And for the people who don’t seem to be excited about the new book, or your newsletter, or even you? The ones who don’t open, click, or reply? First, you try to bring them back into the fold: re-engagement.

All engagement is really about re-engagement. The problem is the people who are simply not opening your emails. You’ve got them, we all do; the key is to try to weed those people out whenever possible. If you can’t get them to open an email, out they go. The interval is up to you, of course, but I try to re-engage and purge twice a year.

There are specific methods to re-engage people who have fallen by the wayside, and they’re actually not the same ones that you use to keep month-to-month engagement with the section of your list that’s responsive. 

The most important part of your re-engagement campaign? Writing absolutely irresistible subject lines.

Remember, you’re dealing with non-openers, so you absolutely cannot rely on the content of the newsletter to do the work of re-engaging. Make your subject lines relevant to the content inside. Make them catchy. Give people a reason to open—a benefit or surprise or mystery. Ask a question. If you can get a very short quote from a testimonial, those work great. (There’s a whole section on this in the book.)

The subject line needs to make it clear that there is something really good inside, and that it’s not going to cost them a cent. It’s that simple. Make them absolutely have to open, and give them a really great freebie that no sane person could resist clicking on. (My romance pen name does a bouncy-box giveaway for a Nora Roberts 4-book box set, for example. That’s something like a 50-dollar value.)

If they click, great. They move on to the next part of the sequence, and no more freebies for them. The next email can offer an inexpensive book, even 99 cents if you’ve got one to offer or know of one you can recommend, but you aren’t going to send any more freebies to this campaign. The freebie was solely to get their attention; now that you have it, you’re going to determine if this is the sort of person who ever clicks on something that might cost them money. If they don’t click on your next few emails, don’t open them, or didn’t even open the first one, they’re deadbeats and they have to go.

And what if you’re the reason they’re not engaged? Unlikely but always possible. There are a few different ways you can turn off your list and get you a lot of unsubscribes. Some people will stay on the list, hoping that it might be good again.

If you have existing lists like this—ones that are fallow or that you haven’t been treating right—you re-engage them like any other non-opener. But once they’ve opened that first re-engagement email, you want to shift them into a short little sequence (similar to your onboarding sequence) where you re-orient them to you, your books, and your newsletter; and where you make it clear that this newsletter is about to become awesome, so they should give you another chance. 

Treat it like any other relationship you screwed up: say you’re sorry, try to fix it, and then move on if you have to, wiser and determined never to make that mistake again.


This is old hat at this point but answer these questions:

  • Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
  • What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?
  • What can you do differently?
  • What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
  • What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?
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vitoz1511
vitoz1511
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
They only wanted a free book.

What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?
I need to make more interesting opening hooks to catch their attention.

What can you do differently?
Stop selling. Share questions they have to answer

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
Finishing reading? Now lets cook a great meal.
What are you reading?
Net Flex turns a lot of book into movies and series. Have you seen one?

Jennifer Baylor
Jennifer Baylor
3 years ago

Did anyone have a look at the links in the forum for Subject Line resources? There are formulas and top subject lines – but I find them very cheese-y. Obviously they work – similar headlines are all over the internet (Try this one trick….). But, if we are trying to connect on a more personal level and develop superfans – would these types of subject lines truly work?

I have no newsletter yet. What about others? Thoughts?

David
David
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.

They are too busy/receive too many emails. Basically I haven’t atttracted their attention.

What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?

I haven’t involved them enough in what I am doing

What can you do differently?
Involve them in my historical research and writing process. Involve them in reading other historical novels and commenting on them. Involvement seems to be the key word

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?

I don’t know the answers to these because I haven’t tried very hard! Not yet. But I will.
So far I have only thought of series specific subject lines, but this is what interests me not what Interests them,

Teresa
Teresa
3 years ago

I don’t have a list so I’ll treat these questions as what to keep an eye on. It seems like I should try to be consistent in my newsletter release schedule, and keep an eye on what’s in it for them. I like the idea someone mentioned about having a consistent template because I think that will help me make a better newsletter.

Jojo
Jojo
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
I think there are a few reasons – and one of them is inconsistency.
Also- most .of the subs were from BookSweeps contests.

What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?
Not personally engaging them – asking questions to elicit a response.

What can you do differently?
1. Consistent emails.
2. Personal engagement – sharing something personal (recipe, picture, video, story)
3. Ask a question.

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
I always come up with the subject lines- I use fun takes on movies, song titles or common sayings.

What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?

I think sharing their personal side – is key.

Marina Finlayson
Marina Finlayson
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one. I have four series out now. I think some subscribers joined when they were reading a particular series, but lost interest after that series wrapped. That’s part of it. The other part is me–I haven’t been consistent about sending emails. There have been long gaps between newsletters at times (including the current five-month gap), which gives people plenty of time to forget about me.

What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them? I’ve been too reticent, tried to keep to “just the book news”. I only realised recently that I’m the product, not the books. Some of my newsletters are intriguing and fun, but not enough of them.

What can you do differently? Be more interesting and personable and less sales-y. I need to get over the feeling that I’m bothering people. It makes me keep my emails short and to the point. I need to be chattier and more relaxed.

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?) I think they like the more imaginative ones. Rather than “Book Title is out!” something like “Midnight Assassins and Zombie Hamsters!” to describe the book. Or, at least, I like those ones better!

What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like? I want to give them the grand plan for the upcoming books in the current universe, which some of them have been asking about. I want to give them a map of the world, some fascinating research info, some excerpts to tease the next book and get them excited for it (as well as the cover reveal). I want to remind them to download the free story that’s set in this world, which not many of them did when I first told them about it, but it’s more relevant now as it’s direct backstory for the next book. And I need to start all that with apologies for neglecting them so long and some explanation of how this book’s been kicking my ass but I’m nearly there now and the extra time means it’s going to be amazing.

