Seminary drops Dead Weight in email list

Letting go is tough, especially for organizations who rely on broad outreach to meet fundraising needs. As an email service provider for several non-profits, we've heard time and time again that they want to keep sending messages to everyone under the sun, because "you never know if someone is going to make a large donation as a result."

Today, we applaud St. Nersess Armenian Seminary for doing the exact opposite. They realized that higher quality email lists would mean better results in the long run, and that by segmenting their lists they could send more targeted content, so we helped them "drop the dead weight."

Here's how it went down:

  1. We created a segment of their list that had not opened any campaign in the last 6 months. We chose 6 months simply because it included campaigns that covered a variety of topics and an adequate number of campaigns, but you could choose a longer or shorter length of time.
  2. Using tactics we wrote about in our Awesome Re-engagement Email article, we crafted a "last chance" message to send to this list. Then, in the campaign itself we set a Subscriber Action to "re-confirm" them when they followed the instructions in the email.
  3. It hit us that we'd now need to promote list signups better on the website, and so the "Subscribe" button was added to every page in the sidebar.
  4. The email went out, and we waited a week before going back to our subscriber list and filtering out those who had responded.
  5. Everyone else...c-ya!

The Last Chance Email:

Re-Engagement Email Sample

The results:

Now, bear in mind, these people haven't opened an email from St. Nersess Seminary in 6 months (shame on them!), so we can't expect astronomical response. But we think it was a great success. Here's the breakdown:

Re-engagement email chart

4.5 Percentage of subscribers who opened the email (remember, these people hadn't opened one in 6 months!)
1.8 Percentage of total subscribers who clicked our re-engagement link (a stat which we feel doesn't represent much, but the industry likes it)
38.9 Percentage of subscribers that opened the email who clicked the re-engagement link (isn't this a better representation of the message's effectiveness than the stat above? We think so)
2.9 Percentage increase to subscribers based off this re-engagement campaign.

Moral of the story

This single campaign added nearly 3% more subscribers to our list in just a few days, and we have a series of fundraising emails going out that they're more likely to open now that we just called them out. How? 

  1. Using a clear subject with sense of urgency.
  2. Personal, concerned tone.
  3. Specific instructions on how to re-engage.

How have you re-engaged subscribers? Tell us in the comments section!

About the Author -  owns Shovi Websites, a company that manages websites and email marketing campaigns for small businesses & non-profits. Connect with Stephan on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.

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