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Having inactive recipients on your mailing list cannot only effect the reporting of your email campaign, but can also lead to deliverability problems; as some ISPs are beginning to use engagement as a metric when looking at the reputation of a sender in order to filter mail.

It might be easier to ignore the recipients who have emotionally unsubscribed, but these recipients are costing you money to send to, diluting your open and click figures, and putting you at risk of being marked as spam or sending to spam trap addresses. By sending a re-activation campaign this can help reactivate dormant subscribers, encouraging them to start interacting with your emails again, as well as allowing you to get rid of all the dead wood.

Creating your re-activation campaign

How do you define inactive?
Firstly you need to define what makes a recipient inactive, this will differ depending on the type and frequency of emails you are sending out. Is an inactive recipient someone who hasn’t opened or clicked on your email in the past 6 months, or a recipient who hasn’t purchased in the last 12.

Create a number of re-activation campaigns
Don’t just remove your inactive recipients without trying to win them back first. Create a number of re-activation campaigns in order to do this. Let the recipient know what they have been missing out on; if relevant include an incentive to act, such as an offer.

Send the campaign more than once; giving the recipient the chance to start interacting with your emails again, they may have been out of the office the first time round.

In your final re-activation campaign, make sure you inform the recipient what you are going to do next e.g. no longer send to them.

By removing the inactive recipients from your list, will give you much more accurate reporting metrics. Don’t just do it as a one off though, make it a regular occurrence in order to keep your database clean and up to date. Also consider what you are going to send to these recipients, in order to keep them active, so in 6 months time they do not appear on the inactive list again.

If you would like any further information on how you should conduct your re-activation campaign please contact your strategy consultant at

Jenna Lovell, Client Strategy Executive