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Trends Q: What happens when you send an email to people who don’t open your emails?

photo of the author Gregg Blanchard

 Jan 21, 2020

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On every email list at every resort are a group of once engaged people who, for one reason or another, no longer open your emails. Reengagement campaigns, designed to get inactive subscribers back or give them a way to show they’re listening, are a common practice around these parts. So what happens when you send an email to people who don’t open your emails? Take a look.

The Goods
We took data from twelve resorts’ reengagement campaigns sent during the last few years. Most of these campaigns defined “disengaged” as someone who:

  1. Hasn’t opened an email in 365 days
  2. Hasn’t clicked an email in 365 days
  3. Has been in the database for at least 365 days

Campaigns were designed with very to-the-point subject lines like “We miss you!” and copy that gave subscribers a reason to act. Here’s how the numbers look.

At first glance, an open rate of 4% seems depressingly low. But remember, these are people who haven’t opened a single email from you in over a year. In theory, if these people were “gone for good”, they should quickly unsubscribe as soon as they open. Instead, the unsubscribe rate is only 0.8%.

If this is your last shot before you either slow or stop communication altogether, the value of an A/B split text on the subject line cannot be overstated.

What This Means
Segmenting out your disengaged subscribers not only saves money when you exclude this group for campaigns, but also improves your open rate and descreases the risk you’re sending to an unused email that’s been converted to a spam trap.

Worth a mention is the need to look for patterns in your disengaged subscribers. Do they share a common source, volume of emails received, or ISP? Doing so can not only identify deliverability issues impacting your efforts now, but also helps you be proactive to prevent future subscribers from tuning out.

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