How to Resend Email to Unopens and why its a good idea.

How to Resend Email to Unopens (and why it’s a great idea)

A round-up on email marketing, the case for re-sending email to everyone that didn’t open it, and a step-by-step tutorial in MailChimp on how to do it.

So what are we talking about today?
Email, email, email, and… email.

“You said email four times.”

I know. I like email.

And you should too.

Your email list is the gift that keeps on giving.

Your email list should be one of, if not the most valuable marketing channels you have.

You should be studying others for ideas and frequency.

Not only should you be sending out email frequently — our “anatomy of an art sales email” can help you there — actively gathering email addresses all the time; both online and off, as well as regularly importing your email list into Facebook and showing those folks your latest ads.

Whew. It’s important to be looking forward at how to grow your list wherever possible, but it’s equally important to know you’re getting the most out of your existing email list.

That’s what we’re covering today with this step-by-step tutorial on how to send emails to unopens in MailChimp.


In layman’s terms: you send an email campaign, most will not open it; so you take that same email, change the subject line, and then send it again to only those folks that did not open it.

Why would you want to do that?

One, because it works incredibly well and two, because you’re a marketing ninja.

“Yeah, but…”

  • “Sending the same email twice is too much”
  • “Sending email twice is gonna really piss people off and cause them to unsubscribe”

Those are the immediate objections you are likely have.

Both are incorrect.

You have to keep in mind that people — you, me, we — are insanely busy and do not look at every piece of email we get and for that same reason we are not likely to unsubscribe.

Moreover, if they do – who cares? They likely don’t want to hear from you/were never going to buy anyway, so let em go.

The bottom line is that this technique works incredibly well, like twisting a wet towel to get all the water out, will help you get more out of your valuable email list.

MailChimp makes doing this super easy, and we’ve had a lot of success with it.

So lets get into how to do it.

Resending to Unopens

This practice works well for both content emails (like promoting a new blog post) and sales emails (like announcing a new product).

We’re going to assume you already have a MailChimp account (that’s who we advocate our users at ASF use, but if yours is different the process is likely not all that different) — and have sent at least one email campaign.

STEP 1: Replicate the campaign you want to resend

From your Campaigns list, select the one you’d like to resend and replicate it via the dropdown menu.

Resending to unopens

This will create an identical copy of the email, as well as replicate all the sending parameters – some of which need to be changed for the resend.

STEP 2: Add a segment condition

In order to only send this resend email to your subscribers who did not open the original campaign, you’ll need to add a segment condition.

Resend mailchimp campaign

Your first iteration of the campaign will likely have “Send to entire list” selected, but for our purposes here, select “Send to a group or new segment.”

Add a new condition, and use the drop downs to select “Campaign Activity”“Did Not Open” – and find the campaign you’ve replicated from the list.

Mailchimp resend email

After you have added your segment conditions, the recipients count pictured above should update.

This number represents how many subscribers will receive your email given the current conditions you have set, and it’s a great point to check that what you have done is working.

This number must be lower than your total subscriber count, considering the email is only supposed to send to those who did not open the original campaign.

STEP 3: Update the campaign details

Mailchimp did not open

Update your campaign name with the word “Resend” so that you can easily identify it against the original campaign.

This is how we do it. You can rename as you see fit but give it something unique so you can differentiate later when you are taking a look at the stats.

Give the subject line a quick change so that your subscribers aren’t seeing the same email hitting their inbox twice. This is your second chance to get them to click or swipe open your email, so give it a fair shot with a new subject.

Also they might not have liked your first subject line, it did not pique their interest, so this gives you a second shot at getting their attention.

STEP 4: Add a note identifying the resend (Optional)

Email marketing

We think it’s a nice touch to add a note at the head of the email mentioning the fact that they’re reading a resend because they didn’t open the original campaign. This will prevent any confusion if they go back in their inbox and find that original email.

Your mileage may vary though, so be sure and test.

STEP 5: Send the Email; Track the Results

At this point, you’re clear to send your “Resend to Unopens” email immediately, or schedule it for later.

PRO TIP: It’s easy to forget to resend these emails, so why not create your resend campaign immediately after you schedule or send your original email? We recommend scheduling it for 2-5 days after your original email sends.

Mailchimp tutorial

Your campaigns list will now show the original email and the resend separately, so you can keep track of open and click rates.

Resending is quick and easy, and makes us feel confident we’ve put the email and links in front of as many eyes as possible.

On a recent blog post, resending the email a few days later brought in 624 additional opens, 94 additional clicks, and 0 unsubscribes. Those are some pretty outstanding results for something that took us 2 minutes to do.

Mailchimp email marketing

Wrapping Up

Re-sending email to un-opens is a highly effective technique that costs nothing and, better still, takes very little time to execute on.

How often should you do this?

There is a great question, and there is no right answer to it.

At a certain point, if you did this every time, I think you would indeed start to piss off your subscribers.

Finding the balance is key, so as usual, your path forward is to test. Adjust to taste as you see fit.

For us, if it’s an email that we deem is really important, and/or that has great content that will really help our readers, we re-send it to un-opens.

Leave a Comment:

Dominique Hurley says

This was great! Thanks Patrick! My stats on my campaign this month were really low and one person said she didn’t even get it, so now I feel like folks have another chance to fill their day with my art & inspiration. I had no idea we could do this!

Art Storefronts says

Dominique do it! Its a free and easy tactic that just plain works. Takes mere minutes to setup as well.

You will do great with it. Just remember to change the subject line up a bit.

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