Reactivating your unengaged (or not)
Let's start off by saying there is a lot of disagreement surrounding this topic. Not just between marketers and compliance and deliverability people but even within deliverability circles.
To be fair I'm one of the hardliners - I don't believe your unengaged customers need to get an email from you ever again. I strongly believe that unengaged customers are not lost but rather lost interest in the channel. Understanding the difference comes down to properly classifying the engagement.
Let's ask - who are your unengaged recipients? Simple question but the responses vary. In most cases the underlying issue is always the same - the segmentation rules come from a decade ago when multi-channel marketing did not exist.
I still hear marketers saying how they remove the unengaged based on the recipient's last open, website visit or order. This problem gets amplified with CDPs and data coming from multiple sources without proper treatment. Order is an order whether it is online or offline, from email or social network. It's a mess that few marketers address before talking about engagement, removing unengaged and reengagement.
Before you start considering reactivating anyone take a step back - look at the rules that marked them as unengaged. This is significantly more important than the reactivation part or to be more precise - it will have a major impact on how large the reactivation segment will be.
The root of the problem is usually in the mindset that assigns “value” to each individual recipient’s address. It prevents marketers from efficiently removing unengaged recipients and forces them to create arbitrary rules to keep as many recipients “active” as possible. This kind of defeats the purpose - by keeping a large number of unengaged recipients - possibly traps - in the list will permanently affect sender reputation.
For the removal of unengaged to make any sense you need to start thinking multi-channel. Forget about the latest orders and site visits - those come from various sources. You MUST start attributing engagement to exact channels so you don’t mix website engagement that came from a Facebook ad with engagements initiating from email. Only when you start properly measuring engagement for email as a channel can you start looking at unengaged as unengaged with your email communication.
At Mailkit we have built engagement scoring years ago to address this very issue and let marketers do more efficient segmentation. Most importantly by measuring the engagement over time you will be able to target reactivation campaigns to your less engaged customers to reactivate them. Once the recipients cross the threshold into the unengaged category you should not waste time, money and energy on reactivation - it’s too late.
Don’t forget there are other channels and the fact that the recipient is no longer interested in your emails doesn’t mean he’s no longer your customer. As customers mature they move across channels. You should not be intent on keeping them on one specific channel but rather making sure you have a happy customer… even though he may no longer like your emails.