Every small business that uses online marketing to generate and nurture leads will run into this problem. They may need an email re-engagement campaign as a certain percentage of people on their marketing list will become unengaged. That means they will not have clicked on your email for 6 months to a year or more.  The question from our client is:

How do I solve email marketing un-engagement?

First, this is a big problem, especially since many email providers are cracking down on emails from domains that have a bad reputation. That means they will put your email into spam if your domain has a bad reputation. (Domain refers to the URL you send email from, for example, info@placemakinggroup.com is our sending email and “placemakinggroup.com” is our company’s domain.)  If your domain is flagged as bad, it will affect how your email is delivered to all your recipients. Un-engagement is a major culprit for ruining a reputation.

With email still being one of the most effective ways to reach your audience and garner conversions, it only makes sense that your business should pay attention to your email list engagement.

How can un-engagement damage your sending reputation?

unsubscribe survey

Reputation is determined by the number of spam reports, the number of reported negative comments when they unsubscribe, and the number of bounced emails.

The other day I was on an unsubscribe tear since Gmail charges for used space, and unsubscribing is the best way to save space. I found that almost all systems have some version of an unsubscribe survey.

If a recipient selects “I never signed up” or “the emails are inappropriate” or “The emails are spam”, this will damage the reputation of your domain for most major email providers.

Two practices you should use to avoid un-engagement and a negative email reputation.

  1. Make sure your subscribers are opting in.  Most marketing automation systems have a double opt-in option. Use it.

  2. Incorporate high-value links in your emails, near the top of the email to encourage engagement.

One of our small business clients has a very robust email marketing program.  They email frequently and most of the subscribers are actively engaged with the organization.  However, the client provides a lot of content on their website where subscribers don’t need to click on an email link to get to it. When their email reputation was in question, the client incorporated more links in their emails to allow their subscribers to access “exclusive” email content not easily found on their website. This reduced the un-engagement rate.

Some contacts just lose interest

Sometimes your services or subject matter just doesn’t interest subscribers anymore. In that case, they should be removed from your list by marking them as unmarketable in your email program. I’m referring to your MailChimp, GetResponse, HubSpot, Infusionsoft, or other email/marketing automation programs.

Bordom Reading Emails

Over the last decade, MarketingSherpa research has found that B2B marketing lists tend to decay at a rate of 2.1% per month. This is an annualized rate of 22.5%. So this needs to be addressed, not just in the need to replace the 22% loss but also in reducing that decay.

Why do they lose interest?

Maybe they’re no longer in the market for what you offer. Maybe they found a better alternative. Maybe they simply don’t find value in your emails or product any longer.  Whatever the reason, try to re-engage them by reminding them of why they signed up in the first place.  A re-engagement campaign may be what is needed.

What is an email re-engagement campaign exactly?

You may already know this, but a re-engagement email campaign is simply a series of emails sent in an attempt to re-engage a contact or user after you have not seen any activity from them in an extended period of time.

For an email to be considered engaged – the subscriber needs to have clicked or opened an email. Sometimes making a purchase using your web form will also update engagement but often auto-renewals will not. Also, a simple website visit not from an email link, will not count unless your email program is connecting emails with website visits (Sharpspring does this, and probably some others).

How to get Subscribers to Re-engage.

If the primary goal is to get subscribers to click on a link in your email. here are several ideas to encourage the click.

  1. The “we miss you email” – kind of boring but simple and apparently works since so many people use it.
  2. Offer perks for active email subscribers, then email the unengaged and ask them to come back.
  3. Free shipping offer for unengaged.
  4. Show what is new with your app or website and ask them to click to update app or account.
  5. Ask the subscriber to update their email preferences – offer a variety of lists that can be customized by the client to get the most personalized content.
  6. Ask them to update their profile.
  7. Offer rewards for viewing new products.
  8. Survey – ask for their feedback and what is important to them.
  9. Update your content and offer something new.

For more about marketing automation and email marketing check out this service page.

About the Author:

This blog is meant to be of service to the many small businesses that need help with how to use web technology for marketing and to better run their business. I’m a principal at Placemaking Group, and I’ve run and marketed small businesses for over 25 years. I have worked with small business clients helping them to adapt marketing strategies pioneered by larger companies to their specific small business needs.

This small business marketing blog explores ways you can use today’s web technology to be successful. The Placemaking Group’s team of professions, working together, is a complete marketing department ready to serve small businesses. We look for ways to maximize marketing budgets and to help create operational systems using web technology that have a positive effect on your top-line and bottom line.

If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please email me and we’ll throw it in the mix. Thanks for checking in.

Barbara Irias, principal, customer experience, and marketing strategy. Connect with me on LinkedIn.