Will You Stay Or Will You Go Now? How to Successfully Run a Make-Up or Break-Up Campaign

Kristen Morales, Director of Marketing Services

Ideally, your company is doing an amazing job of keeping subscribers engaged through smart lifecycle triggers, segmentation, informational content and other kinds of interactions beyond basic promotion after promotion.

And ideally, you are even making special efforts to engage those who have somehow fallen quiet…perhaps through lowered send frequency, exclusive win-back offers and more.

Inevitably, however, some percentage of your list will not come back to life. And over time you will need to remove this dead weight from your list, especially as ISPs factor engagement more heavily when determining inbox placement. (PS – You’ll also save some marketing dollars and get better visibility into your testing as a result of cleaning your list.)

Before we say sayonara to these silent subscribers, we can try one last time to gain their attention and give them the option to stay on the list, should they be interested. We shouldn’t expect a ton of response on this campaign, as these are the contacts that are MIA and their modus operandi is to do nothing. However, the effort isn’t that substantial and we can use the creative repeatedly in the future to target new inactives.

Here are my recommendations for successfully running a "make up or break up" campaign:

Segment Inactives

Keeping seasonality and purchasing patterns for your business in mind, segment out the contacts who have not opened or clicked on your messages in a significant period of time. If you want to be somewhat conservative (and buying cycles are typically shorter than this timeframe), you can choose to isolate out those who haven’t interacted in more than one year. Highly consider bouncing this list against purchasers in this timeframe (potentially active in other channels) and excluding those buyers from this campaign.

Develop the Creative and send a 2-Part Series

  1. Email #1 should include a bold, straightforward call-to-action in the subject line to get noticed by those that ignore you most. When you say good bye, subscribers listen! Suggestions for subject lines include:

    • Want to keep hearing from COMPANYX? Take action now.
    • Please confirm your interest in COMPANYX special offers.
    • Is it time to say good-bye to COMPANYX?
    • Act now to keep hearing from COMPANYX
  2. In the email body, be clear and concise. Tell them that you are cleaning your list and need them to click through a specific link to re-confirm interest. (You’ll need a thank you landing page set up on your site).
  3. Make sure to use a very clear, bolded, colorful call-to-action link – or a bulletproof button – to stay on the list.
  4. Offer the opportunity to unsubscribe within the body of the email.
  5. Let them know that if they do nothing by a certain date, they will be removed from your list.
  6. Tell them how to get back on the list if they miss the deadline (usually linking directly to a sign-up form).
  7. Consider reiterating the benefits of staying on the list. Some companies even offer a special incentive once you’ve clicked through, though you run the risk of them re-engaging just for that offer and then falling back off the wagon.
  8. Send Email #2 to non-responders a few days before the deadline reiterating that this is their “last chance” to remain on the list.

See this example from Bronto client, Roland:

Roland Make Up or Break Up

Here is sample text you can consider using:

We’ve noticed that you haven’t opened any emails from us in the last few months. We’d hate to think we’re cluttering up your inbox.

Please let us know how you’d like us to proceed by XX/XX/2011:

Yes, please continue sending me exclusive special promotions from COMPANYX. (linking to thank you landing page)

No, take me off your list. (link with unsubscribe special tag)

If we do not hear from you by XX/XX/2011, we will automatically remove you from our list. You are always welcome back anytime by signing up again. (link "signing up again" to your sign-up page)

Thank you!

Inactivate Non-responders

Unsubscribe those recipients who didn’t click on the confirmation link. Remember, an email list made up of those that want to hear from you, engage with your messages and are likely to buy is the end goal. Have you seen any particular stand-out "make up or break up" campaigns?

Kristen Gregory
Manager of Strategic Services at Bronto