All email marketing lists contain a fair amount of inactive list subscribers to the point where inactive subscribers can make up the majority of an email marketing list.  Inactive subscribers are ones who seemly lost interest in your messages; taking no action on your emails as they have filtered your messages out of their virtual life.  As you know messages when ignored or deleted without being open triggers nothing, so there is no feedback as to why they are inactive.  With some planning, inactive addresses can be rejuvenated and re-engaged to active subscribers again.

To begin the process of subscriber re-engagement you first must identify your inactive recipients.  You can define an inactive email address as one that:

  1. Neglects to respond
  2. Appears to be dormant: email address that are never opened or clicked on
  3. Was active but continues to be unresponsive for a long while

All inactive email addresses are not equal. The causes can be attributed to:

  1. Spam filters
  2. List fatigue
  3. Your new subscriber only signed up to get your free offer.
  4. Your email newsletter/announcement is not what they expected.
  5. They only use a mobile device to read email without images or urls to click on
  6. They like what they are receiving and waiting for the right moment to respond or the right subject line to peek their interest.
  7. Your product or service is something your subscriber seldom needs, like ordering flowers for a special occasion or updating a program.
  8. They receive your email which prompts them to action by phoning in an order or going to a brick and mortar store instead of clicking on your offer.
  9. They are no longer interested in your emails and are too lazy to unsubscribe.
  10. The email address once active is still valid but rarely used by the subscriber.
  11. Your messages are being stopped at the receiving ISP level.
  12. The receiving ISP or your recipient’s email client is employing image filters that typically disable images from being loaded while displaying a warning about inappropriate images. Many recipients delete the message rather than enabling images and opening the message.

Are you the cause of inactivity?

  1. Are you mailing  to often
  2. You’re not mailing often enough
  3. Are you offering information on one subject but emailing information on a different subject?
  4. Did your recipient opted-in to your list?

With all the available reports facts and figures, including advance reporting tools as offered with Dundee Internet List Hosting services, analyzing when an email address becomes inactive can be nothing more than a swag.  In most cases the cause of inactivity may never be known, therefore classifying an email address as an inactive one becomes an exercise in intuitive science rather than factual science.  This classification is  based on assorted variables such as how many email campaigns your organization implements, the structure of each subject lines, how many images in the message and so forth.   And if you consider using the typical industry standard of six months of inactivity to classify an email address as inactive consider your mailing habits: for example if you only mail twice a year the 6 month rule wouldn’t work for you.  Most industries aren’t typical, so you should create your own formula based on your mailing habits.   Once you decide how to indentify your viable inactive email address follow-up with an re-engagement campaign.

A re-engagement campaign should be simple and clear-cut with the purpose of regaining your recipient’s interest in your email messages.  You do not need to spruce up your email message with fancy fonts and pictures, be direct and to the point.  Keep in mind your goal, asking your subscribers if they would like to continue receiving email from you.   Consider offering a sale, coupon or other enticement if you think it would help.

A re-engagement campaign should be timed to reach your inactive subscribers early on.  When tracking your recipients, those who recently became inactive (based on your formula) are the easiest ones to recapture, by peeking their interests again.  Plan your re-engagement campaign to mail to half or a third of your inactive list at a time, over the course of a few weeks.  Monitor the response rates and activity in each mailing:  you’ll be able to update your membership accordingly.  Email a final message emphasizing the value of re joining (re-opting into) your mailing list, with the caveat that they will be removed from future mailings unless they take action now.

After your re-engagement campaign, maintain a good engagement record by identifying those addresses you could not re-engage and remove them from your active mailing lists.

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