Building and maintaining a healthy subscriber base is tough, especially since many subscribers become ‘passive’ or completely disengaged over time.
They simply stop opening your emails and reading your content.
And if more of your subscribers become disengaged, your emails either won’t be delivered or will end up in the Gmail Promotions tab.
To avoid email deliverability issues, most of us take drastic measures first, i.e. take inactive subscribers of the list, without making an effort to re-engage those people.
Don’t take that shortcut because you’ll lose subscribers who could potentially still be interested in what you have to offer.
I recommend running a re-engagement campaign first – send a sequence of emails to disengaged subscribers to check if they want to stay on your list.
If they don’t reply, then it’s safe to remove them.
But…there’s an obvious issue with this tactic. You’re asking people who are already inactive if they’d want to stay on your list!
They don’t ever open your emails anyway, so how can you get any results from yet another email sequence?
I know, I’ve tried this many times and the results were poor to say the least.
Open rates of less than 20% and re-optin rates of less than 5%.
So I decided to try out a different approach.
Running a Re-engagement Campaign as an Email Outreach Campaign
I recently ran a re-engagement campaign as an email outreach campaign through OutreachPlus and sent the emails from a different email address.
Because the campaign is going through an outreach tool using the Gmail client, the delivery rate for good email addresses is close to 100% (and not to the Promotions tab).
Here are the open/response rates for this campaign:
Open rate: 71%
Optin rate: 28%
So out of 500 people I sent this campaign to, 28% opted in.
Let’s have a look at the email sequence:
Now, since I’m trying to rebuild a relationship with subscribers who’ve been dormant for a while, I needed to do something to instantly grab their attention.
So I decided to go with an email subject that’s personalized and interest-provoking. Hence the huge bump in the email open rate compared to my previous campaigns ran through an email marketing tool.
You’ll notice that the focus of the email copy is actually quite simple – Do you still want to hear from us?
The key success factor here is that I also included a compelling content offer i.e. a free content marketing session. This way I immediately show them what they’re missing.
Quality content that aligns with their interests is the reason they were attracted to RazorSocial in the first place!
Couple of days later I followed up with a second email for those subscribers who opened but didn’t click on the link to stay on my list and get the content offer.
Again, I kept things very simple, being very mindful of their time and getting straight to the point. I made it easy for them to stay on my list without even reading the initial email.
Now, this campaign was a success for a few reasons and we’re going to cover each one and show you how to run a re-engagement campaign for your company and get great results.
Identify a List of un-engaged Subscribers
First things first, you need to go through your email marketing campaign reports to find subscribers who fit your own definition of “disengaged.”
These may be people who:
- Haven’t opened your emails for x amount of time
- Haven’t clicked on your CTAs after opening your emails
- Submitted their email address to get a free content offer from you and then went dormant.
Once you decide which specific segment of subscribers you want to target with your re-engagement campaign, go through your reports and create a list of those people.
If you’re using an outreach tool like I did (recommended), you’ll upload the list to the tool and then send personalized emails to try and re-engage your inactive subscribers.
Create & Send a Re-engagement Sequence
Re-engagement sequences should be short and sweet.
You’re trying to get your inactive subscribers to take action i.e. confirm they want to stay on your list. More importantly, you want them to start engaging with your content again.
So forget about sending long messages that demand too much time and attention to consume.
The one thing you should be thinking about to begin with is – How do I get them to open my email? This comes down to writing a good email subject line.
As I mentioned earlier (and tested in a campaign) people react well to email subjects that are personalized (e.g. contain the name of the recipient) and are provocative in a way. Questions also work well!
Note: With OutreachPlus, you can use merge tags to personalize your email subject line and the email copy.
Now, getting people to open your email is already a win but it only gets you halfway. You need to get them to act, aslo.
Here’s what you should focus in your email copy to achieve that:
Remind your subscribers of the value of your emails!
They opted-in to receive your messages before, so you need to find a way to get them interested again.
RazorSocial subscribers signed up because of the quality content and access to free marketing training sessions and subscriber-only resources. So this is what I needed to remind them of in my re-engagement emails.
It may be something completely different for you…
So think about what you can offer to interest them in your brand again and build your message around that.
And finally, don’t forget to keep it short and add a clear CTA so people can easily confirm they want to stay on your list if they choose to.
What does success look like?
When running a re-engagement campaign, you need to establish email success metrics and track them closely.
Besides the obvious like email open and click-through rates which are easy to monitor if you’re sending a campaign from a tool such as OutreachPlus, you also need to consider the following:
- Is there an increase in the percentage of engaged subscribers in your database? This is the most important metric to monitor as it’s the number one goal of your campaign!
- Is there an improvement in your email deliverability rates? The more subscribers you manage to activate the better your deliverability rates will be.
Take a look at these metrics because they’re the best way to check if your re-engagement emails had a positive effect on your overall email marketing success.
p.s. There will be people who will remain disengaged even after your campaign is over. Make sure to remove them from your mailing list because there’s nothing else you can do to engage them. By staying on your list and inactive, they’ll just hurt your email deliverability!
Keeping email subscribers engaged for a longer period of time comes down to continually delivering value and earning their trust.
But this is not easy to achieve and no matter how hard you try it won’t work for every segment of your recipients. Some of them will disengage over time and for different reasons.
However, among your inactive subscribers there will always be people that you can get interested in your brand again and the best way to do that is by running a re-engagement campaign.
If you follow the steps we discussed in this article you’ll take a huge step towards improving your email engagement and drive some amazing results.