How to Build a Reactivation Campaign That Converts

Did you know that acquiring new customers cost 4-6 times as much as retaining old customers?

Most businesses spend most of their time, energy, and money trying to acquire new customers.

Acquiring new customers is usually the most challenging aspect of most businesses.

Over 70% of companies say that it’s cheaper to retain a customer than to acquire a new one.

Sales are the lifeblood of business and businesses spend a fortune trying to make new sales.

What if there was a way to quickly convert sales at a fraction of the cost?

This can be done with a re-engaging or re-activation campaign.

What is a Re-engaging/Reactivation Campaign?

A re-engaging or Reactivation campaign is a campaign, designed to engage four different groups of people:

  • Old Customers.
  • People who expressed interest before but never bought anything.
  • Recent customers.
  • People who bought before but have gone dark.

Most businesses have spent a lot of money trying to sell to these people and now ignore them.

A lot of sales come down to timing. 

A simple reminder of your product can quickly remind them to buy.

The most common form of reactivation is done through email.

This is why it’s so important to continually build the email list.

Having an email list is like having a database of valuable information that you can use to market your products and services for years.

Why Should You Do A Reactivation Campaign?

Most businesses that have email lists usually have between 25-50% of its subscribers classified as “inactive.”

This typically means that the subscriber hasn’t engaged with the business in more than 30 days.

These people can be old customers or people that once expressed interest but didn’t make a purchase.

You’ve spent a good amount of money and effort to engage these people…

Why shouldn’t you try to maximize your opportunities with them? 

It’s also a lot cheaper to build a re-activation campaign that converts than it is to generate new leads for your business.

In this post, I’ll go over 10 different strategies you can use to build a campaign that converts.

1 – Who is Your Target?

Like any marketing campaign, you have to have a target in order to hit a destination.

You have to know who are you targeting, consider some of the following things:

  • Are they old customers from 12 months ago? 
  • Are they people that subscribed to your lead magnet but never purchased?
  • Did they stop reading your emails? 

If someone bought something from you 5 years ago and you haven’t heard back, then they might not be the best choice.

It doesn’t hurt to try, though.

Arrows hitting the center of target - success business conceptOnce you’ve decided who you’re targeting then you can build a campaign that engages them with relevant content and makes an offer.

You can also build multiple campaigns for each target.

This doesn’t have to be complicated.

You can use the same content but simply change some of the words around to make the campaign more relevant.

Make sure to know who you are targeting because emails that are not relevant will be deleted.

2 – What’s Your Goal?

Once you’ve decided on who you are targeting, it’s time to set goals.

Setting goals allows you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign.

  • Do you want more sales of a certain product?
  • Do you want people to re-engage?
  • Introduce a new product line?
  • Introduce a new person for their team?

Most of the new email marketing platforms allow you to track clickthrough rates, conversion rates, open rates, and deliverability rates.

Goals will allow you to measure the effectiveness of your campaign and also measure how responsive your list is.

If you’re list is dead then it would be a good idea to clean it out and delete the unresponsive people.

3 – Email Is King

Most reactivation campaigns are done through email.

Email marketing has the highest ROI of any online marketing channel.

Most businesses don’t email their lists and if they do they send emails that don’t convert.

What type of emails are you sending? Are you sending emails about your company?

This is wrong.

People are not interested in your company.

They are interested in learning how you can help them and solve their problems. 

If your emails are brochures of your product/services your email will be sent to spam.

The best types of emails provide educational content and are entertaining.

This is called infotainment.

If you want to learn more on how to write emails that sell check out these two posts below:

4 – Optimize For Mobile

Mobile usage has overtaken desktop usage recently.

More people view their emails on their phones now than their desktops.

You have to make sure the emails you send are optimized for mobile viewing.


Some tips on how you can optimize your emails for mobile:

  • Keep it short– Don’t write long dissertations. Your emails should be short and get right to the point. People are busy.
  • Keep it simpleDon’t use lots of images in your emails. The most read emails are simple text emails that have one action
  • ScarcitySet a deadline and make sure you stick to your deadlines.

5 – Subject Lines

Good subject lines make the difference between your emails being read and being ignored.

Here are some tips on writing good subject lines:

  • Avoid “salesy” wordsWords like ‘free’ and ‘sale’ can trigger spam filters. These words will also be ignored by most of your subscribers.
  • Include locationIf you include the location of the person’s city your open rates will increase.
  • PersonalizationResearch suggests that personalization in your subject lines increases open rates.
  • Keep it shortMost emails are now read on mobile so you should make sure your subject lines are short. 9 to 14 words or 40 to 50 characters are considered best practices

email subject

  • Use different subject linesYou should use different subject lines. People will delete your emails if they have the same subject lines.

Some tested subject lines you can use on a Reactivation campaign include:

  • Miss You.
  • Are You Alive?
  • Exclusively for You.
  • Top 5: New Arrivals.
  • Brand Spanking New Stuff!

6 – Split Test Offers

How do you know what your customers want?

The best way to find out is to split test different offers and see how they convert.

It also differentiates your company by showing you care about their needs.

For example, if you have a customer that bought a certain product you can re-engage them with a sister product and provide a discount.

You can also create a discount for a percentage of a group and not the others and see how they compare.

By split-testing your offers, you can maximize the opportunities to make more sales.

7 – Re-engage Them Early

It’s very important to always be top of mind.

In this distracting world, people can easily forget the purchase they made months ago.

You should make sure not to let this opportunity slip by.

Make sure to re-engage your subscribers  in 30-60-90 day windows.

This allows you to be top of mind and also shows that you didn’t forget about them. 

Urgent8 – Create a Sense of Urgency

People are natural procrastinators.

Create a sense of urgency by adding deadlines to your offers.

Some good subject lines you can use are:

  • Ends Today.
  • 24 Hours Left.
  • Last Day.

Deadlines are an effective way to create action. 

Make sure you stick to your deadlines and pull offers when the time expires.

Don’t make fake deadlines as this will hurt your reputation.

9 – Text Message Offer

If you have their phone numbers then a text message reactivation can work.

Unlike emails, text messages are read 99% of the time.

Text messages are considered interruption marketing.

Keep it short and make an offer that includes a call to action. 

Some strategies you can use with SMS:

  • Create a countdown to new product line launches.
  • Promote program for early access.
  • Keep it simple with offers.

10 – Email Display Re-marketing

Another form of re-activation is email display re-marketing.

You can target your email subscribers with paid ads across the web.

Email display re-marketing works the same way as regular website re-marketing.

Instead of targeting your website visitors, you target your email subscribers.

You can set up this up by inserting a piece of code on your email HTML and track anybody that has opened your emails across the web with ads.

This is an extremely powerful method to advertise since the ads you are promoting will be relevant.


Building a reactivation campaign is a fast way to re-engage people that once displayed interest.

It’s a quick way to make more sales.

If you follow these guidelines you can create a re-activation campaign that converts.

About the Author

My name is Mauricio and I'm the founder The Cardenal Group. I write about online marketing, sales, and entrepreneurship.

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