by Jeanette LeBlanc
You don’t have to go far to find some of your very best leads. In fact, they are right in front of you. They’ve consumed your content, they’ve signed up for your list, and they follow you on social media. Why aren’t they buying? The reasons they are lollygagging around your funnel without making a purchase quite likely fall into one of these categories:
- You haven’t asked them to buy or provided a clear call to action in each of your messages
- You haven’t asked them to buy in the way that they want to be asked, or via the channel they are most receptive to being asked
- You’re trying to sell them the wrong thing
- You’ve contacted them so infrequently that they’ve forgotten about you
- You’ve contacted them so frequently that they’ve begun to ignore your messaging
- Your emails were not relevant or targeted enough to create true engagement
It turns out getting someone on your list is only half the battle; the real challenge is in keeping them engaged over the long term. Many small business owners lose a significant part of their list each year to this very struggle, which hurts engagement rates and increases the danger of a spam report.
If your leads are disengaged, you need a re-engagement campaign to rekindle the flame.
From time sensitive offers to long-term anniversary follow ups, there are many options that may work to re-engage your list. For inspiration, check out this Slideshare of examples from Trendline Interactive, an email marketing consultancy.
Brainstorm personalized ways that you can reconnect with those less than enthused prospects and win them back into your good graces with an engagement campaign that connects with your leads.
Litmus, an email building and design tool, lays out a quick three-step system for reengagement:
- Determine whom you will re-engage. Is your campaign going to be aimed at people who haven’t opened your last five campaigns, or who haven’t engaged with your content by clicking through to your site in the past four months? Define the subset of your list that you’re working to reengage to make sure your campaign is on track.
- Create your reengagement campaign. Design one that you believe will best resonate with your target segment. Be ready to make changes as you begin to get results, or consider split testing two campaigns. A quick Google Image search for the term "re-engagement campaign" turns up a ton of inspiring examples.
- Be ready to say farewell to permanently inactive subscribers. It’s never easy to purposely make your email list smaller, but if these subscribers were not won over by your re-engagement campaign, keeping them on your list is only hurting you by lowering your engagement rates and making you vulnerable to spam complaints.
And when your deliverability decreases now, it impacts your deliverability later. Even if a recipient engages with your emails, their spam filter might see that your emails are going to a lot of other spam filters and lump your email into even more spam filters. That means the people who want to see your content are less likely to see it. So bite the bullet and cull out those inactive subscribers.
Of course, the primary goal is to minimize inactive subscribers in the first place.
Here are five ways to keep your list active and engaged:
1. Set your target correctly
A huge part of keeping your list active and engaged is attracting the right people to sign up in the first place. Have you done the background work of getting down to the nitty-gritty of understanding your target customer? Who are they? What do they need most? What do they fear? Where they spend their time? An in-depth understanding of your ideal audience will help you create the content and products that they desire and that will keep them coming back for more.
2. Set correct expectations
When a lead opts into your list, are you letting them know what content you’ll be sharing and how often you’ll be sharing it? If a lead chooses to download your amazing lead magnet and suddenly starts receiving twice weekly blog posts and sales emails, you may end up ignored, or even worse, reported as spam. Be sure your opt-in is specific and reiterate the information via your thank you page and/or your welcome email.
3. Segment and target
Not everyone on your list is exactly the same, and the same content will not resonate with everyone equally. Your target market may have easily recognizable groups (often called buyer personas) that have different needs and requirements. Once you fully understand your target customer, use your campaign metrics and audience demographics (gender, time zone, etc.) to segment your list even more. Use this segmentation to send highly relevant emails that drive engagement and conversion.
4. Create an email preference center
An email preference center allows the people on your list to specifically choose what content and how often they would like to hear from you. A cold lead may be getting an incorrectly targeted email at the wrong frequency. Put your list in the driver’s seat by allowing them to choose exactly what they want to receive from you, and segment your list accordingly. This can result in a much more engaged list.
5. Ask them what they want
Create a periodic survey of your list to find out how they feel about your content and delivery schedule. Ask them what they need more of and how you can be of service. Let them know that you care what they want—and then make sure to deliver it.