When considering your full email strategy, you’ll want to make sure you are taking full advantage of welcome series and re-engagement sequences. These will ensure that you start your relationships with your subscribers off on the right foot, create a basis of trust that you can nurture, and provide way revitalize those relationships if engagement starts to decline.
Engaging from Day One
Make sure someone’s home
Welcome Emails are the quickest way to validate if an email is real and can even serve as an informal double opt-in. They also allow you to gather click data right away for segmentation purposes.
Stand out in the inbox
When sending Welcome Emails, make sure they thank the user for subscribing and reiterate the frequency at which they’ll now be receiving emails from you. The tone of your email should remain on brand, but keep your message short and sweet. Welcome Emails should also act as more than a receipt that the consumer has successfully opted in. Create a Call to Action that is click-worthy and drives further engagement. This action can include opportunities for discounts, content downloads, profile setup, an additional poll – anything to invite more interaction that matches your business model and how you want to grow your relationship with your users.
Consider multiple next actions
Sometimes you can extend a Welcome Message into a Welcome Series to promote further engagement with your audience. However, you will want to make sure there is a clear journey and that each message within the series tracks actual customer behavior. Don’t confuse your marketing desires, i.e. KPIs, with customer utility. Your Welcome Series should provide value to your consumer – you don’t want to force certain interaction that doesn’t provide value because of certain goals you’re trying to reach.
Map out your journey
Map out your customer journey with the Welcome Email as the jumping off point. Include plenty of check-ins and nudges with your users. For example, after sending your Welcome Email, if the user has not opened the email, send a nudge for them to update their communication preferences. Ultimately, if those users don’t engage, they may be good candidates for an early re-engagement sequences. For those who do engage, you can send them along the journey. The first email of the journey could urge them to download your app, sign up for your rewards program, refer a friend, etc.
Establish Your Re-Engagement Sequence Strategy
Create a plan
Not all churn opts out, as some users simply stop reading your emails and just delete them when received. In fact, 10-20% of recipients silently disengage each year and up to 75% of your list may be unengaged. Identify at what point in the lifecycle customers disengage, because it most likely is sooner than you think! If you are a publisher, 3+ months of non-engagement from a user indicates disengagement. For a retailer, disengagement occurs around 6+ months of non-engagement.
Segment your data
Use the data you have on your subscribers to your advantage! Not only can you use metrics like last open/engagement to target within your re-engagement sequence, but you can drill down even further using other data such as interest tags or web activity. This will allow you to personalize your emails to prompt the highest level of re-engagement.
Create incentivizing content
Decide on content and offers that will most appeal to your users. Near-term nudges typically need less attractive incentives to re-engage, whereas long-term disengaged accounts need a better, more enticing reason to come back. For example, a near-term nudge could include simple messaging like ‘We Miss You’ whereas a long-term nudge would include an opportunity for them to subscribe for a month for free, get 25% off your product, read testimonials/success stories, or access the preference center to adjust their preferences. Keep in mind some of these content must-haves:
- Appropriate tone of voice (ex. Friendly for ‘We miss you’ or excited/urgent for ‘25% off your next purchase’)
- Strong and clear CTAs
- Product/content personalization (ex. Recommended product based on previous purchase)
- First name personalization
- Elements affecting the subscribers’ emotions (fear of losing access to materials/breaking the relationship)
- Link to the preference center
- Clear unsubscribe
Set your cadence
Send nudges earlier and begin your re-engagement around 1-2 months of inactivity. A good re-engagement sequence use a cadence of 3+ emails and sends nudges with a higher frequency when a user has recently become disengaged and less frequently the further out you are from the last engagement. Campaigns run earlier in the re-engagement cycle will have much higher success rates – typically a 5%+ reactivation rate. Overall, you want to entice your subscribers to come back, but you do not want to overstimulate or over-send!
Review and analyze
Review your results on a regular basis and include a test in each step of the journey. If subscribers re-engage along the way, take note of what prompted their re-engagement sequence, and make sure you include a step that removes them from the re-engagement journey and sets them on another one. Also monitor your reputation and deliverability metrics – keep an eye on bounce rates, complaints, etc.
Letting It Go
Treat email relationships like real relationships
Listen to your users and be thoughtful and intentional with your messaging. Don’t smother them with too many nudges and accept that it may be time to part ways if they do not engage with you.
Unsubscribes are a gift
An unsubscribe allows you to collect further data about why your email program may not be working for a specific segment. Including a survey a user can submit when they unsubscribe allows you to gather qualitative data you can use to improve your program. Also consider being more up front with preference management links in your messaging. Some inbox providers are actually doing this for you if they notice that user has not been engaging with your emails, so don’t be afraid to be proactive. Linking to a preference center also may prevent users from opting out because they can instead choose to receive emails at a lower frequency or opt in to other communications that better match their interests.
Know when to say enough
Be willing to say goodbye to users who are not engaging with you and remove subscribers that have been unengaged for more than 12-18 months. It is highly unlikely they will engage again at that point, and it helps you maintain a good sender reputation and save on resources/budget.