Here’s How Marketers Can Build On Their “Never Active” Subscriber Base

Even though the number of “never active” subscribers is dwindling, marketers need to implement strategies for continued success, says columnist Jason Warnock. He explains how you can put those strategies into place.

Video in Email

Not long ago, marketers were struggling to reach a consumer’s inbox. Marketers sent multiple emails a week; however, they were doing so alongside other brands sending similar messages, and as a result, flooding consumers’ inboxes.

But the first half of 2015 tells a different story. According to the Q2 Email Marketing Compass report from Yesmail (my employer), the percentage of “never active” email subscribers is lower than ever, dipping below 69 percent for the first time.

Consumers are now engaging with branded content on a regular basis, indicating a desire to interact with email offers. Marketers that take advantage of their newly active audience will continue to see success in 2015 and beyond, but it’s important that teams implement the right strategies.

What do consumers care about? How are they receiving emails and engaging with content?

By answering these questions, marketers can make smart decisions in the final half of 2015 to capitalize on their “never active” subscriber base. But where should marketers start?

Mobile Is A Major Player

Not surprisingly, mobile is changing the marketing landscape. As more consumers adopt smartphones, they are enabled to check emails minute-by-minute — during a commute or in line for a coffee — rather than just any time they’re near a desktop.

And the access to mobile email is affecting purchases and revenue. In fact, smartphone revenue increased by 33 percent, and email orders from a smartphone grew by 32 percent year over year, according to our study. In a sense, mobile reinvigorated the way consumers use email.

Building On The Current Success

The drop in “never active” subscribers doesn’t mean that marketers’ jobs are done, however. While consumers are engaging now, it’s important that marketers continue to improve their strategies so that they keep the “never active” audience low and continue to captivate their subscribers.

Marketers can capitalize on the “never active” audience in four ways:

1. Social Media. At its core, social media is a beacon for two-way conversation. Brands are already using social media to interact with their customers, whether with customer service or general conversation. But social media can be more effective if integrated into an email.

By integrating social share buttons into a marketing email, brands can encourage their consumers to share that message, expanding the expected reach of an email campaign. And brands should maximize these calls to action with incentives.

A marketing email can offer 50 percent off to a customer who shares an email promotion on three different social channels. By encouraging social shares for incentives, marketers can establish long-term relationships with consumers and motivate those brand advocates to stay engaged.

Marketers can also incorporate live social feeds into their marketing emails. Consumers who see user-generated content, such as a social post, will feel more connected to a brand and more motivated to share and interact via email and social media.

2. Contextual Relevance. Personalization is a must-have for brands hoping to keep an audience engaged. Sending the same message to multiple email lists with consumers of different demographics is no longer acceptable.

Marketers have already strengthened their use of triggered emails based on abandoned carts and past-purchase behavior, but they can take personalization one step further.

Marketers should send a campaign that is relevant to a subscriber’s environment and location, and they can do so by deploying messages based on real-time sporting and weather events, like a subscriber’s home team winning a big game or a subscriber’s home town experiencing a massive thunderstorm.

Say, for example, your brand has a large subscriber base in Chicago. At kickoff of the first regular season Bears game, you can send an email “kicking off” a deal during the kickoff.

In the same sense, if Chicago experiences an unexpected snowstorm in October and you’re an airline company, you can encourage subscribers to “get away” with great flight deals.

3. Competitive Analysis. Measurement is key to any good campaign. It’s important that a marketing team identifies the value of a campaign.

Are your consumers receiving content that is relevant and useful? Or will the content that gets passed along motivate consumers to delete and ignore future emails?

Here, it’s imperative to pay attention to competitors. By doing so, marketers can identify the type of content their competitors are sharing and what’s resonating with the target audience, while determining whether the content they’re offering is of equal or greater value.

4. Inboxing. A message that never reaches an inbox is a waste of time and money. You can have “active subscribers,” but if they stop receiving emails, the active subscriber base goes to waste. Improving inboxing is essential to maintaining engagement.

While subscribers are engaging more frequently, they are still selective. It’s important to create a schedule that maps out the type of emails consumers will receive and the frequency of those messages.

Additionally, segmenting an audience based on engagement will allow marketers to frequently send messages to their most engaged audience while pulling back on the amount of messages a less-engaged subscriber receives.

Deploying marketing messages is essential to engaging the “never active” subscribers, but marketers must strike the right chord with their audience. Too many emails might seem intrusive, but too few might convey apathy.

2015 has been a year of firsts for email marketers. From more engaged subscribers to increased revenue, the value of email marketing is clearer than ever.

However, success among an audience of selective consumers can be fleeting, and it’s imperative that marketers innovate their strategies for continued success. Improving inboxing, incorporating social media and triggers, and paying attention to the competition will help marketers maintain and sustain engagement in the coming years.

Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

(Some images used under license from


Marketing Land – Internet Marketing News, Strategies & Tips


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.