Here’s a cold reality about email marketing: Subscribers are going to lose interest in your messages (and maybe even your brand). This loss of interest is not a phenomenon to ignore either. So, how you get these folks to re-engage with you?
Here are some surefire tips on how to create a winning re-engagement email campaign to win back your inactive subscribers or customers.
Identify Your Inactive Subscribers
Start by identifying those subscribers who have been a part of your list for at least 6-12 months and have never engaged with your emails. Put them to one side in a separate segment or group. Decide whether to delete them altogether or throw them in with the next group we’ll talk about.
Then, identify subscribers who haven’t engaged with you in a set period of time. How you determine these factors comes down to:
Type of Behavior: Review the email, onsite and purchase behaviors of your subscribers, and base your identification methodology on the results. Note the number of opens or clicks as well as the number of purchases over a fixed period of time. Frequency: Base the timeframe on your email sending frequency. If you send monthly, you may decide a year or 6 months of inactivity is a proper timeframe. If you mail daily, your inactive group may start at 30 days of inactivity. If you’re somewhere in between, a good starting number may be 90 days of inactivity.
Once you determine what constitutes an “inactive” subscriber, you can move on to segmentation.
Segment Your Inactive Subscribers
Once you have identified your inactive subscribers, segment them out of your normal list. For this segment, create relevant content to run innovative and exclusive re-engagement campaigns.
You can further segment your inactive subscribers based on the following criteria:
Social Profile Activity
Their Last Interaction with You
Do Something Different
Re-engagement campaigns need to be radically different. If your “special” emails look and feel too much like your regular campaigns, they are just as likely to be ignored.
Create emails that jolt your inactive subscribers out of their slumber. Use a different tone which grips them and makes them read. Include never-before-seen offers that catch their eye and arouse in them a sense of excitement. Here are some things you can change or add in your re-engagement emails:
Tone and style of the email content as well as that of the subject line
Personalized messages and salutations
The term “We Miss You” (or some derivative of it)
Different offers, discounts, & incentives
Videos and cheat sheets
Links and prominent CTAs buttons
Give Them A Way Out
Simply put: An unsubscribe is better than a spam complaint. They essentially mean the same thing, but complaints hurt you much more in the long run.
In your re-engagement campaigns, provide your recipients with easy, obvious ways to unsubscribe. Include a big, bold and prominent unsubscribe button in all your re-engagement emails if you want.
There is no point in holding back someone who doesn’t want to be part of your business.
Re-engagement emails can help to convince your inactive subscribers about your brand value and the benefits they stand to gain by coming back to your “family”.
Want expert help in setting up your re-engagement campaigns? Contact InboxArmy now for a free consultation.
What happens if your emails don’t make it to the inbox?
No matter how innovative your design, content, and testing strategies are, they don’t matter if your emails don’t get delivered. So, how can you ensure your emails get delivered? By building and maintaining a solid, positive sender reputation.
Your sender reputation determines whether the email you send is delivered to subscribers’ inboxes, spam folders, or, frankly, at all. Sender reputation essentially refers to how trustworthy your domain(s) and IP addresses (the infrastructure behind your email marketing program) are to spam filters and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This reputation is determined by a number of factors, including:
Sending domain authentication (is your SPF/DKIM/CNAME set up correctly?)
The volume of emails being sent from your domain/IP address
Positive engagement with your emails (opens, clicks, etc.)
Negative engagement with your emails (spam filtering, deletes without opens, complaints)
Remember this: Every email you send can affect your overall reputation in a positive or negative way.
Sender reputation is crucial for delivery—and delivery is essential for a successful email marketing program. So, let’s take a look at what you can do to develop and maintain a positive reputation and best avoid potential email deliverability issues.
Learn what you’re starting with now
If you’re coming to this article truly in the dark about how your domain or IP addresses are performing, start here: Go to Senderscore.org and type in your domain or IP. If your score is high, great! If your score is low, you’ve got work to do.
Build and Manage Your Email List the Right Way
First thing’s first: Build your email list organically. Don’t buy lists.
Now that we have that out of the way, here are some other ways you can maintain your list:
Remove bad email addresses: If you need to, employ double opt-in procedures and bring in list verification/validation services (from Webbula, BriteVerify, Kickbox, or FreshAddress, to name a few)
Monitor and manage spam complaints: Treat these like unsubscribes. Continually mailing to folks who’ve marked you as spam will only make them continue to mark you as spam. And more spam complaints can spell doom to reputation.
Separate “Active” subscribers from “Inactive” subscribers: Treat these subscribers differently. Mail your actives more. Mail your inactives less. If necessary, remove inactives from your list altogether.
Clean your list periodically: If your list is reasonably new, you don’t have to worry as much. But if you have subscribers on your list from 5 years ago, it’s time to make sure those email addresses are still valid. The same folks I mentioned in the bullet above offer list hygiene services.
Send Great Content
Make sure your email content is relevant, mobile-friendly, and code-perfect. If your reputation is borderline, you may want to avoid spammy words and phrases like “guarantee,” “free,” and others. Test frequently and find what works best for your subscribers. There is no “silver bullet” and no “best time to send.”
