If you find that your open rate is declining over time, it’s time to action!
Of course, you should begin with first questioning why subscribers might not be enjoying your content and we’ll deal with that in future posts. And whilst you are looking at who is opening your emails, you should also pay attention to the people that have not read or clicked on your emails for a while, and make them decide whether they would still like to hear from you. This is known as reactivation.
So why should you take action on your list? Well, did you know that repeatedly sending to disengaged subscribers, can actually damage your deliverability to other subscribers? Yes, you read that right, it can potentially prevent your emails being delivered to the inbox of everyone on your list, not just the people who are not opening.
Just like in real life, once your credibility is damaged, it’s a lot more work to get back to where you were originally. Email service providers (ESPs), that’s the companies that provide you with an email account, give you a “reputation” based on how you act towards your subscribers, to ensure that you don’t start acting like a spammer.
With email marketing quantity is great yes, but if the quality of them is poor you are fighting a losing battle in terms of inbox delivery. There is no point sending to people who don’t open! So if you’ve had customers on your list for a long time and never done any housekeeping, now is a good time to make a plan as to how you’ll manage these inactive email recipients.
Deciding how long to give people to open one of your emails will vary depending on the frequency of your emails, but not opening for 6-9 months would be a reasonable amount of time.
1. Consider reducing the amount that you contact this group first
See if this makes any difference. If they respond, you could remove them from the list, or make a separate list of people to mail less frequently.
For example, if you send an email every week, send them an email once a month, for two months.
At the end of the two months, anyone that responded could go to a “less frequent mailing” list, or back into your main list. Anyone that still has not responded, we progress to the next stage.
2. Give them an offer they can’t refuse
This only applies if you are selling something, if not, skip to step 3. If you are using Mailpoet to contact e-Commerce customers, why not give them a special treat, to see if this will encourage them to open your email.
Make sure that the incentive is in the subject line e.g. “We miss you – 10% off your next order” or “It’s been a while – Free Post & Packaging”. When considering the offer, do try to make sure they actually were a customer previously (i.e. they actually bought something), otherwise it sounds a little weird.
If they have never purchased anything, try something like “10% off – can we tempt you?”. If they respond, take them off the inactive list.
3. The ultimatum
So you’ve still got some customers ignoring you? That’s ok, it’s always going to happen. It is human nature to keep ignoring our inboxes sometimes rather than unsubscribing.
But what if you were asked directly “Do you still want to hear from us?”, wouldn’t that make you sit up and decide?
It’s a good idea to remind them why it’s good to be on the list e.g. “Be first to hear about xxx” or “Keep up to date with everything that’s going on…” and ask them if they still want to stay. Give them a date which they need to respond by and let them know that if you don’t hear from them they’ll be removed from the list.
A “yes” button, or link, could go to a specially created page on your site just saying “Thanks, we’ll keep you on the list”, a “No” button/link will be the unsubscribe page. Non-responders get unsubscribed too.
Email list maintenance should be done on a regular basis – every 6 months is ideal.
In Part 2, we’ll demonstrate how to set up your reactivation plan in MailPoet.