Reactivation campaigns: Your toolkit to winning back the dreaded inactive customer

Gurjit Sandhu
Marketing Specialist

A typical retailer subscriber base has anywhere between 40-70% inactive subscribers. Continuously mailing to this inactive segment or completely ignoring it could weaken your overall conversion rates and lead to significant deliverability issues. Marketers can effectively combat inactivity and bring back those disengaged customers by implementing reactivation campaigns."

#1.

Why do subscribers become inactive?

Inactive subscribers are those who have stopped engaging with your emails but have not requested to stop receiving them. There is a number of reasons that causes subscribers to be inactive. Some of the key ones include:

  1. They receive too many emails - Knowing your subscribers’ mailing frequency preference is important since they could be overwhelmed by too many emails, causing them to tune out your campaigns.
  2. Irrelevant content - This can be due to messages that are not tailored to specific segments within your subscriber base, subscribers changing preferences over time, or seasonal factors, such as the Q4 holidays, that affect many subscribers’ frequency and degree of email engagement.
  3. Messages not reaching them - Part or all of your emails may not be reaching your subscribers’ inboxes due to a deliverability issue or specific inbox settings for ISPs such as Gmail.
#2.

What is a reactivation program?

Reactivation programs are email campaigns designed to target inactive subscribers and re-engage them with enticing offers or questions about preference changes like preferred content, mailing frequency, or subscription status. There are a few types of reactivation programs that can be ran based on customer behavior or different levels of activity:

  1. Early activation programs – Designed to engage subscribers that joined your database within the last 0 to 90 days. Generally your newest segment, it is good to have a reactivation email plan in place the moment you see any drop-off in activity.
  2. Mid activation programs – Aimed at engaging subscribers who have been inactive in the past 3 to 12 months. Some examples that work well in this category include campaigns that ask for preference updates, survey emails and multi-message best offers.
  3. Late activation programs – Targeted at subscribers who have been inactive for more than a year.
#3.

What are the major benefits of reactivation campaigns?

A well-executed reactivation campaign can help you make the most of your subscriber base in a number of different ways:

  1. Drive engagement - As the intended goal of reactivation campaigns, they’re effective in bringing back inactive customers or even driving active customers to the next level of engagement (such as driving them to make a first purchase or join a loyalty club).
  2. Generate quick revenue - Since past purchasers are more likely to engage than non-purchasers, reactivation campaigns are a proactive way to increase revenue at a very low cost.
  3. Keep your subscriber base up-to-date - As that last point of contact, a reactivation campaign lets you know who the truly lapsed customers are and when to remove them due to inactivity
#4.

What should marketers keep in mind before implementing?

You should complete the following 3 steps before implementing a reactivation campaign:

Analyze your database - Marketers should get a thorough understanding of their subscriber base and separate the active subscriber segment from the inactive one. Then, marketers should break down the audience based on activity (last opened and/or clicked.) This allows them to determine when to consider an audience segment inactive: are subscribers who haven’t opened or clicked in the last 3 months inactive, or do they become inactive after 12 or 18 months without an open?

Protect Deliverability - Email accounts that have been inactive for a long time are sometimes turned into spam traps (email addresses used by a blacklist to identify spammers or illegitimate mailers) or become invalid. Before sending your reactivation email run a data hygiene scrub that identifies dead or invalid addresses and spam traps. This step helps marketers avoid any deliverability issues when they execute reactivation campaigns.

Create relevant content - Getting creative with your reactivation campaign’s subject line and content will help catch subscribers’ attention. Instead of focusing on a promotional offer, use an unconventional subject line or past purchase behaviors to craft a more compelling content.

Author Bio

Gurjit Sandhu, Sr. Marketing Specialist, Yesmail Interactive - Gurjit Sandhu has been in digital and direct marketing for over 6 years, delivering marketing and event management solutions in both fast-paced corporate and entrepreneurial environments. Energized by strategic thinking and the power of marketing technology, she collaborates closely with cross functional teams at Yesmail to spearhead multi-channel communications that highlight product innovations in email marketing.

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