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Re-engaging Members: The Fishbowl Point of View

paula_postAt Fishbowl, we advise clients to take a proactive approach to managing member engagement, with the ultimate goal of keeping the number of unengaged members on your list as low as possible.  We recently sat down with Paula Carren, Director of Professional Services at Fishbowl, to discuss. While she notes there are both pros and cons to removing unengaged members from your list,  Paula generally recommends removing them after 12 months of inactivity.  Before removal, she recommends first implementing the following strategy:

  • Begin re-engagement campaigns after 6 months of inactivity and continue through the 12th month.
  • Use different messaging each month and create a sense of urgency.
  • Run regularly scheduled re-engagement campaigns (daily, weekly, monthly).  They can be set up as triggers to minimize the level of effort.
  • After 12 months, if there has been no progress, remove inactive members from your mailings.

Fishbowl’s best practices emphasize the importance of a good communications strategy in all cases; your strategy becomes even more critical as you try to re-engage your members.  Paula recommends her clients measure campaign engagement rigorously, with particular focus on the “table stakes” for an email strategy:

  • Keep emails relevant and fresh, continually test what works, and always include a prominent call to action.
  • Begin re-engagement initiatives as soon as members move to an inactive state.  If you monitor your list closely, you should be able to identify these members fairly quickly – and this allows you to attempt to re-engage as soon as possible. The longer a guest is inactive, the harder it is to re-engage them.
  • Run tests to see what will best re-engage inactive members.  Try special offers, surveys, games, or even a simple request for feedback.

If you’ve never conducted a re-engagement campaign, Paula suggests marketers manage such programs carefully and with an acute awareness of certain pitfalls.  It’s critical that you protect your sender reputation; to do this you need to balance your traffic to active and inactive members.  You should create a mix of mailings to both groups.  Secondly, marketers should break the inactive audience into smaller mailings and stagger them over 2-3 days.  This allows for efficient IP monitoring and ISP handling, which will mitigate deliverability issues.  Finally, do not re-blast the original campaign to the same audience. Ever.  Make sure you are following Fishbowl’s best practices for re-engagement campaigns, for maximum impact on unengaged members.