The Re-Engagement Email Part 2: True Citrus Campaign

On By - Engagement, Strategy - 5 Comments


In the first part of this 2-part series on re-engagement email campaigns, we defined an “inactive” subscriber and shared with you some ways to segment them from your email list. We also outlined four approaches to effectively deal with these “unemotionally subscribed” contacts. Finally, we shared why it’s important to remove inactives email addresses from your list.

Be sure you read Part I first – The Re-Engagement Email: How To Handle Inactive Subscribers and Why it Matters before continuing below. We’ll wait.

…Ok. Welcome back.


In today’s post, we’ll explore how WhatCounts client True Citrus – with the help of its Account Manager, Sean McGarry – set up and executed a multi-part re-engagement series after his client repositioned some of its campaigns and added a new inspirational series. As it turned out, the True Citrus Master Database contained quite a few subscribers who had never been properly segmented into these new communication channels. They found an even larger number of contacts who were identified as inactive.

McGarry and Lindsey Paolucci, True Citrus’s Marketing Associate, crafted a 3-part re-engagement series. As you’ll see from the subject line and content in each of the three emails, True Citrus has definitely weaved in a “relationship” theme to its messaging. Let’s break ’em down.

Email #1: Why the Cold Shoulder?

The first email in the 3-part series was sent to a segment of “60 day non-openers/non-clickers” – essentially, those contacts who had not opened or clicked on an email in the past 60 days.

The subject line of this email reads: “Why the Cold Shoulder?”

Below is a screenshot of the top half of the email.

To see the entire email click here. Note: Since this is a test email, not all links will be active.

Like most emails, it all starts with the subject line. Remember: The subject line and from name are the two components of an email that are visible to a reader prior to opening. If someone doesn’t know or trust you (from name) or are not interested in the contents of the email (subject line), the chances of your email getting opened goes way down.

I really love the subject line True Citrus chose for this first email. By asking a question “Why the Cold Shoulder?” they play on the “We Miss You” approach. It’s creative and enticing enough to draw some opens, yet not misleading to toss up any read flags from a CAN-SPAM perspective.

I also love the copy and creative. The lead-in paragraph continues to enforce the relationship theme and gives “inactive” subscribers a chance to see what they have been missing. Additionally, True Citrus outlines the various email newsletters options they offer – each with a frequency and a preview of what content to expect. The call to action after each email option drives folks to its manage preferences page. Finally, in case that was not enough, they drop in a “Special Offer Just For You” by providing a 25 percent off coupon code. Very very well done.

According to McGarry, they are still in the process of rolling out this first re-engagement email. The initial bounce rate is relatively low (three percent). Remember, these are inactive contacts. The open rate is hovering around seven percent. The opt-out to click-through ratio is close to even. While I’m sure True Citrus would rather that ratio skew more towards click-throughs (indicating subscribers are updating their email preferences), it’s also good that those who are no longer interested are simply opting out. The goal of this first email is to properly channel each subscriber as well as give those no longer interested the opportunity to remove themselves.

However, what’s equally as important is this fact: The conversions from this first email – not yet fully deployed – have already paid for the campaign development and execution twice over. This does not account for the future conversions (revenue) that this reactivation campaign will provide.

Email #2: We Need to Talk. (Action Required)

The second email, which has not yet launched, will be sent to recipients of Email #1 who have not opened or clicked-through a True Citrus email in the previous 30 days. In other words, these are folks who have not taken an action on Email #1 or any email since.

To see the entire email click here. Note: Since this is a test email, not all links will be active.

Once again, it starts with the subject line. True Citrus continues the relationship theme but includes a sense of urgency type call to action in this subject line: “We Need to Talk. (Action Required)”. Notice the “action required” part in parenthesis. I really love this tactic as it reminds subscribers that they … well … need to take some action. The only way to take said action is to open the email! I’ll be curious to see what the open rates turn out to be on this one.

