Smart Email Marketers Win the Waiting Game
Some marketers are (way) better than others at holding on to the customer relationships they work so hard to build. In email, the difference is often knowing when to give up on unengaged subscribers and when not to. Win-back campaigns — i.e., efforts to re-engage lapsed or inactive subscribers — are used by many marketers, but few excel at getting the timing right. Those who don't understand their re-engagement window are probably dropping valuable customers.
Return Path recently conducted a research study of the effectiveness of win-back campaigns, and the results were surprising: most marketers were cutting off engaged customers too early, ending relationships and missing out on potential revenue.
The risk of waiting
Being too slow to remove inactive subscribers carries its own risk. Mailbox providers like Outlook and Gmail are increasingly reliant on subscriber engagement to signal whether people want commercial messages. Marketers that send to inactive accounts, or to users who never, ever open their messages risk their mail being delivered as junk or spam. Continuing to send on the hope that long-dormant subscribers will someday re-engage can jeopardize overall inbox placement, potentially interrupting valuable relationships with active subscribers.
3 types of mailers
For win-back campaigns, there's a steep price that comes with not knowing your typical response window. Below are examples of three mailers with different response patterns, showing the range where each can maximize win-back performance.
Mailer A typically sees a short response window. As with other campaigns, about 80 percent of its re-engagement potential converts within 48 hours of a win-back campaign. Another 7 percent to 8 percent re-engage within a week, but responses start to trickle in after that. Mailer A can safely remove nonresponders earlier than most.
Mailer B has a longer response window, usually seeing 68 percent of potential conversion within 48 hours, and then another 15 percent by the seventh day after mailing. Mailer B can wait longer before removing inactives after that because response trails off more slowly.