Leads Going Cold? Follow These Email Marketing Engagement Strategies to Boost Sales

Discover seven effective strategies for re-engaging your current email subscribers to boost engagement and increase sales.

By Will Blunt ・5 min read
Business & Marketing Strategy
Email Marketing

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, but one thing is for certain: email marketing isn't going away.Over the years, email has evolved into much more than just a laundry list of endless messages to respond to (although we get it, sometimes it feels that way). Today, email technology is smarter and consumers are savvier with how they manage their inbox.Smartphones are largely responsible for this resurgence since they’ve made checking email easy and instantaneous via apps and notifications.For marketing professionals, it’s important that you don’t let your email list go cold. It’s a huge missed opportunity for revenue.We spend so much time trying to get NEW leads, that we forget about the people who are already familiar with our brand. We’re neglecting a proven source of sales.Here are seven strategies for re-engaging your current subscribers to boost engagement and sales.

1. Provide a Limited Time Offer

If you provide a discount on your product, people are likely to respond and buy - Marketing 101.The wonderful reality is that consumers are groomed to expect discounts in their inboxes, so they’ll be looking. Additionally, online shopping is a booming market with 40% of internet users shopping several times per month, according to a Statista report.Of course, if you simply provide an unlimited time frame for someone to claim a discount, they will take it for granted and may not take you up on the opportunity. That’s why putting a time limit on your offer is important, it creates urgency.You may choose to send this timebound offer to a segment of your list that you are trying to re-engage with, for example.Below you can see how restaurant chain, Pickle Barrel, uses a limited time offer to engage with their email subscribers:

Limited Time Offer for Leads going Cold

Limited time offer example for email engagement.

2. Run an Exclusive Contest

Yes, contests are an effective way to prospect for new leads, but they can also be a great way of re-engaging your current leads.By running a contest with your current list of leads, you are rewarding them for their support. Make it known that the contest is “exclusive” to current subscribers so that they feel special.Sure, while this type of contest won’t acquire any new leads, it will increase trust and engagement with your current subscribers. Depending on the type of contest you choose, a well-positioned exclusive contest can also give you valuable profiling information on your leads. For example, you could run a “pick your prize” contest to determine which products or services your leads are most interested in, like Frenchies and Bodybrite have done below:

Run an Exclusive Contest like Frenchies and bodybrite for leads going cold

An example of a contest for increasing email engagement. View and Create Your Own

3. Conduct a Survey or Quiz with an Incentive

Surveys go one of two ways - people are either happy to share their feedback, or they’re viewed as a nuisance. By offering an incentive to complete a survey (a discount code, a free consultation, or entry into a contest), you’ll get a much more positive response.You can also use the responses to a survey or quiz to segment your audience and develop targeted campaigns in the future that align with your leads’ desires and interests. This survey from Exit Realty uses photos and a simple one-click question format to capture valuable data from their prospects:

Survey or Quiz with Incentive like Exit realty for Leads Going Cold

Using a survey to increase email engagement.

4. Segment Lists for Targeted, Niche Marketing

Oftentimes, companies will have massive lists of email addresses that have zero context. Where did these emails come from? What are the demographics? What are these people actually interested in? Have they opened any of your communications within the last month?Ideally, you would use landing page form fields to segment your list when they first sign up. However, if you didn’t have this foresight or chose to reduce the friction of signing up for your list, you can gather data retrospectively. For example, you can begin grouping your leads based on their email activity - the links they click on, resources they download, pages they visit on your website, etc. As mentioned previously, you could gather this kind of information by running a contest, or conducting a survey, too.The more information you collect, the better chance you have at re-engaging someone with a personalized email campaign.

The more information you collect, the better chance you have at re-engaging someone with a personalized email campaign."

5. Manage a Referral Program

Word-of-mouth is still one of the most powerful marketing techniques available. A referral from a friend, family member, or trusted advisor is far more compelling than a branded message or advertisement. So, why not use your current list of leads to kickstart a referral program?Starting with your most engaged leads and happy customers is probably going to bear the most fruit when it comes to a referral program, but don’t write off your cold leads too. You may be able to re-engage them with other tactics I’ve discussed in this article, or a re-engagement drip sequence, which leads to an eventual referral.As with anything, be sure to make the referral program about the desires of your customers - don’t make it about you. If you ask for a referral or recommendation, yes, some people will oblige. But if you offer an incentive for providing a referral - such as a discount, commission, or prize - your subscribers are much more likely to get involved.Virgin Airways uses its frequent flyer program and the incentive of points to encourage referrals:

Manage a referral program for Leads Going cold

Using a referral program for engaging email subscribers.

6. Don’t Forget to Email Your Unopeners

Ok, I know, ‘unopeners’ isn’t a word… but you know who I’m talking about, right?!We assume that because someone doesn’t open our email that they’re not interested - at all! The reality is, there is an almost endless number of reasons why someone doesn’t open an email. Their inbox is crowded and overflowing. They’re busy and skim over things. Maybe the subject line just didn’t hit the mark this time, or your email went into their spam folder.Email marketers are all fighting for the same inbox real estate, which is why you need to remind your audience that you want their attention. Emailing everyone who hasn't opened a campaign 3-4 days after your initial send, with a new subject line, will garner more opens.You can take it a step further and email everyone who doesn’t open the second round just to see what happens. Of course, you don't want to risk being spammy, but if you test different subject lines and change up the copy, it will feel less repetitive. In fact, most people won’t even notice that it’s a repeat!

7. Test, Test, Test!

Email marketing is flexible because you have endless opportunities to test subject lines, headlines, design, call-to-action buttons, and more. Once you decipher what's working for a particular audience, you can optimize your emails to increase open and click-rates and boost sales.Testing takes time and patience, but it's worth the effort. It's important to test one variable at a time, so you can understand what's influencing end user behavior. Over time you will start to see better and more consistent results.How are you planning to re-engage your cold leads?

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About the author

By Will Blunt ・5 min read

Will Blunt is the founder of Sidekick Digital by Will Blunt - B2B Marketing Expert - Sidekick Digital, a publishing business that launches, manages, and grows brands with content marketing.

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