How to Re-engage with passive newsletter subscribers

by Nicolae Buldumac
How to Re-engage with passive newsletter subscribers

Email marketing has been one of the most successful online marketing techniques for a very long time. Nothing quite compares with making direct communication with a prospect to push a marketing message under their nose.

This is why many companies invest heavily into capturing newsletter subscribers. This results in the organic creation of a focused mailing list.

However, in 2016, email marketing statistics show that the effectiveness of this marketing channel is dropping. Based on average open rates across all verticals, we find that just 22% of marketing emails are actually opened. Click through rates sit at around 3%. Put simply, on average only 3% of all marketing emails sent will trigger a potential conversion event.

Fresh List or Re-Engagement?

Mailing lists get old, and quickly become inaccurate. The chance of a person opening a marketing mail reduces every time they receive and delete an email from a company that previously sent them an email they ignored. So what is the solution to this slow degradation in the quality of a mailing list? One answer would be to acquire a fresh list, with new contacts. This would mean stepping up efforts to gain more newsletter subscribers.

Global Database, a provider of focused mailing lists of local B2B contacts, has another solution. As well as regularly purchasing ‘fresh’ contact data, efforts should be taken to re-engage with passive newsletter subscribers, in an attempt to stimulate a response from them.

The Art of Re-Engagement

Re-engagement provides the opportunity to reconnect with newsletter subscribers that were originally attracted to your brand/products/service. Consider for a moment that newsletter subscribers have already indicated an interest in your value proposition. They are a focused audience. They should not be wasted by letting them become inactive and disengaged.

There is a real danger that this valuable source of potential prospects if left to age, will eventually unsubscribe from the newsletter. A lost opportunity. Re-engagement should be seen as a critical aspect of newsletter mailing list maintenance.

Who do we Re-Engage?

Deciding who to target with a re-engagement campaign will vary based on the type of product/services the company offers. For example, higher ticket items, with a long lead to conversion time, re-engagement will be actioned less frequently. When choosing which subset of your newsletter subscribers to re-engage, here are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Drive re-engagement based on behaviour

This involves measuring and monitoring email opens, email content link clicks, and potentially also other actions such as website visits or sales funnel activities. This will take some trial and error the first few times around, finding the optimal values that represent average behaviours for passive newsletter subscribers.

Discover the optimal frequency

As with uncovering the optimal analytics values to segregate passive form active newsletter subscribers, finding the optimal frequency to attempt re-engagement will also take some experimentation. As a rule of thumb, a company selling low ticket value consumer goods should run a re-engagement campaign more frequently than a B2B company selling high ticket products/services. Use A/B testing of different time periods between re-engagement activities to identify the most effective.

Consider the customer lifecycle

Depending upon the market you operate within, customer lifecycle will vary greatly. For example, a travel company selling package tours may have a very long customer lifecycle, with potential clients only making one or two bookings a year. On the other hand, a company selling low-cost consumable cleaning products would have a much shorter customer lifecycle. This customer lifecycle needs to be factored into re-engagement efforts and should drive the frequency of re-engagement activities.

Building a Re-Engagement Campaign

The first thing to realize when starting a re-engagement campaign is that your previous newsletter marketing efforts have failed to engage the subscriber. So firing off similar emails to those you have already sent them, simply will not work.

This means there is a need to come up with fresh, new ways to deliver engaging content, that is far more likely to result in an email being opened, and a conversion action taking place. A good example of this is sending passive newsletter subscribers a personalized mail offering them a unique promotion code.

Once again, this it is going to take some trial and error, and plenty of split testing to discover just what type of content works best for a company based on the preferences of its newsletter subscribers.

Well Worth the Effort

Newsletter subscribers are a valuable commodity. Many businesses see newsletter subscription as one of the optimal outcomes of their content marketing and lead generation funnel.

Letting newsletter subscriber remain passive, or worse still to unsubscribe, is simply leaving money on the table. Even if re-engagement efforts revitalize only 10% of passive subscribers, it is going to be a worthwhile boost in potential customers.


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