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Four Ways to Handle Inactive Subscribers

December 8, 2010  

Every email list is going to have subscribers who sign up and then apparently vanish. "They may have opted in to a specific offer, then disengaged once they obtained the coupon, free content or other benefit you promised," writes Karen Talavera at MarketingProfs. "Or they joined your list while in the market for your product or service but soon afterward their needs were met and they never bothered to unsubscribe."

Inactive subscribers frustrate marketers because we don't know what went wrong. Reasons they ignore us include realizing our product or service isn't a good fit, waiting patiently for more relevant content, or fuming over bad customer service. In other words, it could be just about anything.

So, how can you deal effectively with inactives? Talavera offers this four-step strategy:


Conduct a reactivation campaign. Create an agreed-upon definition for "inactive" and reach out to that segment with special incentives for opting into your list once again, confirming permission or providing expanded information.

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  • by Bill Kaplan Wed Dec 8, 2010 via web

    Inactive customers might just be the most misunderstood and neglected segment of your customer database. Given that most inactive customers are the result of improper email address registration practices or annual email address churn rates of ~30% per year, it's not safe to assume that these customers aren't interested in a relationship anymore. It's simply that you've been leaving messages at email boxes people no longer read.

    Accordingly, the excellent re-engagement tips listed in your article will be of no value if no one's reading these emails. The key, therefore, is to update your inactive email addresses with the current preferred email addresses of your customers, which can be done easily and cost-effectively through an ECOA (Email Change of Address) service.

    For some additional ideas on when to drop inactives from your file and how best to re-engage them, check out the following article, which features additional industry experts, including Jeanniey Mullen (Global EVP of Zinio), Loren McDonald (VP of Silverpop), and Chip House (VP of ExactTarget): http://biz.freshaddress.com/August2010_Partner_Insights.aspx

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