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Email: Perfect Your Re-engagement Strategy

Will Jago

You spend a lot of valuable time and money getting people to subscribe to your email list, so it’s a problem when they stop engaging. Plus, those inactive subscribers drag down your open rates, click-through rates, email deliverability, and sender reputation.

In this article, I provide an overview of an ‘Inactive’ subscriber, provide four reasons to re-engage your inactive subscribers and give you six tactics on how to re-engage your subscribers.

What is an Inactive Subscriber?
The definition of ‘inactive’ subscribers depends entirely on your organisation’s email strategy. If you regularly email your list (say two to three times per week) an inactive subscriber might be someone who hasn’t engaged in the past 90 days or 6 months.

If you send emails monthly or quarterly, an inactive subscriber might be someone who hasn’t engaged in a year or more. Either way, these people have been active in the past, either by showing intent, engagement, or making a purchase.

Reasons to Re-engage
To extract maximum return on the time and money you’ve already spent attracting their attention in the first place, it’s worth trying to re-engage those subscribers. In fact, according to Experian, thoughtfully planned re-engagement strategies can deliver 14 times the lift in email-influenced revenue. Read their comprehensive guide on re-engagement here.

Since the cost of acquiring a new customer usually outweighs the cost of keeping an existing one, you should do everything possible to re-engage inactive subscribers or customers. To wake them up, run re-engagement (or reactivation) campaigns.

Here are 4 reasons to run a re-engagement campaign;
1. Re-engage those who still want to hear from you
2. Determine who doesn’t want to hear from you
3. Clean up your email lists
4. Capitalise on existing relationships to keep customer acquisition costs in check

6 Tactics to Re-engage
The tactics or strategy will vary depending on your business and what you offer as a service or product, but here are 6 ideas for you;

1. Offer
An offer is a great was to get someone’s attention. They have felt compelled enough to subscribe or purchase off your previously, so a discount offer could be the perfect way to grab their attention again. Even if it’s a simple 10% off one of your products.

2. Survey
There couple be a fundamental reason why the subscriber has stopped engaging with your emails, so run a survey to see if you can collect some valuable feedback from them. This feedback could be strong enough to warrant a strategic change in direction for your company if there are some common answers. This also provides you with an opportunity to capture more personal information about them, to create a more detailed profile of the subscriber.

3. Update Preferences
Subscribers may stop engaging with your emails for the simple reason that they are no longer interested in your emails. Invite them to update their preferences to make the emails more relevant to them.
For example, a subscriber may have signed-up to a retailer’s list because they want to know about ‘kids’ clothing. Now the kids have grown up, the kids clothing isn’t of interested, so the parent could update their preferences to receive ‘womens’ or ‘mens’ clothing.

The subscriber may indeed decide to opt-out instead, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it will clean your data and improve your open rate as a result.

4. Competition
Give your subscriber a chance to win something and you will have a great chance of capturing their interest again. Be warned though, you want to be able to keep them interested so it might be worth combing the competition with the ‘updating preferences’ idea above so ensure that you are capturing information about the subscriber. For example, ‘Update your preferences for the chance to win a voucher’

5. Past Experience
The subscriber joined your list for a reason, so remind them of that reason if you have data available to you.

For example, ‘Remember those <insert brand> trainers you bought from us last year? Check out this season’s selection.’

If you can add in accurate images or personalise the email even more, do it. It helps emotionally engage the subscriber.

6. Reinforce Benefit
If your company has a really strong benefit to the subscriber, which are relevant to the majority of your subscribers, your re-engagement strategy may be to reinforce that benefit. You could also add in new benefits that have developed over the last year or two.

For example, at Active Networks, we own the website Think Local. Our re-engagement email could be, ‘We still offer at least 50% off restaurants, cafes and beauty salons across the Northern Beaches & North Shore. Check out the latest offers online’.

If you have any questions about your re-engagement campaign, but don’t hesitate to email

You may also find the following email marketing articles helpful.
8 Ways to Improve Your Email Delivery
Email Content That Converts
7 Steps to Email Reporting
Writing Subject Lines & Pre-Header Text
A/B Testing

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