7 Steps to Make Customer Re-engagement a Whole Lot Easier

Our Product Manager, Stoo Gill, explains how using another small feature addition from the dotMailer platform, you could add a helluva punch to your email marketing program. Introducing ‘Last Open Date’ to our automation suite.

You know it’s important to target customers at the right point in their customer life cycle; and chances are you’ve already sorted out your welcome campaign for new subscribers; so what’s next?

Well, that depends on your business — what changes to your email program are going to drive the most return on investment? Here’s an easy one, which doesn’t take up much planning time: a simple re-engagement program where you trigger an email to subscribers who might not have opened your emails for a while – say, 30 days – using a new addition to our trigger suite, ‘Last Opened Date’.

Deliver quickly; iterate

You could spend a whole bunch of time planning a massive re-engagement program, but my mantra follows that of the agile methodology:

  • Get something working quickly
  • Fail / succeed early
  • Learn and improve your marketing from there

This allows you to get an early return on investment, and not only develop good marketing, but also become a better marketer by learning what does and doesn’t work, and adapting to it.

Making a basic re-engagement program

From that point of view; here’s an example built using our program builder.

  1. Create a start rule such as “Start 90 days after Last opened date
  2. Use a decision rule to filter out any contacts you don’t want to receive any mailings from the program
  3. Send the first re-engagement message
  4. The program should then wait a few days
  5. Automatically send a followup re-engagement message to anyone who didn’t engage with the first one

And if you want to add further steps, as many of the following on repeat as you see fit:

  1. Wait a few more days
  2. Send a further message to anyone who hasn’t engaged with any of the messages so far
Screenshot of re-engagement program built with dotMailer

Sample reactivation program built with the dotMailer program builder

And as for the content? Well, I’ll leave that to the creative team. I will say, though, that for these messages the subject line is key — if they’re not opening your emails then a well crafted subject line is going to be key in re‑engaging them. This will typically play on:

  • Guilt — This would include something along the lines of “We miss you!” or “Was it something we said?” and works particularly well if you have a personable B2C or charity brand;
  • Fear of missing out (or as they say these days #FOMO) — You could be quite blunt and tell them “We’re going to stop emailing you” in the subject line, the fear of missing out on potential content and offers may re‑engage some contacts;
  • Urgency — Perhaps combined with FOMO such as “Reconfirm you subscription by 30 April”;
  • Or failing the above, a good old incentive — a special offer they just can’t refuse; perhaps combined again with urgency “Act now to get 60% off”

Where to from there?

We said we would start simple and move on from there, so what’s next? Well, that depends on you. You can move on to other areas of automation, or improve this one. Whatever you do, look at the data and learn whether or not what you’ve done is working. Suggested next moves for your next iteration:

  • Segmentation —  Send more targeted re-engagement to different segments of your mailing list.
  • Data integration — When all is said and done, “Last Open Date” isn’t the greatest indication of customer value; be sure to consider other engagement factors such as their purchase history in your automation program, and trigger from something that works for you.
  • More personalised engagement — Rather than a blanket send time, try tailoring the send time to your contacts by using a dotMailer extension such as the one built by AudiencePoint. You can use intelligent timed sending to send emails when your contacts are ready to receive them.
  • Preference centres — When your contacts do open your re-engagement campaigns, be sure to give them a decent choice of what to do next. Do your preference centres give your contacts the chance to subscribe to content that is relevant and timely to them?
  • Multi-channel marketing — If your contacts aren’t engaging with you by email, it doesn’t mean they’re lost – let them know via social and other channels to look out for promotions in their inbox.
  • Do something with your nonengagers — Now you could consider unsubscribing them completely, but a non-opener won’t necessarily stay that way. Long unengaged contacts can become re-engaged due to circumstances totally outside of your control such as the weather; in the UK we’ve seen when there’s heavy snow and people end up working from home, email open rates rocket. An unopened email in their inbox is still an impression of your brand messaging to the customer, and it may be cheaper to win them back than to find a new one.
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