Marketers are always looking for ways to optimize their email programs. However, optimization isn’t just limited to increasing open rates, click-through rates, and conversions. ‘Optimization’ can mean taking a close look at a marketer’s database and finding an opportunity to reactivate members who are still mailable but no longer engaged. Many of these inactive members are more likely to convert than a newly acquired subscriber, especially if they have purchased in the past. Not to mention that re-engaging an existing member is always more cost-effective than acquiring a new one. So, how can marketers draw those lapsed or inactive subscribers back in? Here are a few things to consider when developing an effective reactivation strategy:
1. Analyze your data. Determine who is engaged and who is not engaged. If you’re not able to run this analysis in-house, your ESP should be able to provide an effective tool that can score your database monthly based on each subscriber’s level of engagement (recent opener, recent clicker, recent purchaser, past opener, past clicker, past purchaser). Alternatively, this can also be customized with the levels of engagement that are relevant to your business needs.
2. Determine who’s inactive. Once you’ve analyzed your data, determine which segment is inactive. Are you looking to reactive members who haven’t been active in the last 90 days, 6 months, 12 months, or 18 months?
3. Protect your sender reputation. Mailing to a less engaged segment can very easily impact your deliverability rates. These less engaged members aren’t opening or clicking and it’s that type of low engagement that causes issues with ISPs (think, bounces!). With that said, it’s very important to be careful about mailing to less engaged segments. Consider deploying campaigns to inactive subscribers off of a secondary domain and throttling the deployment over a longer period. Definitely run your records through a list hygiene process to remove any dead, invalid email addresses as well as any spam traps from your database – it’s a cost-effective service and it can be instrumental in helping you avoid major deliverability issues that can cost millions of dollars’ worth of revenue.
4. Test! The first step isn’t getting the user to make a purchase; it’s getting them to open your email! So, don’t put all of your eggs in one basket and, instead, test those subject lines! If you want to capture subscribers’ attention and reactivate them, your subject line(s) need to stand out from your regular promotional messages. Try testing first name personalization or reference past purchases. When trying to determine the right offer, identify a control group and test different incentives to smaller segments. Measure the results before rolling out the offer to the balance of your inactive segment. It’ll take careful testing to determine the right cadence, message and offer for your brand.
5. Follow up. Don’t be surprised if these members don’t bite after the first reactivation message. Remember you’re still competing with all other emails in their inboxes and this segment is already less engaged. Consider developing a reactivation series with varying subject lines and try different types of offers. You might be pleasantly surprised when they reengage 60 or 90 days after your initial reactivation message.
Message 1: 1st Subject Line:
“Hey, Firstname! We want you back: use code xxxx”
Message 2: 2nd Subject Line”
“Hey, Firstname – Here’s 5 deliveries just for you!”
Overall, it’s important to keep in mind that subscribers are demanding more personalized content. To truly engage your customers and build a relationship, it’s importing to test frequently and try to incorporate relevant information in your subject line and content. Re-engage by asking subscribers to update their preferences and remember that reactivation isn’t limited to sending offers. By leveraging a perfect mix of sales and value-added content, your subscribers will more inclined to reengage and stay engaged with your brand.
Sharon Maneja is a Senior Account Manager and has been in the industry for over 16 years. Sharon assists clients to oversee projects and help provide recommendations, thought leadership, and best practices within the industry. Prior to joining Data Axle in 2015, Sharon was a Data Axle client with a women’s fashion retailer where she developed and grew the email program and launched the company’s first e-commerce site. She brings extensive knowledge of Data Axle's platforms and processes, having partnered with company while on the client side. Sharon loves to cook and read but most of her free time revolves around her two kids. Sharon has an MBA from the University of North Florida and BA from the University of Florida (Go Gators!)