As an email marketer, you do find from time to time that despite your best efforts, you will have unsubscribers or those who are simply unresponsive to any of your emails. If you’ve made your best efforts with content and engaging subject lines, sometimes it’s time to kick it into a new gear and look for ways to fix your unresponsive list. How to engage your audience is definitely a key question, or what to do if they simply won’t be engaged…
Why Should You Fix Your Unresponsive List?
There are a number of reasons why you don’t want dead-wood subscribers laying about on your list. For one, responsiveness can be a key indicator as to whether you are actually delivering what your audience wants or what they think they signed up for. This means you should separate out your inactive subscribers from those who are active so that you can better measure responsiveness such as open and click-through rates as these will always be skewed by those who never respond.
Secondly, high numbers of inactive subscribers can negatively impact the deliverability of your emails by giving you lower email reputation scores from Internet Service Providers (ISPs). This means that your emails could end up in more spam boxes and go unnoticed.
Lastly, particularly if you pay for numbers on your list, they are costing you money, including those who are inactive!
5 Steps You can Take…
1. Segment your list
This means separating out those who are inactive from those who are active so that you can make final efforts to engage with the inactive group. Define ‘inactive’ by what it means to you – whether that is anyone who hasn’t opened an email in 6 months or hasn’t opened your last 10 emails (assuming you regularly send them of course!). Create a list for those who are inactive and move them into that list. (We recently did a podcast on list segmentation which you can catch here).
2. Start a re-engagement campaign
A re-engagement campaign should be targeted only towards your inactive subscribers. One of the key things to determine from the outset is what your goals are with your re-engagement campaign. We always like to have measures we can examine as it gives an idea as to whether or not we’ve succeeded with our goals. One of the difficulties with re-engagement campaigns is that it can be off-putting to end up with a smaller list at the end of it. Just bear in mind that pruning the dead-wood should always be one of those end goals!
The other side of the coin is that you will probably end up with at least some who are re-engaged. The point is that it is often 20% who are the most engaged or provide the most revenue, whereas we often spend a lot of time worrying about that other 80%!
When you consider what you will do for your re-engagement campaign, remember that the whole point is to put your best foot forward and really bring out the best offers or content that you have. It is your last opportunity to impress so you want to give it the best chance to succeed. You could send it out in the style of “we want to check that you still want to hear from us” , where inactive subscribers receive a special promo and a request to reconfirm their subscription.
3. Move those who respond
Any of your inactive subscribers who respond to your email should be moved to the active list. Now you give the inactive subscribers one last chance: send them an email explaining that they will be removed from your list if they don’t reconfirm their subscription within a set period of time.
4. Hit delete…
After your response period has expired, delete all those inactive subscribers who did not respond to your re-engagement campaign at all. Yes, this may hurt a bit if you feel like getting them onto your list in the first place was hard work, but remember that if they hang around doing nothing on your list it could actually be doing you harm in terms of your email reputation.
5. Work on keeping your remaining subscribers engaged
The chances are this won’t be as difficult a task as trying to re-engage inactive subscribers, but it is always worth measuring and monitoring what you are doing to make sure that engagement is kept up. Things to look out for include:
- Frequency – are you emailing people so often that they skip over your emails? Or too little so they don’t know who you are?
- Content – are you delivering what people want or expected when they signed up? Is your content unique, fresh and relevant? You could even consider further segmenting your list according to content preference so that those who want certain things get them but not others.
- Opt-in – does your opt-in clearly set expectations when it comes to frequency of emails and what people will be getting? It is important to make sure that you are not ambiguous and that you are clearly understood. You should also ensure that the first few emails that people are receiving after opt-in are really high quality and best demonstrate what you have to offer (it is well worth reviewing these regularly – your knowledge has probably changed and grown since you first set them up).
What are your thoughts? Please let us know by commenting below…