LeighDuncan
LeighDuncan
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.

Like Tameri, I’m not sure what constitutes an “open”. My opening rates certainly aren’t reflected in the Mail Chimp statistics because I get a lot of responses from subscribers who, according to MC, haven’t opened the email they are responding to. For instance, I recently offered an autographed bookmark to any subscriber who emailed me their snail mail addy. Of the 50+ responses I received, at least half of them had not “opened” the email, according to MC. Someone told me that MC doesn’t count it as opened if a subscriber scrolls through an email on a mobile device. Is that true???

What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?

Planned changes include recipes and reviews of other authors’ books, better subject lines.

What can you do differently?

I’m giving my newsletter a whole new look with more consistent branding as I move it over from MC to ML. Reducing my emphasis on “buy” to a more friendly, chatty approach.

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)

Oh, boy. If I knew the answer to that, I’d already be doing it. I was sort of hoping to learn that in this class but it appears it’s something I’m going to have to come up with on my own. 🙁 A fellow writer recommends running any headline through a headline analyzer to gauge emotional content an appeal. I’ve been using this one: https://www.aminstitute.com/headline/index.htm and still have difficulty coming up with headlines that score above 40 (she recommends a minimum of 60).

What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?

An excellent question that I don’t have an answer for.

Marina Finlayson
Marina Finlayson
3 years ago
Reply to  LeighDuncan

That headline analyser is fun! I ran a few of my past subject lines through it and I couldn’t get above 40 either. It seems to favour shorter ones.

David Penny
David Penny
3 years ago

I love this analyzer too – already bookmarked. And not boasting, well, only a little, but I managed to get 50% on my first try – “How many people is too many to kill before lunch?” Go figure.

Marina Finlayson
Marina Finlayson
3 years ago
Reply to  David Penny

LOL. That’s a great headline. Obviously I need to be more bloodthirsty!

Jennifer Baylor
Jennifer Baylor
3 years ago
Reply to  LeighDuncan

That’s a great resource – thanks for the analyzer link. I was hoping to have a better handle on subject lines and newsletter templates.

TaraSaunders
TaraSaunders
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?

I’ve been speaking to them as though they’re up to date on my series, whereas most of my list come from BookFunnel and haven’t even read the first book yet. I need to either engage them with me as a writer to make them feel like they want to read my work (this has worked on me from other writers whose newsletters I enjoy) or kick them to the curb.

What can you do differently?
Broaden each email’s focus so that it tantalises about a situation/character rather than referring to it as a known quantity.

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
My subject lines all read very similarly. I need to do some testing to switch it up.

What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?
Backstory shorts or scenes from between the novels always go down well, and these are quick and easy to write. I need to do more of them.

Tom Sweeney
Tom Sweeney
3 years ago

This is old hat at this point but answer these questions:
It’s not old hat to me. In fact, the first three questions don’t even apply yet as i have no list at this point.

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?
What can you do differently?

I’m copying and pasting this lesson into a Word doc to look at down the road when I have a re-engagment problem.

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
I read a few travel advice/helpful tips newsletters and they are big on numbers. “5 Things You Must Bring on a Road Trip.” “Ten Items You Think You Need in Your Travel Bag But Really Don’t. And Why.” “7 Things to Do to Make Your TSA Inspection Go Smoother.”
Whether these will go over with y subscribers I won’t know until I look at open rates and maybe do some A/B testing once I have enough subscribers to test.


What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?

Like the first three questions, I need more…some…data on subscribers before being able to answer this.

Tameri Etherton
Tameri Etherton
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
I think a lot of my non-opens came in on list builders. The problem is, when I segment a group for any non-opens, there are people on the list who not only have opened, but have clicked. I just checked on this and found three of the first ten who had at least opened – even when one of my parameters was, ‘Never Opened Any Campaign’. How do I find true non-openers when the ems isn’t giving reliable information (this was on ActiveCampaign, I was trying to sort the non-opens so I can then re-engage on MailerLite).

What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them?
My subject lines are so-so and I do too many asks (even if it’s not for my book). I think my newsletters look too ‘salesy’ even though I try hard not to make them salesy. 🙁

What can you do differently?
Not make them salesy! Really look at the content I’m sending and for every one, ask myself what value I’m providing the subscriber.

What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?)
I need clicky subject lines and thus far, this has been one of my weak points.
I’m thinking something like TV episode subject lines might work: The one where the dragon ate the donut, The flying squirrel incident, etc. Hmm, I’m not sure about those and if I could keep it going forever. It might make me crazy.
Obviously, I need to work harder at this. I DO know I’m going to start adding emojis to my subject lines!

What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?
**How do you set up the Nora Roberts thing for your re-engagement? And what’s a bouncy box???
Riffing off your NR idea, I think a Game of Thrones type thing would be fantastic. Or Holly Black, or Sarah J Maas or a bunch of other authors in the fantasy/urban fantasy sphere.
The next few emails would look similar to my onboarding, but without the freebies. More of a getting to know me again sequence that goes a little more in depth- perhaps about the process or about the books, not sure yet.

crisgoode
crisgoode
3 years ago

Look at your open rates. Those folks who aren’t opening — why? Really dig for this one.
Could be anything from vacation to they are too busy, to they are uninterested, to they are simply dead weight.
What are you doing or not doing that hasn’t made your emails appealing to them? I have not made it interesting enough to open.
What can you do differently? Work on my subject lines.
What are some subject lines that would really kill it with your crowd? (If you don’t know, WHY don’t you know?) <ol
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What could you give them that would be irresistible, and what would your next few emails look like?
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