Reactivation – 9 Tips to re-engage with your email list

No matter how successful an email program, how engaging, relevant and timely you think your communications are, over time all email programs will have consumers who no longer want to interact with your brand. Some research suggests that up to 60% of the average consumer list will become inactive after 6 months. What you do about this is a matter of quite hot debate within the email community.

Do you stop sending to the truly disengaged? From one perspective having inactive on your list distorts engagement figures and can have negative impact on the impression of success within an organisation and potential deliverability problems but on the other hand there is a branding effect that is seen when even supposedly disengaged customers have greater engagement with the brand because they see the email in their inbox

The reasons that consumers churn according to Marketing Sherpa range from lack of relevance & too much email at the top through to change of circumstances. The varying reasons will require slightly different tactics to deal with. So here are some top tips in creating a successful reactivation program

1. The first issue to deal with is who to actually reactivate. There is no black and white definition of lapsed customers, however by undertaking some basic recency-frequency (RF) analysis you should be able to see a pretty clear drop off in opens and clicks and put a stake in the ground around what is lapsed for your particular population.

2. As a more advanced tactic I would recommend adding, where possible the monetary element. Logic would dictate that if someone used to not only be engaged with your communication program but was also one of your highest spenders then it worth more effort to get them to re-engage.

3. Also remember that you should always split out those that have never engaged vs those that are truly lapsed since the methods of reactivation and indeed the value to your organisation will be very different

4. Stop sending regular mailing to the reactivation segment. In this way it will be clear that if these people do start to respond it is due to re-engagement activity

5. Unfortunately there is also no hard and fast rules for getting a particular population to re-engage to it will require you to test various techniques to see what works for you. Promotion / giveaways, increased value exchange, garnering feedback are all valid and useful techniques.

6. Testing a variety of offers as well as approaches is also recommended. 2 for 1 offer / or X % discount / additional gift with purchase) have all been successful for a published client because within the target reactivation groups there was quite a wide variety of different profiles

7. The reactivation process should be built around highly interactive experiences – Sun Microsystems for example drove their inactives to a highly interactive and personalised preference centre (see my previous DMA blog article on tips for developing a preference centre) other clients to exclusive online content. It is a chance to renew the value exchange promise with the customer.

8. In thinking about goals and measurement. Firstly ensure that you have a control cell so that you can accurately measure any incremental lift from the campaign. From an expectation perspective it is should be considered incremental rather than step change. In our experience 5% reactivation should be seen as a good result

9. Email lists need a holiday – temporary suspension or resting – can sometimes offer excellent results as shown across a number of clients. One client for example suppressed a group of non clickers for 4 weeks and then when that group received an anniversary sale email they outperformed the control cell by over 5%

Email addresses are a very valuable asset that you spent lots of money collecting, permissioning and building engagement. Not withstanding the long held belief that it costs 5-10x to acquire new customers as to retain existing customers can you afford not to focus on reactivation?