Email Reactivation Guide – Converting Inactive to Active

Email reactivation guide_0

According to a recent Marketing Sherpa report, up to 75 percent of email subscribers are inactive, with retail brands attaining the highest amount of engaged subscribers.
At a high level, an inactive is a subscriber who no longer reads your brand’s email, but hasn’t asked to stop receiving it. How long that inactivity has been going on doesn’t really matter; the fact that the customer is no longer interested in engaging with the messages being sent from your brand does. But marketers should not give up hope on these customers, because while they may not be actively engaging with your brand, they also have not any taken action to unsubscribe, or worse, reported your mail as spam to their email provider.
Reconnect, win-back, re-engagement, reactivation.
As an email marketer, you’ve most likely heard all of these terms and understand that to your customers they all essentially mean the same thing; we want you back! To the marketer, reactivation is the process of defining “inactives” within an email file, followed by making efforts via email to re-engage those inactive subscribers.

Why does reactivation matter?
Reactivation campaigns represent one of the highest ROI opportunities in Marketing at a notably small cost. Past buyers open, click and transact at much higher rates than non-buyers. In fact, transaction rates for buyers are almost double compared to non-buyers. The bottom-line? It’s always easier to retain an existing customer than obtain a new one. In addition, having a substantial amount of inactive
Subscribers can pose great deliverability and ROI concerns, such as:
•    Deliverability and ROI risks
•    Poor engagement rates
•    Low Inbox Placement Rate (IPR)
•    Risk of old data converting to spam traps
•    Internet Service Providers (ISPs)

1.    Define segments
As a fundamental and first step to creating a successful reactivation program, Experian Marketing Services’ experts recommend that a brand segments its email subscribers based on different levels of activity while formulating a relevant approach to re-engage each
Clickers who haven not purchased in 90 days, Non-openers who have not clicked or purchased in 90 days, Openers who haven not clicked or purchased in 90 days..
2.    Make an impact
Marketers can use a variety of reactivation tactics to ensure their brand stands out from all the marketing noise. Sending inactive customers an enticing offer, for example, is a strategy employed by many brands that has seen a lot of success. In a recent Experian study of 44 clients sending reactivation campaigns, those including an offer in the subject line boosted engagement rates for almost all campaigns.
3.    Engaging subject lines
Experian Marketing Services analyzed reactivation subject lines and found that 13 of the top-25 subject lines with the highest transaction rates included ‘we miss you’, while only two of the bottom 25 included those words. In the same Experian study, the best performing offers were those with free shipping
4.    The mobility factor
According to a recent Experian Marketing Services’ research report, 50 percent of consumers check and read email on mobile devices and this number is only increasing. It’s extremely important for brands to make it easy for users to click through or take advantage of an offer through a mobile interface
5.    Confirmed opt-in
In the past, Confirmed Opt-In (COI) mailings have been used as a conservative means to verify users’ identities by having them click through an email after the email subscription sign-up process. However, many companies now send a COI mailing as the last email in a reactivation series to re-engage inactive subscribers and ensure continued deliverability.
6.    Welcome back!
If and when your users do re-engage, thank them for coming back! Peak their interest by telling them what’s new and reintroduce them to your brand and your communications. Remember, welcome emails series garner 86 percent higher open rates than regular promotional mailings!
7.    The survey
Customers love taking surveys! Experian Marketing Services has found that surveys bring in more than 2x the clicks and almost 2x the revenue per email over regular promotional emails.
8.    The series
It’s important to remember that inactive customers most likely will not click on the very first email you send, so it is wise to consider sending reactivation campaigns in a series like the example below. The language you use also can become increasingly more direct and urgent as the series continues.
9.    Reducing future inactivity
At this point, the importance of maintaining the engagement of existing customers and limiting the number of inactives should be clear. From ROI to deliverability, minimizing inactive subscribers is key to your marketing success. Over time, it is crucial for your brand to continuously employ smart reactivation tactics that prevent customers from being inactive. Be
sure to recognize the reasons they disengage in the first place:
•    Source: Do you have certain sources that are  bringing in more inactive users or “bad” names than others?
•    Opt-in process: What are your opt-in practices? Are you automatically opting users in?
•    Welcome program: Are you welcoming new users in real time? Are you reminding them of how and where they signed up for your email program?
•    Welcome series emails have both high open rates and have shown to keep subscribers on your list
•    Early identification of inactives: Don’t start when it’s too late. Have a strategy in place and employ it before a person lapses for too long
•    Message variety: Sending your users the same types of messages day in and day out is a sure way to fatigue and bore them into becoming inactive subscribers on your list


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“Thinking Aloud” reflects the emerging trends and varied outlook of the rapidly evolving internet and communication sector. An IAMAI publication, this is a part of the market education initiative of the association.

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