In the early days of email, keeping your complaint and unknown user rates low was enough for a successful email marketing deployment strategy. Times have changed though, now you need to keep the positive metrics up as well. Major ISP’s are looking at reading rates and customer responses to determine where your email is placed long term, in the Inbox or the purgatory of the Spam folder.

Assuming you follow best email practices, your database consists of confirmed opt-in recipients so your rate of unknown users and spam traps are negligible. While that may be true, some of your campaigns occasionally wind up in the spam folder, decreasing open and engagement rates. Unfortunately, decreased positive engagement hurts your reputation and it becomes more difficult to climb out of the spam folder Hell you’ve gotten yourself into. A common solution to the problem of insufficient positive engagement is to wean out non-responders over a certain period or after a certain number of email sent, ensuring you keep on delivering to the Inbox.

Over time, however, you will find your non-responsive data pool has grown quite large, even surpassing your active user pool. Since we’re doing everything according to best practices, now is the time to develop a strategy for re-engagement.

1. Identify your inactive subscribers

Defining who your inactive subscribers can be different for all types of businesses, however, the general rule to find your inactive subscribers are those who have not opened an email or visited your blog within 3 to 6 months. After choosing your method, it is important to label the list as “inactive users”.  

2. Develop a re-engagement strategy

A successful re-engagement strategy should keep in mind some salient points. There is risk involved here of course. You’re mailing to folks that haven’t taken an interest in your brand for some time however at one point they did. Somehow, they have become disenfranchised. Of course, you’ve been keeping a close eye on your performance metrics, and (hopefully) have a nice ROI for your mailing efforts. In order to salvage some of these users, you’ll need to offer them something that will stimulate their interest.

Here are a few re-engagement strategies to help you attract your segment of inactive subscribers:

  • Conduct contests, giveaways, or raffles to spark interest in your campaigns
  • Provide an exclusive discount or coupon code
  • For e-commerce companies, a free sample might do the trick
  • Ask for product recommendations or survey

The key is to make the offer something that they cannot refuse!

3. Time to A/B test

Since there are several re-engagement strategies to choose from, testing your campaign is highly recommended. Testing your content in different variations can determine the most effective re-engagement strategy for your audience. For instance, you may want to see if your subscribers are more likely to engage with a promo code of 20% off their next order, or a coupon code for free shipping.  Once you evaluate the most successful win-back strategy, it’s time to launch your campaign and determine the results.

4. Establish your campaign

Once you have decided on the incentive to offer, you need to carefully design the re-engagement campaign so it is effective and eye-catching. Since there is a risk, you may want to consider launching this campaign from an alternative Email Service Provider (ESP) or at the very least, establish a re-engagement brand identity to separate your production streams from your re-engagement efforts. A possible method is to structure your re-engagement efforts with any upcoming Holidays, that way your re-engagement efforts become a part of your normal day to day activities and is used to keep your data engaged!