Why September is the best time to re-engage your inactives
Now the summer is over and our thoughts are already fully focussed on the upcoming holiday season. In particular we are increasing our focus on re-engagement. The goal is to re-engage as many inactive subscribers as possible before Black Friday. If you are like most businesses, your focus is on customers who have been active over the past 30 – 60 days. So, it makes sense to try and engage as many of your customers currently residing in the inactive file and could be as much as 70% of your mailable file.
Clearly expanding your active audience by re-engaging inactive customers represents an opportunity for your business to generate more revenue. During most of the year, that could translate into an incremental increase. But consider the impact a re-engaged audience could have on revenue when the peak holiday season rolls around. There lies the true value of September re-engagement campaigns and that’s why it is worth it.
Important: Deliverability Expertise is Required
Before I go into greater detail, I would like to make an important caveat. DO NOT attempt to start emailing any of your inactives if you do not already do so on a regular basis without consulting a deliverability expert, agency or your ESP! Make sure to have your proposed plan to hand before you consult them
When should I actively re-engage my target audience?
Having established the value of re-engagement, let’s address timing. Optimally, you should plan on re-engaging your audience regularly throughout the year. Don’t wait until the peak holiday season to get started. That being said, there are times of year when your audience will be more active than usual and subsequently more likely to respond to a message from you. Such times are prime for re-engagement.
These times typically revolve around lesser holidays such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. Unless you are in the flower or greeting card business, such holidays are not as crucial to your bottom line as Black Friday or Christmas. For most retailers, the win isn’t an immediate purchase. It is getting as many customers as possible re-engaged ahead of the peak holiday season.
By working these minor holidays into your outreach plans, you can achieve a much higher ROI from your outbound efforts in the near term while boosting overall engagement and increasing your active audience ahead of the major holidays to come.
What is the best way to engage my target audience?
Now that we know why and when, the question that remains is, what is the best way to engage our audience? The traditional approach would be to look at demographics such as age, gender and geography to segment customers. However, this can lead to customers who do not fit those segments being disregarded. Remember all those inactive customers we mentioned earlier?
Enter Audience Management, which takes a different approach: companies engaging in Audience Management consider the behaviours, perceptions, and mindsets of people throughout ALL demographic cohorts and target them according to those characteristics in both message and delivery.
For example, if you were a retailer selling men’s pants, the traditional approach might be to target only men on your list. However, Audience Management would also target women whose behaviour included recently viewing men’s clothing on your website. The ability to consider a broader audience is key.
Behaviours, perceptions, and mindsets can be combined to identify your audience, splitting them into sub-categories that are much narrower than what traditional demographic targeting would allow. For example:
Behaviours: The audience is showing a particular interest in your product or service area, through actions such as visiting a product page on your website, sharing certain articles or searching for specific retailers. This could indicate that they are close to buying or have recently bought a product in your relevant category.
Perceptions: They present their views about topics relating to your campaign, whether positive, negative or neutral – as measured by sentiment analysis. They may be more emotional about a certain topic, commenting on your blogs or posting on social media multiple times about it.
Moments: People display distinct mindsets based on emotions and opinions when they are in specific moments in time, be it commuting or having a cup of joe at a coffee shop. Audiences may share their annoyance or joy about being in these scenarios, which can be used to narrow down your campaign to a single one of these moments. This will give your campaign the maximum impact on your audience.
Understanding and taking advantage of these characteristics can have a profound impact on engagement.
In terms of campaign strategy, Audience Marketing techniques allow for a bolder creative direction and messaging, tailored much more sharply to the audience’s interests and affinities. Marketers are safe in the knowledge that the strategy is based on true insights from the largest dataset on consumer behaviours and attitudes.
In addition, using the 3 characteristics set out above, marketers can identify emerging audiences that show signs of moving into their focus and engage them with relevant content and tone in order to fuel additional growth when it matters most – the peak holiday season in Q4.
The changing face of marketing
Savvy marketers are more and more focused on engagement year-round. They are also accepting that there are new and more powerful measures of engagement. With a wealth of public data available from email, SMS, websites, social media and more, marketers can more effectively target customers when ready to purchase and tailor offers and content to maximize engagement.
As we gain access to more data and apply it using methodologies such as Audience Management, we must keep in mind that finding out details about your audience is only half the battle. The key to successful campaigns will continue to rely on great insights and imaginative creative that engages your audience at multiple levels.