The first step is getting customers to walk in your door. The second step is getting them to stick around. Since they were interested enough in your services to create an account, this step might seem easy. Unfortunately, as business owners around the world know firsthand, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
In fact, losing customers after they’ve already created an account can be more common than successfully signing up new customers. There are an infinite number of reasons ranging from a lack of relevance to what they’re working on, to a high cost, to general forgetfulness about what they’ve signed up for.
Regardless of the reason, there are a few surefire ways to get them to re-engage and get excited about being your customer. If you follow our steps to create a re-engagement email sequence, it won’t solve all of your business problems – but it will alleviate a lot of the pressure you’re under. Why? Because an effective email sequence is the difference between “we have engaged customers” and “we used to have customers.”
Here’s what you need to know:
Step #1: Segment Your Audience
As we mentioned above, there are endless reasons that people might become disengaged. Tied to every reason is a call to action perfectly suited for that customer. For example, if someone left because of the high cost, the most effective email sequence to re-engage them will be focused on the tangible value that you provide for them. This connection between why customers leave and what will get them to return is true for nearly all customers.
To use this strategy, however, you need to segment your audience. To do this, begin compiling a list of the reasons people cancel their accounts. Once you have an extensive list, begin to look for commonalities and similar problems. This won’t be a perfect segmentation, but it will give you a starting point that you can use to start meaningful conversations with your customers.
Step #2: Get them to open up one single email.
Once you have a list of four-to-five segments, you reach your first hurdle: get them to open one email. While you may be tempted to start by planning out a grand strategy with seven targeted emails each paired with a corresponding blog post, this is a mistake. Instead, you need to take them from a world where they don’t care about you to a world where you’ve enticed them to open an email you send. It may seem like a small step, but when customers are sitting idle you need to warm them up before you start applying pressure.
This step requires a lot of hands on experimentation, covering everything from subject line variations, to figuring out the right timing, to changing who the sender. For each change, keep in mind that the email should be specifically targeting a very small segment of your disengaged audience. It may be a big investment of time, but each change has the potential to impact the open rate by a few percentage points – which adds up very quickly.
Step #3: Opt-In To Education
Once they’ve opened that first email, you need to immediately move to pitching them with a series of emails. While you may technically have the right to send them emails without them opting in again, the additional level of opting-in provides a few strong benefits.
First, when a customer opts-in to an email sequence, they are far more likely to open future emails from the same sender. It might seem unlikely, but there is extensive research to back this up. Second, the additional opt-in helps you to optimize your first email and better target your disengaged customers. Third, it helps your customers begin to feel meaningfully re-engaged with your company.
Each of these three benefits may seem small, but when you’re dealing with a long list of customers that have lost interest in you, you need to take an incremental approach. This means that whether it’s testing a subject line or getting them to opt-in to a secondary email sequence, the single digit percentage points carry real weight. These are all small steps, but they add up.
Step #4: Teach them
Now that you’ve hooked your customers with a first email and convinced them to opt-in, you need to reel them in with useful content. Many companies make the mistake of trying to send a series of emails that all heavily feature their own products. While it might get a few people to reactivate their accounts, it’s more likely to get them to hit the unsubscribe button.
Instead of hitting your disengaged customers over the head with promotional emails, use the opportunity to teach them about why they need you. Based on your understanding of the target segment, send emails that bring to mind their core business needs. Then, as you help them improve their businesses, you foster an association between your customers and the utility your brand provides. It’s important to note that this needs to be material they aren’t able to find elsewhere, otherwise it’s going to mentally register as useless spam.
Step #5: Turn that lesson into a promotion for using your product
Once they’ve begun to associate your brand with real utility, the process of re-engaging them with your product becomes much simpler. At this point, they’ve already opted-in to your communications, they’ve taken part in an educational series of emails, and they know that you’re ready and willing to help them. This leads to the end of your email sequence, where you take the built-up goodwill and transform the topic of conversation into one about how much they need to use your product.
This is the most delicate part of the email sequence and much like the first email it will require experimentation. Come up with dozens of potential calls-to-action and test each against each other to find the most compelling.
The End Result
At the end, you’ll have accomplished three big things. First, your customers will be more engaged with your company. Second, your customers will have learned something about what they need. Third, they will associate their need to solve a problem with your business (which solves that problem!).
Combined, these accomplishments mean you’ll have customers that are not only re-engaged but excited about using your product.
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