4 Actionable Ways to Re-engage Inactive Subscribers

There’s a saying you cannot help but hear from many marketers: the money is in the list. As years go by, email still remains one of the most powerful tools in the marketing arsenal. As latest research states, for every $1 spent on email marketing, the return is $44. With a staggering 4400% ROI, there’s no wonder marketers work hard to build their lists.

However, over time, even the best-built lists are plagued with inactive subscribers. So, how do you reactivate those people who haven’t opened your emails for a while? Here are some proven tactics.

What’s an inactive subscriber?

An inactive subscriber is someone who’s been on your list for a period of time but hasn’t opened or clicked through any of your emails. Depending on how long your sales cycle is and how many campaigns you send out, the period to become inactive can be anything from a month up to a year. As opposed to cold email, your subscribers are at least somewhat familiar with your brand, which makes your job easier. Every quality email marketing service should allow segmenting your list and singling out inactive subscribers.

Ask your list about their opinion

No matter how unwilling they are to open your emails, people will be willing to voice their opinion. One of the best ways to re-engage inactive subscribers is to send out a poll or survey. The topic can be anything, from feedback on your products to asking about their email preferences.

In this email by Massdrop, they’re sending out polls to select the best products based on their interests. The link leads to their website, but you can also set up polls within the email.

In general, the more questions you ask, the less likely you are to get replies. Some marketers suggest asking just one question, to get the highest engagement. This strategy could bring the best results – just make sure you ask the right question.

Create a sense of urgency

If I were to get an email today saying that I have 24 hours to get a pair of the latest, hottest Nikes at 30% discount, you’d have me clicking the buy button in a flash. Creating a sense of urgency is one of the oldest tricks in the marketing book, and it still works. If something is sold in limited quantities, for a short period of time, and at a nice discount – it’s hard to say no.

Source: EDW

In this example, Indiegogo reminds their subscribers they only have a short amount of time to claim their discount. Try not to use this tactic too many times though – your subscribers are smarter than that. If you know a thing or two about email marketing, you know you should pay attention to the time when you send the email – this is even more important with time-limited offers.

Give them something of value… For free

Everybody likes free stuff. And when that free stuff helps someone solve an actual problem, you hit a homerun. One of the best examples of warming up a cold email list is sending a freebie that provides value to your subscribers. For example, I recently received a very neat social media content calendar from Hubspot:

This is the second time they’ve sent me something useful in the past few months, right after the great content calendar, which was also completely free. Even though I typically ignore Hubspot’s emails, I had to click and open those two. Needless to say, the freebie leads straight to another landing page for their product, which makes this a superb tool to re-engage subscribers.

There’s a whole range of different lead magnets you can come up with to send to your inactive subscribers. Some of these include:

  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers
  • Webinars
  • Swipe files
  • Infographics
  • Resource lists
  • Reports
  • Tutorials and guides
  • Quizzes

And much more. Whichever the format, ensure that it’s not promotional in nature and that it provides actual value to your subscribers. Couple the freebie with a great call to action, and you got a recipe for success.

Delete inactive subscribers

If you send dozens of re-engagement emails to a certain contact and they still don’t react, perhaps it’s time to let them go. In the game of email marketing, you cannot win over every single subscriber. Simply delete them off your list and don’t look back. Your overall open and click-through rates will go through the roof and you’ll have a more engaged email list.

What’s more, pruning your lists is necessary from time to time, as many email marketing providers charge by the number of subscribers. Even if they don’t open any emails, you are still billed for the inactive subscribers each month.

If you employ all of these strategies, you’ll be able to re-engage your inactive subscribers and improve your overall email stats. Remember – all subscribers are on your list for a reason, sometimes all it takes is a nudge in the right direction to get them to take action. Happy emailing!

Guest article written by: Dave Schneider is the founder of LessChurn, churn reduction app. In 2012 he quit his job to travel the world, and has visited over 65 countries. In his spare time, he writes about SaaS and business at DaveSchneider.me.

1 thought on “4 Actionable Ways to Re-engage Inactive Subscribers”

  1. I love this, Ian! And I feel like you were writing everything I say to people who have overzealous love for this game or intense criticism. I actually don’t mind weapon durability. It forces you to explore a little more. personally, since the beginning of the game i haven’t had a single weapon in my slot that was less than the master sword (when not powered up). Most of the time I’m frustrated at dropping good weapons (40-60) for better weapons (60+). But that’s not exactly a problem. I think by using durability they were trying to entice people to do a few more things, live a little, and create a puzzle-like atmosphere within the open world itself. If nothing ever goes away, what’s the point of trying new things?However, your idea for weapons in the next game is brilliant! I love the idea of different weapons with different abilities and “usability”. Sort of like the magic meter, but each weapon would have it’s own and would recharge itself over time. That could be a really cool way to introduce different mechanics in the next game.I am, however, with the critics of the dungeons. I was incredibly disappointed with how easy the dungeons were and how similar they wound up being. The different shrines were really cool, but again, they were too easy to make up for the lack of traditional dungeons. Overall I think BotW is an amazing game and I’ve loved every single second of playing it. But i’m very excited to see what Nintendo has in store for us next time!


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