Tuesday, September 06, 2011

 

How to revive dormant newsletter subscribers

With any email, newsletter or nurture campaign, there's going to be a sizeable portion of your list that just doesn't respond. They don't click, they rarely if ever open. So how do you get them to become more active again? The answer is more complicated than just a set of reactivation tactics.

First off, make sure they're dormant and not dead. And make sure you regularly clear out the dead.

Very few newsletter or nurture marketing managers actively clean their databases of regular hard-bounce addresses. If an email hasn't been delivered to a particular address for several sends in a row (meaning you get a hard-bounce back from the recipient's server), it's best to take that email out of future sends. Too many hard bounces will tell Internet service providers that you're a possible spammer, and can get the rest of your emails blocked.

Also, don't assume that dormant means no value is being delivered. Just because I didn't click doesn't mean I don't want the next issue. Just because I didn't engage this time doesn't mean I didn't appreciate a heads-up on whatever the content was. What if I was just too busy today? What if I really want that sweater but don't have any money until next payday?

Depending on the nature and objective of your email campaign, the quantity and quality of impressions you generate by putting another permission-based email in someone's inbox may be enough. At least for now. I assume that you, too, get plenty of email newsletters and don't read them all. Don't click on them all. Probably don't even open them all. But you definitely want to keep getting them, and there's a branded, contiguous relationship that still exists there. A healthy portion of your "dormant" subscribers are getting the same value from you today.

Of course, for those recipients who truly aren't paying as much attention, there are a few tactical things you can try as well.

First, consider changing the domain, IP address or even email service provider from which you're sending. These changes can make the email appear different to the hosting server, and can either help with deliverability or get that email out of the spam filter where it's been languishing for several issues now.

Also play with how the email appears to the recipient when first received in their inbox. Is the "from" name and address inviting? Are you using the same subject line over and over vs. highlighting some content that drives more opens?

Consider these and other more active/aggressive tactics to a segment of your list that you think might be dormant. If active subscribers already have you on their safe sender list, there's no reason to switch up the domain or IP address on them. But by testing these and other tactics on a subgroup of potentially dormant subscribers, you may find a mix of strategies and tactics that increase engagement and performance of the entire list in short order.

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