Jonathan Saipe

5 Ways To Re-Engage Customers Using Email Marketing

28 May 2013, Jonathan Saipe

Chain Reaction Cycles logoChain Reaction Cycles: A case study on how to re-engage email subscribers

Yes I’ll admit it, I’ve become a bit of a cycling nerd. Once the kids are in bed, I spend hours drooling over websites selling bike gear and accessories.

I’ll also admit that I’m not a 100% loyal customer. But, then again, who is nowadays? If I want to buy bike spares and accessories, I’ll shop at a few of the major cycling etailers such as Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, as well as one or two smaller brands such as Prendas Ciclismo (hi Andy!).

Today I received an email from Chain Reaction Cycles, from whom I have purchased in the past, that instantly grabbed my attention. I haven’t shopped with them for a while, and as a subscriber, I was instantly impressed with their strategy and campaign.

They used 5 re-engagement techniques that I thought I’d share with you as a great case study of subscriber re-engagement.

1. Segmentation by responsiveness

Segmentation can be difficult to get right. It takes time to understand what segments will work for each organisation, and furthermore, if you do segment, you need to be prepared to invest in email content for each segment.

Rather than go for traditional segments such as interest, vertical or demographics, it may be worth segmenting by responsiveness or customer purchase habits.

I hadn’t shopped at Chain Reaction for some time and may well have been included in the non-responsive segment. Their email headline “We’ve noticed you’ve been a little distant lately” hit the nail on the head. In no uncertain terms, it spelled out that I hadn’t shopped with them recently and that grabbed my attention. If brands can understand their customer lifetime value, it will allow them to confidently re-engage without risking an increase in unsubscribes.

Don’t be afraid to be bold and slightly disruptive in your messaging. A subject line such as “Why don’t you open our emails” will usually create a positive and measurable response from your non-e-responsive segment.

2. Persuasive subject line

The subject line from Chain Reaction read: “5 Reasons to read our Emails, plus a little gift!“.

It clearly highlights why I should bother re-engaging with Chain Reaction and finished off with an obvious incentive. It does an ample job of “selling” the experience to me without giving me the thumb screws, which in many cases will put off subscribers. As the mantra goes: tell don’t sell.

3. Scanable email content

Both web and email designers will know that humans are more likely to scan content rather than read.

I particularly liked the Chain Reaction email design for its ease of scanning using a simple numbered list. Customers will make a very quick cognitive decision whether or not to click, and clear simple layout will increase positive outcomes.

Even in the copy, it mentions “but you’re probably pushed for time” demonstrating an understanding of customer habits and needs.

If a brand wants to re-ignite interest, it needs to use tactics that will work efficiently.

4. Incentivise

Whether you’re looking to increase email sign-ups, social media engagement or website outcomes, customers will respond positively to incentives.

Chain Reaction’s incentive starts in the subject line copy and follows it through in their email creative with a £10 discount. Whilst I won’t be retiring on it, it’s a small gesture that can re-engage the frostiest of customers.

Incentives don’t have to be monetary. They can be in the form of free give-aways, exclusive content, or being the first to hear of new offers or promotions.

5. Benefit-led creative and copy

The Chain Reaction re-engagement email was packed full of benefit led content, starting at its subject line cascading through its copy. The creative clearly demonstrates the benefit of remaining a loyal customer with them; and reiterating such benefits does you no harm, even if your customers are fully aware of them.

My only criticism is their overuse of imagery which initially loaded blank. Not ideal if you want to increase click-throughs.

But overall it gets a 9/10 from us and definitely a thumbs up.

I’ve shared the full email creative below: