Use this 4-part email sequence to reengage your email list

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It’s time to reconnect with all those people who aren’t opening your emails. There’s a reason they signed up to your email list in the first hand, let’s remind them of it.


Talia: I have something to share that usually freaks people out. And that is every six months, I unsubscribe hundreds if not thousands of people from my list.

Ross: Wow.

Talia: I actually unsubscribed them.

Ross:  Every six months. That’s aggressive. How long have you been doing this first of all?

Talia: Well, I’ve been doing it for two years,

Ross: I’ve only subscribed people once in the past, and it was when my list was just getting too big and I was like, “Not everybody here is opening my emails. I’m going to prune this thing and get a better click through rate.” But it was like stressful. And you’re doing this every six months. Are you not thinking to yourself, “Look at all these opportunities I’m deleting.” You’re not thinking about that at all. You’re just like, “They’re gone. Bye Felicia. I don’t need to connect with you anymore.”

Talia: There is a process to it. I don’t just immediately go on to Drip and delete a bunch of people. There is a system. I call it the re-engagement sequence and it’s actually… I won’t lie to you, it’s very scary. Every time I do it, and I think I’ve done it like four times now, maybe four or five times now, I’m so scared. But I realized that every time I do it, the results are immediate and I’ll explain what this actually means.

The purpose of actually running a re-engagement sequence is to get people who aren’t engaging to come back. So it’s not about removing people from the list. The main thing is about grabbing those people who haven’t opened my emails and haven’t been engaging with us in over six months to come back and actually be active. And for those who continue to be unengaged, not opening our emails, to remove them. Scary move, but there’s a few reasons for this.

Why you need a re-engagement sequence

Reason number one, you do not want people on your list who don’t want to engage with you, who don’t want to open your emails. And the actual reason is very simple. They’re lowering your results. They’re actually decreasing your conversions. People who don’t want to engage with you, it means that they are not opening your emails, which means your open rate is going down. It means your click-through rate is plummeting. And it means that these people don’t want you in their inbox, which leads me to reason number two, is you don’t want them to eventually tag you as spam. I know a lot of people do this. That you get too many emails from someone, you don’t want them and you’re just like, “Okay, this is spam. I’m just going to delete it.” And then he tags you as a spammer. So you really don’t want people doing that.

Ross: True.

Talia: You want to also respect people and not spam their inbox. If they don’t want to hear from me, I don’t want to be in their inbox. I understand what it’s like to receive hundreds of emails a day and I don’t want to be one of those people that they look at their inbox and are like, “Oh, not this person again.” I just want to respect people’s inbox.

And at the end of the day, the most important reason for why you should be running this and why I do this is because I want to make sure that I have the most engaged people on my list. I want to make sure that the people I’m sending these emails to, they open them, they click through. And when I actually have offers to them, they’re going to buy because otherwise I don’t need them on my list just so that I can say, “Hey, I have 20,000 people person list.” I don’t need that. It’s not for bragging rights. I don’t care. I can actually say that my best launch ever till this day was when I had 1,400 people on my list.

Ross: Wow.

Talia: So it’s not about the numbers. It’s about having the right people on your list.

Ross: I think you’re right. There’s nothing I could argue with there. That’s just the facts of the reality. When it comes down to trying to maintain a high quality list, you don’t want people who aren’t going to engage with your emails, because what’s the point? If they’re seeing your subject lines, if they’re seeing your name in their inbox and they’re not clicking on it, that’s not really benefiting you. And if down the road, they forget like two years later that they did subscribe to you and then they tag your email as spam, that’s not going to be a good look because it’s going to reduce your deliverability rates eventually in… I don’t know if it’s an algorithm or whatever you want to call it amongst email providers, but it’s not going to be a good luck and it’s going to reduce your chances of getting additional opens in the future.

From that regards, I can 100% get it. I think it’s definitely a bit of a controversial topic for folks because nobody wants to see their lists go down. It’s kind of like when you see that you have new subscribers, it’s a happy feeling. So to know that you’re unsubscribing them is going to be difficult for people to get their head around, but I can definitely see the value of it. I definitely can see the benefits of it. We’ve done it again, like I said every year or so. We’re not as consistent with it like you’ve been, but I think it makes sense. I do feel like you’re going down the right path and the folks listening to this should consider it if they have a list and they want to make sure that they’re able to maintain it.

Let’s talk through the process before you hit that unsubscribe button. Before you take folks off of that list, what type of emails are you sending to them? What type of conversations are you having with them to actually set this up to ensure that you’re not unsubscribing somebody who does actually care? That obviously is going to be a fear that people would have as well. How do you make sure that that doesn’t happen?

The 4-step email sequence that re-engages email subscribers

Talia: 100% and I agree with you. As a reminder, the point here isn’t to unsubscribe people. My goal is to bring people back. I actually set up a six-week sequence. And the first thing that I do is create a new segment of people who haven’t opened any of their emails in the last six months. So these are people who have systematically haven’t opened any of their emails in the last six months. And then what I do is I set up an email sequence.

The first email that actually goes out to them is acknowledging the fact that they haven’t opened any of my emails in the past six months. I might not say six months because I don’t want to freak people out and actually kind of tell them that I’m spying on them, but acknowledging the fact that they haven’t opened any of my emails and sending them the top content that we have produced in those six months. So it’s essentially an email with four or five links to the best guides, workshops, webinars that we have created for free. And just telling them, “Here’s what you’ve missed. Check them out.” That’s the first email. So nothing about unsubscribing. Just easy easing into it.

Then the following week, I will send them an email asking them what content they would be interested in reading. And the idea here is acknowledging again, that I want to create content that they care about and I want to make sure that I am helping the purpose that they actually signed up for. So tell me what it is that you want to know, so I can create specific links for them to click on and tell me what they care about. Well, they can reply back to me and just say like, “Here’s what I would love to learn about.”

