How to Craft Effective Subject Lines for Re-Engagement Emails

8 August 2023
Reading: 2 min

Even if your marketing emails are informative and exciting, you may encounter the common issue of inactive subscribers. These are users who have signed up to receive your newsletters but do not actively open or interact with them. While this is a normal occurrence, it can have negative implications, such as: 

  • reduced sales conversion; 
  • potential impact on deliverability; 
  • increased email marketing costs. 

It’s important to address these issues, as most email marketing software providers charge fees based on the size of your subscriber list.

Regular validation of your email list is a best practice for work with inactive subscribers, but it is also worth attempting to re-engage inactive users before taking further action. To maximize the effectiveness of your re-engagement campaign, it is crucial to craft a compelling email subject line. In this article, we will discuss how to do that.

How to Craft Effective Subject Lines for Re-Engagement Emails

Crafting Re-Engagement Email Subject Lines

So, what are the key elements of a strong subject line for re-engagement emails?

  • Clarity. While it is fine to be creative with your email subject line, clarity should never be compromised. The subject line serves as an opportunity to re-engage inactive subscribers, and if it is unclear, the chances of improving the situation and encouraging the reader to interact with your brand again are slim.
  • Conciseness. Optimal subject line length ranges from 6 to 10 words, as longer subject lines are more likely to be truncated. However, even with a shorter length, there is still a possibility of being cut off on mobile devices. So, it is better to place important keywords at the beginning of the subject line.
  • Personalization. Incorporating the recipient’s name or tailoring the subject line to offer a personalized incentive based on their previous activity or purchase history can greatly enhance engagement.
  • Urgency. Use words that convey a sense of urgency to motivate recipients to take immediate action.

How to Craft Effective Subject Lines for Re-Engagement Emails

Working on content

Now that we have identified the key factors to consider when assessing an engaging email subject line, let’s shift our focus to the content itself. Here are some ideas, which can be useful for you. 

Highlight the value they’re missing out on

The fear of missing out (FOMO) can be a powerful motivator. Leverage this by emphasizing the tangible benefits that inactive subscribers may be missing out on due to their lack of engagement. Craft subject lines that explicitly highlight the real advantages they could be enjoying if they were more active. 

Example: “Catch Up on What You’ve Missed, [Name]”.

Remind them why they subscribed

Your inactive subscribers initially signed up for your newsletter with a specific purpose in mind, and you can allude to that in the subject line. Remind them of the challenges they sought to overcome or the solutions they were looking for when they subscribed. 

Example: “Let’s Reconnect and Help You Achieve Your Goals”.

Elicit reflection with thought-provoking questions

Engaging inactive subscribers can be achieved by posing well-crafted questions that resonate with their experiences. By doing so, you not only increase the likelihood of capturing their attention and getting them to open your email, but also have the opportunity to gather valuable feedback from these subscribers.

Example: “What a Weird Thing! Have You Seen This?”.

Demonstrate empathy

Subscribers may become inactive due to various reasons such as shifting priorities, personal challenges, or simply life getting in the way. When re-engaging with these subscribers, showing empathy can make you stand out in their inbox. Acknowledging and understanding their circumstances can help foster a stronger connection and increase the chances of re-engagement.

Provide an exclusive discount

To re-engage subscribers who have been inactive for a while, offer something extraordinary. Users often scan their inboxes for current discounts, so providing an exclusive discount can be an effective way to capture their attention and encourage them to engage with your emails once again. 

Example: “We’ve Missed You! Enjoy a 15% Discount on All Items”. 

Avoid Misleading Promises

When crafting your email subject line, it is crucial to uphold honesty and avoid distorting the truth simply to increase open rates and clicks. Making false promises can lead to a decline in open rates as readers lose trust in your brand.

How to Craft Effective Subject Lines for Re-Engagement Emails

Digital Device Communication Connection Working Concept


The subject lines of reactivation emails hold significant importance in reviving the inactive segment of your subscriber base. If these subject lines are weak, the content of the email becomes meaningless as it fails to capture attention and remains unopened. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize this aspect and give it the attention it deserves. Best of luck with your email marketing endeavors!

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