#58: Setting up Systems to Identify Inactive and Unengaged Subscribers

Feb 24, 2019 | Office Operations

Keeping with our theme this month of building and maintaining a clean email list, we’ve already covered a lot this month.

We also talked a lot about changing up your best practices so that you increase your chances of reaching the right people with your email marketing.

Today’s topic is setting up systems to identify inactive and unengaged subscribers and then I’ll show you how to remove them in Infusionsoft.

One thing to keep in mind is that we are never done building our list. We never get to a magic number and say, “Well, good thing that’s over with.” As long as we remain in business, we will need to build our list and that also means we need to keep it clean by pruning it or scrubbing it, whatever the term is. So it’s not a bad thing, it’s a business thing.

Many online marketers have a simple system in which once per month they check their email list and remove invalid emails, opt-outs, hard bounces, and then stop there. If that’s you and you still have underwhelming open rates and low sales, the problem may be inactive subscribers.

Simply put, inactive and unengaged subscribers are those accounts on your list that are valid but they aren’t opening your emails, they aren’t clicking on links in an email, they aren’t signing up via a web form.

There are two main reasons why you’d want to remove these accounts, 1) you are saving yourself from future spam complaints and 2), it looks bad to email providers if recipients don’t even want to read your emails.

I’m going to share a very simple system that anyone can apply to their business on how to identify inactive and unengaged subscribers and what you can do – you don’t just have to delete them!

This month’s theme of building and maintaining a clean email list covered how to handle dirty data, removing hard bounces and those who have opted out, and changing up your best practices so that you increase your chances of reaching the right people with your email marketing.

Today’s topic is setting up systems to identify inactive and unengaged subscribers and then I’ll show you how to remove them in Infusionsoft.

One thing to keep in mind is that we are never done building our list. We never get to a magic number and say, “Well good thing that’s over with.” As long as we remain in business, we will need to build our list and that also means we need to keep it clean by pruning it or scrubbing it, whatever the term is. So it’s not a bad thing, it’s a business thing.

Let’s dive in…

Many online marketers have a simple system in which once per month they check their email list and remove invalid emails, opt-outs, hard bounces, and then stop there. If that’s you and you still have underwhelming open rates and low sales, the problem may be inactive subscribers.

Simply put, inactive and unengaged subscribers are those accounts on your list that are valid but they aren’t opening your emails, they aren’t clicking on links in an email, they aren’t signing up via a web form. That’s how they describe an unengaged subscriber.

There are two main reasons why you’d want to remove these accounts, 1) you are saving yourself from future spam complaints, and 2, it looks bad to email providers if recipients don’t even want to read your emails. It’s a good thing to get these off your list.

I”m going to share a very simple system that anyone can apply to their business.

It starts with defining what an activity is to your business. This means different things to different businesses so think about activities that are the most important for you to reach your business goals.

Here are some examples:

  • Date of sign up or when they subscribed
  • Date of the last email read
  • Date of last purchase
  • Date of last visit to your website
  • Date of last download
  • Date of last conference or seminar attended

Second, define your thresholds for the activity or activiites you defined in Step 1.

For example, if you are an online marketer and you send out daily emails, you may want to define a threshold of “no engagement for the past three months” – this will be different for everyone, but here are some examples: 

Those with no engagement more than 6 months

That could be one segment that you want to handle differently. And then you can have another segment that you identify as those with no engagement more than 90 days but less than six months. Whatever your threshold is, you need to define that.

Next is to decide what action you are going to take.

Third, decide what you are going to do with these subscribers that you’ve identified. Here are some sample actions: Those with no engagement after six months, you can delete them, you can send a breakup email, scale back your mailings to them. And then those with no engagement more than 90 days but less than six months, you can put into a win-back or re-engagement campaign. There are different things you can do for different segments, it just depends on your business goals. 

The last step is to actually do the action. Most list managers will have some type of report that will let you input criteria and then once you do that you take the action. So I’m going to give you a demo of how to do this in Infusionsoft. 

[Demo]

To recap: define the activity, define the thresholds, decide the action you will take, and then finally, do the action.

The beautiful thing is that you’ll only need to document this system once for your SOP. 

Next month’s theme is how to keep your list happy, how to re-engage a dead list, and different re-engagement campaigns. See you next time.

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