Re-engagement Takes Patience, Persistence and Pain Remedies

Share |

How do you re-engage customers, subscribers or members who have drifted off?

SHAPE America, the largest U.S. association of health and physical education professionals, tried a Pay What You Want (PWYW) strategy to long-lapsed members of four years or more. "These were people who were already prospects," said Matt Rankin, senior membership manager. "While we were completely underwhelmed by the amount of dues it generated, we think there's tons of long-term value. We'll know in six to eight months if they bought a book, went to an event, or participated in an advocacy effort."

"The results were favorable," wrote Tim Ebner in Associations Now, "even for current, dues-paying members. Rankin tested pay-what-you-can with a few renewals, and many members maintained the dues they were paying previously. 'It wasn't a race to the bottom.' he said."

At our Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS), Nov. 13-15, Melissa Johnson, manager, marketing automation strategy for Penton, will present a session titled Re-Engagement Campaigns: How to Reconnect with Current Customers and Reactivate Your Next One. This alone might pay for your cost of admission.

Here are some re-engagement ideas I've come across lately:

Send inactive subscribers a special promo code or coupon, along with a message letting them know that it's been a while since they visited your site. Highlight a few things that have been updated since they last visited to draw them back.

Ask past subscribers to complete a poll, survey or fun quiz. (Have a button to click where they can see the results of the poll so far - and an offer.) If you ask the right questions, poll results can tell you what your inactive subscribers are interested in, and you can use this information to target them with additional campaigns and calls-to-action.

Offer a specific discount amount; this has been shown to be twice as effective as offering a percentage discount.

Send a plain text email from a customer support representative, as a "check-in."

Don't delete your lapsed subscribers if you don't get an immediate response. Studies show that only about 24% of those lapsed subscribers will open your initial re-engagement email, but 45% will read subsequent ones. One study showed that it was 57 days from when the subscribers got the win back email before they acted. So plan for a multi-touch re-engagement campaign over several weeks.

Be direct. While nostalgia (remember when you were active with us?), guilt (wouldn't your work life be easier if you were back with us?) and humor (we've noticed you've been a little distant lately) have brought some success, studies show that open rates increase with stronger language asking for their return.

The last four are from a post on the Impact Branding & Design site.

Suggest alternatives. This ad appeared from Habitat: "Love Habitat? We noticed you're not loving our emails so why not like us on Facebook instead? We'll keep you up to date with our latest collection, exclusive offers, and design events with one quick click."

Highlight your changes. StruckAxiom wrote this to lapsed fans: "We missed you. So we built a new website to show how much we care. Really. We did." A big headline dominated their site: New us > Old us

Be substantive. One company quietly mentions that "we haven't seen you for a while" but quickly moves on to show how to do what they do best - track activities. "Now it's up to you to get moving!"

Finally, feel their pain and offer a remedy. From Chain Reaction Cycles: "Need a little reminder on what we have to offer? We could think of 99 reasons why you should receive our weekly emails, but you're probably pushed for time, so here are our top five, and if that's not enough to sweeten the deal, scroll down for a very special offer just for you!"

Let's hope that offer is a specific amount and not a percentage.

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
If not, you're missing out on daily strategies, tips, profiles and case studies that can build your audience and increase revenue. To sign up, please contact Nevena Jovanovic.

Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…