Now that we have addressed email acquisition, let’s talk about that email list clutter. As an Email Strategist, I get a lot of pushback when I suggest removing email subscribers from a mailing list. But let’s talk this out. Why would you want to send an email to someone who is not interacting with your emails, and is probably deleting them anyway? If you had an acquaintance that stopped responding to you, would you keep calling them? Probably not, so why keep emailing those that appear to have become unengaged and uninterested. Plus, don’t you want to improve the ROI for your email channel? If you stop mailing to them, you stop paying to send to them from your ESP and save money! Voila! Who wouldn’t want to save money and increase their ROI?

I am not suggesting you just remove everyone without first trying to engage them, but I am suggesting that you clean that list! It is Spring after all. It’s considered best practice to create a list of inactive subscribers, try to engage them and then cut the strings.

  • Determine who your inactive subscriber is.
    • For most retail brands, creating a list of those that have not opened or clicked an email in the last 6 months or more is ideal.
    • If your product is something that a consumer may not need as often, then consider looking at those that have not opened or clicked an email for 12 months or more.
  • Create a re-engagement strategy.
    • Using your existing email calendar and cadence, determine the best day and time to send the re-engagement campaign.
    • Consider multiple drips and removing those who do engage before each subsequent communication.
  • Determine an approach for repeating the campaign strategy consistently, based on the functionality available within your email platform or the resources you have available. Start brainstorming your offer and your message.
    • Consider an incentive to try and entice them to open your email and then click through.
    • If you can offer a promotion, evaluate your historical email sends and decide if percent (%) off or dollar ($) off has driven higher open rates and stronger traffic rates.
    • If someone has not been interacting with your emails, then you need to send them a reason to do so, and the offer must be strong enough to engage them.
  • Determine your subject line(s) First we need to get them to open the email.
    • I recommend that you utilize an A/B test of your subject lines, to evaluate the best message for this group of subscribers.
    • Look at your recent campaigns and determine what types of subject lines have the highest open rates.
      • Do questions drive strong open rates?
      • Do exclamation points drive high open rates!
      • Are vague subject lines more attractive to your audience?
  • Begin building your email content.
    • If you have decided to test an offer, then you will need to adjust your email creative to reflect the different offers, but the rest of the content should remain consistent. Too many variables will no longer make this a viable test.
    • Make the creative enticing enough to drive clicks.
    • If you have used animated gifs in the past, and your active subscribers have interacted well with these, then consider utilizing one within this campaign.
  • Send the campaign.
    • Then send it again.
    • Send your initial pass and wait 7 days. Resend to those that have not opened or clicked and give them one more shot.

If the reengagement doesn’t work and they still have not opened or clicked, send an additional email and ask them if they wish to remain on your list. Include an easy way for them to remain on the list or opt out. At this point, if the subscriber still does not open or click an email and remains inactive, remove them from your list. The size of your list should not matter, it’s the value of the subscribers that does. If they do not engage, then they have limited value to your brand.