One of the largest assets of an ecommerce company is its email subscriber file. In that database is likely a mix of past and current customers, brand advocates, and prospects.
An email-marketing program is only as good as the quality of the list. In this post, I’ll review four tips to re-engage dormant subscribers and to sign up new ones.
Review Hard and Soft Bounces
When a campaign is deployed, some of the emails are not delivered, due to hard and soft bounces. Soft bounces are usually temporary, such as a full inbox or a server not responding. Hard bounces typically result from an incorrect email address. An email service provider or delivery system will likely attempt soft bounces a few times before considering them a hard bounce, to automatically remove the email address from your list.
Regardless, gather your soft and hard bounces every six months or so and try to re-verify them, to see if any are active. In my experience, a small percentage of them can become valuable subscribers. Third-party providers, such as BriteVerify, offer verification services.
Revisit Lapsed Subscribers
Similar to reviewing bounces, keep track of lapsed email subscribers, those that have not purchased in a long time. Although you may not be emailing to this group frequently, it is worth sending them a strong campaign at infrequent intervals, to try to reengage. If they open or click an email or otherwise purchase from you, bring them back for regular deployments.
Solicit New Subscribers
Email lists typically churn at approximately 20 percent per year. That is, roughly 20 percent of subscribers will unsubscribe every year. Without adding email addresses, your list will quickly deteriorate. Making it easy for new site visitors to subscribe to your emails is crucial. Here are easy-to-implement ways, in my experience, to gain new subscribers.
- Include an email signup box on every page of your site. Make sure it is functioning correctly, especially on mobile devices.
- Offer something of value to new subscribers. This could be a discount, ebook, or free gift.
- Use popups. Popups work. Use them sparingly, however, and make sure they are correctly timed, so that they aren’t overly annoying.
- Add new customers to your list. Tell new customers — those that purchase your products and services — that they will receive emails from your company. Offer subscription options at checkout.
For New Signups, Get Creative
Consider other channels for new email subscribers. If your site receives traffic from social media sites, for example, those visitors are likely not email subscribers. Add a subscription form on the social media site, or link to a form. Offering incentives based on where traffic comes from may help to boost email signups. Here are other, less-common ideas.
- Solicit commenters and reviewers. If someone is already providing feedback, he will likely make a good email subscriber. Build a subscribe option into the form for comments or reviews.
- Use contests. Contests are a good way to quickly obtan many new subscribers.
- Use co-registration with complementary websites. Similar to package-insert programs for direct mail, if your products correlate (but don’t compete) with another site, consider offering registration to both email programs, on both sites.