Re-Permission Your Old Lists

I dealt with a customer yesterday that had to re-permission their subscriber list. At first glance, it looks like a nasty thing; this just isn’t true. This sort of thing happens and, to us email marketeers, is indicative of a client that doesn’t practice the best subscriber list hygiene. Let’s discuss a decent strategy to opt-in or “re-permission” your list.

If you have a list that you haven’t sent emails to in over six months, you need to re-permission your list. Assume your subscribers have forgotten who you are or what you offer. They may not remember how or why they started first getting your newsletter. So we need to refresh their memory and check their interest.

In the case of our client, we needed a solution for re-verifying her subscriber set. My solution: a well timed incentive.

Offer something good. First and foremost - you need some kind of offering. Whether it’s a prize, discount, coupon, joke, or unique content, there has to be an incentive for your readers to give you
permission to hit their inbox on a regular basis.

Timing is everything. Secondly, that offering has to be timed right. Some folks have tried a weekly opt-in, and that really just makes everyone mad - including gateways and email service providers. MNB’s built-in system allows an opt-in to be send from the system once every 30 days - that is a usually a great protective measure for our reputation, but sometimes you may need to take a different approach.

3-Step Method. My suggested method to initially re-permission this client’s list:

1. Create a newsletter (or series) with a giveaway contest featuring a high-dollar-value item (the incentive).

2. In order to enter the giveaway, a reader must opt-in via a specific link in the newsletter - said link should direct readers to a thank you page on your website or a thank you newsletter in your MNB account (I’m not inventing the wheel here).

HUGE CAVEAT: aside from re-introducing yourself and the content you have to offer, that newsletter must also tell your subscriber where and how you originally got their email address (IP, timestamp, URL) and clearly identify the method for them to remove themselves from the list completely.

3. Start with a 2 week interval; send another offering (change the incentive) to the list that has not taken any action (unsubscribed or opted-in).  This is basically now a self-reducing prospecting list.

It is critical to monitor this first follow-up email. If complaints jump up to near 1 per 1,000 emails sent, the sending interval was too short - move it back another week. The next follow-up should be 3
weeks from the date of the previous email. I wouldn’t really consider moving it any sooner - but only testing and monitoring will give you the final answer.

Everyone has a different business model, and this will work for some clients, but not necessarily all. Your incentive may not necessitate a 2-week interval.  What if your business doesn’t offer anything different within that 2-week time frame? Answer: don’t send your opt-in campaigns more frequently than your regular newsletter.

If you need help solving a complex marketing problem or devising a campaign strategy, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.