How to Sell to People Who Stop Opening Your Emails

Do you have a low open rate when it comes to emails? Use this guide to sell to the people on your email list who don’t even open your emails.

The Limitations of the Email List 

Digital branders and marketers often put a lot of effort into their email lists. When it comes to email lists, the bigger the better! 

However, it is also a known fact that only about 3 out of every 10 people on your email list will open those emails at all.  

While it is an accomplishment in itself to have a large email list, it is no secret that 70-80% of the people on that list are ignoring you. And you want to get their attention. 

So, what can you do? Use this handy guide to engage dormant users and rake in the benefits of an engaged customer base.   

SEE ALSO: 5 Ways to Upgrade Your Email Signature to Increase Sales

Why Aren’t People Opening Your Emails? 


So, before you can fix this issue, you have to understand why it’s happening. It largely comes down to spam filters. So, what makes spam filters flag or not flag your emails? 

  • How many people open it 
  • How many replies you get 
  • Whether your email is added to address books or not 
  • People deleting your emails without opening them 
  • People putting your emails in their junk folder  

So, if 70-80% of people are treating your emails as spam, the system will think your emails are spam, and the people who want to receive and open them will be less likely to. Therefore, you need to fix this ASAP.   

SEE ALSO: How to Make Your Email More Visible in Gmail

Bring Your Email List Back To Life In 5 Steps 

Here is how to bring those zombies on your email list back to life! 

engage email list

Step 1: Figure Out Dormant Users 

Before you can engage with your unresponsive audience, you need to know who they are. Once you send out emails, pick a segment of time of unresponsiveness that defines people as zombies.  

For example: Say you send out 3 emails a week. If you have no responses from someone for 3 months, you might decide to classify them as a zombie.  

All email marketing services allow you to segment your list based on the last time a person opened an email from you. So, once you figure out who is dormant, be sure to send those people, and only those people, an e-mail to inspire them to re-engage.  

Here are some examples of quality re-engagement emails to get you started. 

After you send a re-engagement email, you will get some responses. Be sure to remove these people from your zombie list.  

Remove all of the leads who did not respond. Download them to a separate list, which you will save to a separate server. Furthermore, don’t keep them in your responsive email list. 

When you do this, it means that you will have higher overall engagement and open rates on your good email list. 

Now, what about all those zombies?  

Step 2: The Zombie Server 

Many companies will not want to host your zombies, so you might have to take a look around. This is because your zombie server will have a terrible delivery rate, as it is full of zombies.  

However, once you have identified and separated your zombies from your active email list, you can begin to strategically engage with them. 

Step 3: Bringing The Dead Back To Life 

It is actually far less time consuming to manage your zombie list than your list of active users.  

Send only about a third of the emails you send to your active users to your zombies. To get them engaged, include offers of value in your emails. These can include: 

  • Free PDFs 
  • Free courses 
  • Prizes 
  • Invites to giveaways 
  • Competition opportunities  
  • Discounts 

Here is an example of a portion of an email sent to a zombie user from the food-waste fighting produce delivery service Hungry Harvest. They offer both a deal to the dormant user and say that they will give the office dog a treat if the dormant user returns. 

Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, or even offer them holiday or birthday deals and opportunities. People love getting birthday and holiday gifts. Sephora is one company that is famous for offering customers especially amazing birthday gifts

Step 4: Turning Zombies Into Buyers 

It comes down to not being afraid to send multiple emails or try different approaches. Therefore, you want to know what functions the different parts of your email will have so you can strategically tweak thing as needed. 

  • Subject Line: Gets people to open your email 
  • Email Copy: Gets people to click on the link in the email 
  • Sales Page: Gets people to buy 

Your emails do not directly sell things. They create enough desire or curiosity that people click the links in them, which lead them to your site to buy things. 

If one tactic doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to branch out and try others.  

SEE ALSO: Step Up Your Onboarding Email Strategy

Step 5: Repeat 

If you follow all of these steps, you will definitely re-engage some dormant users on your email list. Once you have brought zombies back to life, move them from your zombie server to your nice list. Also be sure to comb your nice list for new zombies. 

You want to keep on top of this with regular maintenance. Monthly email list audits might be a good place to start.  

Of course, some people will never engage with your content. If someone on your zombie list has not engaged with any of your content in months, you should delete them.

There is no reason to spend time and effort on people who have been ignoring your emails for months and months. You want to focus on current and potential customers, not zombies. 

The Ins And Outs Of Bringing Email List Zombies Back To Life 

Ultimately, when it comes to getting the most out of your email list, and sorting out active users from inactive ones, there are definitely some better approaches to take than others. 

For one, if you don’t know exactly who is engaging with your content and who is not, you cannot target and interact with these groups in the right way.

Sending active users emails that address them as if they have not been answering your emails will seem unprofessional and odd. 

Also, while you want to do your best to get your zombies re-engaged with your content, you also need to be realistic about when to let a dead contact go. There is no point in focusing on users on your email list who have not opened your emails in months or years. 

So, do these 5 things to help increase your email engagement rate and help your business thrive: 

  1. Figure out who your email list zombie users are 
  2. Separate them from your active users 
  3. Target them with specific content to pique their interest 
  4. Try a few different strategies 
  5. Maintain your zombie list by removing reactivated users, adding new zombies, and deleting longtime inactive users from it regularly

What most entices you to open emails from businesses? Comment below…

Written by
Juntae DeLane

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