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5 Email-Marketing Strategies to Conquer Consumer Inaction Start creating list segments based on actions users don't take.

By Susan Gunelius

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Email-marketing segmentation has been proven to boost campaign results, and thanks to modern automation features, it's easier than ever to segment email lists and send highly targeted messages to people based on demographics, psychographics and behavioral data. As these tools get more sophisticated and deeper integrations become available between tools, websites, social media platforms, shopping carts, etc., the potential to segment audiences using unique behavioral data grows more robust.

While most marketers focus on active consumer behaviors like web-page visits, lead-magnet requests and opt-in form submissions, there's a significant opportunity for businesses to connect with audiences by tracking more passive or inactive behavior. Here are five examples of common consumer inaction that you can develop email-marketing strategies around to generate positive results.

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1. No purchase made.

If someone takes the time to show interest in your product but doesn't buy, you need to make another effort to close the sale. By setting up an automated email-message campaign triggered to send when someone displays a behavior that shows they're interested in your product but doesn't buy, you'll have an opportunity to nurture them and motivate them to take action and complete the desired behavior.

2. No email opens.

Any time a person on your email-marketing list opts not to open your messages, it could negatively affect overall deliverability. That's why it's important to set up automated email campaigns that cleanse your list on an ongoing basis.For example, you could set up a campaign to remove all contacts who haven't opened a message in the past three-to-six months. In addition to cleaning your email list based on an absent behavior (i.e. opening your messages), you can also use the data to refine your psychographic segmentation strategies. If a recipient opens all of your messages except those about a specific service, you can use that data to deliver more relevant messages in the future.

Related: Know This About Modern Consumer Behavior or Forget Reaching Your Revenue Goals

3. No email clicks.

One of the metrics marketers track as an indicator of an email campaign's success is click-through rate. But if you reverse-engineer this key performance indicator (KPI) and track when recipients don't click, you'll get even more valuable information. By focusing on who's not clicking through, you can follow up with contacts who may have missed something important and give them another chance to display the behavior you want. This metric is just one more piece to help you build consumer profiles, so you can send the most relevant messages possible to your audience and reduce their email fatigue from your brand.

4. No repeat purchases.

Do you have customers who never made a second purchase or haven't made a purchase in months? Email marketing is a perfect tool for win-back campaigns, but you need to track who stopped buying in order to launch one. When someone buys from you for the first time, kick off an automated email campaign within a few weeks if they haven't made a second purchase yet (or longer depending on the sales and buying cycle for your business). The message can include a special offer to motivate them to buy again. You can schedule a similar win-back message to go out to inactive customers on a quarterly basis or whatever schedule matches your business model.

5. No response to follow-up sales calls.

Inaction can also be associated with offline behaviors, such as sales activities. If you're using an email-marketing tool that includes a customer relationship management (CRM) or sales automation platform (or your email-marketing tool integrates with a CRM or sales automation platform), then you can track sales-related behaviors and send targeted messages. For example, if a member of your company's sales team called a prospective customer who expressed interest in your product but hasn't heard back yet, they'll invariably follow up a certain number of times. But if you're closely tracking that customer's behavior, you can automatically follow up through email marketing as well. It's a great way to reinforce why your business or product is the right choice and remind the prospect why they were interested in the first place.

Email marketing is very powerful, but even more so when you create automated campaigns based on strategic segmentation. Use the archetypal inactions introduced in this article to enhance your email marketing, and your results will improve.

Susan Gunelius

Marketing, Branding, Copywriting, Email and Social Media Expert

Susan Gunelius is CEO of KeySplash Creative Inc., a marketing communications and strategic branding company. She has authored a dozen books about marketing, branding, social media, copywriting and technology and is the founder and editor in chief of, a blog for business women.

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