What to do if you’ve ghosted your email list

April 22, 2022

Wake up an email list you’ve neglected with this simple re-engagement strategy.

Janet Murray Courageous Content Podcast Headshot

Have you been ghosting your email subscribers?

It’s been so long since you’ve been in touch – it’s embarrassing.

So even if you were to send an email – you’d have no idea what to say (or whether your subscribers still want to hear from you).

In this episode of the Courageous Content Podcast, I’ll share a simple strategy you can use to re-engage your email list – even if you feel like a stranger.

Is it possible to re-engage an email list you’ve neglected?


But you need to get started today.

Because every day that goes by where you don’t email your list makes it harder to ‘wake’ up your email subscribers.

Dark blue background with white text on top that reads: What to do if you've ghosted your email list as it leads to a podcast / blog about a three step strategy to reingage your email list. Below the text, there's a cute, white ghost with pink eyes and a pink smile.

How to re-engage your email subscribers

The best way to re-engage your email subscribers when you’ve neglected your list is to email them.

But if you haven’t emailed your list for a while (or may not at all) you may be concerned people won’t open your emails. Or that they’ll unsubscribe from your list – because they don’t remember signing up in the first place.

It is a valid concern. If you haven’t emailed your list for a number of months – people may not remember who you are – or why they signed up for your list.

That’s why it’s important to send a sequence of emails that are specifically designed to re-engage your list – aka a re-engagement or ‘resurrection’ sequence.

The 3 emails you need to send to ‘wake up’ your email list

If you haven’t emailed your list for a while, this will almost certainly have impacted the deliverability of your emails i.e. the likelihood your emails will actually hit peoples’ inboxes.

If you need to ‘wake up’ your email list, your priority should be to get people interested in your content again. So you don’t just want people to open your emails, you also want them to take action i.e. click the links in your emails.

This is why I recommend sending a series of 3 emails – over the course of a week or so – that are designed to get your subscribers to take action e.g. clicking or replying to you.

If you haven’t been emailing your list, it’s best not to ‘gloss over it’ or make excuses. In fact, acknowledging it can be a way to build a rapport with your audience. You can even joke about feeling like a ‘bad friend’ or being embarrassed about not getting in touch.

There is a template for a three-part email re-engagement sequence in my Courageous Launch Content Kit but here’s a summary.

In the first email, acknowledge that you haven’t been keeping in touch as regularly and explain that you want to change that and offer a free resource/download.

As with any email lead magnet, it needs to be something that solves a problem for your email subscribers e.g. a free template or checklist that will save them time or money.

Subscribers who download your freebie can be moved into a nurture sequence of emails – a specific set of follow up emails linked to that particular resource.

But remember you don’t need email automation to do any of this – the strategy is more important than having fancy email marketing software. So unless you have a large email list, you really don’t need to worry.

In your second email, try another strategy to get people to click. If you use email marketing software – and have the ‘know-how’ to set it up – you can list 3-5 topics you are thinking of covering and invite subscribers to share which they would find most useful. If not, you can simply ask people to email you back.

In your final email (for those who haven’t opened email 1 or 2 and/or have opened but haven’t taken action) invite people to unsubscribe. Share some of the topics you are planning to cover in the coming weeks/months and invite them to unsubscribe if they are no longer interested in hearing from you.

How to avoid ‘ghosting’ your email subscribers in the future

It’s up to do what you decide to do at the end of your re-engagement sequence.

Personally, I would remove subscribers who haven’t opened/engaged with any emails – but it really is up to you. Just be aware that it’s better to have a tiny list of people who actually engage with your emails than a large list of those who don’t – both from a deliverability and a sales perspective.

And make sure you put measures in place to avoid wasting time and money. Because building an email list can be costly – both in terms of your time and the resources involved. If you have invested in advertising the costs can be even higher.

  • Set a regular time/day to email your list (once a week is do-able)
  • Invite subscribers to opt-out out in every single email
  • Put ‘list hygiene’ (i.e. removing inactive subscribers) on your calendar (I’d recommend once a month)

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