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Unengaged Subscribers Are Costing You

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by: Loren McDonald (@LorenMcDonald)
13 December 2011

Inactive subscribers have a major impact on your email marketing. Sending messages to nonresponders can lead to reduced deliverability, inaccurate analysis of your email performance, reduced ROI and most importantly—lost opportunity.

One partial solution: Engage contacts before they become inactive. Place new subscribers in a multistep welcome or onboarding program that introduces them to the benefits of your email program and highlights your website, social channels and SMS offering if applicable.

One angle to this is to use Web tracking and your campaign builder to put new subscribers into specific tracks based on their website behavior and preferences gained during the opt-in process.

All inactive subscribers are not created equal, however. Some contacts might have never been active. Here are a few tips to engage and market to your inactives:

  • Initiate an early warning system that uses reporting and scoring to identify inactive contacts within the first few months of opting in. Consider moving these contacts into their own “activation” track designed to get them engaged through different types of content, by inviting them to update preferences or by completing a survey. Other ideas include offering a purchase incentive, sending them emails that seek user-generated content or that contain highly recommended or rated items, or inviting them to engage on your social channels.
  • For those who have been inactive longer, analyze your database to determine which could potentially come out of hibernation, going back at least two years and considering online and offline behaviors such as email opens and clicks, purchases/conversions, profile changes, Web browsing history and print catalog requests. An emerging trend is to use third-party data providers that offer predictive analytics to determine which of your inactive segments are most likely to purchase in the future.

To gain more insight on re-engagement and remarketing to inactive subscribers, register for the Silverpop Webinar on December 15: "Inactive Email Subscribers: Tips for Taming the Beast." During this Webinar, I’ll be teaming with client Carey Marsten of SmartPak to discuss several aspects of inactives, from root causes to reactivation programs.

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