Email Marketing: activating the inactive!

THE CHALLENGE: A large healthcare benefits provider, (HBP), with an existing database of over 3 million records, discovered that one third of it’s database, approx. 1,300,000 records, were inactive. Messages hadn’t been opened in over 6 months.
HBP had built their impressive database in just over a year. As part of the sign up process, emails were collected with the opportunity to opt out. Recipients may have overlooked the opt out, and as a result they may or may not have been aware of the benefits that were being offered. Other reasons for the inactivity could have been that:

  • They had changed their email address
  • They didn’t provide their primary email address
  • The messages had been going into bulk mail
  • There was an image blocking issue
  • They just weren’t interested

In an effort to hold on to such a large segment of their list, HBC turned to ZOOM Cross-Media to see what could be salvaged.
An aggressive call to action:

  • We sent out well branded, short, concise messages that were a short read and a low time investment
  • We offered multiple prizes to create more opportunities to win

FIRST BLAST: 1.77 million (remember these are non responders)

  • Delivered: 1.70 million or 96.35%
  • Open rate: 46,380 or 4.76% (higher rate for this group of people)
  • Clicked: 37,794 or 2.2% (actual number of people that entered)
  • Unsubscribe: 4,646 or .027% (same rate as monthly campaign)

A 2nd blast was sent a month later to the non-responders (again, in-between campaigns) with a “last chance” subject line:
SECOND BLAST: 1.689 million

  • Delivered: 1.620 delivered or 95.94%
  • Opened: 50,152 or 3.09%
  • Clicked: 37,465 or 2.3%
  • Unique Clicks: 31,657 or 1.95%
  • Unsubscribe: 3,132 or 0.19%


  • Instead of discontinuing this large segment of their database, we successfully targeted and messaged them.
  • We re-engaged, and in some cases engaged for the first time.
  • We incentivized them to take action.
  • We educated them along the way about an eNewsletter that had evolved over the life of the platform.


  • There is an on-going opportunity inherent in regular database cleansing.
  • It’s crucial to identify the varying levels of interest and trigger points of the readership.
  • Opportunities abound in segmenting content based on preferences!

This proved to be an effective and economical solution to the problem with inactivity in the database.
Give us a call if you’d like to chat about assessing your email database opportunities.

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Janet Osterdock is ZOOM Media’s President and CEO where she focuses on campaign development and implementation. Janet founded ZOOM Cross-Media in 2009 with a team of highly skilled industry specialists. She has a heart for service and works side-by-side with clients to deliver integrated high-impact campaigns. In Janet’s words “implementation is everything and it can make the difference between average performance and outstanding performance.” In her spare time, Janet volunteers in pet therapy at Shriner’s Hospital for Children.

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