For many marketers and businesses, the idea of voluntarily deleting any subscribers from an e-mail marketing list is absolute madness. Even if the majority of them aren’t active and metrics are at an all time low, they’d rather have those numbers stay high. But continuing to try and engage a list of inactive e-mails is often a total waste of time. Why spend hours crafting an e-mail marketing campaign if no one is going to see it? A better option is to try and hold onto as many subscribers as you can while you mount a re-engagement campaign. That way your numbers stay a little higher, but your metrics improve, making for a more effective marketing campaign. There are three, main steps to an effective re-engagement effort. First,
Figure out who isn’t active on your list, and separate them from the rest of your subscribers. This is the easiest step, but it can also be the most jarring, especially if the majority of your subscribers are inactive. However, you aren’t going to perform a complete purge right away. Instead, you need to try and jumpstart these subscribers into action. There are a lot of competing ideas as to how to do that. You can send them a limited time coupon, or a survey, or use some other type of gimmick. However, honestly, the best method is probably just to be as forward as possible. Type out an e-mail that says you noticed they haven’t been very active, and ask if they want to unsubscribe. Some will ask to be taken off the list, and some won’t answer, but for a good portion of your subscribers, this type of e-mail helps to wake them up and remind them why they were on your list.
After step one you should have three camps of previously inactive subscribers – those who asked to be taken off the list, those who opened the e-mail but didn’t respond, and those that didn’t even open the e-mail. Anyone in the last category should be removed immediately, along with those who asked to be taken off. Both groups are essentially dead weight, and trying to target and re-engage them would be a waste of time. Your numbers are going to go down, but your subsequent engagement should increase, especially if you change your marketing strategy for the now re-engaged subscribers.
If everything went according to plan, you’ll have a much smaller, but much more active, subscriber base. The final step is to do a bit of testing and data analysis so you craft any subsequent campaigns specifically for this re-energized base. Try out an A/B Test, with the larger group receiving what would be a normal marketing e-mail with all of the typical tactics you use, and send the smaller group one with a few key factors changed. Does this group like it when your specific, or vague? Do they respond to immediate offers, or long-term sales? If you are able to effectively target your subscribers, they’ll continue to engage with your messages, instead of lapsing back into inactivity.
Though it may be frightening to cut such a large portion of your subscribers off of your marketing list, sending out e-mails to inactive accounts isn’t going to help anyone. Ideally, you want a large list of people that consistently engage with your marketing campaigns. The more likely situation is that, after this, you’ll have a small, but active, group of engaged users. Just remember that’s perfectly fine – after you identify who is active and what types of messages they respond to, you can begin growing your subscriber base while remaining confident that most of your current list won’t return to inactivity. And, as your list grows and your metrics remain high, your ROI will go up, which means a happy client or boss. It’s simply a matter of being patient and willing to adapt.