In the beginning, your community members are full of excitement: A new space, with new people and so much to learn and explore. As the journey continues, they get some of their questions answered, and they answer some questions of other members, and the social identity cycle continues.

But sometimes, there’s a drop off. Whether it’s at the beginning of a member’s journey or they’ve been dormant for a while, there is always a possibility that they stop logging in. As a community manager, how can you engage inactive community members who haven’t logged into the community for a while? How do you bring those people back?

There are plenty of playbooks out there for marketers to reach folks who haven’t opened their emails in a while. These formulas work best when there is a product to sell, a discount to give, or a limited-time-only free offer. But how do you re-engage inactive community members when there isn’t a discount or monetary value attached to coming back?

Below, we’ll lay out an email sequence that community managers can use to stoke the flames of engagement.

Email 1: Rediscovery

Purpose:

    • Make sure their email address is still valid.
    • Discover their needs

Goals:

The goal of this email is to reopen the relationship with the inactive community members. Getting a former member to re-engage with the community manager is the first step to learning what they need and figuring out how the community can help them. Ask a question like, “What are your current challenges?” When they reply with their top-of-mind challenges, you can point them in the right direction.

Example:

Hi [Member Name],

It’s been a while since I saw you in the community, so I thought I’d check in. I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to. What are you working on right now? Do you have any top-of-mind challenges you can share? I’m keen to learn how I can make sure you are getting what you expected from joining our Community.

Let me know how I can help!

[Your Name]

Email 2: Reminder Email

Purpose:

    • Re-inspire them about what it means to be a member
    • Remind them the community cares

Goals:

With this email, you want to remind the community member of all the awesome benefits they get. Maybe they forgot about all the little details of their membership, maybe you’ve added new resources or programs since they joined, or maybe things have changed for them and the programs they weren’t interested in before are now super relevant!

Example:

Hi again [Member Name],

I’m just checking in again to make sure you got my last email. It’s been a while since I saw you in the community, and if you haven’t looked at our resources lately, take a look! We’ve added a lot of helpful content.

    • List benefits here

Let me know how things are going!

[Your Name]

Email 3: What changed?

Purpose:

    • Gather feedback

Goals:

With this email, you are hoping to get some direct feedback about their member journey. Ask directly what has changed since they joined, and why they aren’t interested anymore. This is a great chance to receive feedback about onboarding and the new member nurture process.

Example:

Hi again [Member Name],

I haven’t heard from you or seen you in the community for a while! Just a quick reminder that I would love to help with any challenges you are working through at the moment.

I’d love to hear back from you if something has changed, or hear any feedback you have about the community. And always remember, we will be here if and when you need help in the future.

Thanks [Member Name],

[Your Name]

As with many aspects of community, re-engagement comes back to building relationships. The first relationship to work on is the one between the community member and community manager. As a community manager, your job is to show the member that a) you care about them as an individual, b) you are their partner and want to bring them value, and c) whether they need you now or later, that relationship is open.

The more we show our members that we care specifically about them, the more they will feel like part of the community – whether they participate actively or not. That relationship will evolve into trust and loyalty that will pay dividends for years.

Beth McIntyre and Mary Green