that you send is no longer attractive to your target
HOW TO WAKE UP YOUR E-MAIL BASE AFTER THE CRISIS
It will be time to reconnect with your inactive contacts
As we said during our Actito #Workout 4 webinar presented together with Octelio, the number of inactive e-mail subscribers is often a lot. Sometimes, half the members of an e-mail base might not have opened or clicked on your e-mails for over six months. This inactivity was even more noticeable during the lockdown and while business activities were paused. Problems with deliverability, a decline in your commercial performances and an impact on your business means that inactive clients quickly become detrimental. However, let’s remember that scoring new address costs more than reactivating existing ones. Time to discover the secrets of successful reactivation.
FROM CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP MANAGEMENT TO CUSTOMER CARE MANAGEMENT
The health crisis means you have to adapt. Many players have had to stop their activities: the retail sector closed stores, while the travel sector saw many airports close down. As a result, e-mail communication plans have been diminished or even stopped.
However, marketers have refocused their messages to use a new approach that emphasizes a more contextualized content focused on customer care management.
At the start of lockdown, nearly 80% of messages sent was about ‘usual’ content and 20% was lockdown/Covid-related. Eventually the trend was inversed, and most of the content sent revolved around lockdown/Covid-related news.
Promotional e-mails that represented nearly 75% of usual messages gradually gave way to relational e-mails. As of 17 March, e-mails linked to transactions only accounted for 35% of all e-mails received.
Three communication phases have therefore been observed. The first was about informing and reassuring clients about the continuation of activity and under what new conditions: health measures, deferred deliveries, new click and collect systems, and so on. The second was about maintaining the client relationship by offering more editorial content and support on various everyday topics. We saw a boom in cooking courses, sport, DIY workshops, tips for taking care of children at home, etc. Lastly, the third phase emphasized support and solidarity initiatives: healthcare staff, frontline workers, etc.
Marketers have gone from classic customer relationship to customer care management in order to take care of their clients and put some meaning back at the heart of the relationship.
ISPS EVEN MORE VIGILANT
During lockdown we’ve seen the unexpected and exponential increase of full-base campaigns that saturated servers and networks. ISPs have had to manage this traffic peak as well as an increase in users.
For example, this was the case with children being schooled from home. Some professors and students had to create address on ISPs to be able to e-mail each other.
This sudden growth increased the vigilance of ISPs regarding compliance with good practices (in particular with restarting activities). Marketers need to make sure to:
Control the volume of their mailings
Gradually increase their volume
Avoid spam words
Limit the risks of complaints
To reactivate gradually, first target your active clients.
WHAT’S THE ACTIVITY AND RESPONSIVENESS OF YOUR BASE?
An inactive contact is a contact who has received your e-mails, but doesn’t click in them.
Four key figures (source: SNCD 2019) on e-mail activity:
78% of your subscribers have at least two e-mail addresses
88% check their inbox at least once a day
Five seconds is the average time taken to read an e-mail, which is short
A quarter of subscribers who aren’t interested in your newsletters still don’t unsubscribe.
All of this explains the significant number of inactive contacts that can be found in your database.
One would think that the bigger the e-mail base is, the better, but sadly that’s not true. It’s actually better to have a smaller base of better quality, with truly engaged contacts.
THE IMPACTS OF AN INACTIVE BASE ON YOUR DELIVERABILITY
Sending your campaigns to inactive contacts will have consequences for your deliverability. The more rigorous ISPs will sanction this practice and block your mailings. For example, Gmail and Hotmail base their filter on users’ behavior and their responsiveness.
The more your e-mails will be opened, clicked on and answered, the better your reputation will be. Conversely, if they’re never opened (or deleted without being opening), this means that your messages don’t seem to interest your recipients. If you don’t weed out your inactive contacts, you risk sending to e-mail addresses that no longer exist or that are invalid, causing hard bounces.
There could be spam trap e-mail addresses in your active contacts. Webmail companies create them to detect senders with many inactive contacts.
Therefore, it’s a good thing to:
- Target your most active clients.
- Send them relevant messages, matching their expectations to be sure to always land in their inbox.
When you reactivate inactive contacts, do it gradually in order to spread the risks. For example, if you send a campaign to inactive contacts, send a campaign to your active contacts at the same time. We suggest 5% of inactive contacts for 95% of active contacts. A webmail company will also pay less attention to your contact strategy of inactive contacts. You can also dedicate an IP (and a sending domain) for these risky communications in order to preserve the reputation of your usual marketing mailings.
