Based on some preliminary analysis, we estimate that 25 to 33 percent of the typical email list may be comprised of “inactive” recipients. In this context, we are defining inactive recipients as those who have not opened AND clicked on a single email over a given period of time/number of emails.
Here are some tips on what you can do to re-engage your inactives:
1. Special Offers – If you are a retailer, for example, consider a special offer such as discounts or free shipping. If you are a B2B marketer you might offer a special white paper that will motivate the recipient to re-engage with your communications.
2. Survey Subscribers – While you are not likely to get a significant response, consider surveying these recipients to help provide insight into their inactivity.
3. Update Profile – Using incentives, drive subscribers to your profile update page where they can change email addresses, update format preferences, demographics and interests. This updated information may now enable you to send them targeted and relevant emails.
4. Understand Their Demographics/Profile – Perhaps a large percentage of your inactives share a common trait. Perhaps they opted in as part of registering for a white paper or seminar or promotional offer. Or perhaps a majority are women, while your content is oriented toward men.
5. Try Different Send Days/Times – If you always mail on the same day or time of day, try some different distribution times (what do you have to lose?).
6. Modify Frequency – Now that you’ve segmented your list by actives and inactives, consider adjusting the frequency of your sends. If you normally send twice per month, you may want to test sending three times to active subscribers, but only once to inactives.
7. Create Different Content – If your analysis has been able to uncover some common threads among inactives, consider packaging the content differently for this group. For example, a newsletter from a job search-oriented business might logically find many subscribers becoming inactive after completing their job search. For these recipients, the company might want to focus its newsletter content on managing people, careers and the hiring process. Uncovering this type of trend should lead to providing different newsletters or dynamic versions based on a person’s profile or stated preferences.
8. Try Different Formats – Test using a text version, for example, that is very simple but with specific links and messaging intended to drive action.
9. Test Different Styles of Subject Lines – If you’ve used a particular style of subject line, try a different approach with the inactives. Creative subject lines could be one of your most effective strategies in getting recipients to re-engage.
10. Monitor Seed/Proof Lists – Send your messages to proof and seed lists for key domains. Monitor if content or images are causing your messages to be filtered or treated differently with specific ISPs and companies. If problems are detected, consider developing different versions of the messages that may not trip
11. Send a Postcard – If you have your subscribers’ mailing addresses, consider sending them a postcard that offers an incentive if they’ll update their email preferences and profile.
12. Move Re-engaged to Active Status – After each email message sent to the inactives, change the demographic status of those recipients clicked a link to “active.” This helps keep your focus on converting the inactives and tracking your success in those efforts.