The 5 key parts of a re-engagement campaign

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An effective re-engagement campaign can make a world of difference to maintaining a healthy subscriber list. Considering there are some succinct steps that need to be set up, and there are several variations you can create, we’ve broken them down into these 5 key parts with descriptions. 

A. Set up an Unengaged trigger
This is where you’ll define subscriber behavior that’ll qualify as an “unengaged” subscriber based on days without opens, clicks, or both.

B. Craft a re-engagement message
This is where you’ll attempt to win back readers with a message that reminds them why they subscribed to your newsletter, it should contain promos or CTAs to re-engage them.

C. Set up a Branch node
This is where you’ll split your list into those who should be removed versus those who re-engage based on how they interact with your re-engagement message. 

D. Define the separate journeys for each path
This is where you can send a follow-up message to one or both of the paths and update the subscription status or custom fields of subscribers who remain engaged to eventually remove them while keeping re-engaged subscribers on your list.

E. Set up a segment to remove unengaged subscribers
This is where you’ll segment users who are unengaged based on your set subscription details, then delete the segment to keep your subscriber list clean.

How to create a re-engagement campaign

A: Set up an Unengaged trigger

1. From the left panel in your account, go to Write > Automations and then click on the Create Automation button to get started. 

2. To give the automation a name, select the pen icon at the top, enter in the name, and then click Save automation. Switch back over to the Workflow tab to set up the automation.

3. Click on Add Trigger and select the Unengaged trigger option.

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Choose one of the required conditions and specify the time frame you are looking to define as “unengaged” subscribers.

  • Days without opens: This counts subscribers who haven’t opened any email.
  • Days without clicks: This counts subscribers who haven’t clicked anything.
  • Days without opens or clicks: This counts subscribers who haven’t opened any email or clicked anything.

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Note: The Unengaged trigger only pulls in people who signed up prior to the number of days specified on the condition. For example, if you used “Days without opens” and set it to 30, it will only count people who signed up 30 days ago or earlier.

Option to add conditions

To get even more specific on which subscribers enter this automation, you can also specify additional conditions for the trigger by clicking on Edit Conditions.

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Here, you’ll first need to specify whether you want subscribers to meet “All (AND)” or “At least one (OR)”’ conditions. If you select At least one (OR), you’ll need to define the attribute and set the value. You can continue to select + Condition to add as many conditions as you’d like.

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4. When you are finished, review your selections and click on Save.

Unengaged trigger examples

  • When you want to identify unengaged subscribers from a particular social media campaign, you could select “Campaign” as the attribute and enter a keyword from the campaign.
  • When you want to identify unengaged subscribers from a certain landing page, sign-up source, or lead magnet you could select “Embed Source” as the attribute and select a subscribe form or the “Subscribe for email updates” option.

B. Craft a re-engagement message

1. Select the Send Email node to add a new re-engagement message.

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2. Click Edit Message and create a re-engagement message using the same email builder that you are used to.

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Craft an engaging message that includes a compelling subject line, CTAs, promotions, or announcements to pique your audience’s interest, all of your changes will be saved in real-time. For content ideas, be sure to check out our re-engagement email tips here

3. Specify the time delay or “wait” period, which is how long a subscriber will wait in the automation after entering before the message is sent.

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4. Click on Save to secure the Send Email node.

C. Set up a Branch node 

1. Select the Branch node to add a new step that will define separate automation journeys based on the engagement with your last message.

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2. Set a time period that you want subscribers to wait before entering this branch.

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3. Click on Edit Conditions to configure the Branch node logic.

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Choose to segment users by whether they open/click the email within the time delay set, you can select: 

  • Days without Opens to match the number of days in the time delay. 
  • Days without click to match the number of days in the time delay.
  • Days without Opens or clicks to match the number of days in the time delay.

This will effectively segment your users into those who engage with the re-engagement message within the set time period versus those who do not. To learn more about the Branch node, read in this article

4. Click on Save to secure the Branch node.

D. Define the separate journeys for each path

In this part, we’ll define two separate journeys based on whether subscribers qualify under the Yes path (they do engage) within this campaign or the No path (they do not engage). 

Create the No path

1. For the No path, use the Update Subscription node to prompt them to update their subscriber details.

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Option to add a message

Under the No branch and its Update Subscription node, you can also use the Send Email node to set up a follow-up message that gives those subscribers one more chance to re-engage with your newsletter. 

In the Update Subscription node, click on Edit Attributes and then set the subscription status to Inactive.

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4. Click on Save to secure the node. 

Pro Tip: Alternatively, you could create a new custom field in your account and set that as the value to segment these subscribers. Learn more about segmenting with custom fields here.

Create or end with the Yes path

Since the Yes path represents subscribers who are active, you could either just let the journey end there or use the Send Email node to set up a follow-up message to confirm the users are re-engaged, as these subscribers will continue to remain on your list.

Activate the automation steps

5. Now that you have the automation set up, it’s time to activate the steps by clicking the Activate and Confirm buttons on each node within the automation.

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E. Set up a segment to remove unengaged subscribers

Now that you’ve created and activated an automation workflow that updates subscriber’s status to “Inactive” for those who don’t re-engage, you can create a segment to capture and delete them in bulk.

1. From the left panel in your account, go to Audience > Segmentation > and click on the Create Segment button to get started. 

2. Give the segment a name (required) and a description (optional), then set the Segment type to Dynamic.

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3. Click on Define conditions. Up top you’ll see the And (ALL) comes preselected, below that click on + Condition > Attribute.

4. Choose the subscription Status attribute, set it to “is” and select the Inactive option. 

5. Click on the Save Segment button to activate it. 

The segment will pull in all subscribers whose status is inactive in real-time as they are updated via the re-engagement automation. 

Option to delete unengaged subscribers

On the Overview tab, after the segment has had some time to run, you can review the list of emails and choose to quickly delete any subscribers pulled into this segment by clicking the access arrow next to Quick Export and selecting the Delete option which will permanently delete those subscribers in bulk from your audience list.


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Frequently asked questions about re-engagement automations 

Is there a limit to how many follow-up messages I can send to re-engage my audience?

There is currently a limit of 20 steps in our automated journeys. However, if you need this limit to be raised, you can contact support.

If I set an unengaged trigger with the condition set to “7 days without opens”, will it pull in people who signed up within the past 7 days?

Our unengaged trigger logic automatically filters out people who have signed up within the time window specified, so you will never run into the issue of accidentally removing subscribers who signed up more recently and qualify as “unengaged” within the window. In this example, if you set the condition to “7 days without opens”, it will only pull in subscribers who have signed up over 7 days ago with no opens.

Will I be able to recover subscribers who get deleted from my list?

Unfortunately, no, you cannot recover any subscribers that you delete from the segment. However, as a backup we suggest that you double check and/or export the list from the segment before you delete those subscribers.

Can I specify opens for a specific re-engagement message?

Not at this time. Currently you can only specify opens across all emails within the specified time frame.

Can I specify clicks on a specific CTA within my re-engagement message? 

Not at this time. Currently you can only specify clicks across all emails within the specified time frame.

Will I be able to see which subscribers are unengaged?

Yes, you can see which of your subscribers are unengaged by segmenting for those based on the subscription details. For example, if you update the status to “Inactive” for unengaged subscribers, you can then create a segment for “unengaged” subscribers to produce a list of subscribers who qualify for this.

Do have additional articles on creating automations? 

Yes, here are some other resources on automated journeys:

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