7 Tactics for Re-Engaging Your Email Contacts
Email marketing is a great way to reach your fans on a regular basis. But if you have an email list full of inactive subscribers, that doesn’t do you much good. Your emails are going into their trash or spam folder, and you’re wasting time and effort creating campaigns that are not even getting read.
It’s important that you work to re-engage those email contacts. They signed up for your mailing list for a reason, you just need to get back to that place where they find your content relevant and want to interact with your mailings. How do you do that? Here are seven tactics for an effective re-engagement campaign.
1. Who’s Inactive, Anyway?
First thing’s first: To re-engage inactive contacts, you must set the parameters for what constitutes inactivity. If you have contacts who haven’t opened your emails in the past six to 12 months, provided you’re sending out regular emails, you can consider those folks inactive.
Once you’ve established who on your list has been inactive of late, the next step is to separate them out from your active subscribers. Create a segmented list made up of those who have been silent so that you can begin to approach them with a re-engagement campaign as you see fit.
2. Inquire About Interest and Make an Offer
The first step in re-engaging subscribers who you haven’t heard from in a while is to ask them if they want to stick around. Some people are hesitant to unsubscribe for one reason or another, but will do so when prompted. Others have been inactive for some other reason and are still interested in hearing from you.
That’s why you don’t want to just delete unengaged subscribers. Instead, send an email asking them to re-opt-in. Include an offer in the email, inviting them to take advantage of a special offer or discount if they decide to make a purchase from you in the near future.
This first step helps you to weed out the people who are no longer interested in your products or services for whatever reason from those who have been in hibernation and maybe just need a poke to come back to life with your business.
3. Allow them to Manage Their Preferences
Another element to consider including in your re-opt-in email is asking subscribers to manage their preferences. Some people are excited to receive all kinds of emails from a business, while others are only interested in a narrow sliver of the kinds of communications you send or services you offer.
Give those on your mailing list a chance to manage their email preferences. People can opt in to all of your communications, or they can say they only want to receive emails about, say, your social media marketing offerings.
You might also allow people to dictate the frequency of their emails. Some people only want to hear from you once per month; for those folks you can create a round-up email that covers all the content you’ve sent out in brief snippets. For those who want to hear from you more regularly, they can receive your standard newsletters and mailings.
By allowing people greater control over how and when they hear from you, you have a greater chance of keeping people on your list and getting those subscribers to increase their engagement with your mailings.
4. Ask for Their Opinion
As a part of a thoughtful re-engagement campaign, you can invite those who have decided to stick around to give you some feedback on your current email marketing game. Create a short survey asking for their thoughts on current content and insight into the kind of content they’d like to see more of.
The survey approach is helpful for a number of reasons. First, it allows you to get into the minds of these silent subscribers so that you can hopefully better understand them and serve their needs in the future. Second, it shows these subscribers that you still value them. You wouldn’t ask for their opinion if you didn’t want them around, and a lot of people will be happy to provide feedback if they think it means they’ll get more useful communications from you in the future.
The final critical step here, of course, is to follow through on the feedback you get. If you see a recurring theme in the survey results, take that into consideration and make a change in your approach.
5. Don’t Just Sell, Inform
One of the biggest mistakes a business owner can do when communicating with their subscribers is to make the emails all about themselves. People signed up for your list because they were hoping it would bring them some value, not because they wanted to receive sales pitch after sales pitch.
If you notice a lot of disengaged subscribers, take a look at how you’re approaching the content of your mailings. Is it a flashy sales push, time and again? If so, think about how you can reframe what you’re writing to make it more about the problem your subscribers have. Of course, your business happens to offer the solution to their issue, so the fact that you can help them is implied, but make your reader the focus of your email, rather than making it about your products and services.
6. Write Better Copy
While email marketing remains a highly effective tactic, you’re certainly not the only business owner vying for attention in your subscribers’ inboxes. Most people receive dozens of sales emails each day, so you have to create content that really stands out, and that starts with a compelling headline.
Go for something short and punchy, that gives your reader a clear idea of what they’ll find inside. Something that has a degree of urgency to it (“Biggest online sale of the season ends tomorrow!”) or sparks curiosity (“Are you missing out on XYZ?”) is a great way to encourage readers to click. Including emojis in email subject lines is another way to stand out in a crowded, text-filled inbox.
Finally, you want to write body copy that is equally compelling. Create copy that’s concise and easily scannable for those skimming their emails during their morning commute or as they finish their coffee. For more tips on effective copywriting shortcuts, check out this post.
7. Try A/B Testing
Even with surveys, punchy copy, and all of your other best efforts, there’s still an element of guesswork in your email marketing tactics. Sometimes you’ll strike upon a tactic that’s surprisingly effective, or the headline you thought would be a sure bet ends up getting no attention.
A/B testing can help you hit upon strong communication techniques or see what isn’t working. Set your email marketing client to send out several versions of the email to your list. You can decide what part of the email you’d like to test—try out a few variations on a headline, include a couple different spins on the call to action located within. When you run your test, be sure you’re only changing up one element per email. Like any good scientific experiment, you can only test one element at a time to be sure that’s the element that’s have an effect on the campaign’s success.
Most email marketing tools will give you feedback on how the variations performed, and you can make inferences from there that will inform your future efforts.
Your mailing list is a valuable asset for your business. If it’s not working for you in the way that it could and should, don’t despair! There are steps you can take to re-engage those inactive subscribers and get them back to a state of regular readership. Getting in touch, asking for feedback, and providing well-written and helpful content are the best ways to rebuild those connections.
If you liked this post, check out our Small Business Guide to Email Marketing.