I can. And to do that, I want to hear from you directly. It shows you care, and you're committed to creating content and offers that help them get from where they are right now to where they want to be. It sets you up as their guide, their goto expert.  

Another thing that's important in this email is to give them a roadmap of where you're going and what they can expect from you. For example, if this were me, I would say something along the lines of, “I have to admit, having you back in my life has really brought me joy, and I hope you feel the same. And so I'd like to invite you to come hang out with me each week. All you have to do is check your inbox every single Thursday, and I'll be here, rain or shine, with a new podcast episode for you to check out. If you like what you've been seeing lately, you're going to love my podcast. So I'll plan on seeing you next week. Can't wait,” or something along those lines. Basically, you're being very transparent that they'll see you popping up weekly in their inbox and tell them exactly what you'll be sharing in that email, whether that's your podcast or a Facebook Live or whatever your weekly platform and content entails. 

All right. There are some rules to abide by if you want to make this campaign effective and work. Top of the list, make sure your subject lines stand outThere's a possibility your subscribers might not recall your name. So lean into your subject line to get people to open your email.  

Here are some clever ideas. Well, that was awkward,” or “You probably thought I disappeared…,” o“Open if you like gifts, like g-i-f-t-s, not the other gif. “Life happened, but I'm back for good and I brought a gift, or “Can we rekindle our relationship? Kind of dramatic and sappy, but it's supposed to be. And don't be afraid to mention that you have a gift for them in the email. So adding that to the subject line is always a good thing.  

I want you to commit to showing up consistently as well. Here we are. I've mentioned this throughout this episode, and I talk about this all the time. You know this is how we build a relationship with our audience. We show up consistently. So even beyond your re-engagement campaign, you must, must, must show up as expected, whether that's weekly or twice a week or every other week or whatever makes sense for your business. I personally recommend weekly, just to stay top of mind and continue to nurture them with valuable content. But that may be different for your industry or business, so do what works best for you.  

And I know I mentioned it before, but just to remind you, you can email about whatever weekly content you shared elsewhere in your business. For me, it's my podcast. For you, it could be a blog post, a Facebook Live, a YouTube video, a LinkedIn article, a Clubhouse panel, or wherever you're doing your weekly content. Share that. Your emails don't have to be super long. They just have to add value or show them where they can find value from you and keep on nurturing that important relationship 

You can also build a little curiosity. Hint at what the podcast is going to be about or hint at what the Clubhouse is going to be about, and then encourage them to show up there 

Something that will help you stay consistent and help you to avoid overwhelm or run the risk of not showing up as usual is to batch your email content. Just like you would batch anything else in your business, set aside time to sit down and write out your emails.  

And don't worry, I won't leave you hanging. I have a podcast episode to help you write emails that people want to open and help you write them with ease. So check out episode 362, “How to Write Emails That Actually Get Opened, with Zafira Rajan,” and I'll link to it on my show notes. It was one of my most popular episodes. So Zafira talks about crafting personality pillars and creating an environment for batching your emails. And it's so good. In fact, it's something I'm doing in my own business. And so it will make coming up with clever emails and stories for emails so much easier. So be sure to check that episode out.  

And for the truth of all truths, you can follow all that I've shared with you to a T today and you'll still get unsubscribes. It's just the facts of life. And while that can seem dishearteningI want you to reframe that thought. These unsubscribers are actually doing you a favor. Instead of sitting on your email list, clogging up space, and bringing your open rates down, they are respectfully opting out and making room for others who can't wait to hear what you have to say. Honestly, after not hearing from you in a while, they may feel like you two are no longer a right connection, and that’s okay. If they aren't a potential customer, it doesn't make sense for them to stay on your email list. On top of that, instead of you having to go in and manually scrub them from your list, they're doing the hard part for you by clicking that Unsubscribe button. Don't let this get you worked up. Keep showing up for those who are sticking around, and watch your email list grow.  

So what happens if you've set your re-engagement campaign and you have a handful of people who haven't interacted? And when I say interacted, I mean open up your emails. You tried, but they didn't biteAgain, that's okay. About sixty days after your re-engagement campaign, which means you sent out your three emails, and you started emailing once a week with your original content, go through your list and scrub it. That means deleting any subscribers that haven't opened or engaged with any of your re-engagement emails in the last sixty days. This keeps your list healthy and makes room for all the new subscribers coming your way.  

Now, last but certainly not least, when, oh, when is it safe to sell to this list? I knew you were wondering this, as you should be. After all, you're running a business. You've got to make some money, right? I like to say give it at least sixty days. Mind you, that’s sixty days of consistently showing up and nurturing your email list. It's all part of the know, like, and trust equation. Building that trust takes time, so be patient and relax, knowing that it will pay off to wait to sell. But I don't want you to wait much longer than that. So don't use this as an excuse not to sell because you're scared to put yourself out there. Run your re-engagement campaign; scrub your list; consistently show up for sixty days, offering value and more free content; and emailing at least once a week for the next sixty days. At that point you should be feeling a much sturdier relationship with your subscribers so when you go to sell your offer, which is going to be chock full of value, they're more likely to want to take you up on it.  

Okay. I loved this episode so much, and I hope you did, too. So get ready for your action steps. Within the next week, that's one week, I want you to sit down and write out your re-engagement campaign 

Again, you want to decide what days and times your emails are going to go out and how many you'll be sending. Once you have that in place, decide what things you want to include in your emails. Use the examples I've shared with you here and craft them to fit your business and your personality. After that, it's time to sit down and write those emails. Give yourself at least a week to do it. Don't rush it. Maybe an hour or so a day, you're going to write at least three emails, and these emails are important. Next, it’s time to schedule them to be sent. Once you get them into your emailservice provider—my favorite is ConvertKit. if you're looking for an emailservice provider—but once you get them into your emailservice provider, you'll want to start batching. Work on the upcoming emails, like those weekly emails, so you can be consistent with your original content 

And remember, enjoy the process. This actually can be fun. Your subscribers will be so glad to hear from you, and knowing you did it in the right way, you're building relationships for life. 

All right. Thanks for joining me here today. I'll see you next week, same time, same place. Bye for now. 

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