How to Wake Up Inactive Users with Email Automation


How do you use email automation to encourage your inactive users to become active again? It’s pretty easy – and I outlined the steps for you.

Step 1: Pick your email automation platform

The platform you pick will impact how you build or tag your email list for this campaign. I prefer Mailchimp for easy, basic automations, but there are plenty of tools out there, and your company might already have one in place. 

Step 2: Build your list

Your app or platform or service is fantastic, but some of your users have grown quiet. Define the time range for an inactive user. More than one month? More than six months? And on the other side, up to two years? All you need is their email address and possibly their first name if you want to personalize the emails. That said, make sure that you have permission to send them emails. Only email people who have expressly given permission either by opting-in to receive information from you or have agreed to terms and conditions that included receiving information. 

Step 3: Draft the campaign

So what do you have to offer these inactive users to get them to come back? What is better about your product than before? Did you improve a key feature since they were last active? Introduce a new feature? Do you have a compelling case study? Maybe you have a particularly interesting blog post to share? Build a series of 4-5 emails with fresh information. They can be short and straightforward. No need for a lot of marketing blah-blah. After all, you won them once. Now it’s time to look them in the eye and tell them in plain language an excellent reason to come back.

Step 4: Create the campaign

If you are in Mailchimp, simply click CREATE -> EMAIL -> AUTOMATIONS and you are there. For a wake-up campaign, choose the “email your tagged contacts” option for the initial trigger.  Select your list. It can be your master list – you don’t need to create a special one.  Don’t worry, you won’t send these emails to everyone. You will tag or segment only the inactive ones before the campaign goes live. So go ahead and create your series of emails with strong subject and preview lines to encourage your sleepy users to open them.

Step 5: Set the triggers

Set the trigger for the first email to “immediately after a tag is added to the subscriber.” This means that as soon as you add your defined tag to your inactive users, Mailchimp will add them to a queue to send the first email. You can further define days of the week and time of day to send it. 

Now set the triggers for the subsequent emails. Here you have plenty of options. To  I suggest 2-3 working days between each email, so users don’t feel spammed. Depending on your goals, you can choose who will get the subsequent emails. For example, if you are trying to identify your most engaged users in the list then only send to those users who open the previous ones. However, if you are sending a series of offers – each one more enticing than the last, then you might only want to send subsequent emails to those users who did NOT open or click.

The most effective way to tag your inactives in Mailchimp is to create a list of the relevant emails and re-add them to your master list. You will be asked if you want to update existing contacts – say yes! You will be asked if you want to tag these contacts – and again the answer is yes. Tag the inactive users with the same tag you defined to trigger the campaign.

Step 6: Measure 

You set up your campaign. You pressed go. Two weeks have gone by, and all the emails have been sent…so now how do you measure what worked and what didn’t?

Take a look at your campaign results within the platform. Each email will show an open rate and a click rate. If you are sending a campaign that only sends emails to people who opened the previous ones, it stands to reason that your open rates will rise with each email because these users are engaged. If the open rate does not increase, then this is a clear signal to rethink your subject lines. Similarly, take a look at the click rates in the emails themselves. Which emails had the lowest number of clicks? Take another look at that email to make those call-to-action links more appealing.

The most important measure is whether any of the original “inactives” have become active in your app, platform or service. This is your number one measure of success. 

Good luck!

This was originally posted on the Mobfox blog.

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