Every email list is going to have subscribers who sign up and then apparently vanish. “They may have opted in to a specific offer, then disengaged once they obtained the coupon, free content or other benefit you promised,” writes Karen Talavera at MarketingProfs. “Or they joined your list while in the market for your product or service but soon afterward their needs were met and they never bothered to unsubscribe.”
Inactive subscribers frustrate marketers because we don’t know what went wrong. Reasons they ignore us include realizing our product or service isn’t a good fit, waiting patiently for more relevant content, or fuming over bad customer service. In other words, it could be just about anything.
So, how can you deal effectively with inactives? Talavera offers this four-step strategy:
Conduct a reactivation campaign. Create an agreed-upon definition for “inactive” and reach out to that segment with special incentives for opting into your list once again, confirming permission or providing expanded information.
Make contact via social networks. “If you can get an active connection going in a social-media environment,” she says, “chances are the next time your email message arrives, that list member will pay more attention to it.”
Attempt offline communication. If you have an inactive’s telephone number or physical mailing address, go ahead and touch base. Those who “might be ignoring their inboxes or those who simply might have changed email addresses and need to provide you with the newest, most-relevant one, might well appreciate the contact,” she notes.
Reduce frequency, or cease contact. “You don’t need to wipe them off your list,” she says. “Simply don’t email them as much, unless and until they show an increase in responsiveness.”
Connect or disconnect. Inactives on your list aren’t harmless; their presence can damage your metrics and deliverability. Get them to re-engage, or let them go.