Handling Unresponsive Subscribers

Deliverability experts ReturnPath have just published an interesting report about marketing to non-responsive subscribers. This is an area I often talk about in my talks – it’s not just what your subscribers DO it’s very much what they DON’T do as well.

Deliverability experts ReturnPath have just published an interesting report about marketing to non-responsive subscribers. his is an area I often talk about in my talks – it’s not just what your subscribers DO it’s very much what they DON’T do as well.
The 19-month study looked how marketers are handling the re-engagement of subscribers who have been unresponsive. The general trend? Marketers continued to send emails at a steady, high frequency pace for the entire period. This was to all subscribers, responsive or not (eg no opens, no clicks, no purchases).

The Return Path report. gives a lot of good recommendations for setting the correct cadence for mailings to manage unengaged subscribers. Here are a few of the main takeaways:

  • At sign up give subscribers up the opportunity to select the frequency (I suggest you also offer the ability to decrease frequency at any time – including at the point of the unsubscribe link.)
  • It is quite possible that the longer you email unresponsive subscribers – especially without having a win-back programme plan in place – the higher your chance of being reported as spam (the annoyance factor). The more you are reported as spam the bigger the chance your overall delivery rate will suffer.
  • With that in mind: Put business rules in place to set a benchmark for unresponsiveness and have a programme to win-back. This should include a general re-permissioning policy for the life of every subscriber.
  • Suggestions for re-engagement: re-permission, survey or provide a special offer incentive. At the very least segment out the unresponsive in your list and do at least one thing differently with them, such as a different subject line)