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Email Best Practices

How to reactivate your contact list after the summer

Bad open rates after the summer for your email campaigns? Find out how to reactivate your email contact list to get back to school.

Hermes and a Goddess sort out figures in front of a wall being painted



Wait - what just happened? Just a few days ago, we were lying on the beach, perfecting our suntan and obsessively checking the time to ensure we’d sneak in another drink before the Happy Hour is over. Next thing we know, we’re back in office surrounded by sad faces and a few depressed Sandies and Dannies singing an out of tune version of Summer dreams ripped at the seams… ?. (Cause that’s what you do. You’re sad, you go with Grease.)

But it’s not just that. On top of this unbearable post-vacation blues, you have to face the harsh reality. Your open rates haven’t been exactly at their best lately. Whether you’ve been quiet all summer (we told you not to - but don’t worry, we’re not judging ?), or sending campaigns to deserted inboxes, there may be many reasons to explain this drop. The main one? It’s the summer: users’ and senders’ behaviours and rhythms change. But now, the fall is here, so how can we ensure we go together once more?

We’ve got you covered. Read on and discover how to make your users fall head over heels for you again, and get new subscribers coming like greased lightnin’ too.

Hopelessly devoted to your contacts

Your users have changed over the summer? Well, you need to understand how and why.

Track the analytics on your latest campaigns. With a comparison tool, you can also see whether they performed worse or better than the ones you sent during the last vacation period - it’s a great starting point to analyze if something went wrong.

Did your “marked as spam” rates skyrocket when you sent your first email after a long and silent summer break? That’s not surprising - regular sendings help you ensure your customers keep your brand in mind. Next time, don’t be lazy or shy: continue sending your campaigns over the summer. Frequency matters a lot when it comes to email marketing.

OK, OK. I get it, I messed up. What can I do now?” Oh, don’t be so hard on yourself, there’s always something you can do. Try sending your contacts a simple “Remember us?” campaign, telling them you hope they enjoyed their summer break and you’ll be there to help them rock the academic year ahead. This way, you address any potential summer amnesia and get into their good books again.

If your open and click rates from summer campaigns are low, it may be because your users were too busy doing summer stuff (whatever that is... still not judging). But if they are still low at the end of the vacation period, it’s time for some change to get them to look at you again.

Reactivate your email list with the right campaign

Two things may happen to your contacts after the summer: either they’re reluctant to go back to their busy lifestyle, or they’re all fired up, ready to rock the new academic year. Either way, your emails may give them a familiar feeling of routine, like they know you too well already. The sparks and butterflies in the stomach are gone. The challenge is clear: you need to get them to give you those heart-eyes again. Are we implying you should wear a wig and sing “Look at me, I’m Sandra D”? Not really (although if you do, please tweet us a video).

It’s time for a small revamp to get their attention back. Careful - we’re not telling you to give up on your identity completely and be unrecognizable. Yeah, we all loved Sandy’s complete makeover ?, but if that’s what you opt for, you may get the opposite effect and end up spinning off the road and landing directly in the spam folder.

Here we’re talking about trying something new to create excitement, yet still being coherent with your previous messages. It could be changing the format of your subject line or adding an Emoji to it; changing your layout to a festive one (the Holiday Season is just around the corner…), including a GIF to lighten up the mood or creating some fresh and inspirational content… Alternatively, a good promo code or a coupon always works when you want to attract your customers’ curiosity. And, to be sure they do like the change, use A/X testing with different versions and check the results.

Email example from Minimall

Making your contacts feel special

Your users should never get the feeling that you’re not caring enough about them. At the end of the day, they are the ones that you want. You need to fight for them. What better way to do that than through some subtle segmentation and personalization?

We always recommend you use your contacts’ first or last name in your emails as a first step, but there’s a lot more that you can do to get back in touch after the summer. You should also be using data that you collected from their profiles to suggest the right products or tips on your back-to-school campaigns to get them excited about the fall: data based on demographics, previous purchase history, interaction with your brand, etc.

Cleaning your contact lists

Fine, so you’ve caught the attention of your email prospects again, they’re all eyes. Oh, except for the few grumpy ones who, despite all your efforts to please them, keep not looking at you. Well, maybe they don’t deserve you after all. Why not take a minute to clean your lists from all the bores who have been relentlessly ignoring you for the past two years?

A clean email list is the key to good open rates and low spam rate, which ultimately means a big push for your overall deliverability. We know cleaning your contact lists can be a pain, but, really, there are worse things you could do. It’s like tidying up that man cave that got a bit out of hand - hard, yet rewarding.

If you’re still soft on them and feel like giving them another chance, that’s fine: segment your list to target your zombie contacts and send them a specific re-engagement campaign. Let them know that you haven’t forgotten those sweet summer nights and you want them back. If they still don’t react, no need for tears on your pillow - it really is over.

A cute example of a re-activation email from Basecamp

Give new users a warm welcome

If you followed our tips, you now have an active and clean contact lists for your brand new campaigns. Here’s a final step you can take in order to make sure you’re going to have a great email life ahead: make sure your new users stay in love with your brand as well.

So when they join, what better way is there to kickstart your affair than by sending them a serie of automated emails? Try our new Automation feature, it’s the perfect tool for a warm welcome.

Ready? Now let’s go get ‘em.

We hope you’ll make good use of these tips to reactivate your email lists. Do you have your own magic spells to get them all running back to you after the summer? Share them with us on Twitter using #MailjetMarketing. Psst: We’ve hidden 8 Grease songs quotes in the post (yeah, as if you hadn’t noticed…). Have you been able to spot them all?

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