I don’t normally advocate sending email for the sake of sending email. After all, email is not an objective in itself; driving your business forward is the objective. Email just happens to be a powerful engine. For that reason, there are occasions when it makes sense to send email for the sake of email, particularly if the emails are designed to strengthen your email program. Here are a few types of messages you might not be sending now, but could help strengthen your email program so that it drives your business even further and faster:
1. Winback Campaigns: You probably know what range your open rate hovers around. A more elusive metric is what percentage of your audience has tuned you out, and how many of those people who do not open are chronic offenders. Of all the ways to breathe new life into an email program, re-activating unresponsive subscribers has perhaps the greatest ROI. These are people who have already had a relationship with your brand, so selling them on your finer qualities is easier than convincing all new people that you’re worthy of their inboxes. Plus, you already know who they are and have permission to email them. You can find these people in the Reports tab of the Real Magnet interface. Choose the Opens reports and scroll down to “Not Opened in Last Number of Days” under Recipient Reports. The report lists all your subscribers who have received at least one message in the past month but have not opened any. A month isn’t quite enough time to start worrying, so you can change the date parameters and the number of opens. Start by expanding to a year, with a minimum number of at least 20 messages sent. What percentage of your total list does that return? If it’s a surprisingly large number, you’ve just found your winback campaign list. If it’s a small percentage, try decreasing the number of messages a few at a time to see if it dramatically changes the results. Once you’ve got your list, turn them into their own group using the “Create Group” icon. Then write a few messages to send over a 3 or 4 week period, each expressly indicating why you are contacting them. Use subject lines like, “Are We on the Outs with your Inbox?” or “Please let us know if we should Unsubscribe you.” Consider using an incentive to re-engage them, or at the very least use the opportunity to remind them of whatever it was that brought them to you in the first place, and how you still have or do that thing. Sending a few messages is a good idea since each one is likely to save a few more subscribers. Anyone who does not re-engage should stay on the Lost List. You don’t need to fully unsubscribe them, but it’s a good idea to remove them from regular mailings and just include them with the messages of greatest importance to your business.
2. Recommended Reading: Many organizations have several (even dozens) of different email newsletters and subscription options. Some people find their way onto all of them, while other subscribers are limited to just one or two. If your organization has email content that may appeal to a broader list than the one it is reaching, use an email message to promote it – and the opportunity to subscribe – to your other lists. The easiest way to do this is to point your subscribers to your Preferences Center if you have one, and recommend some subscriptions you think they’d find useful. If you don’t have a Preferences Center, you can use the email body to promote complementary newsletters, with a link to each one’s subscription page. For each one, be sure to tell your subscribers how often it mails and provide a sample message so that they know what they’re getting into. You’re not increasing the number of active subscribers with this tactic, but you are increasing the frequency with which you have their attention,which is just as good.
3. The Anniversary Thank You Note: Some organizations will send you a nice note on your birthday, but in order to do that you’d have to have already collected your subscribers’ birthdays. Instead, see if you can find some other anniversary. It may be as simple as when their company became members of your association, when they signed up for your newsletter, or when they made their first purchase or attended their first conference with you. As long as the occasion marks the beginning of your relationship, the Anniversary Thank You Note is appropriate. The purpose of the note is not to sell anything or drive traffic, but to reward or recognize. The business objective is to demonstrate that you’re paying attention, and that you are grateful for your subscribers’ attention for another year (which you are). If you elect to offer a thank you gift as well, make sure it’s an actual gift and not an incentive. A $5 Starbucks electronic gift certificate says “This is for you.” A $100 discount off your next conference says, “This is for me.”