Direct marketing principles indicate that in order to keep your list from dwindling, you need to implement prospecting strategies to attract potential customers. However, those same principles also state that attracting new customers costs more than reaching out to current customers. Email offers an ideal way to address this situation in the form of re-engagement campaigns, which focus on opening up a fresh line of communication with members of your mailing list to whom you previously stopped mailing due to inactivity. By converting the previously disengaged into “new” engaged recipients, you benefit from prospecting efforts without incurring additional costs of trying to attract new prospects.
To begin, it is always best to determine a timeframe for inactive recipients. For example, you can decide any customer that hasn’t converted in the last 2-4 years is still a potential prospect. Then, you must understand why they became disengaged in the first place. This can be determined by conducting attrition surveys. These surveys provide valuable insight as to why customers are leaving and what could have made them stay.
If you don’t have access to attrition survey data, the next best option is to segment your buyers into groups, such as the RFM approach involving groups based on the recency, frequency and monetary value of their purchases.
Some ideas outside of the standard RFM include products purchased, geographic location, or previous email render/click activity. Once segmented, test out different incentives to entice your old customer base to come back. Do they respond to promotions? Discounts? Events?
Inactive recipients typically re-engage within the first 90 days, but those who don’t may need to receive a different type of communication such as an educational piece or a newsletter. If there still is no response, you may want to consider removing those names from your mailings to prevent future unsubscribes or spam issues.
While you won’t see your overall list grow, reactivating recipients will increase your “active” list, thus positively influencing your bottom line and improving customer loyalty. To keep your list healthy, continue to test out different segments and incentives while taking note of what is driving engagement and what is not. From there, adjust accordingly to get the most out of your current customer base.