Reactivating Recipients: Getting Them Interested Again

You started a new email marketing campaign and it was successful, but now you are a few months into it and found that you are carrying some dead weight, inactive subscribers. Inactive subscribers can really weigh down your marketing campaign. In order to re-engage these inactives, you have to think about why they are sedentary.

There are several reasons that your subscribers could be unengaged:

1. They were never really engaged as new subscribers. They may have signed up for a freebie or sweepstakes and just never unsubscribed.

2. Their interests have shifted and they are no longer interested in your messages.

3. Weak content.

4. Your messages are being sent to the spam folder without ever being seen.

5. The subscriber has changed email addresses and abandoned their old address.

But no matter what the reason is for their inactivity, you can use the following tips to try and spark an interest again in your dormant recipients.

First, you need to define what ‘inactive’ means to you. Is inactive a subscriber with no opens or clicks in a certain period of time?  Or is it a recipient with limited clicks and no purchases in over a year? Whatever the criteria are, you need to define it in order to treat it. You can segment your recipient list into groups based on their behavior and activity.  For example you could segment you list into three categories: Active, Slightly Active and Inactive.

After you have defined inactivity and your list has been segmented, you should try to re-engage them with a campaign to appeal to the different segments.

Here are some tactics you can try:

– A survey about improvement and quality. What are the recipients interests? What content or products would they like to see? Create a recipient profile where they can save their preferences.     Personalize the emails according to what the recipients have indicated in their preferences profile.

– Send out a “Can’t Refuse” offer to reward them for their loyalty or lure them back in.

– Use a trigger based email program to encourage more clicks and purchases.

– Send a final email to inactives that basically says, “ Opt-in now to continue to receive our messages.”  If a subscriber hasn’t clicked a single link or opened a message in several months, the      relationship has probable run its course.

You should also evaluate your program for inactivity triggers. Examine your campaign for practices that could be triggering inactives.

Some things to think about when evaluating your program:

– Are you pursuing irrelevant subscribers? Be careful with acquisition campaigns that are built  around incentives, like freebies and sweepstakes, that have little or nothing to do with you email  program.

– Mind your time! Frequency is key; too little or too often can lead subscribers to detach.

-Manage expectations. Are you delivering what you promised in terms of frequency and content?     Be sure you are meeting expectations by being clear with your intentions at opt in. Having a personal preferences profile for recipients is another good way to ensure that the subscribers are   getting exactly what they want. Also, simplifying un-subscription isn’t a bad idea.

Getting subscribers to re-engage means you must have a least an understanding of who they are and what they want. If the inactives on your list are potentially interested, it only takes a few changes to your program to get some real results.

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