Welcome back to our email for startups series! So far we’ve tackled choosing an ESP, and sending both transactional and marketing email. While transactional email is pretty straightforward and inelastic, your email marketing campaigns are where you can get creative and have a little fun. Read on to learn how to dive deeper into your email marketing options.

Reel them back in

After a contact subscribes to your email list, they may become inactive or unengaged for any number of reasons. If contacts aren’t engaging with your content, try implementing a win-back promotion strategy. It’s a lot easier to re-engage current contacts than to acquire a new subscriber.

A good win-back campaign will turn some of those inactive addresses into customers.

The key to a successful win-back strategy is a personalized subject line and upbeat, friendly copy in the body of your email. Both these factors will depend on your brand, product, and overall company voice, but here are a few subject line ideas to get you started:

  • Hey [First Name], We Miss You!
  • We Want You Back, [First Name]
  • Don’t Forget About Your [Company Name] account!

For more on how to optimize your subject line, read our blog post on how subject lines affect your deliverability.

In addition to the subject line, the first line of copy in your email should address the inactive subscriber. Be friendly and to the point, check out these examples for inspiration:

  • It’s been a few [months, weeks] since we’ve seen you, and we wanted to check in.
  • We hope you’ve been well since the last time we saw you!
  • Exciting things have been happening since we saw you last, let us fill you in.

During your win-back campaign, keep on eye on analytics like open rates and actions taken. Hopefully, you’ll reinvigorate part of your contact list!

Nurture your loyal customers

If you have subscribers who are actively engaging with your email and product, nurture those contacts based on what they are interacting with. If a contact has downloaded a resource, template, or file from your website, send them a follow-up nurture email pointing them toward another resource they might be interested in. Here are some ideas on how to keep your current customers engaged:

  • Be helpful – Send information they might find useful, based on their engagement and interaction history.
  • Be consistent – Check-in to make sure their experience with your product or service is going smoothly.
  • Be thoughtful – Just like after a job interview, send an email thanking your contact for their download or purchase.
  • Be a host – If you have online events planned, like a webcast, send them an e-vite.

Not all about the money, money

Traditionally, we think of marketing and promotional emails as a tool to drive sales.

Once you’re comfortable in your promotional email marketing strategy, start turning your attention toward more thought leadership and company-driven pieces.

Every startup should be sending out mentor and investor updates. When it comes to your stakeholders, it’s important to keep them in the loop on all company happenings and progress. This is also a great opportunity to show off your email skills, and our Marketing Campaigns is a great tool to help make your emails to investors look polished and professional.

If you have a team member who is an expert on a relevant subject, use them to your advantage! Write a Q&A style blog post featuring your expert, or have him or her write a blog series and promote it via your email marketing campaigns. Speaking of experts, download our Expert’s Guide to Email Marketing to learn from some of the best and brightest in the business.

You can also send emails with content spotlighting your business practices, like a unique company perk or benefit, and check out our SendGrid Spotlight posts for inspiration! While these types of emails may not drive immediate sales, they will promote loyalty to your business and strengthen your customer base.


When it comes to your email marketing campaigns and strategy, use your startup mentality to think outside the box. Marketing emails don’t have to be all about flashy promotions or newsletters. You can grow customer loyalty and keep subscribers engaged with your message using nurturing tactics and promoting company-focused, thought leadership pieces.

Our Email for Startups series will conclude with our next post, in which we cover scalability and what to do once you’ve established a solid email program.

Are you a startup looking for email help? Check out SendGrid Accelerate, our program specially designed to help startups get their email infrastructure up-and-running.

Lauren Alworth
As a summer intern on the Content Marketing team at SendGrid, Lauren is slowly but surely getting her feet wet in the email marketing world. She studies Public Relations and English at Boston University. In her free time she can be found hiking, horseback riding, reading historical biographies, and using the Oxford comma.