Inactive Email Subscribers: Tips for Taming the Beast
Inactive email customers and subscribers are potentially the largest pain in the posterior of many digital marketers today. However your organization defines "inactives," they often can comprise one-third to one-half of your database. These unengaged subscribers are costing you significant resources: money, time, potentially inbox deliverability and, most importantly, revenue.
In this Webinar, Carey Marston, email marketing manager with SmartPak, presents a case study on how they've attacked the non-engaged challenge' and Silverpop's vice president of industry relations Loren McDonald covers several aspects and ideas for dealing with the inactivity beast, including:
Defining what is an "inactive" Determining root causes of non-engagement Steps to minimize inactivity "Activating" never-engaged subscribers earlier in the process Segmenting types of inactives Reactivation tactics and programs When/whether to suppress inactives
Campaign centric currently. Through re-engagement campaigns, we have reactivated about 13,000 names back onto our active mailing list. We reactivated about 5x more names when we targeted those who hadn’t opened in 6 months vs our current definition of open + purchase history.
We have learned that it is OK to suppress these recipients from the file. Through reactivation campaigns, we win back very few subscribers and have proven that much of our inactive list is truly inactive. We have also learned that you need to have the right message as to not confuse current customers. Before we integrated purchase data into email, we only looked at open rates as our inactive indicator (customers who had not opened/clicked in 6+ months). Our first attempt at a reactivation campaign did get some recipients’ attention by us indicating that we missed them and hadn’t heard from them in a while…there was a response from customers getting our monthly automated shipments who were quite confused. We tweaked the next campaign’s messaging by focusing it solely on the fact that they had not been viewing our emails and they were missing out on great offers, healthcare tips, etc. A bit more “big brother” but there was less of a response from current customers, if any at all. Our current creative (now that we also take into account purchase history) ties a message of both email non-responsiveness and come back and buy from SmartPak. Lesson learned: know your audience and tailor your messages to all potential recipients. A reactivation campaign can certainly be confusing if the recipient is not truly inactive, and you could potentially be throwing a reactivation offer to customers currently buying from you.
*Automation and identifying these subscribers earlier in their email life to attempt to wake them up before we view them as inactive. We know we have them on our list, and it’s a problem for all companies, but how can we do something about it to prevent such a dramatic loss of recipients? Send them exclusive offers to entice them to make another purchase or open the email. Subject line and offer testing with inactives. What entices them to open and make a purchase? Looking forward to testing some programs with Silverpop. I would also like to set up a process that tracks these recipients. After reactivation, are they more likely to fall into the definition of inactive again? Are they serial inactive email recipients who constantly need a jolt?
Why Recipients Go Inactive Never fully engaged - just wanted the incentive Interests / needs have changed Content did not meet expectations Emails are being routed to junk folder You send too often for their taste You send un-personalized, irrelevant emails Long sales/purchase cycle Inability to update email address / change preferences
Determine Root Causes Are certain acquisition sources producing a higher rate of inactives? Has increased frequency numbed them? Is your email program stale and boring? Are you attracting the right audience? Are you delivering against expectations? Do you have deliverability issues?
Analyze… By list source Age on file Customer segment/profile Subscriber survey responses Creative test results Response by message type/frequency changes
Understand Your Inactive Segments More Potential? Less Potential? Past customer Never purchased Organic Opt-in Sweepstakes Recent purchase Long ago purchased High customer value Low customer value Engaged in other No engagement channels anywhere
Are inactives worth keeping? Do we treat segments of inactives differently?
Predicting Subscriber Value Potential• Leading online retailer• Suppressing inactive subscribers• Hypothesis that “high value potential” subscribers existed among inactives• Leveraged third party data (purchase behavior, demographics, etc.) and advanced modeling to predict Subscriber Value Potential.
Approach & Results• Segmented inactive Campaign Revenue per subscribers by Value Subscriber Potential and conducted $0.18 reactivation test 8.4x• Results: High vs. Low $0.02 segment • 1.8x higher Open Rate Low Potential High Potential Segment Segment • 8.4x higher Revenue per subscriber
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Automate: Activate Early Inactives New subscribers don’t open/click first XX messages/X weeks Move these early inactives into “activation” track Send survey, different offers; best of, diff subject lines, testimonials, etc.
Sample “Month 4” and “Month 7” Program Broadcast emails: 3-5 per week No activity for 3 months – moved to reactivation track Month 4: 1 email per week UpdateSweepstakes Unique Offer New Brands Preferences Month 5-6: Normal 3-5/week Month 7: 1 email per week Promote other What You Are Unique Offer Survey channels Missing
Remove, suppress or retain? • Send less • Treat differently Retain • • Monitor reactivation Have resources to deal with • Deliverability • Business decisions / low value Remove subscribers • Cost/Resource Savings • Make sure they are truly inactive
Resources• Resource Center • White papers • Webinars • Blogs • Case studies • Newsletters • http://www.silverpop.com/marketing-resources/index.html• Many presentations on SlideShare • www.slideshare.net/Silverpop
Thank you! On Twitter: @Silverpopwww.slideshare.net/silverpop www.silverpop.com