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The Right Way to Re-Engage Unengaged Contacts in HubSpot

Posted by Ali Schwanke on May 1, 2024
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If you're noticing more unengaged contacts in your HubSpot lists, it's time to take action. These inactive subscribers aren't just sitting idle—they're actually hurting your email campaigns and could even ruin your domain's reputation. You might soon be dealing with increased spam reports and a damaging drop in your email deliverability. 

Today we’re guiding you through some effective strategies to wake these contacts and get them interested again. We'll cover why they might have checked out in the first place, and show you practical steps to re-engage them. Ready to boost your email engagement? Let’s dive in.

Why engagement matters so much in email marketing

Engagement is the heartbeat of email marketing. When subscribers regularly open, read, and interact with your emails, it tells email providers that your content is valuable and worth seeing. This positive engagement boosts your sender reputation, increases the chances of your emails landing in the inbox rather than the spam folder, and ultimately drives better results for your campaigns.

But when contacts stop engaging, the opposite happens. Your overall campaign metrics like open rates and click-through rates start to drop. This not only makes your email efforts less effective but can also trigger email providers to mark your emails as spam, which is a hard hit to recover from.

So, keeping your contacts engaged is crucial, not just for maintaining healthy metrics, but also for ensuring that your messages reach your audience and drive actions that matter to your business. In the following sections, we'll look at why contacts lose interest and how you can rekindle that connection using targeted, thoughtful strategies. Let's first identify the common reasons your contacts might be tuning out.

Identify the reasons a HubSpot contact became unengaged

To effectively re-engage your contacts, you first need to understand why they checked out in the first place. Consider some of the most common reasons why subscribers might stop paying attention to your emails:

  • Outdated contact information: People change jobs, switch email providers, or abandon old email accounts. If you’re sending messages to outdated email addresses, you’re not reaching your intended audience.
  • Content doesn’t resonate: If your content doesn’t resonate with the interests and needs of your audience, engagement will naturally decline. Subscribers want valuable information that speaks directly to them and their challenges.
  • Bad timing: Sending emails at the wrong time can lead to low open rates. Timing can vary widely depending on your audience's demographics, their time zone, and their personal preferences.
  • Weak calls to action: Your call-to-action (CTA) is essential for driving subscriber engagement. A weak CTA can fail to inspire action, whether it’s because it’s not clear, compelling, or relevant to the audience.
  • Too many emails or email fatigue: Overloading your subscribers with too many emails can lead to annoyance and disinterest. It’s important to find the right balance in your email frequency.
  • Lack of personalization: Generic, one-size-fits-all content is less engaging. Personalization, when done correctly, can make each subscriber feel like you're speaking directly to them, increasing the likelihood they'll engage with your content.
  • Never actually opted-in in the first place: Adding contacts without explicit consent can lead to disengagement, as uninterested subscribers often ignore emails or mark them as spam. Consider adding an opt-in option on any forms on your site.

Analyze your unengaged contacts with HubSpot tools

To start turning things around, you'll need to get a clear picture of who your unengaged contacts are and how they're interacting with your emails—or not interacting, as the case may be.

HubSpot provides powerful tools to help you identify and analyze these contacts effectively. Here's how to make the most of these features:

Segmentation using active lists

First, segment your contacts into groups based on their engagement levels. Use HubSpot’s segmentation tools to create lists of contacts who haven’t opened or clicked through your emails over a defined period, such as the last three months. This helps you target your efforts and tailor your re-engagement strategies. 


Use email analytics to gain more insight

Dive into your HubSpot email analytics to see trends and patterns. Look at which types of content have historically low engagement rates. This can give you clues about what might not be working in your email strategy.

Contact record history

Examine individual contact records in HubSpot to see a timeline of a contact's interactions with your emails. This includes opens, clicks, and other engagement metrics. By understanding the history of interaction, you can better tailor your re-engagement message.

A/B testing results

Review the results of any marketing email A/B tests you’ve conducted. This data can reveal what subject lines, content types, and call-to-actions have performed best and which have not resonated with your audience.

Pro tip: You can also AB test your sales sequences in HubSpot!

Feedback loops

Use feedback from unsubscribes or surveys to see why contacts might have disengaged. This kind of direct feedback is invaluable and can help you make much smarter adjustments.

Strategies to re-engage unengaged contacts

Ok don’t try to say that three times fast – but it’s time to take action! Now that you've identified and understood your unengaged contacts, it's time to apply targeted strategies to bring them back into the fold. Re-engagement is not just about sending more emails: it's about sending the right content, at the right time, with the right message.

Use these methods to tactfully re-engage your subscribers using HubSpot:

1. Personalized re-engagement campaigns

Craft personalized emails specifically designed for your unengaged segments. Address them by name, acknowledge their inactivity, and express your desire to reconnect. Offer them something of value, like a special discount, exclusive content, or an informative webinar, which can reignite their interest.

2. Optimize email content

Ensure that the content is highly relevant and engaging. Use data from previous interactions to tailor the topics, tone, and offerings. Consider redesigning your email templates to be more visually appealing and easier to navigate, especially on mobile devices.

3. Adjust email frequency

Sometimes, less is more. If your analytics suggest that email fatigue might be an issue, reduce the frequency of your communications. Alternatively, give subscribers the option to choose how often they want to receive emails, empowering them to control their engagement.

4. Test and optimize send times

Use HubSpot’s A/B testing features to experiment with different send times and days of the week. Analyzing the results will help you discover when your unengaged contacts are more likely to open and read your emails.

5. Revamp your Calls to Action

Re-evaluate your calls-to-action. Make sure they are clear, compelling, and relevant to the content of the email. Experiment with different CTA designs and placements to see what drives the highest engagement.

Consider moving away from things like “learn more” and trying “get this resource” for example.


6. Segment by behavior

Further segment your unengaged contacts based on their past behaviors and preferences (we’re assuming you’ve already got them segmented by lifecycle stages too). Tailor campaigns that align with their specific interests or previous interactions with your brand, which can increase relevance and the likelihood of re-engagement.


7. Have a follow-up strategy

After sending the re-engagement emails, monitor who re-engages and who remains inactive. Consider a follow-up strategy for those who still don't interact. This could include a different type of content, like a feedback request to learn more about their preferences or reasons for disengagement.

8. Clean your email list

Finally, after multiple attempts to re-engage, it might be necessary to clean your email list by removing persistently unengaged contacts. Marketers usually hate doing this, but it’s for the best, as it helps maintain a healthy sender reputation and improves overall email performance.

Email standards are getting stricter — make sure you’re set up for success

The 2024 email authentication updates for Google and Yahoo now require stricter compliance, which we covered in a video along with how to set up HubSpot domains, and integrate tools like Google Postmaster.


These changes emphasize the need for clear unsubscribe links and re-engagement strategies to maintain deliverability and engagement in your email marketing campaigns.

A messy HubSpot instance makes your email marketing more difficult

Good email marketing needs spot-on CRM data. But if your HubSpot setup is a mess, it’s tough to get things right. You might be bogged down by unreliable contact details, hard-to-manage lists, wasted time, and missed chances to connect with your audience effectively.

If you’re trying to avoid this situation, check out our "Fix My HubSpot" service. We’ll step in to clean up and streamline your HubSpot setup, making sure everything’s in order so you can focus on what really matters—nailing your marketing goals. 

Or, if you simply need a re-engagement strategy to breathe some life into your contacts, we can help with that too. Drop us a note.


Posted in Email Marketing, HubSpot