A successful engagement strategy is a multiprong approach that begins long before a subscriber becomes inactive. In fact, capturing and maintaining engagement are really the greater priorities, with re-engaging customers or prospects being the distant third. Improved engagement is accomplished via relevance and thoughtful interaction. Let’s take a closer look at three key phases in your company’s relationship with customers, and how you might approach each one.
While you might not typically think about re-engagement during a welcome series, an early activation program is key. This type of program monitors whether new subscribers open or click on their welcome emails, and routes those who don’t to a messaging track focused on facilitating interaction by trying a different subject line approach, incorporating testimonials or reviews, including alternate content and/or offering incentives.
Remember, your welcome program is important because it educates your subscribers about your company and prepares them for future interactions. Ensuring new subscribers see this information and get activated allows for a greater customer experience, improved lifetime value and decreased list churn.
The next step is ensuring you maintain attention while you have it. The best way to do this is to be relevant, listen to your customers' and prospects' behaviors, and let them know they are a priority to you. In addition to using tactics such as dynamic content and triggered lifecycle mailings to personalize your messages, a fantastic way to boost engagement is to ask subscribers to join a survey panel to provide their thoughts on products, user experience and other initiatives.
This has multiple benefits. First and foremost, customers feel a greater connection with you and your brand from having given their opinion. In addition, many will feel an air of exclusivity for being part of your “special member panel” (while in reality your entire list could be invited to take the surveys). You also get the added benefit of valuable customer insight. Silverpop users, for example, can leverage the Engage Survey Tool for these surveys, append this information back to the database, and use it deliver more individualized content to survey participants in the future.
Finally, when a subscriber becomes officially inactive (meaning the person isn’t interacting with your brand overall, not just via email) you can set up rules to trigger a reactivation series to attempt to re-engage the subscriber or make necessary adjustments to the contact’s subscription. You’ll need to analyze your data to understand the appropriate time frame to trigger reactivation programs and determine an agreed-upon end goal (sheer reactivation versus subscription management and list hygiene).
When trying to reactivate subscribers, you might attempt to engage them by inquiring about preference changes, re-educating on the benefits of your program, highlighting potential categories of interest, and finally suggesting the opportunity to “snooze.”
If they do interact with you, try routing them into an activation warming campaign to encourage additional activity and re-establish the habit of engagement. Considering a member reactivated after a single action is premature and increases the likelihood of them falling inactive again in the future. Continue to re-educate them on your company’s value proposition and remind them to interact until multiple engagements are observed. At that point, they can be re-entered into your database’s general population.
By focusing on customer engagement right off the bat and continuing this focus throughout the relationship, you’ll find that less subscribers will become unengaged and your retention and list health will be better overall.
1) Webinar: “Inactive Email Subscribers: Tips for Taming the Beast”
2) Blog: “Inactive Subscribers: What’s Your Strategy?”
3) White Paper: “6 Key Marketing Trends for 2013 – and Tips for Succeeding in the Year of the Customer”