Jan 22 | 5 minutes read

5 examples of how to turn inactive subscribers to loyal customers


All good marketers know that it costs way less to reactivate old customers than it does to find new ones, and email is especially good for that. 

Any business conducted in 2021 will have to deal with the COVID pinch in some way or another, and it makes more sense than ever to re-engage email subscribers as you begin to plan for the year ahead.

We’re not going to lie to you, this is difficult. It’s difficult because email list numbers decay at around 25-30% a year - according to research from FreshAddress. That’s a lot of people deciding they don’t want to be a part of whatever message you’re putting out there, which is always going to sting.

The trick is to get to these people before they decide they’ve had enough of you. Re-engage those email subscribers and turn them into loyal customers before it’s too late.

When selling to an existing customer, you have around a 60-70% chance of making the deal. To a new one? It’s only 5-20%.


Know Who To Target

Before we get carried away with the good stuff, one of the finest examples of turning inactive subscribers into loyal customers is knowing whose loyalty has lapsed in the first place. You also need to know some key bits of information about your own business, such as expected purchase frequency. That way, you know when customers are expected to do business with you again, and you can target the ones who have missed those marks.

When you know when a customer has lapsed, you can hit them with targeted campaigns to get their attention again.

Re-Engage Email Subscribers

You’re going to want to target the people who have shopped with you before, and in order to do that, you need to use a method called email retargeting. We’ve talked about retargeting before, but this is a more specific version of that strategy.

For this purpose, you’re going to need to carry out some simple email list management and create a specific list with inactive users on it. By adding this type of user to a specific campaign, they will see custom messages that have been crafted to get a positive reaction. 

The use of a retargeting program will also allow those inactive subscribers to be served adverts for your company across the web and mobile pages that they browse. A study by BustedTees found this strategy yielded a 390% ROI.

Offer Rewards

Rewards programs are an incredibly valuable way to reactivate customers who have gone dormant. 75% of customers are more willing to shop with someone who has one.

Rewards programs are no industry secret, and so many people use them because they’re so useful. Inactive customers can be persuaded to make another purchase with you if the incentive is great enough.

Unlocking that gaming/competitive section within a person’s mind can be a fun path to take. Things like progress bars and points that lead to prizes can keep customers coming back. Internet retailer Wish is brilliant at this, and their mobile app is chock-a-block full of prize wheels, customer points tally and discount offers.

But most of all, make this whole shebang fun and enjoyable! That means no pain points when customers go to subscribe because if it gets difficult to do, customers won’t do it.

Rewards can be a great way to turn inactive subscribers into loyal customers.

Use Personalised Messages

If you’re collecting personal data, you need to be doing it with a purpose in mind. There’s no point hoarding transaction history like the last chocolate on Christmas day if you’re not going to use it properly.

The point of having this data is to know what your customers like to buy, even if they haven’t been buying much lately. So dig deep, find out what makes them tick and fire across a personalised email offering a discount for their favourite product.

Oh, and always lead with a first name.

Make Full Use Of Mobile

The world is changing and smartphones are becoming people’s calendar, walkie talkie, flashlight and laptop all in one. More and more people who are going to spend money on your brand are going to do it on a mobile.

According to Pew, 86% of Swedish adults own a smartphone - that’s the highest percentage in Europe and Scandinavia and the fourth highest in the world (source: https://www.pewresearch.org/).

This means that mobile re-engagement should be a crucial part of your strategy to reactivate subscribers who have dipped off the radar. It could also help you re-engage email subscribers as well since so many people will be viewing those emails on a phone.

People are on their phones all day and are conditioned to respond to SMS messages and alerts they receive via their smartphone. In that way, it makes sense to reach out to people on a medium they feel comfortable with and are comfortable replying on.

Build A Successful Launchpad

Consider a strategy that includes branded apps, good social media content, direct messages as well as a store or website that is fully optimised for mobile use. You can have the best mobile strategy in the world, but if your site is difficult to access or buggy or has slow response times, people aren’t going to be interested.

You can also offer discounts via text message. Make sure you’ve collected text opt-in permissions from your subscribers and know when the best time to message them is, otherwise this is going to flounder.

Text offers can make inactive subscribers feel special, because you’re offering them something not every person on the street can access - and that feels good and it makes them feel valued.

This little effort can help turn your least engaged visitors into something more.

Create Loyal Customers

So we’ve seen five ways you can turn inactive subscribers into loyal customers. Re-engage email subscribers by carrying out some email list management to find the right people to target, and hit them with some charm and panache.

Don’t be afraid to get personal. In fact, customers love it when you do! Remember to do all the hard yards first, like optimise your site for mobile or make sure your app runs smoothly, quickly and without any of the buggy errors that turns people away from brands.

Try to unlock that competitive side within us all by crafting a fun and friendly rewards program, and then link it all in with a powerful mobile offering. Most of us are on our phones most of the time, so target us where we feel comfortable!


Do you need more hands on advice on how you could re-engage your subscribers? Don't hesitate to contact one of our digital marketing experts!