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Sadly, even in the best relationships you can drift apart and the time comes when just need to call it quits. This is true of people in your database too. I’m sure it was good in the beginning, but people change. Their lives change; their needs change. Depending on the service or product you offer, that time in the sun may be very brief indeed.

Unfortunately for you, when a customer disengages with your service or product, the effect for your business can be far reaching. So it’s very important to put steps in place to deal with this.

Why do I say that? Consider this: back in the day email providers would look to the content of your emails and check for certain key phrases that would classify the message as spam (think ‘Lose weight now’ or ‘Make a million dollars’). But these days they look at their users’ previous interactions with your emails and use that behavior to determine whether your current email makes it into their inbox or not.

So if someone is frequently opening, replying to, or marking your mail as ‘not junk’, then your latest email is likely to make it to their inbox.

BUT – actions like emails being deleted without being opened or emails being moved to junk are considered very strong signals that your love is no longer requited.

Why should you care? Because even though it may be only a few people in your database, email providers don’t just look at the individual’s behavior, but at the combined behavior of all individuals. So if Gmail picks up that you have quite a few disinterested people on their domain, they may start moving your email to the promotions tab or junk folder for ALL subscribers.

What to do, what to do?

Parting is such sweet sorrow, but if people aren’t engaging with your emails it’s time to end the relationship or at least “take a break” before it starts to damage your sender reputation.

At Torque, we advise our clients to look at the following (all of which can be automated, of course):

  • Identify people who haven’t opened or engaged with an email in the last 6-10 sends and keep this this up to date.
  • Send them a “we miss you” mailer – Allow them the opportunity to re-engage with your brand. Let them know that if they don’t choose to re-engage, they will be removed from your database. This may seem drastic, but it’s a good way of cleaning out your base.
  • Build in a contingency – If a subscriber does open an email, click on a link, visit your site etc. make sure that they can be moved back into the engaged segment of your base.
  • Build a preference center or granular unsubscription model – Allow people to choose which emails they want to receive and make sure that you specify the frequency of each type of send i.e. “Sales (Once a Month)”.
  • Have a snooze function – Allow people to pause their subscription for a few months and then re-engage with them after that period of time has lapsed. This is particularly helpful for products or services that aren’t needed all the time such as travel, baby products, and big ticket items like cars / houses / boats
  • Last, but certainly not least, start your relationships off on the right foot – Get a double opt-in; send relevant, engaging content that actually adds value to your customers’ lives; and target offerings to relevant segments of your database, the spray and pray method just does. not. work.

If you need help breaking up with some of your subscribers (take a good hard look and you know you’ll find some), click here and we’ll help you rip off the bandaid.