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Five ways to stop email subscribers from ghosting you

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

The point of sending emails is to get people opening and clicking, right? So what the heck do you do if your subscribers begin ghosting you?


ghost in field waving at camera

If you feel this way, don't worry yet, you aren't alone!


In the email world, we refer to these folks as dormant subscribers. And, these are more common than you think.


We usually classify these as people who have not opened or clicked on an email within a certain period of time. So how do we win them back? Let's discuss five ways to stop subscribers from ghosting you and get them engaging with your emails again.


Step 1 - Refine engagement


Filter your database. Find contacts who have not opened or clicked anything over the past 6 - 10 emails you've sent and separate them from your email list.


This will help you classify who is engaged or disengaged and helps you segment these subscribers out from the rest of your list.


Engagement is different for every sender.


  • You may only send one email a month. Have they not engaged with the last 3 emails you've sent?

  • You might be sending emails bi-weekly. Here you can look at the last 3-6 emails and decide.

  • Are you sending daily or weekly? Consider your frequency before deciding. You can also use the last 6-10 emails as your criteria here.

You can always change your criteria based on if this works. Remember, this will need to be an ongoing effort. Trial and error are okay.


Step 2 - Create an incentive to engage


These subscribers will have stopped opening or clicking your emails for a reason. Create an email asking them WHY and offer an incentive to engage again. These incentives could be discounts, free content or asking subscribers for advice. You decide what you feel works for you.


Here are some examples of incentives you could try:


  • Discounts - If you sell a product or service, offer them a discount code on their next purchase.

  • Free content - If you produce content, offer a free guide or resource to help them if they engage further.

  • Ask for help - Ask them why they've disengaged and ask them to help you improve what you send them.

Again, these will be related to your business and your offer, but people only care about what's in it for them. so always keep that in mind.



Step 3 - Use a strong subject line


Make sure your subject line gets their attention. Your subject line is the one thing they’ll see before they make their decision to open up your email. Here are a few subject line ideas you can use.:


  • We've Missed You! Here's [x]% OFF EVERYTHING.

  • Are you ghosting us?

  • We Want You Back!

  • [x]% Off. Because We Miss You ❤

  • Don’t let us down now…

  • Is everything okay, [name] Is this goodbye?

  • It's us, not you, isn't it?

Yes, you're pushing the boundaries a little, but there's not much to lose here, right? These are people who aren't currently contributing to your email environment in a good way. Capture their attention.



Step 4 - Keep a last resort


After filtering out active receivers of your last re-engagement email, wait 10 days and send this. “Is this goodbye?” This is your final email subject line before letting them know you'll be removing them from your list.


This may seem risky, but it's a last-ditch effort to get people to engage. There's nothing wrong with asking and, as an additional recommendation, inside an email like this, you can always offer readers the chance to simply choose to scale back on the volume of emails you're sending them instead of letting them know that they can unsubscribe.


People very often don't know that this is an option.



Step 5 - Clean your list

ghost pondering the meaning of life and email engagement

After this is all done, remove anyone who has not opened or clicked any of these emails. Scary, I know. But, your email database needs to be quality over quantity. Rinse and repeat this every 3 months or sooner.


Always keep in mind that an engaged list is a healthy list. Don't be afraid to remove anyone who isn't engaged. They're only taking up valuable space in your email database.


Your email statistics will be more accurate.


You'll get to focus on newer, engaged subscribers.


You'll win at email



"Size doesn't matter, it's how you use it that counts"👻



Before you go! Email design means nothing if you don't have a database! Learn the fastest ways to grow your email list today by clicking here or on the image below 👇


Email database growth playbook for free

Want more tips like these? Get our expert email guide today! Click here to find out more

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