Many B2B and B2C enterprises count their email subscriber list as one of their most important assets. With a good subscriber list, you have the chance to connect with potential customers at the moment you have new value – or new offers – to provide for them.
Unfortunately, email lists tend to decay quickly. Research puts the ordinary attrition rate for an email list anywhere from 22% to 30% every year. Although some of that comes from people changing or dropping email addresses, much of it can be chalked up to disengaged users.
Luckily, there is a way to deal with it: Re-engagement emails.
As the name implies, re-engagement emails kickstart relationships with lapsed users who haven’t shown signs of life lately. They can be sent after someone hasn’t visited your site recently (as with many popular language learning websites) or when email open and clickthrough rates drop.
A good re-engagement email can capture a user’s imagination and get them back on track.
Of course, it also has a tough job to do.
When a re-engagement email fails, it might just motivate that user to finally click “unsubscribe.”
The right formula will require a lot of experimentation, analysis, and monitoring. Everything depends on the kind of audience you’re addressing. With that in mind, you might have to try out a few different variants to maximize email re-engagement.
Try these features to make your re-engagement emails stand out:
1. A Prominent CTA
No matter what you want readers to do – click through to your site, share, update their email preferences – they usually won’t do it without a CTA.
Follow the same best practices you would for a landing page CTA: Concise, compelling text with a contrasting, eye-catching appearance.
2. Social Sharing Buttons
If you are reigniting your subscribers with some great content, a coupon, or a special offer, social sharing buttons are a must.
This gives readers the chance to dive back into your brand with a social conversion that will help them remember and seek your emails in the future.
3. A Surprise
Curated box delivery services have pioneered the technique of offering lapsed email users a great surprise – usually based on their previous purchases or account settings.
If this approach fits with your brand, you’ll find it’s hard for many people to resist.
4. Email Controls
Let’s face it: Sometimes, you end up sending out more emails than your subscribers bargained for.
By directing them to their email settings, you give them the chance to take control again while reminding them why they subscribed in the first place.
5. Helpful Content
Subscribers may run off the rails if they simply can’t figure out how to get value from your product or service.
If you have an app or other complex offering, directing them to a Quick Start or FAQ content may inspire them to give it another try.
6. A Free Gift
It takes an iron will to pass up a free gift, but exactly what kind will produce the best effect?
For those with traditional “brick and mortar” locations, a gift card is very effective. Purveyors of less tangible products and services will, of course, need to get creative.
“Say ... why did I sign up for this stuff in the first place?” Much as it might pain us to admit, all brands start out as just one in a whole sea of commerce prospects have to keep track of.
To get them excited about your emails, you might just need to remind them who you are.
8. An Invitation
People love exclusives. Framing your re-engagement email as an invitation is one way to get them focused on what you have to say.
The offer could be a free class, a survey (if it’s short and enjoyable) or anything else – as long as it demonstrates that you truly value your customers.
It should almost go without saying, but not quite: Your re-engagement email is an essential time to use personalization.
First name personalization, in particular, helps grab attention without giving lapsed subscribers the heebie-jeebies over how much data you’ve collected on them.
10. Pre-Header Text
This is another fundamental piece of the puzzle that’s easy to overlook. Remember, most of your users will probably check your email over a mobile device. Good pre-header text makes them much more likely to open it and check out what you have to say.
Although you can learn a lot about your leads and customers over time, it’s not always easy to predict how they’ll react to emails. Some people simply hate marketing emails and will resist them at every turn – but most can be persuaded to find value in them if they’re worthwhile.
Ideally, you should shoot for about 50% re-engagement for your campaign. Combined with list hygiene and other efforts to keep your email list sparkling fresh, you could cut list attrition down to 15% or even 10% per year. That could add thousands to the bottom line over time.