WHY IS YOUR BASE INACTIVE?
Since there are many reasons why your base is inactive, we’ve listed a few of them here below. And of course the health crisis has also had an impact on inactivity. Pausing the sending of your newsletters has naturally created the inactivity of your base. The challenge will be to identify your inactive contacts in order better reactivate them.
that you send is no longer attractive to your target
THE NEEDS OF YOUR SUBSCRIBERS
have changed. This reassessment can also be more obvious when consumer habits have changed.
doesn’t correspond to your subscribers’ expectations
THE E-MAIL ADDRESSES
of your subscribers are not valid or no longer valid
your e-mails are considered spam.
IDENTIFY YOUR INACTIVE CONTACTS, REQUALIFY YOUR BASE
Identifying your inactive contacts allows you to target them properly. Identify your inactive contacts using several criteria:
Are there predominant recruitment sources among your inactive contacts
Differentiate clients from potential clients
Do they have a particular seniority? For example, is there a number of median days before the inactivity?
Have you observed a change in responsiveness to your mailings?
What is their purchase history? Do they have a behavior towards a loyalty program?
Do they browse your website in a specific way?
Asking yourself these questions will help you draw up a typology of your inactive contacts.
Feel free to also clean up your inactive contact base. There are several ways of continuously updating your data:
The Estocade treatment: detecting and eliminating people who have moved
The Charade treatment: finding the new addresses of people who have moved (client file only)
RNVP processing: restructuration, normalization and postal validation
Curative treatment: clean up your base by checking syntax, domain name, user name, spam traps, e-mails that can be deleted, full inboxes, etc.
Preventive treatment: check e-mails in real time
These treatments are even more relevant today since the health crisis caused natural inactivity.
Once you’ve taken this step, requalify your contacts. Carry out a data append (to cross-reference your inactive contact base with provider megabases). This will allow you to identify within your inactive contacts those that have an activity elsewhere (with other advertisers, on other bases) and requalify them with another e-mail address (or test message or other data), for example.
ADAPT YOUR REACTIVATION STRATEGIES TO YOUR SEGMENTS
According to the segments of inactive contacts you will create, adopt different strategies. In your e-mail base, differentiate openers from non-openers.
Among the openers, separate buyers from non-buyers. When they’re non-buyers, identify those that click/browse from the others.
If they are clicks and navigation without purchases, you could have transformation problems with your landing pages that you could optimize. If you don’t have any clicks, then it’s probably the content of your e-mails that no longer interests your subscribers.
Among the non-openers, differentiate inactive contacts from active ones.
If your non-openers are active on other channels, this could mean that e-mail is not their preferred channel. Therefore, resend your communications on other channels. If your non-openers browse on your site, you can set up a reactivationtrigger such as ‘after your visit…’, which will have the best possible odds of working. For all your non-opening inactive contacts, the idea is to implement a re-engagement strategy.
In a re-engagement strategy, timing is everything: identify beforehand the right moments to act according to the key steps of the client’s lifecycle. Put aside the traditional methods and get creative: go for punchy and cheeky e-mails that speak to them directly, questioning them, with verbs and expressions linked to attachment: ‘Where are you?’; ‘We’ve been looking for you’, etc.
AND IN PRACTICE USING ACTITO?
Reactivation scenarios of inactive contacts can be implemented in Actito. Prior to do so, define a start for this scenario that will be done based on segmentation.
Beforehand, you will have segmented your base according to the inactivity typology of your contacts (clickers, buyers, etc.). According to your reactivation strategy, you can specify the amount of times you carry out your scenario.
From there, you can start your first reactivation message:
If the recipient has been able to receive the e-mail, you can add a waiting condition (i.e. four weeks) to find out if the person has clicked in the e-mail. If the person opens the e-mail, your inactive contact will then be reactivated and you can get out of your loop. Otherwise, you can compare this e-mail inactivity to website inactivity.
If your inactive contact visits your site, this means they’re interested in your brand, but e-mail is clearly not adapted to their preferences => in this case, you can send them a text message, for example.
If your inactive contact doesn’t visit your site, you can differentiate inactive potential clients from inactive clients in order to send a new reactivation campaign like ‘we miss you’ (client) or ‘still undecided?’ (potential client)