The Dormant Email Subscribers
A key asset of any business is its email subscriber list. These opted-in contacts represent your most valuable marketing channel.
Yet despite best efforts, every list sees segments of dormant subscribers who have grown inactive over time. Life happens, interests change, and emails go ignored. Inactive subscribers represent lost potential. But they also present an opportunity for revival. With targeted re-engagement efforts, you can re-ignite interest and convert these dormant contacts back into brand advocates.
In this guide, we’ll cover the significance of subscriber re-engagement, strategic tactics to try, real-world examples, and tips for breathing new life into your subscriber relationships.
Significance: The Value of a Re-Engaged Subscriber
👉 Increased Email Revenue: Revived subscribers deliver 2x more revenue through email than typical users. Their prior relationship makes them pre-disposed to engage.
👉Lower Reactivation Costs: Getting lapsed subscribers to re-open your emails costs much less than acquiring brand new names.
👉Enhanced Lifetime Value: According to MarketingSherpa, the average revived subscriber stays active for 14.6 more months versus new sign-ups. Their additional lifetime is very valuable.
👉 Improved Sender Reputation: Higher open and click-through rates from re-engaged users improves your sender metrics with ISPs. This benefits deliverability.
👉 List Segment Insights: Understanding why subscribers lapsed gives useful insights to improve content and targeting for that segment.
👉 Subscriber Retention Lessons: Re-engagement testing uncovers best practices that can be applied to retain existing engaged users as well.
A study by Experian found brands see $2 in revenue for every $1 invested into re-engaging lapsed subscribers. Contrast that with $10 CPA for acquiring brand new leads, and the value is self-evident. Activating existing contacts should be a priority.
Tactics: Effective Re-Engagement Campaigns
When approaching re-engagement, step one is segmenting and analyzing historical data to profile dormant subscribers. Look at past open and click-through rates, purchase behavior, content preferences and more.
✅ Special promotions: Offer dormant subscribers limited-time percentage discounts or money off coupons based on past spending tiers or product category affinity.
✅ Cart abandonment reminders: If they left items in their cart, send an automated reminder with their cart contents and incentive to complete the purchase.
✅ Content re-recommendations: Repurpose an old blog post, guide or video the contact previously engaged with as a “Throwback Thursday” or “From the Archives” themed message.
✅ Poll or quiz: Interactive content gives subscribers a reason to open and engage. Ask for input on new offerings relevant to their past purchases.
✅ Live event invites: If events align with a contact’s interests, promote access to past event recordings or discounts on future events.
✅ New feature announcements: Share new offerings and capabilities matching what the user previously cared about.
✅ Satisfaction survey: Asking for website feedback, product satisfaction ratings, etc. shows you want their input due to past relationship.
✅ Hyper-personalized content: Create a fully individualized message journey referencing past interactions and custom product/content recommendations based on historical behaviors.
✅ Lapsed subscriber giveaway: Hold a contest with special prizes and entry methods just for re-activating dormant contacts.
✅ Resubscribe confirmation: If the user already resubscribed recently, send a targeted confirmation message welcoming them back.
✅ Winback incentives: Offer special re-engagement only discounts for future purchases.
The core mindset should be providing extra value in exchange for renewed attention. Make messages highly relevant and exclusive to these contacts. Deliver a level of personalization that reminds subscribers of their importance to you.
Case Study: Successful Re-Engagement Stories
👉 Business software company HubSpot created a dormant subscriber workflow that resulted in 20% re-activation rates. They estimate revival increased annual recurring revenue by 7%.
👉 The UK National Trust foundation increased donations by 25% sending lapsed members personalized email journeys with stories tied to past interactions. Open rates reached 32%, well above their normal.
👉 Cosmetics retailer Glossier focuses on reviving inactive “repeat discount abusers” with tailored promotions based on previous orders and special VIP offers. Their messaging aims to “break the discount addiction cycle.”
👉 Non-profit charity: water executes “We’ve Missed You” re-engagement campaigns on inactive past donors. Tailored videos and donation incentives result in 2x higher response than typical outreach.
👉 Avon Canada revived 45% of inactive representatives by targeting them as brand ambassadors and offering sneak peeks of upcoming catalog items in a personalized video.
👉 Travel apps HotelTonight and OYO both have dedicated revival campaigns offering special discounts on future trips to lapsed app users. OYO has seen 60%+ conversion rates from these efforts.
👉 Netflix coaxes dormant subscribers back by offering free service extensions, previewing hot new titles and reminding users where they left off binge watching certain shows.
Revival efforts centered around relevance, value and exclusivity provide the one-two punch of warmth and incentive needed to draw dormant subscribers back in.
Summing Up: Breathing New Life into Your Email List
Like any relationship, email marketing requires ongoing nurturing. Segmenting out inactive subscribers allows you to devote special care to reviving these contacts.
But re-engagement is not a one-off initiative. Build it into your ongoing email strategy, and also draw insights for improving general subscriber engagement. Test and iterate to find the messaging and offers that light a fire with each group. In the process, you’ll breathe new life into subscriber relationships that have grown cold over time. The sizable revenue potential makes it one of the wisest investments you can make towards maximizing the ROI of your email program.
With some strategic TLC, that dormant subscriber list will transform into a vibrant community ready to engage for many more months and years to come.
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