If at first you don’t succeed…Resend!
Marketers have an edge when it comes to email vs. traditional channels: They know who did or didn’t open the first email, and they can act accordingly by sending more email.
Sending more email? When everyone is fearful of over sending? Yes! Send more email!
Although every marketer has to determine their own ideal email frequency in order to maximize email marketing ROI without causing a rash of spam complaints or unsubscribes, there is a kind of email that can be done on a case-by-case basis regardless of ideal frequency: the resend. Resending emails to subscribers who didn’t open the first email is a tactic that can increase open rates and click-through rates and conversions. It’s a way of sending more emails without seeming to.
Resending email is the practice of sending the exact same email to the non-openers of the original email, preferably with a different subject line (and possibly other tweaks described below). That is a quick win: minimum effort, extra results. The results can be quite high: The non-profit Avera McKennan Foundation boosted their donations by 55% by sending an email twice—first to all subscribers, and then with a new subject line to subscribers who did not open the first email.
It’s not really an increase in frequency
Marketers sometimes shy away from resending emails for fear of overdoing their email frequency. In reality, however, most subscribers don’t see every email anyway. Just because an email is sent on a weekly or monthly basis doesn’t mean it is seen on a weekly or monthly basis.
For example, if a marketer sends a monthly email and averages an open rate of 25%, and 75% of the list has shown some activity in the past year. Even in the best case scenario, can you see how many months it would takes for an averagely active subscriber to open even one of your emails? That puts frequency in a different light, doesn’t it? Resending seem a lot less intrusive as a result.
7 tips for intelligent resending and reminding
For those marketers who are ready to risk a little more frequency in order to generate more opens, click throughs and email marketing ROI, I offer these tips for intelligently resending and reminding:
Tip 1: Wait before sending the second email
Yes, don’t email the resend right away. The biggest number of opens will occur in the first hour after sending. But especially if your frequency is weekly or less, wait and give the long tail a chance to open the first mail.
TIP 2. Be careful to whom you resend
Obviously, marketers only want to resend an email to someone who didn’t open the first one, but there are others too who shouldn’t get the second send. Those are the people who took action already, by converting or buying, without clicking through on the email. Being able to do this requires some integration of the email marketing software with the website and ecommerce systems but it is worth the effort to make sure no one gets annoyed by receiving an email promoting something they already bought or signed up for.
TIP 3. Send it on a different day and at a different time
Some of us are morning openers, some of us are opening email all day long. Most brands have a combination of business and personal email addresses on their lists, and these different email accounts are checked at different times and on different days . Not all checked at the same time. (Personal send time optimization can further improve the results if your email tool supports it.)
TIP 4. Test for multiple subject lines, not one
Email marketing best practices for resending emails suggest the subject line must be different in the second email. The body can remain the same for the most part, but the subject line has to change so the subscriber recognizes it as new email. (And maybe a different subject line will be more likely to engage that subscriber.) This means at least two good subject lines are needed, not one. To determine both subject lines at the same time, do a subject line test with the first email. The subject line with the best overall response is used for the first mail. The subject line that engages the biggest number of subscribers who don’t usually open the emails is used as the subject line for the second email. (this is very tricky!) Or we could do a new test (this is easier, let’s just do that). The second email is going to the group of people who are less likely to respond, remember. So use the subject line that appealed to them the most as a group, which is not per se similar to the best preforming one in the original email.
Try these tactics when testing subject lines to see if any boost response, and with which group, then use them accordingly:
- Change the benefit in the subject line.
- Personalize the subject line.
- Add a sense of urgency with a deadline.
- Make it an obvious resend by using words such “Reminder” or “In case you missed it the first time” in the subject line.
- You could even try some priming in your subject lines.
TIP 5. Change the text to match the new subject line
Although the body of the email can remain essentially the same in a resent email, change the headline and sub headers to align with the new subject line. This will also make the second email look “new” to anyone who saw the first one before ignoring it. As long as the email makes sense from subject line to headline to body text, the content should be in alignment.
TIP 6. Try a new Call to Action
For a second send of an ignored email, try changing the call to action, preferably to a lower commitment one. For instance “View Offer” or “More Info” is less risky compared to calls to action such as “Register” or “Buy Now.”
TIP 7. Create a sense of urgency with a deadline
Building in some urgency by setting an end date and putting it in the subject line can boost click throughs and revenues. This also works well for “reminder” emails that go to those non-responders, with subject lines such as “Reminder to take our survey by July 20.”
Resending is a powerful tactic that can bring a big conversion lift. But with great power comes great responsibility. So as a last tip, consider using the resend wisely and for instance only for your best offers.
Jordie van Rijn is an independent email marketing consultant has a love for coffee and well executed email and marketing automation strategies in the morning. With over a decade of experience, brands like KLM, Unilever and Eurail turn to him for advice.