How to re-engage your email recipients
The lights are on but no-one’s home
So you’ve focused on building up your email database – perhaps it’s even part of your paid marketing strategy. You put a lot of effort into writing engaging and relevant email content, maybe you offer discounts, How-to’s, new product information or a regular newsletter. You’re tracking everything, you know how many people open, how many click and how many respond. The trouble is, all in all they’re a pretty inactive crowd.
You have a consistent core of engaged recipients, those who comment on your news, share with friends, tweet stories or can be tracked to show they purchased or re-purchased off the back of your campaigns. But what to do about the silent majority? Those we call ‘inactives’.
How to define inactives
Firstly you need to define how you will measure who is active and who is inactive, some suggestions, dependant on the type of business you run and the frequency of your campaigns, are:
- No clicks in 3 months
- No opens in 6 months
- No sales in 12 months
This will help you to approach your email reporting with new focus – rather than simply ‘checking the numbers’, attack your reporting with a highlighter – which groups can we define as highly active (again define the criteria based on your business i.e. how often your products/services are re-purchased and email frequency), which are non-movers and which are inactive.
Inactive Email Strategy
Once you have segmented your email audience then you can start to understand how to treat them differently in order to nurture them based on their current email relationship with you:Highly engaged: This group are advocates of your products/services or of your business in general. They are regular commenters, sharers, purchasers or responders. Without over-soliciting, you could afford to increase your level of communication with this group. Be instructive about asking them to recommend you, give testimonials, connect on Linkedin or offer them discounts for friends/colleagues/clients.
Non-movers: Perhaps these are simply low responders, maybe they do open your emails and sometimes click through to your website, just not that often. They require monitoring. If they rise to your highly engaged group, reward them appropriately with the extra content and incentives you reserve for this group, if they slide into your inactive group, adjust your approach as below.
Inactives: Your inactive group can be communicated with less. Reserve only your most interesting content for them but make sure it is broad, general content. Not very specific to your products/services or your business – they are not interested enough yet. Your opinions on some industry-wide developments might make them look twice however.
You can also try a re-activation campaign, in order to remind them why they subscribe to your newsletter! Try some of the following:
- Include content from other channels, such as a relevant video or podcast you have produced, or your favourite Facebook fan photos or the Tweets of the week.
- Include a great offer or discount to tempt them back in.
- Try a competition to re-ignite interest.
- Simply ask them why you haven’t heard from them. Try an introduction like ‘We haven’t heard from you in a while’ and then use your email to conduct a short survey on possible reasons, giving them a blank ’other’ field in addition. Include things like:
- I already bought [your product]
- I am no longer looking for [your product]
- I’m still looking but need convincing
- I’d rather hear from you another way, not by email
By including the survey you will hopefully learn more about why some of your recipients are no longer engaged. Then you can be specific about addressing the issues. For example by creating a group that you should follow up with by phone, a group who need more information and a group that you should suppress (unless they specifically ask, don’t remove data, just suppress it for emails that are not relevant)