Re-Engage Inactive Subscribers

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When subscribers become inactive, it’s a good idea to try to win them back with a re-engagement strategy. It’s often less expensive to target a current customer than it is to find a new one. Winning the interest of inactive subscribers helps you make the most of your MailChimp list.

In this article, you’ll learn how to target inactive subscribers to win back their interest.

Identify Inactive Subscribers

Nearly all email lists will have some inactive subscribers who don’t open or click your campaigns much, but who are still interested in your brand. Use MailChimp’s segment tools to identify your least engaged subscribers, and target them with relevant campaigns that can win their interest.

To get started, you’ll create a segment based on campaign activity or member rating to identify inactive subscribers in your list. If you haven’t done this yet, read Identify Inactive Subscribers for detailed instructions.

Create a Re-Engagement Strategy

The best re-engagement strategy depends on your industry and your brand. No matter what industry you’re in, a successful re-engagement campaign sends relevant content as an incentive for subscribers to interact with your brand again. For example, if you have an online store, you could send exclusive coupons or discount codes.

If you’re not sure where to start, browse reallygoodemails.com/retention for examples of succesful re-engagement campaigns from many different industries.

Choose Your Re-Engagement Tools

Here are some of MailChimp’s re-engagement tools that can help you attract your segment of inactive subscribers.

  • Polls and Surveys
    Ask subscribers to complete a poll or survey, and send them a free gift or promo code when they complete it. If you ask the right questions, poll results can tell you what your inactive subscribers are interested in, and you can use this information to target them with additional campaigns and calls-to-action.

    Here’s a great example of how AirBnB’s email specialist used two types of polls as a metric of subscriber engagement that helped the company send relevant and engaging content.

  • Online Competitions
    Use contests, giveaways, or raffles to generate interest in your campaigns.

    Here are some online giveaway tips from our blog.

  • Coupons or Promo Codes
    Send inactive subscribers a special promo code or coupon, along with a message letting them know that it’s been a while since they visited your site. Highlight a few things that have been updated since they last visited to draw them back.

    Check out these online discount tips from Shopify’s email marketing blog for more ideas.

  • Automation
    Paid account users can use Automation workflows to send a series of re-engagement campaigns to inactive subscribers over time. You can also use post-sending list actions to automatically remove subscribers from a list or move them to different groups after they finish your automated email series. For example, use post-send actions to remove subscribers from your list if they don’t open your re-engagement series.

    Read our Working with Automation Guide for tips on setting up your own automation.

Test Your Content

After you choose your re-engagement tools, you’re ready to create your campaigns. We strongly recommend you use A/B Testing Campaigns or Multivariate Campaigns to test different versions of your content and determine the most effective re-engagement strategy for your audience. For example, you may want to see if your subscribers are more likely to engage with a promo code for 10% off their next order, or a code for free shipping.

After you determined the most successful winback strategy, it’s time to send your campaign and wait for results.

View Your Results

View results in the Reports section of your account to see if your campaign captured the interest of your inactive subscribers.

  • Campaign Reports
    For a broad overview of how well your re-engagement campaign performed, view the campaign report. If you use MailChimp Pro, generate a Comparative Report to compare the performance of multiple re-engagement campaigns.  

  • Poll Results
    If you used a poll in your campaign, view the poll results in your report and segment subscribers based on their responses.

  • Return on Investment
    If you use an e-commerce integration in your MailChimp account, review your e-commerce data to determine your ROI.

  • Inactive Segment
    View how many subscribers in your inactive segment re-engaged. If you set your inactive subscriber segment to auto-update, you should view the segment to see if the total number of inactives decreased. If your set your inactive segment as a static segment, create a new inactive segment to compare to your original segment.

The most successful re-engagement campaigns will typically re-activate about 10 percent of inactive subscribers. Depending on the size of your list and your sales goals, re-engagement campaigns have the potential to make a big impact on your opens, clicks, and sales.

If your results are lower than you expect, try increasing the discount or promotion in your next re-engagement campaign.

If some inactive subscribers still don’t respond at all, you can keep them in an inactive segment of your list, or remove inactives from your list to potentially save money on your Monthly Plan.

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