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Email Marketing Essentials: Retention

We have previously covered how to acquire email subscribers, convert them into customers, and how to keep them engaged with your email marketing program. In our final installment, we will talk about email retention, how to re-engage your subscribers, and how to clean your subscriber list to improve your email delivery.

Blog Posts in this Series

Email Marketing — Part 4: Retention

The cost involved in acquiring new subscribers is significantly more than the cost of re-engaging subscribers who have lapsed and are not responding to your emails. By re-engaging subscribers with a clear strategy or deactivating them from your email list, your delivery and response rate will improve.

Non-Responder Identification

It is good practice to periodically review your email program’s open, click, and complaint data to see which subscribers or email services could negatively be impacting your email delivery. Creating a process to identify and implement thresholds for engagement behavior can help target these problem subscribers or email service providers which rely on engagement behavior for filtering.

Non-responder Strategy

Once non-responders have been identified, you should have a strategy in place to send targeted mailings to try and win back subscribers. A re-engagement email should describe the benefits of being a subscriber, have a prominent link to their subscription preferences (a web page where subscribers can manage their email frequency or unsubscribe), and possibly a special offer to entice them back. Remember, it is better to have non-responders unsubscribe than negatively impact your overall delivery rate.

List Cleansing

After sending your re-engagement email, you should remove all subscribers who’s emails have bounced or were not opened after one or two attempts. This keeps your email subscriber list clean of complaints and removes invalid or deactivated email addresses.

Unsubscribe Page

Your email program’s unsubscribe page should offer subscribers a myriad of options to control their subscription beyond unsubscribing. This page should include options to adjust their email frequency, change their email address, and an option to choose which content or promotions they are interested in receiving. Links to your social networks should also be provided for individuals who prefer to engage with your business through those marketing channels.

Unsubscribe Survey

Sometimes you can’t win back subscribers after implementing all the steps above. If that is the case, give those who chose to unsubscribe an opportunity to complete a short survey where they can provide feedback on your email marketing campaign. This information provides valuable insights to re-engage others and how to better target your marketing language to improve your overall subscriber engagement.

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Ted is a graphic designer and front-end developer who specializes in branding, marketing, and website development.