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Secrets for Creating a Re-Engagement Email Campaign that Works

Associations, Communications Strategy, Retention // Are unengaged members putting your association’s retention rate at risk? Reach them with a re-engagement email campaign.

Greg Khaikin
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Ever wonder why members don’t renew? 50% of associations say the main reason is lack of engagement. This finding, which came out of the 2021 Membership Marketing Benchmarking Report, underscores a real concern for associations because that number is rising. It was 43% the previous year.   

As if that weren’t bad enough, losing member engagement is now riskier than it’s been in past years. When there’s a competition on for time and attention, things like health or economic crises distract members. Engaging with their associations becomes a lower priority, and that reduced activity disconnects them and eventually, can lead to them seeing your organization as expendable. 

Some members are self-driven when it comes to getting the most out of their association memberships. They’ll find the value in engaging because they have a desire to. As for the others, you’ll have to put in strategy and effort to keep them in the fold. 

Let’s say you’re really good at attracting and onboarding new members — do you have an effective way to fire member enthusiasm back up if they begin to lose interest? As with many things related to association communication, re-engaging members who are drifting calls for effective targeting and messaging. If the technology you’re using doesn’t facilitate that, then it becomes a manual task for your team, and a large one at that. 

 The better way, the one that scales, is to use automated email campaigns. Associations who can put these into effect are seeing double-digit increases in engagement and retention, and they’ve stopped wasting time with inefficient processes.  

Our full guide to re-engaging members will show you how to build a re-engagement campaign and send more effective emails.

Let’s take a look at how replacing generic interactions with a targeted member engagement strategy can keep members active and connected — and keep them renewing their memberships.  

Keep in mind, this will help you when it gets to renewal season. Renewal time isn’t a great time to show up out of nowhere and start trying to convince drifting members the association has many valuable things to offer. No matter how awesome your membership renewal letter is, the retention effort starts long before that. 


If you’re counting on members to reach out and volunteer the fact that they’re feeling unengaged and losing interest in their membership, that’s not going to happen. Disenchantment happens quietly and in the shadows. The trick is to not let that develop so long that it makes membership renewal hopeless.  

Higher Logic’s marketing software for associations makes it possible for your association to spot who the disinterested members are in an ongoing way throughout the year, then communicate with them in a focused, strategic way that continually reinforces the value of your association.

With this tech and this method, you can plan well in advance which members should get value-reinforcing emails, and when they should get them. The re-engagement threshold you choose (because you have total control) will trigger just the right campaign email. Let’s say your threshold is that a member is regarded as unengaged if they have an email open rate below 5% for 30 days. Sure, you could run the campaign at 60 days, but earlier thresholds give you plenty of time to swing members back to being involved before they land on a permanent decision to leave. 


Generic messages aren’t going to do much for you once a member’s engagement drops. The emails they get need to feel personal and very relevant. These five email copywriting suggestions should help you write email content that will serve your re-engagement email campaign well. 

  1. Make it clear you’ve noticed they aren’t engaging, and care. Don’t just tell them you noticed they aren’t engaging. Show them you’re doing something with that knowledge. You genuinely want to know why the member isn’t interacting and how you can make the membership more valuable to them. 
  2. Provide an easy path to resources. Since the problem at least partially involves a member’s lack of time, respect that. Don’t send them on a hunt to find your association’s resources. Give them a clear, direct link and call to action.  
  3. Keep it short and sweet. Even engaged members don’t want to be pestered with emails. So for a re-engagement strategy, keep it to no more than a couple of messages. You’re making a valid point, so get to it, and don’t scare them away with big blocks of text. 
  4. Stick with what members care about. If you’ve put in the work to make your association’s value proposition clear and relevant, this should just involve reminding members of it. Why do members join? What parts of the site or community did they engage with? The key is to remind members their association deals with the issues most pressing to them. 
  5. Leverage social proof. Give them testimonials from members who are actively involved and getting a lot out of the association. What are the specific ways they’ve benefited? Peer testimony is a valid and powerful force. Unengaged members can’t write off authentic member testimonies as a marketing tactic. 

Tips for Writing the Best Re-Engagement Email Subject Lines 

Not much happens if members won’t even go further than the email’s subject line. Some studies show that at least one-third of recipients decide whether or not to open messages based just on subject lines alone. And these are people who literally asked to get the emails. Subject lines can’t be generic or dull. The best ones will use words that tap into emotions or provoke your reader’s curiosity.

Avoid the subject line, “We Miss You.” It’s written from the association’s point of view and it’s primarily about how the association feels and what you want. Make the subject line about them…always.


The deeper and more detailed your member tracking, the more your association can identify and create member-centric emails for members in danger of leaving. As you might imagine, trying to do this manually is a non-starter. Automated email campaigns bring the kind of refinement to your re-engagement campaigns that make true member-centricity possible. The reward for that…higher renewal rates.  

The Florida Association of Insurance Agents (FAIA) switched from outdated email marketing strategies to automated email campaigns and saw a 201% increase in email engagement and a 40% online renewal conversion rate. Clearly, it has a significant impact.

You too can highlight your association’s know-how, advocacy, training, and community with personalized emails. And it’s automated email campaigns that can maintain closer relationships with members throughout the year so that they always know and understand how their investment in membership pays off day after day. 

Looking for more? Download our full guide to member re-engagement

Greg Khaikin

Senior Implementation Project Manager

Greg Khaikin is a Senior Implementation Project Manager with more than 15 years of experience in B2B email communication and marketing. As a member of the Implementation team, Greg supports new users as they set up and launch their Communications Professional accounts, with an emphasis on email deliverability, design best practices, and automation. When not at work, Greg loves dogs, movies, and roasting coffee beans.

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