Inactive subscribers typically comprise 30 to 40 percent of databases for most marketers, according to Email Insider. In our final blog in the Engaging Email Subscribers series, we’re discussing four refreshes email marketers can implement to re-engage inactive subscribers. (See Part 1 of this series by clicking here and Part 2 by clicking here.)
Subscribers losing interest in your company’s email communications is unavoidable – you can’t please everybody all of the time. However, in many cases, subscriber inactivity is much like a long-term romantic relationship: your subscribers are still interested in your company, you just need to excite them again.
Let’s examine a few refreshes you can make to your email marketing to reignite that activity spark and re-engage your subscribers.
Implement A/B Testing
Do you wonder why some of your emails experience drastically higher open rates than others? Put it to the test! A/B testing allows marketers to make decisions based on concrete data rather than gut instincts. According to the 2012 MarketingSherpa Email Marketing Benchmark Report, 72 percent of marketers test the phrasing and/or length of their email subject lines to improve performance, and 61 percent test message greeting, body and/or closing.
Remember to keep your A/B testing simple by only testing one variant at a time, and avoid testing around holidays, as consumer behavior is typically outside the norm, and results may skew your data.
Update Email Design
Do you use the same design template, colors and fonts for all of your email communications? Your subscribers may have grown bored of the monotony. Spice up your design by adding a splash of color and catchy graphics, or go the opposite route and make your design simple, yet powerful. You may even want to consider taking design one step further by implementing responsive design for easier mobile viewing.
Think of your email marketing’s new design like a husband donning a casual weekend suit in lieu of his everyday blue jeans and t-shirt. Your goal is to make your subscribers do a double take.
Update Email Preferences
Perhaps it’s not the subject line or design your subscribers are displeased with, it’s the subject matter or frequency of contact they dislike. Always offer your subscribers the option to update or manage their email preferences in the footer of each email communication. You may even choose to send your inactive subscribers a special email asking them to update their preferences. This courtesy helps subscribers who may be struggling with inbox overload.
Beg Them to Take Action
If your other efforts to uncover any signs of life from your subscribers just aren’t fruitful, why not ask them to take action? Send them an email asking if they would still like to receive your communications with an option to re-opt-in. Going a step farther, you can beg your subscribers to take action. The lonelybrand blog shares three great email examples of companies bending over backward to get subscribers to stay – use it as inspiration to create a powerful plea to get your subscribers to re-engage!
For those subscribers that still don’t respond to your best efforts, it may be time to prune them from your list. You’re spending money to mail to them, and they’re dragging down your engagement metrics, which will hurt your deliverability at some ISPs. You can start off by not mailing your inactives for one month as part of a withhold study, to see what is the impact to the online and offline behavior of these subscribers.
For help improving the performance of your email campaigns once you’ve re-engaged or removed inactive subscribers from your database, download “Email Validation for Improved Deliverability and Marketing Results.”
Photo Credit: World Bank Photo Collection