80% of success is showing up: Coursera’s brilliant re-engagement emails

Coursera Philosophy Course Email

I adore this re-engagement email from Coursera. Everything about it is great: the subject line and heading, the simple layout, the short copy, the awesome call to action. I found myself clicking Show up when I had barely finished reading the email.

The best thing about this email is how they frame their call to action: they make the cost of clicking through so incredibly low. All I have to do is show up? That’s so easy! I can definitely do that right now!

It’s a great reminder of how important it is to give people a super low bar to jump over in order to engage with your content, no matter what it is. If you ask a lot of someone in a call to action, their mind very rapidly calculates the cost in effort to be too high and will abandon the task. If you give them the world’s simplest task to do, you are giving them a quick win.

Coursera use similarly excellent tactics in a second follow-up email. Again, being asked simply to give up ten minutes of my time is a no-brainer. Coursera know full well that the most difficult part about re-engaging is actually getting started, so they are making it as easy as can be.

Needless to say, I am now all caught up on my course 🙂


Published by

Nicole Merlin

I'm an HTML email designer and developer from Melbourne, Australia. I love email, design, typography, calligraphy and curling up with a book.

  • Fab example of a really strong re-engagement email. Coursera looks like they’ve nailed it, knowing that a short and sweet email will do more for re-engagement rather than something lengthy, which is where some re-engagement campaigns fall down.

    And this is a really good example of a re-engagement campaign that doesn’t have any monetary incentive – just a poke in the right direction. Great find, Nicole!

  • Thanks Jaina! It’s so true that re-engagement campaigns start going wrong when they start getting lengthy. The cardinal sin is diluting the message with other topics! Worst idea ever.

  • Feel like a lot of cases, this happens when there’s a fear that without messages x, y and z, the user won’t return. Or there’s pressure to have some sort of cross-sell message in the re-engagement campaign which is a terrible idea. Bring the customer back, then try to sell them things!

  • Exactly!

  • Hello Nicole Merlin,
    I always support re-engagement of your customers through an Unique Email marketing campaign. its just like a kind remainder notice to your customers about your products or business.. Thanks for this Fabulous article.