How to re-engage an old email list

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Learn how you can re-engage an old email list, with contacts that may no longer be active. 

It is important to focus on engaged sending for your brand to maintain a strong sender reputation, but there may be cases where you want to reach out to an older, less-engaged list. 

When reaching out to older lists, you may have the opportunity to win back profiles that have not engaged with your brand in some time; however, always be cautious when contacting older lists to protect your deliverability.

Before you begin 

Before sending to an old list, you should consider:

  1. Whether you need to send to this list
  2. Why your brand is choosing to do this now
  3. Who exactly you’re engaging with 

Emails that have not engaged for over a year are generally considered unengaged, and sending to them can put your deliverability at risk. The steps outlined in this guide help minimize the impact of re-engaging old profiles on your deliverability, but consider suppressing or deleting these profiles if it is not necessary to contact them. 

Identify profiles that may not be worth reaching out to

With old email lists, it is important to use the data you have available to determine whether contacts are worth attempting to win back. If an email has not interacted with your brand in over a year, it may not be worth sending to them again. Attempting to re-engage high-risk contacts can lead to sending reputation and deliverability issues. 

You can use segments in Klaviyo to identify which customers on your list have not had recent engagement with your store. To identify profiles on your list that have not had any recent engagements on your store, you can use the following segment: 

  • If someone is or is not in a list > is in Old Contact List
  • What someone has done (or not done) > Placed Order zero times in the last 365 days
  • What someone has done (or not done) > Active on Site zero times in the last 365 days
  • What someone has done (or not done) > Opened Email zero times in the last 365 days
    where Apple Privacy Open = false
  • What someone has done (or not done) > Clicked Email zero times in the last 365 days

Segment of inactive contacts on old contact list

You can suppress these profiles, as they have not interacted with your brand in a year, and are unlikely to engage with future sends. 

Clean out any potentially invalid emails 

If you plan on contacting an old list, you should remove any potentially invalid emails. Depending on how long it’s been since you last contacted this list, consider removing any organizational emails in the list as these emails are more likely to be inactive now.

Another way to clean out your list is to make use of a list cleaning service. We recommend third-party deliverability tools such as Kickbox for this.

Retarget these contacts through other means

Before you start sending to this list, you can make use of third-party targeted advertising channels to rebuild brand awareness. Klaviyo has integrations with advertisers like Facebook and Google Ads to facilitate this, where you can target older contacts through their services. 

Split up your list

As the contacts in your list are old and have not engaged with your brand in a while, you should not contact them all at the same time. 

You can take advantage of Klaviyo’s batch sending feature to split your email send into smaller batches and send over a length of time. With larger lists, it is recommended to break them down into multiple smaller lists, and include sends to engaged contacts in between re-engagement attempts. 

You can export your old contact list so you can split it up, and then reupload the smaller lists into Klaviyo to create these smaller groups. 

Re-engage profiles 

If you have an old list of contacts that have not heard from you in some time, they might have forgotten about your brand. The content you send to this old list should re-introduce your brand and try to grab the subscribers attention.

You should not include your old contact list as part of your usual sends to engaged profiles, and instead focus on re-engagement efforts.

Sunset flow

You can use a sunset flow based on your old list as a final effort to re-engage profiles, and then delete or suppress anyone who is not responsive. This will prevent you from sending to unengaged or invalid emails going forward, while giving interested subscribers an opportunity to demonstrate they would still like to receive emails from your brand. 

While sunset flows are typically triggered by a segment, you can use your old contact list as the flow trigger in this case to re-engage profiles on that specific list

Re-engagement campaign 

A re-engagement campaign is similar to a sunset flow, but is a one-off email rather than a sequence of emails. You can send a re-engagement campaign to the customers on your old list to give them an opportunity to engage with your brand, and suppressing those that do not engage.

Clean your list 

After attempting to re-engage contacts on your list and suppressing the profiles that do not engage, you should periodically clean your list going forward as well. List cleaning is key to maintaining good deliverability and making sure your emails land in recipients' inboxes, as your list will be filled with contacts that are regularly engaging with your sends. 

Additional resources 

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