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Do you purge your unengaged lists, or do you try to re-engage?

creative vector mosaic iconAs a government communicator, you may have a significant list of customers that aren’t engaging with your communications. So, do you regularly go through your list of unengaged stakeholders and remove them from your digital communications efforts? Or do you attempt to re-engage with your stakeholders?

The answers to both are probably not, but that may be detrimental on a number of fronts. For private sector organizations, keeping unengaged people in your lists can impact email deliverability. In a recent survey, 58% of marketers in the U.K. said that keeping clean and up-to-date lists has the biggest impact on improving the likelihood of emails reaching the inbox. Additionally, a recent article by eConsultancy noted that “Gmail and Outlook commonly use engagement metrics to decide whether or not a particular sender should be considered as a spammer.” For public sector communicators using listservs or a commercial marketing solution, these same concerns exist. Deliverability is critical for government organizations using GovDelivery, so we have teams that watch and monitor that functionality.

Having a clean list means that you can get better insight about your stakeholders and the information that’s valuable to them. Both of these items are critical to achieving communication goals, which is why it makes sense to try and re-engage your unengaged stakeholders.

Instead of just purging the list of unengaged stakeholders, a recent report by Return Path examined a number of retailers that used “win-back email campaigns” to help re-engage customers. In the public sector, you can use the same techniques to re-engage your stakeholders.

How do you build a “win-back” email campaign?

Start by examining your list of contacts. Segment your lists and target stakeholders who haven’t opened or clicked on one of your recent messages.

Then develop the campaign and message. Unlike private sector marketers, you may not necessarily have a coupon to offer your list to increase their engagement, but you can offer them the option of updating their subscription topics and how often they want to receive communications. If you don’t offer different topics, you can have a simple survey that allows them to tell you what kind of content they are interested in receiving. The simplicity of this campaign helps encourage stakeholders to interact with your organization.

What results can you expect?

The Return Path report does note that there aren’t many campaigns like this, and their report reviews the data of those few campaigns. It notes that the average read rate of private sector “win-back” campaigns was just 12%, but there was a lingering positive effect that showed recipients of those campaigns did read subsequent messages from that particular company, even if they didn’t engage in the win-back campaign.

What does that mean for you? It’s worth building out a test campaign that tries to re-engage stakeholders with a simple call-to-action to see if they are still interested in getting information from you. If they choose to unsubscribe, you’ll have cleaner lists. If they update their subscription information or topics, they’ll receive the information that’s relevant to them and that they’re more likely to engage with.

Have you tested a “win-back” campaign to see if you can re-engage any of your stakeholders? What kind of results did you see? Please leave your thoughts or feedback in the comments.