Practicing good list hygiene will control deployment costs, protect your reputation, and ultimately improve ROI per deploy. Knowing when to remove or relocate a subscriber is difficult to do, and something email marketers often fear. If you are seeing a decline in opens, reads, and clicks, it may be time to consider implementing a Re-Engagement campaign. Best case scenario, you will energize and strengthen the relationship with subscribers. Worst case scenario, you will remove some subscribers from your list, thus decreasing your deployment costs. Get started:
Step 1: Define Inactive
This is difficult to do. You will need to establish your own definition that is specific to your subscribers. How? Start by reviewing the life cycle(s) of your customers. (If you have developed personas to segment your customer base, you will have several life cycles. If you have not developed personas, and are wondering what in the world a persona is, click here to learn more. ) If you have no idea what the life cycle of your customer is, gather a list of all subscribers who have not opened an email in the previous year (or two). This is your “master inactive list.”
Step 2: Segment On Level Of Inactivity
Next, segment the master inactive list. One approach is to separate subscribers who have been active at some time in their history and made a purchase, from subscribers who are truly inactive and have not made a purchase. Consider that those who have made a purchase can be messaged differently than those aspirational subscribers who have not made a purchase.
Step 3: Communicate Thoughtfully
Craft messages for inactives with care. The ultimate goal is to close a sale. Minor, but equally valuable goals, are to engage subscribers to the point of clicking, reading, or at the very least opening the email. Any activity is better than none and reinforces that the subscriber is still interested. Consider carefully the frequency and timing of your deployments. A three-deploy campaign, spanning a three-to-six week period is sound starting framework. Be certain that your Re-Engagement campaign works in concert with your standing deployment calendar.
> Messaging inactive past purchasers
Use a personal greeting and dynamic content to fill the message with items that are similar or that complement the previous purchase. Include your best offer and limit the time the offer is available to drive sales sooner versus later. Improve the offer during the second and third deploys if possible.
> Messaging inactive aspirational subscribers
If possible, use a personal greeting to establish a relationship. Use your strongest branding possible through images and text to facilitate recognition and recall. Position the offer and Call-To-Action high above the fold so that it cannot be missed. Oh yes, the offer – make this the very best offer that you can. Gift With Purchase (GWP) or high level discounts perform well. Improve the offer during the second and third deploys if possible.
Step 4: Relocate or Remove
After each deployment during your Re-Engagement campaign, you will be relocating subscribers.
> When a purchase is made
Success! Move this subscriber off the master inactive list and back onto your master list. Use all segmentation possible so that this subscriber receives relevant messages in the future.
> When a click is made
Keep this subscriber on the inactive list for the second (and or third) deployment in the Re-Engagement campaign. A click shows interest. If, after the third deploy in the Re-Engagement campaign there is no activity beyond a click, you will need to determine if you want to move this customer to the master list with a flag showing interest, or remove the subscriber completely.
> When a read or open is made
Keep this subscriber on the inactive list for the second (and or third) deployment in the Re-Engagement campaign. A read or open shows some interest. If, after the third deploy in the Re-Engagement campaign there is no activity beyond a click, you will need to determine if you want to move this customer to the master list with a flag showing minimal interest, or remove the subscriber completely.
> When nothing happens
If, after the third deploy in the Re-engagement campaign there is no activity you will need to determine if you want to move this customer to the master list with a flag showing no response to the Re-Engagement campaign, or remove the subscriber completely.
Goodbye Doesn’t Mean Forever
Removing subscribers from your list after the Re-Engagement campaign controls your deployment costs. And, these subscribers may not be gone forever. Keep a watchful eye on your list delta and see if any pop up in the future as “new” subscribers. Dive into the data and segment and trend from there – did the “renewed” sign up come from a different channel, include a different email address, or a change in last name? So much data, so little time!