If you got subscribers to sign up by offering weekly emails, send weekly. If you said you were going to send daily, send daily. Whatever you do, make sure your email send frequency matches the expectations you set at the beginning. A big uptick in frequency (beyond the occasional holiday sale or the like) can spell long-term trouble for programs seeking short-term gain.
Ideally, a solid reputation means you should see this in your metrics:
Very low bounce rates
Very low complaint and unsubscribe rates
Solid open and click-through rates
Happy subscribers and great conversion rates for you!
21% of opt-in emails fail to reach the inbox. Email deliverability is crucial to your email marketing program since it’s a big determining factor as to whether your creative, segmentation, and list-building efforts bear any fruit.
For the last (but definitely not least) part of our series on The Foundations of Email Marketing, we’ve partnered with our friends at Inbox Pros to present this E-book filled with insights on what makes for good email deliverability, and how to achieve it. In this eBook, you’ll learn:
What is email reputation?
How can you build a positive sender reputation?
What can get you blacklisted and How can you avoid it?
What all can you do when everything falls apart and you have to bring your email marketing program back from “the brink”?
Grab this eBook now and learn how you can improve your email delivery rates and ensure the success of your email marketing program.
Do you send out the same generic email to one and all in your list?
Do you bombard your subscribers with too many emails?
Is sending relevant content to your subscribers a priority for you?
Do you care to take feedback or ask preferences of your customers?
If your answers are Yes, Yes, No, and No, it’s time to look at your unsubscribes and list churn rate.
25% of your email marketing list decays every year. When you flood your subscribers’ inboxes with emails that are not relevant or useful to them, they tend to stop engaging. And then, the only engagement you do get is an unsubscribe (if you’re lucky and they don’t mark you as spam).
There’s no such thing as zero unsubscribes (in reality), but you can reduce their likelihood by following some proven email marketing best practices. Let’s take a look at what experts say you can do to reduce email churn rate.
Segment Your List
Sending relevant content to targeted groups of subscribers from your list will yield better results, including fewer unsubscribes. That said, it does take some to enable segmentation.
Take a look at your data and see how you can create segments with your email marketing list. Start with those who have opened and clicked (and segment from those who haven’t). Or separate purchasers from non-purchasers. You can also ask your subscribers for additional information and preferences.
Why go through this exercise? Let’s say you are a clothing brand. It would make sense to send different emails to men and women, right? If someone has set preferences for certain categories of products, you can send them emails related to those categories. With this knowledge of customers’ interests, you can better keep them engaged with your brand, thereby reducing your email unsubscribe rate.
Customize Your Email Frequency
Email frequency is one of the main factors influencing unsubscribe rates. When the subscribers are bombarded with emails too frequently, they tend to lose interest in the brand. And yet, what may seem like too much email for one subscriber may be the perfect amount for another. Use your segmentation data and test frequently to determine the best frequency for sending emails to a particular group. That frequency likely can be higher for your most engaged customers and much lower for those who interact less often with your brand.
Send Relevant Content
The one-size-fits-all kind of email program does not work efficiently in the case of content. Once you learn what your subscribers like, you need to create content that matches their interests and behavior. Consider what kinds of offers you send out regularly and match that content to what you promised at opt-in. Test different copy and image combinations, calls to action, subject lines, and other content elements frequently as well.
Offer Alternatives to Email
Say what? But you said this is a post about how to reduce email unsubscribes?
That’s right, I did. Here’s why: Some subscribers do not want their inbox to be clogged with emails and prefer other mediums to get information from brands like yours. Why not maintain this positive connection by offering alternatives like SMS, Twitter, or other social media platforms.
Another idea would be to offer an “opt-down” option to reduce email frequency, thereby trying to prevent to full opt-out. Just make sure if you do offer an opt-down option that you actually MEAN it.
Ask For Feedback
When your customers do opt out, add a short survey after the unsubscribe process is complete asking them for their reasons. It could be they are no longer interested, or don’t like your content, or you’re emailing too much. Watch for trends in these reasons and adjust your email strategy accordingly.
You’ll never be fully rid of the unsubscribe, but you can do your best to keep it from happening.
Buying habits of customers are constantly evolving. This evolution makes it imperative to put data at the center of your email marketing strategy. After all, the best emails are driven by customer data and triggered by customer engagement.
So, how can customer data help you?
Personalize Your Messages to Grow Your Audience Emails work best when they are treated like a welcome presence in a subscriber’s inbox. Data allows you to personalize your email marketing messages (beyond just “Hello [FIRST NAME]”) to drive better engagement.For example, have you ever received emails promoting products tying in with local weather conditions? Or emails with products from your abandoned shopping cart? These are messages personalized by customer data.
Collect User Feedback Data allows you to learn how your products and services are being used and perceived. With those learnings, you can improve not only your email marketing messaging, but also your products and customer service as well.
Optimize Your Conversion Rates More data means more opportunities to test strategies and ideas and build the benchmarks and metrics to optimize your conversion funnels.
Want to learn more about how you can leverage customer data to build smart email marketing programs?