Heat Things Up - 3 Ways to Re-engage Cold Subscribers

Too often, marketers abandon disengaged subscribers, assuming their inaction means they’re off their brand for good. But this isn’t necessarily true. A Return Path study on e-commerce re-engagement email campaigns saw an average of 12% open rates, and regardless of whether the “win-back” email were opened, 45% of subsequent emails were opened.

Together, marketing automation and programmatic advertising can help marketers understand why these subscribers may have churned and reactivate them.

Here are three smart approaches to revitalize your inactive subscribers and make the most of your hard-won contacts:

1. Target Subscribers by Intent

Essentially, cold subscribers are people who have stopped engaging with your campaigns over a period of time. For example, this might be someone who hasn’t opened or clicked on any of your emails in the last two months. With a marketing automation platform, you can set up custom triggers that identify when a contact hasn’t engaged with your campaigns for a certain period of time. You can then reach out to these prospects with content based on the actions they take (or don’t take).

Group your subscribers in the following convention to get results:

  • Shopping cart abandoners: These contacts represent the highest of intent. They browsed your products, found something that speaks to them, but, for some reason, they didn’t follow through. Send messaging to counter what you believe—and have heard from customers—is a weak point of your product. Too expensive? Offer free shipping. Out of date? Send emails out about the latest-and-greatest products.
  • Product page browsers: Browsers who view particular products but don’t purchase represent a different audience altogether. Their behavior indicates they’re interested in a product line or category, but they’re not convinced your product is right for them or they’re simply not ready to buy. Send them mid-stage marketing content that gets them acquainted with your company, perhaps a customer testimonial or case study. At AdRoll, we love to send out product one-pagers and blog posts explaining industry challenges. That way, when buyers are ready to decide, you will be on their mind.
  • Email subscribers who never open: Just over 20% of email marketing messages are never opened, and many of your once-interested and engaged customers may have gradually lost interest over time. Add a little variety to how you re-engage with them with the following methods:
    • Advertising: Target them with digital ads splashed across different channels to get them thinking about your brand again.
    • Timing: Changing the timing of your email sends to understand when your buyers are most likely to open them. A good way to do this is through A/B testing to understand what time emails are opened most often.
    • Frequency: You’re lapsed subscribers may still like what you offer, but don’t like how frequently they receive emails. Group these contacts together and send them emails less frequently.
    • Win-back Email: Let your subscribers know you miss them, and give them an incentive to come back. Tech news site CNET won 8% of their inactive subscribers back with a well worded message and a chance to be entered into a sweepstake.

2. Reach Unsubscribed Prospects Through Alternate Ways

When your prospects opt out of promotional emails or phone calls, it does not necessarily mean they’ve become cold. These contacts might simply need more subtle methods to stay informed about your products. By migrating your unsubscribed prospects to online user IDs through a CRM retargeting service, you can reach them through targeted display ads to stay connected. Retargeting campaigns leveraging an audience list from your marketing automation platform typically require less set-up than website retargeting and all you need to get started is a .csv file of email addresses or a marketing automation system that can sync to ad platforms.

3. Change the Context of Where They See You

When people surf they the web, they usually have their “blinders” on, meaning they’re tuning out marketing campaigns splashed across the web. Often, changing the context of where buyers see your messages can get them to pay attention to your content. Social media advertising allows you to change the context of your advertisements; especially through native advertising, in which ad content appears identical to social media user-generated content. An analysis of AdRoll’s pool of advertisers found a 26% increase in click-through rates and a 92% increase in impressions compared to standard display retargeting.

Getting started advertising on social media is relatively easy and starts with finding the platform that’s right for your audience and your budget. LinkedIn and Instagram, for example, are fairly engaging, albeit somewhat pricey. Facebook, meanwhile is great for small business owners with its localized user base of 1.55 billion active monthly users.

It’s impossible to know exactly what reason caused your subscribers to go cold on your brand. But thanks to advanced in marketing technology, it’s much easier to hone in on why and warm them up with the right approach.

What other tips do you have for re-engaging cold subscribers? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.