There’s a lot of excitement around the topic of ‘lead generation’. It seems to be intriguing for most organizations. Lead generation might sound like an automatic revenue increase. But that usually isn’t the case. It’s too common for an organization to invest money in lead generation, and see $0 in revenue come from it. Most of the organizations I talk with need help with lead conversion, not lead generation. In our hyper-connected world, there’s usually no shortage of contacts to reach out to. Once conversations are being tracked with a CRM or email marketing tool, the contacts add up fast. The problem becomes “How do I turn this list of email addresses into more sales opportunities?” or for eCommerce, “How do I increase the revenue coming through the email lists?”.
There’s a big opportunity to support these goals by thoughtfully re-engaging inactive contacts. On an average email list, 70% of subscribers aren’t engaged. And successful re-engagement campaigns can bring back 10%+ of the subscribers. There are some different scenarios we can work with. We can build a campaign for email subscribers who haven’t opened an email in 3 – 6 months. We can focus on contacts who spoke with a salesperson, went cold, and dropped off into the abyss. Or, we can carefully re-engage a list that hasn’t receive any email in a year because the sender got busy.
Let’s look at how to approach re-engagement campaigns in general.
Some best practices for re-engaging contacts via email
If the audience is large enough, segment them based on where and why they dropped off. A list of meeting requests that went cold might be one segment. A list of newsletter subscribers who stopped opening emails is a different segment. They’ll need different approaches. Segmentation will allow for making communication feel personal.
If the list is smaller, still put some effort into making the first touch-point feel personal. This is a best-practice for email marketing in general. It’s even more critical for re-engagement campaigns. Write in a friendly conversational tone. Include their first name if you have it, and send from a person (not a company name). Get creative about making the first touchpoint as personalized and fun as possible.
Once you have the segments defined, the first email to think about is one that reminds them who you are. If they haven’t engaged in a while, they might not remember. Include an acknowledgement that there hasn’t been any communication for a while. Re-introduce the product or service. For example, “Last year, we were in touch about CRM software…” Keep this part brief.
The rest of the campaign exists to provide value. Some successful re-engagement value-adds:
- Helpful third party links
- Requests for feedback
- Prompts for updating subscription preferences
- Coupons, discounts, giveaways & contests
The intention is to re-establish the relationship. Then, we send interested contacts to the appropriate marketing or sales lists.
How to Minimize Inactive Subscribers to Begin With
The best re-engagement strategy is to minimize inactive subscribers to begin with. One way to do this is by establishing the value of subscribing early on.
One piece of establishing the value early on is the opt-in process. Update the opt-ins to clearly describe what the subscriber is opting in for. A simple change might be “Subscribe to our email list”, to “Subscribe for a weekly digest of our blog posts”. Communicate two things: “Here’s what’s in it for you – the benefits of joining this list.” and “Here are the types of emails you’ll receive, and how often.”
Another way to establish value early on is with welcome emails, and welcome workflows. Consider how that first welcome email can make a strong first impression. A delightful welcome email goes a long way. It helps to establish trust, and interest in engaging more. What’s the most helpful way to introduce a new subscriber to the product or service? What’s important for subscribers to know first, and then what gets layered in to build on that?
Make segmentation a priority so that the email content is more relevant. And then allow (actually, encourage) subscribers to manage their preferences. Make it known that they can select which lists they’d like to be on. This will give the marketing team helpful feedback, and keep the list more engaged.
Automate Re-Engagement Moving Forward
The first steps is to create the re-engagement campaign. Next, optimize the general campaigns to minimize unengaged subscribers. Once all that’s done, there’s an opportunity to become proactive. The re-engagement workflow can become a safety net to support ongoing marketing campaigns. For example, set a trigger for ‘contacts who haven’t opened an email is 3 months’ to enter the re-engagement workflow. This way all contacts are being nurtured with care – not just the highest engaging contacts. And it will keep email lists clean for higher engagement all-around.
Prioritize Re-Engagement Before (or at Least In Tandem with) New Lead Generation
50% of an average email lists churns yearly. This includes unsubscribes, bounces, and those who stop opening and engaging with emails. Subscribers who dropped off can be re-engaged at a lower cost than bringing in brand new contacts.
Oftentimes, a sender gets busy with other things and doesn’t send an email for 6 months to a year. When email becomes a priority again, a thoughtful re-engagement strategy is key. Think of re-engagement campaigns like a safety net to support the marketing program. It provides confidence that no one is being forgotten. All interested contacts are being met where they’re at, and nurtured.