Your relationship with your subscribers goes through all the stages of any other relationship in your life. At the start, your subscribers are usually extremely excited about your emails and your offerings and look forward to anything that you send their way. All those exclusive discounts and personalized emails get them to blush with surprise and anxiously await your next emails.
However, just like with any other relationship, this honeymoon period doesn’t last forever and soon their interest tends to wane. After all, you need to be more than just about offering discounts and sending monthly newsletters to keep their attention and move your relationship forward.
While many brands tend to accept this as a sad, unfixable truth, it doesn’t have to be the case. Implementing strong, personal and strategic email re-engagement campaigns will make you unforgettable in the eyes of your subscribers.
Why do an Email Re-Engagement Campaign?
There are many reasons why subscribers stop engaging with a brand’s emails. With time, it is common to see a drop in open rates and clicks on emails. While a lot of the subscribers can also be considered as not the perfect fit for you, you’ll be surprised by how many of these can be won back with cleverly executed re-engagement campaigns.
Re-Engagement campaigns are opportunities for you to remind all those inactive subscribers why they liked engaging with your brand in the first place. It’s also important for you to target these non-responding subscribers because they can have serious negative effects on your deliverability. ISPs these days focus on things beyond the content of emails to determine spammers and are more concerned with the ways in which subscribers respond to your emails. All of this makes it important for you to take re-engagement campaigns seriously.
In our re-engagement strategies, we will be looking at the following three major steps:
- Determining the People to Re-Engage With
- Creation of Your Re-Engagement Campaigns
- Knowing When to Quit
Determining the People to Re-Engage With
Even though the exact definition of an inactive subscriber varies from one company to another, they all agree it’s basis to be a subscriber who doesn’t open or click on an email in a certain period of time.
You will need to consider these when defining your timeframe:
- Behavior Types – Most re-engagement strategies tend to be based on the email behavior, including lack of opens and/or clicks over a certain period of time, such as within the past 60 days. If significant, you might also want to consider on-site behavior and other purchase behaviors.
- Email Frequency – Depending on your business, you will have to adjust your timeframes for inactivity. For example, a classifieds websites that specializes in daily and weekly deals might consider an inactive subscriber to be someone who hasn’t engaged in 90 days while a realtor who sends a monthly newsletter might consider a much longer timeframe such as 6 months or even a year.
- Customer Journey – If the customer journey in your line of business is fairly long or your customers are more infrequent in their purchase cycles then you might want to consider inactivity time frames that are much longer to mirror this behavior.
Creation of Your Email Re-Engagement Campaigns
The first thing to keep in mind here is that since your subscribers haven’t been responding to your regular emails, you will need to send out something different. Some of the things that you can play around with include:
- Content – Staying true to your brand values, mix up your content and communication, staying within the guidelines and present something out of the ordinary. Sending out extremely personalized emails with special messages and customized promo codes can help. Test things out and see what works here. Highlighting new offers and/or any changes to your business might be of interest to them. Some companies also consider sending out incentivized surveys to get valuable feedback while at the same time re-engaging with your subscribers. People like sharing their opinions and they LOVE being considered important.
- Style – It is highly likely that your existing emails have been designed in HTML, having your brand as the “From” name. You should consider sending out plain text email from a customer support representative with a human name. This representative should contact inactive subscribers as a “check-in” to see if they have any questions about your products or services and if they would like to see something change. You should also be prepared for responses on such emails and should have an SOP on how to approach them. You should, however, still use HTML to create the appearance of the plain text emails, allowing your email service provider to include an open tracking pixel.
- Pausing – Subscriber inactivity usually happens due to email fatigue, meaning that you have sent out too many emails to make them ineffective. If that is the case then it is a good idea to pause all activity on your inactive subscribers for a while before resuming with any kind of communication. Having said that, we also do not suggest that you keep them dormant for too long that they forget they opted-in to your communications in the first place.
Knowing When to Quit
Keep your campaign performance expectations as realistic as possible. Since these subscribers haven’t engaged with you in a long time, you shouldn’t expect any fireworks from them all. While initial numbers will most likely be small, any win should be appreciated as you are managing to awaken some of your most difficult subscribers. Even having the most thorough re-engagement strategy will convert just a fraction of these inactive subscribers so you should know when to quit. After understanding that nothing is working, it might be a good idea to send out an email on parting ways.
You don’t necessarily have to remove them from your list, but it is a good idea to stop annoying them with your emails when they ask or fail to engage in order to help improve your deliverability and your overall reputation score among different ISPs. We do not recommend removing these subscribers because they might still find a way to crawl back into your active, engaging lists.