How to Open the Door to a Second Wave of Sales

Click. Creeeaaak!

That’s the sound of a subscriber opening your last marketing email – and opening a mental door to more information on that particular subject.

 width=Click. Creeeaaak!

That’s the sound of a subscriber opening your last marketing email – and opening a mental door to more information on that particular subject.

Then there’s that other sound: the silence. That’s a subscriber who didn’t open their door this time.

In one scenario, you got to share some information. In the other, you didn’t. But in both, you’re still standing on the doorstep. So what to do next?

Make the Most of Your Doorstep Status

In either case, if you shrug and walk away, you’ve given up. Stick around and follow up. Sending a second email based on who opened and who didn’t can prompt a second wave of purchases.

This is called behavioral targeting: responding to subscribers’ behavior to get more response from the list and promotions you already have in place. It’s so effective, 71% of our customers report that they plan to do more of it in upcoming months.

And it’s easy as 1-2-3 clicks. AWeber’s new QuickStats show you just who did and didn’t open each email. Follow up with each group with the steps outlined here.

Don’t Just Stand There – Go In!

Your marketing emails probably cover a myriad of topics. For example, if you own a restaurant, you might promote your menu, your wine selection and your catering service.

When you see people consistently open messages about one of these things, you’ve found your niche for that particular topic. Follow up with them!

Opens shown in QuickStats

  • If they’ve shown interest in a product you’re advertising, put together a compelling reason to purchase with a call to take the next step.
  • If they usually open the emails you send about a particular topic, go more in-depth. Provide helpful details, tell background stories.
  • Explain where you hope to take things, and ask questions. These are your interested customers. These are the people who know most about the topic and will have the most helpful feedback to give.

How to Knock at the Unopened Doors

Sometimes, it’s not anything you did. Your readers are swamped with work or on vacation or their lives have changed and they’re no longer interested.

And sometimes they just aren’t gripped by what they see in the inbox.

Unopens shown in QuickStats

So try again. Let a little time go by to make sure you aren’t sending into the same circumstances. Then change the way you present the content and resend it to just the people who didn’t open it.

Here are some suggestions for changing the presentation:

  • If your email is a newsletter that covers several topics, the one your subject line mentioned the first time might not be the most interesting to your readers. Choose a different subject as the primary content and change your subject line accordingly.
  • If your email covers just one topic, try changing the subject line. Think about what problem or question someone might have that your email answers, and highlight that.

If Knocking Doesn’t Work, Ring the Doorbell

You might notice that some of your subscribers haven’t opened a message in a long time. These are fatigued subscribers. They’ve checked out, but they haven’t left the building yet.

Ask them to stay by sending them emails designed for reactivation (get more reactivation ideas here).

Knocking Around the Block

There are also messages you could send to follow up with subscribers who clicked (or didn’t click) on your links and who purchased (or didn’t purchase) from your emails. We’ll be talking about those in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open!

Do you send messages to subscribers based on whether or not they opened previous emails? What do you send them?

Want to Learn More?

For more information on email marketing for wineries, view our complete Email Marketing for Wineries Guide.


  1. Lise MacFadden

    9/21/2010 11:19 am

    This is great information! In my instance some people were not attracted to the subject line "High Blood Pressure" but when I changed it to "Chronic Pain Neuropathy Hypertension Fibromyalgia Heart Attack Stroke High Cholesterol Restless Legs" the response was far greater. Thanks for the great blog.

  2. Angela Wills

    9/21/2010 11:30 am

    Thanks so much for the tips! I’ve not done much of this at all yet but have been looking for the opportunity.

    I think to a point I’ve already very much segmented my subscribers through the various lists I run. Intead of having a general ‘marketing list’ (which I do have) I also have lists for ’email marketing’, ‘affiliate marketing’, ‘website design’, etc and so I know that the subscribers on each list are interested in that particular topic.

    I’m sure that I COULD take this further with the fantastic features Aweber provides, just need to figure out how. Looking forward to your follow-up posts! 🙂

  3. Paul

    9/21/2010 1:41 pm

    And it all comes together… So I have actually noticed some of these changes at AWeber and have thought, "What is up with that?" I wasn’t sure how to properly use these new features! This post points out a lot of great information – time to get cracking on it!

    Following up with a different title as Lise did is a great idea! (Thanks, Lise!) Finding the lurkers on the list (i.e., the fatigued subscribers) and re-oriented them is another great idea! Thanks!

    I have found on my list that people open, read, and stay subscribed. What I have a difficult time with is getting them to click to head to the website/blog.

  4. Carl

    9/21/2010 2:27 pm

    Hi Amanda,

    I like your idea of finding a sub-nitch within your email list.

    Can you do this based on more than one email sent? For example, is there a way to tag subscribers who opened message X1, X2, and X4 (those all being about, say, weight loss)?

  5. Amanda Gagnon

    9/21/2010 3:13 pm

    Carl ~ You can, for up to four messages. You would actually do that on the subscriber search page.

    Choose "message opened" and select the first message you’re concerned with. Then move down to the next row for the next message, and so on.

    Paul ~ Thanks! Have you tried testing different calls to action?

  6. Annie Desantis

    9/21/2010 5:33 pm

    I tried segmenting and resending to the people on my list who didn’t open, and changed the subject line to be one that tested better with another segment. But only got a 1% open rate! And I was trying to give them something, not sell them anything!

    My list is parents and my thinking is they are really busy and I have to be really careful not to send too often. I am going to experiment with sending to the un-opens much later – I waited 4 days in between last time, so maybe a couple of weeks later or during a quiet time when I am not mailing so often, I will experiment a bit further.

    I love the AWeber newsletter, always great ideas.

  7. Anh Anh

    9/21/2010 11:37 pm

    Hey Amanda

    This helps me alot since I stuck sometimes with what Im doing. Thx. 🙂

  8. Jonathan Thompson

    9/22/2010 2:28 pm

    Thanks for the excellent idea! I’ve been looking at the new data tracking offerings and was wondering how I could start tapping into the new data. I’ll admit, I was a little timid to follow up as I’m afraid of spamming and losing the subscriber. I’m going to force myself to at least try one follow up with our next weekly newsletter. Thank you!