How can I reach out to an outdated email list?
I have a list of clients and potential clients that I haven't reached out to in several months. How can I re-engage these customers (via email)? Do you know any creative email marketing or customer engagement techniques that I could use? Thanks!
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I'm a fan of honesty and humor. You can start off by saying something like "Did you miss me?" and then go on to explain your absence. Or, you can write something like "I've been busy creating new programs for you and I'm thrilled to announce..." and then tell them of the new things you now have available. We are all human and fall short from time to time. My suggestion however, is that before you send out a note to your group, make sure you're ready to commit to starting it back up with planned frequency, consistency and intention, or you'll be in this same situation at some future point. You don't want to keep making excuses. A one time slip is certainly forgivable. And, if someone doesn't want to be kind, they'll unsubscribe. It won't be your loss, it will be theirs. Good luck!
I agree with everyone else and I really like Jaq's approach. Humor can generally break through many barriers. People are pretty forgiving too, we all have busy lives and I find that honesty works best. For those that drop off or complain, they probably weren't your ideal clients anyway. .
I am going through this now as well..I used 'our latest/greatest updates are..'
Is there anything new or news worthy that happened in the last few months? Would your clients be happy to give you an honest review of how your product/services helped them in the past months?
Ask the favor, can you rate us? Review us? Refer us? Help us with new product?
You have to tell them something new about you or your company.
If the thing is big enough you can use this as the reason for the lack of contact.
Just be honest, with a new email that is written professionally, offers an incentive for engagement, and is highly targeted.
Make a big exciting announcement that will make your recipients happy to hear from you, despite being forgotten about.
BE HONEST. If you tell the truth than people will trust you and accept you reaching out to them. Tell them you forget and lost the list or super busy. Whatever it was, just be honest and it'll be fine.
I have to agree with Jaq in terms of a compelling headline. Also, to expand on the conversation, it appears the result your looking for is engagement which leads us to
1) What the email contains & how it's structured
2) Your expected outcome from engagement
I often think this is an enigma for many companies because we can envision how engagement is defined but we're not always clear about what the end result looks like.
For example, I have a friend who sends emails like daily he sells to the B2B crowd in the copy niche. However, he never really runs a planned sequence so it's sort of like just going through life with him. And every now and then he sells something via email. His emails always contain the same things
1) A personal story
2) A call to action
He does this longterm and expects that as people get to know his skillset through his experiences they'll grow to trust him more and eventually convert as a customer.
Being online, I'm sure we all have a friend or two, using a similar strategy. But the question begs. How do you get them re-engaged ?
I'd start out with a great attractive headline (As Jaq mentioned earlier)
Then I'd test different engagement methods always including a call to action somewhere in the email
1) Measure Click Through Rates
2) Measure Sales Conversions
3) Include Links To Surveys
4) Ask Questions on Social Media, direct the CTA link to the question
5) Offer Free Downloads
6) Run a crowdsourcing campaign for a cause you enjoy
(give something good away for those who participate)
7) Ask for opinions on a really controversial subject (Use Social Media Again)
To test the list to its full extent I recommend planning for at least a month of emails. You can also this opportunity to plan your longterm strategy at the same time. Depending on your target segment the rate and volume may differ but you know your market best so... :)
Engagement is truthfully an extremely difficult task. Most companies want people to go beyond opening emails, they want customers, brand advocates, conversationalists, affiliates, etc. You also have to consider all the noise you have to breakthrough when marketing via email. In every niche you'll have to contend with common noisemakers and fight the constant media battle. If anything finding a way to be consistent without being annoying is likely the sweetspot for your campaigns.
Best of Luck!
Honestly, (and i hope i don't hurt anyone's feelings here) they might not even have noticed you stopped. Obviously it depends on how engaged your list was, but you may just continue on as if nothing has changed.
Most email marketing serves as recognition instead of recall anyway. Just make sure you are consistent with your messages!
I agree with the comments made thus far; if it's been less than say 6 months, and you are a B2B company, then you have nothing to worry about. In fact, they may even be more likely to read less frequent messages, to see if it's important or even what you've been up to.
If it's been greater than 6 months, then I really like the 'ice breaker' idea that Jaq Andrews suggested. Once things get around the 12 month mark however, you may want to consider sending an update-to-your-database request.
This simply entails something along the lines of sending a message stating that you will be shortly recommencing regular contact but don't want to 'annoy' anyone who is not interested in receiving your updates, so please opt out now if this doesn't interest you.
In short, give them the opportunity to tell you that they don't want your emails, rather than stay wondering whether that is the case or not. Hope this helps. :)
Jen, if you are talking B2B, several months is not a long time. Just give them a short update on what's been going on, some content useful to them and your call to action. I receive emails from vendors/suppliers sometimes a couple of times a year and that's enough to keep me engaged. The same goes with emails my company sends out.
I agree, the content can smooth over the distance since the last email. I would also pay very close attention to the bounces or failed to delivers, an old email list needs to be cleaned up to reflect who still uses those addresses.
Cheekily acknowledge the gap in the subject line and message. Give a compelling reason for returning now.
"Did you miss us?"
"Anything happen while we were gone?"
"Just back from top secret mission!"
"You'll never believe what we've been up to."
"Is this thing on?"