What have your email lists done for you lately? If the answer is “not much” or “not enough,” it could be time for a reactivation campaign.

 Your email lists are like a vegetable garden.

Hear us out. You have the tried and true producers—healthy lists that produce a steady harvest (i.e., revenue). Then, there are lists that you aren’t so sure about; roots and shoots that could be robust plants or weeds that need pulling. You just don’t know because it’s been so long since they’ve yielded anything valuable.

If you find yourself in that position, it could be a prime time to deploy an email reactivation campaign.

What is an email reactivation campaign?

Reactivation campaigns are a great way to farm hidden revenue from your email marketing lists. These campaigns are designed to weed out your list’s deadweight while cultivating profit from list names that have been dormant for a defined period of time.

It’s important to note that these are one-time sends. Reactivation campaigns are a series of strategic emails that take a slightly different tactic to facilitate action from the recipient.

Some of our clients, for example, may send an email at 6 months inactive, another one at 9 months, another at 12 months, and a final email at 12 months + 2 weeks. Along the way, messaging–especially in subject lines–can shift in tone to increase in urgency during the campaign. The last 2 emails in the series typically contains an attractive offer. Names that are still inactive get moved to another list to be addressed with monthly emails that may squeeze out additional sales.   

—Cody Blair, Manager, Account Strategy

If you’re building and marketing to a list, reactivation should be a critical tool in your email marketing strategy.  

How do reactivation campaigns increase email performance?

Ultimately, a reactivation campaign reduces your list size by weeding out those who are uninterested in sticking around. It seems counter-intuitive to say that reducing your list size will actually increase the results you get from your list.

But that’s exactly what these campaigns do. Reactivation strategies influence performance in four primary areas:

  • Increase email deliverability. When it comes to email, the best way to improve performance is to improve its chances of being delivered. Like so many things digital, email is a numbers game. Each email domain (i.e., Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook) has its own algorithms that judge the relevance of each email that comes to the inboxes of your customers. When the universe of names you’re mailing becomes smaller, each name represents a larger percentage within the total number mailed. Email domains register the higher significance of the emails, then deliver them efficiently. In some cases, increasing deliverability may even keep domains from sending to SPAM or other low-priority delivery folders.
  • Reduce customer acquisition costs. Reactivating a customer costs a fraction of a penny, versus the cost of acquiring a new customer. That means you’ll be ahead in the profit game with each dollar they spend.
  • Get dormant customers to “raise their hands”. Customers may be dormant because they haven’t seen the right message yet. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to keep hearing from you. These new email touchpoints open the door to get new messages in front of customers. Think: new promotions and offers on merchandise you’re trying to move.
  • Clean up your list. Smaller lists cost less to mail. The larger your list, the more potential you’ll have for savings.

Email reactivation campaigns generate business growth

Cutting down your lists, even drastically, leaves you with a more profitable collection of names.

Here’s an example: in planning for a recent reactivation campaign, analytics showed just 70K active users on a client’s email list of 1M names. Seems like a small percentage, but those who reactivated were highly profitable, with a lifetime value nearly 10% higher than customers who’d gone inactive.

—Cody Blair, Manager, Account Strategy

Less sophisticated companies build email lists that are effective once, then get lulled into “set-it-and-forget-it” thinking. The truth is, even the most successful lists need constant cultivation to keep growing.

An email reactivation campaign could be just what you need to keep your sales flourishing.