Ross:  Cool.

Talia: Then the third email is the email where I reach out and say, “So, should I take you off my list?” And that essentially is posing the question to them. What happens here is if someone opens the email where I say, “Hey, you haven’t opened any of my emails before,” they’re actually taken off the list because now they’re engaged. And if they didn’t open email number one and they opened email number two where asking them what kind of content they’re interested in, then they’re off that list. So it’s not as brutal as it seems and you can actually set it up according to clicks. So you could say, if they opened and clicked on one of the pieces of content, I acknowledge that maybe they opened the email and didn’t find something that they care about, or maybe they opened the email and unsubscribed, which I’m also very happy with them doing.

Talia: In the third email, I reach out and I basically say, “Should I take you off my list? Would you like to unsubscribe? Feel free. Here’s why.” And I explain what I said to you before, “I don’t want to spam. I don’t want you to feel that you’re not getting the results that you need.”

Talia: And lastly, email number four or five, depending on how many emails I’ve decided to send in the sequence is going to be, “I’m taking you off my list.” Now my emails are all filled with GIFs. I think the last GIF was Joey and Chandler hugging and kind of crying friends. But it is very humoristic, it’s very friendly, it’s relatable, and it’s simple. And I just say, “So I’m taking you off my list in the next few days. If you do want to stay on my list, that’s great, click here.” And I click on it and I know that they’re fine and they want to stay on my list, but that’s the sequence. I would say that it’s very simple. It’s not like, “Hey, if you don’t answer my email right now, I’m unsubscribing you [inaudible 00:09:06].”

Ross: Exactly. When it comes to that last email, like I’m taking you off my list, what happens when you send that? Do people respond well to it? Or have you seen people get upset at you? What’s been the typical response to that.

Talia:  I’ve had a lot of responses to email one and two where people are like, “Wait, thank you so much.” And people reaching out and saying, “Oh, this person isn’t working here anymore.” Or, “I do work here.” Or, “I changed things. I’m doing a different position now. Or, “I’d love to hear more about this.” So I get a lot of replies to email one and number two.

Talia: I have received some emails and some replies to email number three where I’m asking people, if they want me to take them off the list. But I realize now that when people receive email number four, which is, “Hey, I’m taking off my list,” most people don’t reply or I have had people say, “Thank you so much. I really appreciate your honesty and the fact that you are just-“

Ross: Cool.

Talia: “… so helpful.” So I feel like it’s always been a good thing. I’ve never received like how dare you kind of thing.

Ross: That’s awesome. That’s great. That’s probably going to give some folks some ease as it relates to potentially even using this and leveraging it. Do you use the six-week sequence intentionally? Is there a reason why you go six weeks of this and not just like six days or something of that nature? Does the six weeks have an intent associated with it as well?

Talia: Yeah. One is that I don’t want to feel like I’m suddenly showing up in their inbox every single day. That’s annoying. They’re already not opening any of my emails for the past six months. So me aggressively showing up in their inbox every day is not going to help the situation. And two, I also the fact that some people need a few days or time-

Ross: True.

Talia: … to make the decision. And I think that in addition to all that, we’re still sending weekly emails. So every week there’s an email that comes out with new content. So I don’t want it to suddenly be seven or eight emails that you’re receiving from me per week. I just feel like what I’ve tested and I’ve seen as one email per week or every four to five days is the right approach for me, but I do know that some people do it in a more aggressive way, for sure.

Ross: Let me just clarify one quick thing. As the sequence is happening around re-engagement, you’re still sending the value add emails that you send to the rest of your list to these same people. So they’re not necessarily going down a path where they are no longer seeing your value, they’re still seeing that, but at the same time, they’re also getting these emails about, “Hey, if you still want that value that you saw in your inbox on Monday, you need to let me know what other content are you interested in?” That kind of thing.

Talia: Yeah, 100%. I mean, I’m not going to unsubscribe them immediately. Whoever’s relevant, I’ll just send them the email and while knowing that they might be receiving additional emails right now with the re-engagement sequence. So I know that goes on for a couple of weeks and I expect to see some unsubscribes and I feel like the bigger the list gets, the more unsubscribes it is every time I do a re-engagement sequence. I realized that at the beginning it was like maybe a couple dozen, then it gets to hundreds, and I think the last time was like 1,500 people or more. So it feels like a huge number, but I do realize, and I did recognize immediately that once those people off my list, suddenly my open rates were going up and my click-through rates were going up. That is proof to it being the right thing for us.

Ross: Cool. I love it. No, I think this whole episode is going to be valuable for folks. It’s going to push some folks, including myself, outside of our comfort zone when it comes to potentially unsubscribing. I don’t know how soon I’ll be able to muster the courage to do this again, because the last time it was a lot of my energy to kind of wrap my head around it. But I do love the way that you laid out the rational reason why to do it. Folks, you don’t want people to be on your list that aren’t engaged. You don’t want them to tag you as spam. You don’t want to spam your list. You want to respect them. And you want to make sure that the folks who are on your list are highly engaged in what the content that you want to deliver to them. So between that and that six-week sequence that you’ve outlined around emails one through four, I hope folks can get a lot of value out of this. Thanks for sharing it with the listeners. I think people are going to get a lot out of this episode for sure.

Talia:  I hope that people will get the courage to try it out. Whenever I talk about this people are like, “I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but good for you.”

Ross: Right, right.

Talia: But yeah, I hope that people have the courage to try it and that’s it. Guys, you can find this in our Facebook group, which is And please give us a five-star rating on any of the platforms that you’re listening to. We will connect with you next week.

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Ross & Talia
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