Inactive Lists Don’t Always Equal Holiday Cheer!

Inactive Lists Don’t Always Equal Holiday Cheer!

The demands and expectations to boost sales during the holiday season are inevitable. Whether your business is retail, publishing, media, entertainment or any online marketing effort involving targeting and sending email, this year’s sales goals are likely higher than last holiday season. As email marketers, we all face the same pressure from our organizations to send more email and drive more traffic.

Of course, there’s a limit to how often we can touch our active customers, especially during the holidays when they are inundated with offers of every shape and size. Where can we turn to find more folks who will open and act on our messages? In many cases, a natural – even obvious – place to look for additional targets is that part of your list which is clearly not engaged. Yet, this seeming fertile ground is a potential minefield for holiday marketers.

What are the dangers of sending emails to inactive subscribers or your entire list?

Each ISP uses different filtering technology to determine a message’s inbox eligibility. However, we do know that all major ISPs will monitor whether or not their users are logging in to check their email. When a user has not logged in for a designated period of time, it is assumed the email address is no longer active. ISPS will use this email address as a spam trap. Falling into these spam traps are going to ultimately damage your inbox eligibility. Deliverability issues plague many marketers year round, but especially during the holidays.

How should I pursue reaching out to my inactive email addresses safely?

If you have not done so yet, design a re-engagement email campaign that will reach out to your inactive email subscribers preparing them for holiday messaging. We have seen great results with “the sooner the better” approach. Give your inactives timely and compelling reasons to re-engage. State upcoming deals or specials you will be sending during the holiday season, and let them know you will be giving them an early peek. You can also include special discounts or offers to entice them to re-engage with you immediately. Our Deliverability and Strategy Experts recommend the following approach:

  • Send re-engagement emails in batches of no more than 5 thousand records
  • For those that do open or click, move them to your active subscriber list and continue to email to them during the holidays
  • For those that do not open or click, discontinue sending emails to them during the holidays and move them to your inactive mailing list – and leave them there until next year

We also recommend reaching out to your inactive subscribers year round and not just during the holidays. Leverage waterfall features through your email provider to create automated programs that will nurture your inactive subscribers throughout the year. This is a great way to continuously clean your database, and depending on your offers, it can be used to create an additional revenue stream for your business.

Happy Holidays!