By this point you’ve likely read article after article about why you should be creating a welcome series. A quick search returned over 10 articles from this year alone. If you haven’t already set one up, go do that now, I’ll wait.
See, that wasn’t so bad was it?
Now we’ve seen a lot of nonprofits set up a welcome series, but very few go beyond that. Last year, my colleague Michelle Shefter wrote about the six most important email series for nonprofits. The second email series mentioned was the re-engagement series. This is a vital series for your organization and is as important as the welcome series.
A re-engagement series is a way for you to reach back out to your supporters who have gone silent for the past six months. If they haven’t opened or clicked on any emails during that time, they are considered inactive and could be negatively impacting your email deliverability.
In the 2016 Nonprofit Email Deliverability Study, we found that spam complaints cost organizations 7.56% in fundraising revenue in 2015 alone. Let that sink in for a moment…
By re-engaging your inactive supporters, you are increasing the likelihood they take action, or at the very least, you know who not to email anymore. There could be a lot of reasons they aren’t opening your email, but all of them will have a negative effect on your email program.
They changed their email address
If it has been inactive for too long, it can become a spam trap. If you continue to send to them, the email service providers will see this and downgrade your deliverability score.
You're sending irrelevant content
There may have been a reason they signed up with you, but they aren’t finding value in your content now. Much like in life, you always want to be improving - find out what it is your subscribers want from you.
They want to unsubscribe
This is a hard one for some folks. Some people just aren’t that into you. They have made up their mind and you won’t win them back.
Each time you email them, you lose them a little more, and it hurts your overall email program. The problem could be that they can’t find your unsubscribe link.
You assumed they wanted to be on your list
The individual may have engaged with your organization through an action, event, or donation, but never opted in to receive email in the first place.
They’re getting information elsewhere
If you post similar material to social media as you do in your email, individuals may have tuned out from email by tuning in to other ways of communication.
It wasn’t the right address to begin with
Email mistypes happen. Was it even the correct email address to begin with? If you’re not confirming your opt-ins, this is likely happening.
So What Should I do?
Just because subscribers haven’t been opening your email doesn’t mean you can’t win them back. Set up an email series to try and engage them!
Send it out to anyone who hasn’t opened your email in the last six months and make sure to focus on the following areas:
Have a catchy subject line
Try and have a subject line that is different from what you normally send. Your other ones weren’t working so it’s time to get creative.
Make the ask
Have a clear, simple action for subscribers to perform. Don’t make them jump through hoops. The goal here is to get them to engage with you first and, once they've done that, you can work on moving them up the ladder of engagement.
Learn what they care about
Just ask your supporters what they care about - you may not get a lot of responses, but the ones you get could be fulfilling and have a positive impact on your email program.
Let them go
Make it easy for people to unsubscribe. It’s not helping you to keep them on your subscriber list if they still aren’t interacting with your organization. If they aren’t opening your email to even unsubscribe, make sure you filter them out of your future emails.
Increasing the deliverability of your emails - and ensuring that those who want to receive your email actually receive it - is the key outcome of this. Once you've determined the subscribers that still aren’t engaging, make sure you are segmenting them out of all future emails.
The series isn’t difficult to set up using EveryAction’s Targeted Email tool, especially if you already have a welcome series to base it on. Once it’s active, you should be tracking the rate of active users and deliverability rate over time to ensure they are steadily improving.
You may be emailing fewer subscribers, but you'll be making sure that everyone who is interested in engaging with your organization gets your full attention.