The cause of inactive subscribers or is it the content?

Based on our in-house calculations an average- sized email list, with less than 5,000 recipients may contain as many as 27 to 36 percent of inactive subscribers.  Furthermore, an older email list will typically have more unengaged or inactive list members.  AND that number will be larger with bigger member lists, reaching in some cases as much as 40% inactive list members.

In this context, we identify inactive subscribers as those who reportedly have not clicked or opened a single email in a certain time frame over the number of emails received.

Excluding bounces, what would cause a list member subscriber to become an inactive subscriber?

  • Loss of interest change of relevance

    It happens to everyone. We lose interest in a topic, product, or service or the content sent in email is not the content promised. Just by sheer laziness, it may seem easier to redirect such emails to the Junk folder or just hit delete. Some list members do not unsubscribe, because they don’t trust the unsubscribe option, or they may be waiting for better material from the sender before they engage with the sender’s email again

  • Blasé Subject Lines, bad grammar, lousy content

    It’s a jungle out there. The number of emails received on a typical day can be overwhelming. With so much competition, Subject Lines need to grab the attention of the reader. A personalized enticing Subject Line is best but not always easy to write.

  • Inactive Email Account

    Email addresses are a dime a dozen. You can get free accounts from several big ISPs. List members with more than one account may only check their main account and use their secondary or tertiary account to sign up for email lists. And those accounts are rarely checked.

  • SPAM and content filters

    There may be content in the email message that triggers SPAM filters. The sender is not using email authentication and validation protocols. - Besides setting up email protocols, simple things to keep email from landing in the SPAM filter work too. Use the same FROM address or ask to be whitelisted when someone signs up for the newsletter.

  • Junk delivery

    When emails are delivered to the Junk Folder as potential SPAM, many recipients empty the folder without checking its contents. They assume all emails sent to that folder are indeed junk. Legitimate messages in that folder may never be seen.

  • Email that requires an image to download

    It is possible with in place filtering, like online Outlook, may disable images from loading. As a result, some recipients may simply delete the message instead of enabling images and opening it.

How do you figure out who really is an inactive subscriber?

As with most digital marketing stats, there are no real rules when it comes to list members. Therefore, here are some of our rules to determine inactivity

Email Assessment ReportSelect a time period that is long enough to gather information to work with.  For example, use a baseline of a minimum of 10 sent messages over 6 months.

Run your most active report for the period you selected, in this case, the past 6 months starting with the most recent mailing.  Download this information to a spreadsheet such as Excel.  Sort your list by the number of messages sent to each recipient.

Delete recipients who received fewer than 10 messages (or the number of messages sent you want to use)

Sort your list in descending order by unique opens and clickthrough’s

Remove every recipient that has opened an email and clicked on a link.

You now have your list of inactive subscribers.  With that information create an “inactive” field in your demographic table.  Upload your list.  You now have the ability to segment your campaigns with specific messages and frequency to these particular list members

With this list you can re-engage your inactive subscribers, using:

  • Special Offers
  • Interest Surveys
  • Incentives to update their profile page 

And if you do not get the response you hope for:

  • subject lines matterReview demographics, to send relevant, personalized messages
  • Try sending different days and times
  • Modify the frequency of your mailings
  • Create different content
  • Experiment with a different format – send text email instead of HTML
  • Test different Subject Lines
  • Send a physical postcard with an incentive to remain a subscriber

Also review:
The 10 top reasons why your list subscribers are inactive

Email and Engagement is your email engaged

Hitting the Email Industry Benchmark

Today’s digital email marketer has great tools to create a win-back email marketing campaign. The key to making this work, identify those inactive subscribers before they leave altogether and become a churn statistic.  If you have a list of inactive members before you hit that delete button, learn how to do a re-engagement campaign, give us a call (734-529-5331)  and we’ll show you how!