Not all email marketing subscribers are created equal.

Contact A: Has come to your website after visiting several other competitors. They see your popup signup form that boasts a 20% off discount for new subscribers. They signup just in case, but they haven’t made a decision yet about your business or any other one. After opt-in, they aren’t really paying much attention to your emails.

Contact B: Has already done their research. They even have a recommendation or referral about your business. They’re confident you’re the solution for what they seek. They might just be waiting to save some more money, for a holiday bonus or any other number of reasons. They signup, because they want to hear more from you. Emails from you are almost always opened.

Do you think it pays to communicate to those two subscribers in the same manner?

It’s not rhetorical. The answer is no.

If you were to continue on sending to Contact A, the same way you were sending to Contact B, it would eventually affect your deliverability. Inbox clients pay attention to when you’re continually sending to inactive subscribers and will act accordingly.

For that reason alone, knowing how important each individual subscriber is to your business has incredible value.

Enter Benchmark Email’s brand new Contact Rating system.

What is the Contact Ratings System?

Contact Rating is a way of telling how engaged your subscribers are with your email campaigns.

Aside from seeing who is interacting with the emails you send, contact rating is also beneficial because it allows you to segment your emails based on the subscriber’s rating.

Ratings can go from 0 stars, meaning they’re a new subscriber who you haven’t sent to yet, to one star, meaning they’ve received an email, but haven’t clicked or opened, and 2-5, which show how engaged that contact is with your emails. The rating is based off of your previous 90 days of sending.

You can improve your email’s deliverability (and do some awesome strategies we’ll get into shortly), with the Contact Rating system.

You can segment your emails on the fly using the rating system and separate the low rated contacts (0-2) from the highly rated ones (3-5).

To learn more about Contact Rating, you can check out our helpful FAQ.

Now that you know how to segment based on Contact Rating, let’s look at how you can put it to use:

Create a Loyalty Program for Your Highest Rated Subscribers

On average, it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to keep the ones you already have. That’s why a customer loyalty program is a good strategy for any business.

Knowing how important customer retention is, making your subscribers feel special with a loyalty program is an essential part of nurturing positive customer relationships with email marketing.

How can you do it?

Create Special Sales or Events Exclusive to Your Highest Rated Contacts

To make your loyal subscribers feel special, creating an heir of exclusivity can go a long ways.

It can be a single day or a week-long affair, but the idea is to generate some excitement and to make your loyal contacts feel appreciated.

Think about how Amazon handles Prime Day. It’s 24+ hours of new deals occurring throughout the day. It incentives Prime members to return all day and night to see the new deals that have opened up.

Amazon Prime Day email

This Amazon Prime Day email lets you know only a select group gets to enjoy the benefits and it creates a sense of urgency. It’s sure to result in plenty of repeat business.

Give Loyal Customers a Say

Aside from showing your customers that you appreciate them by giving them discounts and access to special sales, asking for their feedback is another way to show your contacts that they’re valued.

I play fantasy football with my friends. I’m in a handful of leagues. Recently, Yahoo emailed me to tell me that as one of their more active users for fantasy football, they wanted to know if I’d be interested in participating in a survey about their services. Of course I was. I wanted to feel like I had a say in what was happening.

They even sweetened the deal by offering a gift card as a token of their gratitude. They remind me that it’s only for me, which gives it that level of exclusivity as well. It’s a simple, plain text email. It doesn’t look great. However, it did get me to complete the survey as they requested.

Re-engage Your Lowest Rated Contacts

Inactive subscribers happen.

There are various reasons a subscribe doesn’t engage with your emails. Perhaps they’re traveling or they’re busy. Maybe they already made a purchase and don’t need your emails any more. Or it could be that they just don’t see the value in what you’re sending.

It could be any of those reasons or none of them.

Why it happens is a topic for another blog. For now, we’ll focus on what you can to to re-engage them when it happens.

Tell Them You’re Going to Remove Them

Everyone wants what they can’t have.

Telling your subscribers that you’re going to remove them from your list, unless they opt back into your list is a good way to re-engage your inactive subscribers.

It may make them realize they do want to hear from you, or let you know that they’ve just been too busy to engage. If you do this, it’s important to toe the line of desperation and creepiness and just let them know that you’ll stop dropping by their inbox unless they say otherwise.

This re-engagement email from Sidekick, now known as HubSpot Sales Tools, does a really great job of being friendly and understanding, while staying on brand and not over-stepping.

Incentivize Re-engagement

Sometimes, it just takes a friendly nudge to re-engage an inactive subscriber.

Say something like “we miss you” and offer a small discount to get them in the door. There is a lot of competition in most industries these days. If you’re not staying top of mind, you’re going to be forgetting. Giving a little reminder can help you bring back lost business.

Pinkberry does a nice job with this re-engagement email for their loyal customers with a Pinkcard who haven’t been around in a while. That they put an expiration on it, creates a sense of urgency and ensures the customer comes back soon.

Pinkberry Pinkcard re-engagement email

Additional Re-engagement Strategies

Much like rewarding your engaged contacts by listening to them, you can ask for feedback from your inactive ones.

Give them a chance to tell you what they’d have liked to be receiving from you, rather than the content they’ve been ignoring. Their passion for what they don’t like can be a lesson to you as well.

You can also try to throw a hail mary. After all, they’re already inactive. If they decide to unsubscribe at that point, it will make little difference.

Has there been an idea for an email campaign you’ve always wanted to do, but have been too nervous to try? Use it as a re-engagement campaign.

Do something bold (yet appropriate) to catch their attention and you may even learn a new tactic you can use with your engaged customers.

Wrapping Up

Whether you have two or two million subscribers, it’s important to know what not all contacts have the same value to your business.

Thankfully, the new Contact Rating System from Benchmark makes it easy for you to see which contacts are engaged (and which ones aren’t).