I really love the copy on this email. Simple. Direct. Actionable. They set up the email in the top section by showing some empathy – “We hate unwanted email almost as much as we hate feeling needy or neglected.” Brilliant! But the best part of this email are those two buttons: “Yes. Keep ‘Em Coming” and “No. Leave Me Alone.” Not only do they infuse a bit of humor, they also make the buttons large enough that it would be hard to miss them. Finally, they don’t make a subscriber jump through hoops to take action. One click. Done.

Notice that True Citrus once again extends the “Special Offer for You”, 25% coupon code as a way to pull back inactive subscribers.

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to learning about some of the metrics on this one. Any predictions on open rate? How many will click the first button vs. the second? How many will take advantage of the 25% off coupon code?

Email #3: It Was Good While It Lasted.

The 3rd and final email in this 3-part re-engagement campaign also has not yet launched. When it does, it will be sent to recipients of Email #2 who have not opened or clicked-through a True Citrus email in the previous 30 days. In other words, these are folks who have not taken an action on Email #1 or Email #2 or any email since.


To see the entire email click here. Note: Since this is a test email, not all links will be active.

The subject line on this final email will read, “It Was Good While It Lasted” conveying an end to the True Citrus email relationship. However, they do still gives folks an opportunity to reactive their email subscription. See that little “here” link? Yup. Clicking that will take a subscriber the True Citrus email opt-in landing page (test it now).

Notice also that True Citrus is driving those folks who have just been unsubscribed to its Facebook page. I like it. If you can’t have them as an email subscriber, why not keep ’em as a Facebook fan/like?

According to McGarry, anyone who receives Email #3 and does not open or click-through within 14 days will be officially marked as unsubscribed.

What do you think about this approach? Have you tried something similar? If so, what were your results? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!


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5 Responses to "The Re-Engagement Email Part 2: True Citrus Campaign"
  1. andrewkordek says:

    I would be curious as to how Email 2 and 3 perform as well as why the decision was made to have the customers opt back into the program. Was there consideration to test the opt out option and get a sense of ongoing engagement in the months to come?

    Andrew Kordek
    Co-Founder, Trendline Interactive, A Strategic Email Marketing Agency.

  2. Bill Kaplan says:

    What a well thought out and
    creative re-engagement program! I’m sure that those True Citrus subscribers who
    get an opportunity to read these emails will respond favorably if they have any
    continued interest in True Citrus’s products.

    Unfortunately, the vast
    majority of the emails in this re-engagement program will fall on deaf ears as
    most inactives/nonresponders are the result of emails being delivered to
    inboxes no one is reading any more. With roughly 30% of email addresses
    changing each year, it’s easy to see how quickly these numbers add up. To reconnect
    with these former customers/subscribers, True Citrus should utilize an ECOA
    (Email Change of Address) service, which will provide guaranteed deliverable
    email address updates at their customers’ preferred email accounts.

    For more information on
    re-engaging customers lost to inactive accounts, the following article might be
    of interest: – pay particular attention to the section
    titled “After a Re-engagement Campaign, What’s Next?”

    Kudos to WhatCounts and True
    Citrus for developing a terrific re-engagement program with an aggressive offer
    and just the right amount of levity. I’m sure this will pay for itself many
    times over in the end.

  3. Pallab Kakoti says:

    Good read, effective suggestions & will surely try ’em!

  4. VJ Agrawal says:

    Excellent article on re-engagement- I would like to add up though that before setting up any re-engagement campaign all emails must be verified. Also, if you are not a savvy/experienced techie leave this task to the experts. Nowadays filters are so strong that your IP address could be compromised (I’ve learned it the hard way). There are lots of validation services out there and I have tested them all; some are good others not so good… In my case being responsible of a large database I have chosen, because they have a very simple yet strong business model. They have made my life much easier as I only have to upload my email list/database and they take care of everything. Again, verify your email list DON”T DO IT YOURSELF, no matter the provider you end up using just do it. You won’t regret it!
    Kudos to Sarah for putting together thus excellent material explaining such an important subject.

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