How to use loyalty campaigns to keep your database engaged

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It's one thing to have an email database – but how engaged are your subscribers? Do you know the last time they opened an email? When was the last time they clicked one of your links?

Having an active email database is even more important than the size of your database.

Luckily, there are simple strategies you can employ to keep your users engaged with your emails and loyal to your paper. Below are five tips for your loyalty campaigns:

1. Celebrate Birthdays (and Half Birthdays!)

One of the simplest loyalty emails to send is a birthday email. You likely already have your users' birthdays, so creating this campaign can happen in a snap. Plus, get a second bite at the apple by celebrating your readers' half birthdays as well.

With a 179 percent higher click rate than other emails, birthday campaigns are one of the best ways to ensure your database stays active. Why not dig into your newspaper archives and send the top headlines that happened on the day or year of their birth?

2. Send Special Offers

Emails mentioning a special offer in the subject line are a great way to start. Who wouldn't want to receive a coupon for discounted concert tickets or free birthday pizza? These special offers get high open rates and will drive traffic straight into your advertiser's storefront. You can further increase your open rates by personalizing the subject line with their name as well.

3. Include a Video – With a Play Button

In addition to an exclusive offer sent on someone's birthday – or even in place of it – try recording a "Happy Birthday" message for your subscriber. The key is to use an image with a big play button signifying video content. This will make your readers click on the link to get to the video and exponentially increase your click-thru rate.

Creating a strong loyalty email program should be the foundation of your email strategy. Not only will this keep your audience highly engaged, but you'll also see your emails themselves become more effective.

Matt Coen is the president and co-founder of Second Street, a leading provider of private-label online promotions platforms and partner success services for media companies based in St. Louis, Mo. He can be reached at (314) 880-4902 or matt@secondstreet.com.

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