Email. Remail.

4 minute read

It’s sometimes called return emailing or remailing. It’s when you give your original campaign a second chance of success by sending it again to those who may have missed it the first time around. With open rates typically averaging around 25% (check out the latest benchmark figures) you could also view this as missing out on 75% of your potential audience. Although the statistics from remail campaigns typically suggest otherwise (I’ve never seen anything close to completing the missed opens from the first time around) they also show that there might be sufficient value versus effort for such a tactic.


The first step is to segment your subscriber data to remove those who have already engaged – probably those who opened, or depending on your objective, those who have already clicked or completed a defined goal. Most email systems, (including have a post-campaign analysis feature which allows you to create new lists based on subscriber interaction with a previous campaign. This makes it simple to segment out those who opened, opened but did not click, opened and clicked etc. Here’s your new audience.

The next step is to review the original campaign. If you’re retargeting non-openers take a look at the key factors which influence this. Apart from recognition (that is your audience identifying you as the originator and recognising you as a legitimate sender of interesting, valuable information in the past!) the two main areas to consider are subject line and timing. Subject line has a big part to play in email opens so it’s likely that at least some of those who missed your original simply weren’t sufficiently engaged by your opening line. Try again with something different.

If you’re retargeting openers but non-clickers, take a look again at your content. Does it convey your message clearly, the value and if appropriate the urgency? Most of all, assuming a click-through action is desired, is your call to action, easy to find, clear in terms of what is offered and needed and easy to execute? Some simple changes can make all the difference next time around.

Timing is another interesting influence – hour of the day, day of the week, even week of the year. Many email opens occur within the first hour or so of delivery so it could be that you simply didn’t catch your readers at a time when they were ready to open and engage. Maybe they intended to come back to it. Probably if it wasn’t immediately engaging it got buried under the next batch of incoming messages. Either way, look again at the timing. At least next time try a variation from your original. At best try to identify when might be the time when your audience would be most receptive.

Armed with your renewed strategy. Try again. It’s unlikely that your results will be better than for your original, but it’s also likely that you will still pick up additional interest a second time around. Here are some stats from a recent remail campaign. As described above, the remail was essentially the same but with a revised subject line, delivery time and slightly simplified content and call to action, and was sent to non-openers of the original, approximately a week later.

Original campaign
Delivery 97%
Open 28%
Click 9%
Goal completions 5%

Remail campaign (non-openers)
Delivery 99%
Open 9%
Click 3%
Goal completions 2%

Remail campaign

It’s not a 100% success by any means, but these few simple changes managed to reach a significant ‘lost’ audience and yielded over 100 additional goal completions which would have otherwise been missed.