While there are many ways to run a reactivation campaign, the following steps will set you on a pretty good path should you decide to launch one.
Who is your target? Are these people who stopped buying from you six months ago? Three months? Twelve months? If you run a subscription service, are they people who canceled one month ago? Two weeks ago? Two years ago?
Decide first who you want to try and reactivate. If someone bought from you four years ago and you're just now getting around to sending them an e-mail, it's probably too late. It's OK to run a few different variations of the campaign if you want to target several different groups from above.
What's your goal? I'll take a wild stab and say your goal is to either have these consumers buy from you again, resubscribe to your services, or otherwise reengage with your company. But, are there more specific goals than that? Maybe you want to introduce a new product line, introduce a new account manager, or upsell them on something they already own (or a service they already use)?
Why did these consumers leave? Unlike a normal marketing campaign, you need to understand why your consumers left. Did they not like your products? Were you too expensive? Did you not have enough content in their particular field to keep them interested? Knowing the reasons they probably left will enable you to craft a message that addresses those issues specifically.
What segmentation or persona data do you have? If you can segment these consumers either by persona or by purchase habits, you can make your reactivation campaign that much more effective. The rules here are the same as for any direct marketing: don't just send a mass "We want you back" e-mail. Instead, use whatever knowledge you have of the consumer in order to create a more relevant message.
Split test offers. It's fine to offer a reactivation discount code to these consumers. They were effectively "dead" anyhow, so you aren't really losing a full-price purchase by offering them a discount. However, showing consumers that you understand them and have new offerings that meet their needs might just be enough. So, do a split test and create discounts for some percentage of the group, not all of them. See how they do compared to the group with no offer.
Focus on your content. Instead of just saying, "We want you back, here is 15% off," really make an effort. Show your consumers you understand them. If they used to buy video games, talk about all the new things that have happened in video games since they last checked your site out. If you run a content subscription-based site (like a Forrester, for instance), highlight the new content you've added to your site since they last were members. Put the relevant content first. Consumers can get a discount anywhere if they try. It's your content and products (if they are relevant) that will be more interesting to them.
Make it easy for them to come back. If it has been a while, there's a good chance your consumers don't remember their usernames or passwords. Either send them this information (or at least their username) in the e-mail, or make it really easy for them to find it. If their account has "expired," make it easy for them to renew without reentering all their information again. If you offered a discount code, make it very clear where they enter it.
Reach out via different channels. Are these consumers on Twitter (and do they follow you)? If so, send them a direct message, not an e-mail. E-mail marketing is great, but try other channels if you have access to them.
Finally, realize the difference between a reactivation campaign and a regular campaign. While the above steps could be the recipe for any old marketing campaign, there is one important difference. Reactivation marketing needs to understand how long people have been gone, why they possibly left, what is different in your offerings now that would make them come back, and what (if any) incentive they might need to come back.
If you can't answer, "What is different in our offerings that would make them come back," then skip the reactivation campaign and focus on answering that question!
Thoughts, comments? Leave a note below!
Until next time...
This column was originally published on February 19, 2010.
Jack Aaronson, CEO of The Aaronson Group and corporate lecturer, is a sought-after expert on enhanced user experiences, customer conversion, retention, and loyalty. If only a small percentage of people who arrive at your home page transact with your company (and even fewer return to transact again), Jack and his company can help. He also publishes a newsletter about multichannel marketing, personalization, user experience, and other related issues. He has keynoted most major marketing conferences around the world and regularly speaks at Shop.org and other major industry shows. You can learn more about Jack through his LinkedIn profile.