3 Tips for Re-engaging Inactive Community Members

Chris Scavo

Ah yes, tips to re-engage your inactive members. Let me start with a story. We recently got two Labrador puppies and are in the process of training them. While they are adorable and fun and playful, man is it frustrating when they don’t listen. We have a few of the basics down, but getting them to come back when they leave our side is a challenge. We can get them to come over, but then they leave when we are out of treats. I don’t know if you have any experience with this, but getting a puppy to come back is not an easy task!

Isn’t this a perfect metaphor for online community engagement? You attract the member, they join and find all sorts of wonderful topics to participate in. Inevitably though, they get their question answered or their attention shifts. Participation naturally wanes and interest in the community can suffer. We talk a lot about re-engaging members who disconnect from email marketing, but what about those who have stopped posting in your online community?

The approach for re-engaging online community members is not that dissimilar from a typical re-engagement campaign. Your messages need to reinforce the benefits of the community in a way that is compelling and concise.

Here are some things to keep in mind when building out your re-engagement campaign:


Conversations on the community can often be time sensitive. Calls for speakers, solicitation of ideas for new initiatives and how to address a current challenge may require a quick response. Use this to your advantage by creating a sense of urgency with your emails. Subject lines that call for a quick, immediate action can prompt the user to open and engage.


Your readership is constantly letting you know what areas they are interested in. The emails they open, the stories they engage with, the web pages they visit and the topics they post in on the community all give you insight into the areas that your members have a strong interest in. Leverage this information by customizing your content to prompt participation in conversations around subject matter that interest the members. Not only is this a great way to personalize your messages, it shows you listen to your constituents. This can enhance their relationship with you.


The campaign should be built to react based on actions taken by your audience. Include decision steps that note when someone does not open versus opens but does not post, and customize your content for each scenario. If someone does take the desired action, thank them for posting. Make sure to reinforce the positive work they are doing, perhaps even send them into a separate campaign that nurtures community participation.

There are a number of ways that community involvement can be beneficial. Participation in an online community can foster strong relationships between members. It can also deepen their connection to the organization. Engaging in a conversation with others that are facing the same challenges, or that have attempted to implement similar programs can be very rewarding. Campaigns built to win participants back should focus on the member and how valuable they are to the community.

For more on how to build strong communication strategies around your online community, click here to download our community whitepaper.

About the Author
Chris Scavo

As a Product Marketer at Informz, Chris provides thought leadership through content generation, market analysis, and research. Outside of work, Chris participates in a number of dart leagues, enjoys golfing, and spending time with his wife and dogs.