This story is about the very embarrassing #fail I made with MY OWN newsletter

I made a Big mistake. What happened?

Much like the plumber with leaky pipes…. I didn’t send out an email to my list for a very long time.

It was bad. No… it was terrible. and I feel like the worst marketer that ever lived because of it. (maybe not the absolute worst, but it felt too close to call.)

Honestly, I am *quite* embarrassed about it.

Everyone subscribing to my newsletter either knows me personally or loves email marketing / making a lot of money. And I am supposed to give advice on how to combine the two (being an email marketing consultant and all). Then I turn around and display the absolute worst example.

So bring out the pitchforks, townspeople!


Trying to redeem myself.. I sat down and wrote a down all ideas I had to start sending again after being away for a long time. It is called re-engagement and it’s a thing. Here are my best, and I think you will like #3 most (because it gives the most value).

1. Ignore that it was a long time ago and just start sending again

That might be a valid option for a company – especially if there is enough other things to highlight. Might get a few strange looks though, as people wouldn’t remember signing up. And get a bunch of unsubscribes. For me, though that would be missing an opportunity to address a common problem amongst email marketers – getting out of touch or on a very low frequency. What is a good email frequency anyway? (It won’t be 6.21 emails per week for me).

2. Start building anticipation for next emails

This is actually quite good. Step over the past and look at the future, there is a lot coming up. Because if someone is opening the email they are already “re-engaged”, in part. As X (still have to look up who said that, who was that again?) says “Your goal for your newsletter is to make them open the next one”.

So what is there to look forward to? There are plans for:
* Offering more email marketing whitepapers through this site (!)
* Some very cool start-up tactics you can use for your email marketing.
* Send an invitation to take a trip around the world with me.
* Online email testing and optimisation Masterclass.
* How I gathered more than 500 new opt-ins in 3 minutes. (yes, that is more than 2 per second)
* New, unique research and stats on consumer email behavior.
* An article on Augmented reality and email
* Next to helping you select email and automation software, also giving some pretty hefty discounts on them.

At the same time, you want a “teaser” to be more than a flat announcement of what is coming up. And there is more than enough to share from the last months…. so

3. Give the Best of what you got, a reverse we missed you.

This is the reverse of a “We missed you” type reactivation email. Create an email with the articles they have missed. Sort of like a “best of” album. Of course, you have to have a few best of articles up your sleeve. Not like the best of would actually be just one song (called Ice Ice baby). I like the idea of overloading subscribers with value.


So here are the great articles and resources you probably missed:

The ultimate marketing automation guide
This pretty awesome collection of 60+ full-length articles with the answers to Marketing Automation Questions you never knew you had.

Outlook & Interview on what is next for email marketing (at MailUp)

Driving Maximum Customer engagement (at Sleeknote)

Radical article on email segmentation (right here!)

Want more? Ok, but these aren’t my own. (but I wish they were)
Psychological Hacks For A Better Email Marketing Experience (by Hive)

4. Do a mea-culpa and explain why

There wasn’t actually any good reason to not send any mailings for me (and most people), to be honest. It is not like sending a newsletter takes a lot of time to create. Pam can write a newsletter in 90 minutes. The problem wasn’t content either. I have been publishing content, blogs and articles. But most importantly – I think Nobody is actually going to care about the reasons and fake rationalization, next to a “I-feel-so-bad-for-you-shared-emotion” so that is a terrible idea.


5. Set low expectations – retroactively

Setting lower expectations will allow you to wow your audience. But does that work with frequency as well? Something like: The new normal is one email per year, haven’t you heard? Chris Penn does this with his “Almost timely newsletter” – I think that is quite a great name. But shouldn’t you set expectations beforehand? Turns out you don’t. But my intention is not to lower expectations, that would just be an excuse for lagging.

6. A reference to fact that I was thinking of sending my newsletter, personalised

Something like (a photo of) a ridiculous long to-do list or even an email marketing bucket list.
Another idea would be a dynamic image with their own name on it, inside the email, post-it on the wall next to my desk.


7. Make the whole email with articles about re-engagement

That would be pretty meta, and I kind of like the idea. There are quite some good articles about re-engagement, mostly showing examples.

You can check out:

How To Write and Send Re-Engagement Emails at Getvero
12 Re-engagement Email Campaign Examples (+34 Subject Lines) at Automizy
9 re-engagement emails that won us over for good at Myemma

that plays to the point, you are able to create a very good newsletter through curated content.

8. Segment and conquer

To make the message better, more impactful, we could look at how to best make use of email marketing segmentation . So if I am talking about the lack of sending newsletters/reactivation the power-play would be to only select the people that didn’t interact with for a while. So, for instance, they just signed up the other day, there wouldn’t be any “noticeable problem” and could send a different email.

But also engagement on social or website would count. So that can be seen as an eRFM. Engagement, Recency, and Frequency, Monetary value and interactions on other sites with articles or meeting them at a conference. If it was for a company, interaction like purchases (the monetary) would work. The other side of the coin: Just be inclusive and make the content of the email interesting for a bigger group

9. Offer a bribe

This seems to be a trend in marketing, bribing people into liking you (again) or at least try to. I don’t know. What would it take to make you happy?

10. Ask for a re-opt in

That would just be silly. All the addresses are double opt-in and the moment someone is actually opening the email, they are already – partially – engaging with your email. The re-optin would be a consideration if you were planning to say goodbye to a part of your email list. Like a Hail Mary message and/or if it needed to be vetted because quality is a concern. Nope. Definitely on my list of email marketing no-no’s.

11. Write down all the ideas I had and make it into a blog post, then mail that to my list

See what I did there?

How to reactivate your email list and re-engage your subscribers

Read more: