Published by Sita Kalluri on June 2, 2014

Part 2 – How to increase your ROI from the sleeping users?

Importance of subject line to re-engage subscribers

In the first part of this 2-part series on re-engaging the inactive subscribers, we showed value in this often neglected base and shared a 4 -step strategy plan to successfully win back these sleeping users. In this blog, we explore the role of subject line to reengage customers.

It’s your subject line that does the talking for you and unless it is impressive, chances are this mail too goes unnoticed or worse still straight into trash – just like all the other previous ones. If you cannot steer through this bottleneck, all your efforts come to a screeching halt.

Here are some points to keep in mind when deciding subject lines-

  • Don’t sound too salesy
  • Be honest (admit you miss business from them)
  • Be human and show how much you care
  • Keep it simple and to the point, no frills
  • Personalize (and I don’t just mean a ‘Hi Dan’ kind of personalization)

To make subject line and consequently your message work, you need to have a targeted approach. When deciding what kind of subject line appeals, keep in mind what kind of inactive user you have on hand.

Check-out these examples to reengage inactive customers along with the rationale behind the approach.

1.       Take feedback from the non-transacted inactive base

The rationale:  Traditionally you approach your customer for feedback after he makes a purchase to improve his experience with your brand. But what about those who haven’t transacted but are subscribed? Are you sending what the subscriber wants? Do you even know whether they are unhappy with the past experience with your brand? The easiest way to get answers is to ask them for a feedback. Remember that he is not opening your mails and use a catchy subject line that draws instant connect.

Subject line: Are you angry with us?     

Get innovative in presenting the subject line. Having a Gmail quick action button does the trick in getting user’s attention as many marketers are not using this little call –to-action in subject line and it stands out visually in the inbox. (Illustrated below)

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Here’s a sample we created for one of our clients-

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2.       Lure back the transacted inactive base

The rationale: These are the guys have purchased from you. You know much more about these customers and it’s time to put that information to use to draw some response out of them. Emails that use behavioral targeting perform five times better than traditional batch campaigns 1. Use previous activity and purchase history to make the email more personalized and relevant to them and drive interactions.

Subject line: Do you remember what you did on 12th August 2013?

Element of curiosity in the subject line drives immediate attention and the user’s mind will obsess over it until it finds the answer.

Below is screenshot of how the email will look like.

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Disengagement is a reality and brands should spend more time understanding why customers go inactive. Very few brands focus on reengaging customers or view them as a source of revenue. These simple yet powerful re-engagement strategies can effectively win them back.

So what’s your brand strategy to win them back? If you don’t have one, it’s high time you considered!


1:  Research from Gareth Herschel at Gartner