Simple Tips to Re-Engage With Prospects
As direct marketers, we work hard to build and curate the contacts in our database and segmented lists are among our most treasured assets. We cultivate and nurture them. We work to understand what it is that will resonate with each of them as individuals. And we try to provide relevant content that inspires them to engage with our brands and products.
But inevitably, even the most carefully nurtured lists start to die off. Industry stats tell us to expect as much as 25 percent depreciation each year.
That’s tough for us to hear. Sometimes it’s the direct and brutal clicking of the unsubscribe link but more often it’s just a gentle fading away through a trail of unopened emails and unclicked links.
In either case, that’s bad for business. A growing unsubscribe – or worse yet, spam complaint – rate has a negative impact on your deliverability. The internet service providers are watching and when only a few recipients are responding to your emails, you’re more likely to be tagged as a low-quality sender and get caught up in spam filters. Then even some of your most engaged prospects won’t see your message.
But falling engagement doesn’t need to be the end of once-fruitful relationships. Sure, some subscribers might not to be the right fit, but oftentimes, with a little extra care, many of them can be won back. By re-engaging those inactive subscribers, you can improve your inbox placement.
Here are some simple ideas to help you re-engage with prospects.
Take time to reflect.
Step back and take stock of your relationship from their perspective. What content and offers did they engage with in their most active periods? Find ways to share more of the content they engaged with in the first place. It seems simple enough, but all too often we deliver what we want and not what the customers are telling us they want through their click behavior.
Give them some space.
Use your dynamic segmentation tools to carve out lists of folks who aren’t engaging anymore. Instead of a weekly email, try putting two or three weeks in between messages. You’ll soon see if your absence was missed. After a few months, add those that seem to be coming back to life to a more active nurture flow and slowly work them back to your most active lists.
Ask them what works for them.
Take the direct approach. It’s never a bad idea to ask customers what they want. Tell them that you’ve noticed a drop off and empower them through a well-crafted preferences page to determine what kinds of messages they want to receive, and how often they want to receive them. It eliminates the guesswork and puts the customer in control.
Play to Their Emotions.
It’s hard for readers to ignore you when you’re using personalization and being direct. Cut to the chase and say, “Hey, we miss you.” You have a good chance of getting a response. In addition, they’ll start to see you as a real person trying to connect on a personal level and not just a nameless, faceless brand trying to sell them something.
It’s Not You, It’s Me.
Sometimes it’s best to give them a graceful way to bow out. It is important to understand that not everyone is going to love you. In that case, just accept it and move on. It’s a win-win.
Especially in retail. Try offering coupons or a special promotion for coming back. Offering free access to content or even a Starbucks gift card is often an effective – if a bit clumsy – incentive for contacts to re-engage. Be careful, though, that you’re actually incenting the behavior you want and not just attracting the free-stuff crowd.
Next time you are feeling down about the lack of activity in your pipeline, don’t despair. Instead, try a re-engagement campaign to gently nudge them back in your direction. You’ll be surprised to see how many prospects you thought were lost forever just needed a reason to come back. And for those that don’t, just let them go.
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