Target Your Inactive Email Subscribers
FEBRUARY 1, 2012:
Grant Evans, Director of Operations and Digital Publishing
Did you know that 70-75% of your email list is inactive? That means only 25-30% of your email list is active. If this was high school, you would be failing. Luckily when it comes to email marketing, it’s an open book world. So open your ‘books’ and follow the steps below. I’ll start with steps to help you segment your inactive subscribers, identify ways to re-engage, test your results and improve the opt-in process (in many cases this is the underlying problem).
Step 1: Segment Out Your Inactive Subscribers
First, find your inactive subscribers. Depending on the type of emails and your frequency of sends, you might pull out people who haven’t engaged with your emails in the last 3-6 months, or perhaps you’ll want to go back a little further to 9-12 months.
Once you have your list, you’ll want to work on ways to encourage them to take action. Taking action could mean opening your email and clicking on an offer, clicking a link to confirm they’re still interested or even … unsubscribing. What? Encourage them to unsubscribe? Yes. If they’re really not interested, but just haven’t opted out, why keep sending to them?
Step 2: Identify Ways to Re-Engage
One idea for a win-back campaign would be to send them a special offer. Make sure to let them know this is an offer just for them. You want them back and are willing to give them a discount, special deal or gift.
Or you could send them a survey. It could be a survey to learn more about what they’d like to see in future communications or it could be a survey masquerading as a preference center where they can choose the type of communications or the frequency they’d like to receive. With this strategy it’s always a good idea to incentivize their interaction.
Finally there’s the good old “Please come back,” “We miss you” or “Where have you been” email. Just letting them know you want to communicate with them just may do the trick. People like to believe they’re actually communicating with a real person, so an well-presented plea could make them take another look.
Step 3: Test Your Results
Now that you’ve sent some re-engagement campaigns, take a look at your pre-strategy results, your re-engagement results and then the results of your next few normal sends. Did you improve your overall engagement? Did your inactive subscribers re-engage just during the re-engagement campaign or have they continued to engage? Or did you lose a lot of your subscribers.
Final Step: Fix The Underlying Problem
Now that you’ve spent time encouraging your existing subscribers to re-engage with your emails, you should try taking a look at why subscribers become inactive. Are your emails not interesting enough? Perhaps you’re selling too hard, sending too often or not sending the right kind of content.
I also frequently see marketers collect emails, but not take advantage of the honeymoon period. The first few months of a subscription are very important. A strong onboarding campaign can prove to your new subscribers your emails are worth reading. The saying “it takes 21 days to form a habit” loosely applies to this theory. It’s actually more than 21 days in email, but the concept is the same. I’d say “it takes 3 months to form a habit.” So create a strong onboarding program. Send them your best offers and your best articles during this period. If they stay engage during this period odds are they’ll make looking for your emails a habit.
Now put those pencils down and get moving on re-engaging the disengaged. Good luck.
This blog post was originally published on the Priority Blog at priorityresults.com/blog. Priority Integrated Marketing is now BlueSpire Strategic Marketing.