The best way to analyze your e-mail is by breaking your subscriber file into two segments: type and source. Type consists of repeat customers (including new subscribers), offline customers (such as inactives) and leads; source includes site sign-ups, contest registrants, co-registration programs, appended names and so on. Segmenting such a comprehensive list may take time, but it will pay big benefits and you’ll identify the most productive groups, says Reggie Brady, president of Reggie Brady Marketing Solutions, an e-mail and direct mail marketing consultancy. Along with Luc Vezina, director of strategy and product management at GOT Corp., and Brent Laderoute, director of advertising at West49, Brady participated in Target Marketing’s February webinar,“E-Mail Marketing 2.0: Segmentation strategies that revolutionize ROI,”which provided the material for this article.
Among the most productive groups are new subscribers, for within the first 30 days they are much more likely to interact than at any other time period during their membership, according to a survey conducted by e-mail marketing company Informz. For example, Informz discovered in its survey that open rates neared 60 percent during the first month, but crashed to below 40 percent during the third month. As a result, Brady strongly recommends that you adopt a “welcome” series to capitalize on this heightened (at least in the beginning) interest.
To break down the inactives, examine the four- to six-month timeframe for non-clickers. According to Informz, average inactive rates are in the 30 percent to 50 percent range. Brady explains that some subscribers may not see your e-mails because they’re being blocked or filtered; others may not see your e-mails because they’re stuck in the bulk folder; and the rest are simply, and literally, inactive.
To reactivate those who are inactive because they seemingly want to remain inactive, you need to put a firm strategy in place. Drugstore.com, for example, sends a link to a Web page that doesn’t mince words: “We want you back. And to prove it, we’re giving you $5 off any order of $30 or more.” To further encourage reactivation, it also gives an expiration date for its offer. Meanwhile, the small-car company Mini designed a strategy that jibes with its eclectic clientele—a Web page shows a couple asleep in their Mini and a tag line underneath states, “Are we boring you?” It follows this with a jocular invitation to either check out the “new stuff” on its Web site or update their customer profile to indicate they’re no longer interested in receiving e-mails from Mini. “It’s OK. Technically speaking, we’re adults. We won’t be offended.” This approach alone may be enough to connect with inactives and spur them to rejoin.