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4 Powerful Ways to Re-Engage Inactive Email Subscribers

May 1, 2017
By Phil Davis

Re-Engage Inactive Email SubscribersBuilding connections with subscribers is fundamental to email marketing. But establishing those customer relationships is only the first step in the process, and marketers who stop there will see the size of their audience declining.

Email marketers must pull double-duty: maintaining and nurturing the relationships with active subscribers and re-engaging users with lower levels of engagement

Here are four great ways to re-engage inactive email subscribers.

1. Define Inactive Users

Surprisingly, inactive users constitute 60 percent of the average email database. So before you can build your strategy to re-engage inactive email subscribers, you need to identify who on your lists is currently inactive.

Step One is to review historical data to determine who has not clicked, opened, responded or interacted in any way with email campaigns in the last six to 12 months (even 18 months, depending on your product). Once this segment is identified, it’s tempting to remove these users from the database. Stop! It’s not a good idea to delete inactive email subscribers. Just because subscribers aren’t opening or clicking emails doesn’t mean the campaigns aren’t impacting their behavior.

Consider the entire buyer journey and how email might influence a subscriber’s behaviors on other channels. For example, a subscriber may not engage with an email, but the message may trigger them to go straight to the app store to download the company’s app. Or because the email kept the business top of mind, the user may click on one of the company’s social media ads.

2. Use Data to Segment Inactive Users

Once you’ve identified the inactive users in the email database, it’s time to decide how to segment them.

A good idea is to use email activity metrics to see how active the individual is in general. Ask yourself, “Is this user interacting with our brand in other channels?” Remember: A lack of email engagement doesn’t equate to a complete lack of engagement.

You should also consider the user’s life stage and then tailor your messaging accordingly. Sending recommendations for products designed for pregnant mothers to a woman who has already given birth or offering discounts on expensive vacations to recipients in lower income ranges likely won’t yield positive results.

3. Adjust the Strategy Based on Type of Engagement

Inactive subscribers fall into two distinct categories:

  1. 1. Users who haven’t been engaging with a company’s emails but are engaging with the brand on other channels
  2. 2. Users who no longer interact with the brand at all on any channel

Those in the first group represent a high level of potential value. To re-engage them, A/B test for high-frequency and low-frequency communication. These emails should contain messaging and content, such as …

  • Special promotions related to the subscriber’s behaviors on other channels
  • An invitation to adjust the subscriber’s email frequency
  • Reminders of the value of being an email subscriber — for example, “Did you know that by being an email subscriber you gain access to exclusive email-only offers?”
  • The benefits of joining your loyalty program

Users who were at one time engaging with the business but aren’t anymore offer a moderate level of potential value since they did interact with the brand in the past. Email frequency with this category of inactive users should be low and include content such as …

  • Messaging that leverages FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) — “Here are some discounts you’ve missed out on.”
  • A friendly acknowledgement of their inactivity — “We haven’t seen you in a while!”
  • A brief survey asking why they stopped engaging with the brand

4. Fill in Data Holes with Email Intelligence

One of the primary reasons subscribers become inactive is because they no longer find the company’s emails relevant or interesting. This is a sign for you to look at the data and investigate what may have changed for the subscriber.

If there are gaps in the data preventing you from making the most-informed decision, TowerData’s Email Intelligence service can help. Email Intelligence provides demographics, purchasing intent and browsing behavior data on 80 percent of the email addresses in a business’ database. With this information, you can personalize content on an individual level, which can help make it easier to re-engage inactive email subscribers.

Keep in mind that it might take more than one email to win back those inactive subscribers. Plan to send out a series of emails over several weeks or months and test approaches to see what inspires the most interaction from subscribers.

Do you know enough about your customers to properly segment them? If not, Active Customer Intelligence (ACI) can help. Get more data about customers and fill in your knowledge gap. Learn more about ACI today.Find out what your customers are shopping for right now!

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