Consumers sometimes unsubscribe from retailer emails. But that doesn’t mean they don’t want to hear from those retailers ever again. Here are four ways to get back in touch with former subscribers and strengthen their connection to your brand.

Jenn Horner, senior relationship marketing strategist, DEG, Linked by Isobar

Jenn Horner, senior relationship marketing strategist, DEG, Linked by Isobar

No matter what you do as a marketer, consumers are going to unsubscribe from your email program, and it will be for any number of reasons. Maybe they joined during the holiday season just to stay in the loop of the greatest deals or perhaps a life event altered the way they engage with your brand.

When they do unsubscribe, it’s easy to take that feedback in a negative way and think, “What did they not like about my email program?” But don’t get discouraged, because just because they left, doesn’t mean they can’t—or won’t—come back.

For those that do unsubscribe, this is a great opportunity to work with your social and paid media teams to retarget these records in order to engage them in other channels.

There are a few steps you can take to make the break up hopefully not so permanent.

Step one: Use your data

With the massive amount of data we have available on email subscribers, there is a definite opportunity to partner with data scientists to develop a predictive model for identifying when subscribers are going to unsubscribe. Re-engagement campaigns are often focused on driving opens, clicks, and/or conversions. A predictive model focused solely on unsubscribes can be used to proactively prevent subscribers from reaching the point where they feel the need to unsubscribe.

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Just as we warm up new IP addresses or use a welcome series to introduce and set proper expectations for what’s to come, we can use this model to reduce frequency and proactively ask these subscribers how they’d like to continue to hear from us.

Step two: Present alternatives

Rather than having a simple unsubscribe option, present alternative preferences. Allowing your subscribers to dictate the frequency or topics of emails they receive is a good way to learn more information about what they want from their email subscription and give you the opportunity to remain in their inbox. Some brands even offer the opportunity to put promotional emails on pause for a time. By presenting options, you are allowing the subscriber to have more control, and often that sense of control can lead to deeper loyalty and engagement.

Step three: Retarget unsubscribes

For those that do unsubscribe, this is a great opportunity to work with your social and paid media teams to retarget these records in order to engage them in other channels.

Customers don’t view a brand through the same channel silos that we, as marketers, often work within. Even though someone doesn’t want to be part of your email program, they still may be interested in maintaining engagement with you in another channel.

Step four: Welcome them back

Always be ready to welcome subscribers back. Transactional emails are a great opportunity to include special welcome-back offers to subscribers that unsubscribed from promotional emails in the past. If customers must sign in to complete their purchase, including special incentives to re-subscribe as they check out could help increase overall conversion rates and allow you to welcome these subscribers back via a dedicated nurturing stream.

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At the end of the day, unsubscribes are a natural part of any email program. And in some ways, it’s not as negative as it can be perceived. It’s better to have a record unsubscribe rather than languish unengaged on your list and bring down your engagement rates.

Having a plan to reduce, prevent, and then welcome back these records can make it so the impact of unsubscribes is not felt too deeply.

Digital commerce agency DEG was acquired in December by global media and digital marketing firm Dentsu Aegis Network and is now known as DEG, Linked by Isobar.

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