Saturday, September 17, 2022

How to Reactivate A Dormant Email List and Reconnect with Readers

by Patricia Durgin @PatriciaDurgin

You never thought it would happen to you. One minute, you were ecstatic to hear that special “bing!” that a new reader signed up for your email list. Hooray! The next minute (or so it seemed), months passed since your last email. That email list has gone silent. Dormant. Almost dead. (An e-mail “list” is a collection of names and email addresses of readers interested in a specific topic within your message.)

What to do? Should you delete all those names and email addresses and begin from scratch again? Heavens, no! Instead...

Reactivate Your Email List 

When sending their first email after being silent for a while, some people fall on their sword, crying, “Mea culpa!” repeatedly. Multiple apologies are unnecessary and make readers uncomfortable. 

Others simply begin sending emails again, without acknowledging they’ve been gone for weeks or months. Readers may find that insulting, suggesting, perhaps, that they’ve been taken for granted. 

Find a balance between the two extremes above. Acknowledge your absence, assure your readers you value them, and move on, offering them great resources or content in that “reactivation” email. (Of course, don’t use that marketing term in your email.) 

Won’t It Feel Awkward to Reach Out After All That Time?

Highly likely. But it must be done. Email readers are too hard to get, and keep, to simply let them go. Prove yourself worthy of their time. You did it before. That's why they signed up in the first place. Now do it again. 

Approach the conversation just as you would with any friend with whom you’ve lost touch. Be yourself. Be honest about your absence without sharing too many details. Apologize once. Don’t ramble on. 

Then dive right into the good part…what’s in it for them. Serve them well, sharing content they’ll find irresistible. What did they sign up to learn? Choose a great teaching point and share that. Simple. Easy. Done! 

What to Say Before Segueing Into “Regular” Email Content

Like other difficult tasks, the first words in your reactivation email may be the most challenging. Here are three idea prompts to spur your imagination as you consider the title and first paragraph of your reactivation email. Let your personality, humor, or passion shine through your message. Help your readers "hear" your voice. 

Option #1

Title: The rumors aren’t true!

First paragraph: I have not enrolled in the Witness Protection Program. It just felt like it, due to (identify the issue in a short phrase). Has your world turned upside down, too? Let’s start over…together. 

Then move directly into your teaching content. 

Option #2

Title: I’m baaaack! or I apologize (choose one of those two-word phrases).

First paragraph: You haven’t heard from me in a while. I apologize. Life interrupted my regular schedule. That issue has passed. I’m able—and eager—to serve you again. Let’s get busy…

Then move directly into your teaching content.

Option #3 

Title: Still want to learn about (fill-in-the-blank)? 

First paragraph: I took an unscheduled break, had a slight meltdown (not really!) and now I’m back, rarin’ to go! I’m sorry it’s been a while since you heard from me. Let’s dive into (topic) again, shall we?

Then move directly into your teaching content. 

What Response Should You Expect?

Some readers will undoubtedly unsubscribe, depending upon how long you were silent or how valuable your content was before you went missing-in-action.

Others will be glad to see your name in their Inbox again. That’s what we work toward.

Remember to include fantastic content in your reconnection email. That will help readers remember why they subscribed in the first place. 

They took a chance on you when they signed up. Take a chance on them by sending this reactivation email. You’ll be glad you did!


Patricia Durgin loves clarity! It's her honor to serve Christian writers and speakers who are on fire for Jesus but who—whether beginners or advanced—lack the clarity to market their message beyond their family and friends. As a recognized marketing coach and strategist, Patricia serves via one-on-one and small group coaching, online courses, and a private Facebook group for Christian communicators. She contributes monthly columns to The Write Life, Almost an Author, and as of this article, The Write Conversation. Yay! 

Though Patricia's vision impaired, Jesus sends her on grand adventures across the country, all to serve Him. Don't worry...He sends the help she needs. One day that might be you! 

Connect with Patricia at

Featured Image: Photo by James McKinven on Unsplash


  1. Great post with brilliant insight. Thank you, Patricia, just the right timing for me.

  2. Thanks very much! Glad today's article helped.

  3. This was a great post. Even though I use my email monthly and bimonthly, it gave me a few ideas. Thanks, so much.

  4. Great advice. Thank you.

  5. Great points and post. Thank you