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Get Em’ Back: Reengaging Inactive Subscribers - Guest blog by Audrey Howes @ahowes

by on ‎03-20-2012 11:57 AM (4,304 Views)

by Audrey Howes, Swiftpage


Companies have varied methods for dealing with inactive email subscribers. Some don’t even know they have them, many ignore them and keep on sending like nothing is wrong, while others remove them from their lists completely. None of these methodologies is really correct, yet, acknowledging and targeting inactive subscribers is a must.


So, why do people who subscribed to receive your communications become inactive anyway? Dela Quist of Alechemy Worx suggests there are 5 main reasons that your subscribers become inactive:


  1. They want your email, but haven’t needed your product for a while.
  2. You’re receiving false negatives – your email is optimized to be read with image blocking on, so some subscribers could be opening it without you knowing.
  3. The subscriber doesn’t want your email, but doesn’t care enough to unsubscribe.
  4. Email address churn – the subscriber no longer uses or rarely checks that email address.
  5. They don’t see your email because it goes into the junk folder.

With this knowledge in hand, we can forge ahead and create a methodology targeting your inactive subscribers that actually works.


Who Are They?
Look through your reports to generate a list of email recipients who have not opened or clicked on one of your emails in 6-12 months. Segment these inactives to their own lists separate from your active subscribers. This does a couple of things. First it gives a better picture of your email successes when looking at reports from the active group and it allows you to try to hone in on what the inactive group wants from you.


Send the Best of the Best
Before eliminating inactives from your list, try reducing the frequency of emails you send to them. Send only your best content and greatest deals to this group. You may even want to create a reengagement campaign offering them exclusive deals if they ‘come back’.


Survey Says
Create a survey tailored to your inactives. Ask them about the types of content and offers they want to receive from you. Listen to their requests and, if you can, offer them what they are asking for. Track results to see the effect on reengagement with your brand.


Time to Say Goodbye
After 24 months of inactivity, it best to remove inactive subscribers from your list. Continuing to send emails after the 24 month threshold puts you at risk of being labeled as Spam by ISPs. Before deleting them permanently, send one last email letting them know you are going to be removing them from your list. Give them the chance to click through to a survey that tells you they are still interested. If you hear nothing, say goodbye.


Regardless of your strategy for handling inactive accounts, please don’t ignore them! Continuing to send to inactive accounts not only skews your email success results, it also puts you at risk for being labeled as a spammer. Take some of the ideas above and start to address your inactive email subscribers now.