by Chris Pearson | Oct 17, 2023 | The Email Muse

Over the last couple months, I’ve been working with an 8-figure health and wellness brand. 

They had over 350,000 subscribers on their list when we started, but… 

Of those 350,000 subscribers, nearly 120,000 were considered “dead.” 



Most of those subscribers won’t be worth pursuing, but… 

A handful of them are still interested in the brand, the products, and the lifestyle. 

They simply forgot we exist. 

No problem!

All we have to do is reach out to them and remind them why we exist for them. 

The subscribers brought back could add multiple six figures per year to the bottom line, if we assume we’ll earn at least $1 per subscriber per month (which is a pretty conservative number). 

Let’s do that math with real numbers. 

Over the last 3 months, we’ve brought back 35,727 subscribers so far. 

Here’s the math: 

(35,727 x $1)12 = $428,724

Over the next 12 months, we’re looking at a potential of $428,724 added to the bottom line. 

All because we sent a few emails out to a list of “dead” subscribers the brand had assumed lost and gone. 

Let’s go one step further: 

This brand’s customers usually stick around for at least 3 years. 

Some more math: 

3 x $428,724 = $1,286,172

This is why sending emails out to your list of “dead” subscribers pays off. 

Now, not all lists get these kinds of results, have these types of customers, or have a product great enough to do this, but… 

Sending 3 – 5 emails to the disengaged could bank you some dollah dollah bills, y’all. 

How did we get their attention?

That’s what the rest of this article is about. 

Let’s dive in… 

What We Did Before Sending Emails

There are three things I’d suggest you do before sending to these disengaged subscribers. 

Here they are: 

  • Export your “dead” subscriber list
  • Batch the big list into smaller lists
  • Upload the smaller lists back into email software

Here’s why: 

Your sender reputation is going to take a hit, no matter what you do, when sending to these disengaged subscribers. 

You’ll probably get open rates in the 1% – 20% range. 

This is a negative signal to ESPs like Gmail, Outlook, and others that you may not be trustworthy. 


Batching your big list into smaller lists and spreading out your sends across a couple months is the way to go. This strategy reduces the sender reputation hit, and gives you the best chance to bring back the disengaged. 

Export your “dead” subscriber list

Here’s how we filtered out our disengaged in Klaviyo: 

– Received at least one email in the last X months

– Has not opened, clicked, or been active on site in the last X months

– Is not suppressed (is consented) for emails

Once you have this segment, you can turn it into a list and export it to a CSV file. 

Batch the big list into smaller lists

We had around 120,000 subscribers, so we batched them into eight smaller groups. 

This gave us about 15,000 per small batch. 

Then, we labeled each batch “A” , “B” , “C” , etc., so we could send to each one independent of the others. 

Upload the smaller lists back into email software

After we uploaded the smaller batches into Klaviyo, we then created a send schedule, targeting one list at a time. 

We started with “A” and sent one email to the list every 3 days. 

Then, once that list fizzled out (aka stopped opening/clicking), we moved on to the next lettered list. 

Send Emails Until They Stop Working

Let’s define “stop working.” 

As we sent these “bring ‘em back” emails, we noticed that around email four or five, the lettered list stats would drop off drastically.

We had initially planned to send seven emails total to each list, but… 

We went from getting 20 – 30% open rates to around 5%.

After sending to “A” , “B” , and “C”, we decided to send one more email to the chosen list after it dropped below 10% for open rates


Sender Reputation. 

We were getting, maybe, a dozen people on the sends below 10% open rates, so we made an executive decision and did not pursue them. 

Less than 10% open rate was our definition of “stopped working.”

We moved on to the next lettered list. 

Here’s what that looked like: 

What to Send Your “Dead” Subscribers

Rotting flesh, of course… 


Bad zombie joke, moving on. 

We sent them 4 – 5 different types of emails. 

These subscribers were non-buyers and buyers. 

(We probably should have separated them out, but we didn’t because we wanted to get as many back before Black Friday / Cyber Monday). 

Here are the email types we sent this list of disengaged: 

– The “testing…” email

– The “gift” email

– The “are you sure?” email

– The “discount” email

– The “is this goodbye” email

The goal was to use different types of psychological triggers to get an open, click, and/or reply. 

What triggers am I talking about?

Why, some of these, of course:  

Granted, don’t be an ass and use these for negative purposes, but… 

Most of these, you can weave into your copy and elicit an emotional response from your readers. 

This emotional response is the fuel for action. 

Like a plane needs jet fuel to take off, so does the human engine need fuel to act. 

Each of our emails above leaned into one (or more) of these triggers. 

What to Build After the Manual “Revival” Sends

I usually recommend you initially re engage your list manually.


Data, iteration, and sender reputation. 

If we would have set up our seven or eight emails in a flow and clicked “GO…” 

We would have burnt our reputation to the ground sending 2 – 3 extra emails that didn’t need to be sent. 

Yes, we want to “set it and forget it,” but… 

The initial “reawakening” of your list needs human oversight. 

Build a Sunset Flow

Once you’re through your initial lettered lists manually… 

You can then build out what’s called a “Sunset Flow.” 

This flow sends your re engagement emails to disengaged subscribers when they join a given segment. 

That segment is usually defined as: 

– Received at least one email in the last X months

– Has not opened, clicked, or been active on site in the last X months

– Is not suppressed (is consented) for emails

The definition/filters for this flow will vary depending on your brand, customers, and operation. 


Once this is in place, your flow will identify and reach out to subscribers who are fading away into the darkness… and bring them back into the light. 

And as you can see from the math above… 

Bringing these subscribers back into the fold could net you 7-figures. 

What’s Next?

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