Knowing that you should establish an email win-back program is quite different from knowing how to establish said program. SnagAJob.com’s recent test, which generated a 10% response among inactive subscribers, shows one way of setting up a successful retention campaign.
An employment website targeting hourly workers, SnagAJob wanted to reach out to users who had not visited the site or opened any of its emails in the past nine months. It chose this particular timeframe because, according to senior marketing analyst Isabel Howell, that’s roughly how long the average hourly employee tends to stay with a particular job.
SnagAJob decided to focus on not only former users who were once again in the market for a new job but also on those that who might not be actively job-hunting quite yet. Working with email marketing services provider BlueHornet, SnagAJob rolled out a series of three emails this past summer.
First, though, it removed the 155,000 subscribers to whom it would send the campaign from its regular email cadence for 30 days. By “resting” the file in this way, says Ryan Phelan, vice president of strategic services for BlueHornet, the first of the retention messages will stand out that much more.
Each of the emails in the win-back program had a different theme, so that if one message failed to resonate with particular recipients, a subsequent one might.
The first message, with the headline, “Discover the fastest-growing jobs that you can have!”, served as a general reminder of SnagAJob’s offering. Six days later, those who had not responded to the first email received the second email, focused on dealing with “awful bosses,” because unpleasant supervisors are a primary reason hourly workers seek new employment. Three days after that second email was deployed, recipients who had not responded to either of the previous messages received the final email in the series, with the headline “How to have fun and get paid for it.”
Ultimately more than 15,000 of the inactive subscribers did reengage with SnagAJob. This is especially impressive when you consider that, because it doesn’t sell anything to jobseekers (its revenue comes from advertisers), SnagAJob couldn’t offer an incentive such as a discount or free shipping to win back users. As Phelan said during a presentation at the DMA’s 2011 Email Evolution Conference, “We were just trying to offer them what they were interested in when they first joined.”
The reactivated subscribers were reintroduced within the regular email cadence. As for inactives who fail to respond to the win-back emails, Phelan advises segmenting them into a do-not-email file. Continuing to send to inactive subscribers can hurt your reputation with ISPs.
“It’s very hard for us as marketers to admit that there’s a segment of our file that is dead,” Phelan said. He suggests analyzing these inactives, though, to determine any similarities among them—for instance, perhaps a significant percentage of them came from a particular source, which might make you reconsider plans to prospect via that source again.