As frequent readers of Mobile Demystified will note, brands oftentimes allow their mobile subscriber lists to go stale. Though we won’t debate the reason today, I’m going to assume that it’s because no follow-up strategy existed prior to the launch of the campaigns (reminder: this is a big no-no, as mobile needs to be ongoing, not one-off).


Fortunately, brands with stale mobile lists can take action in the form of a reinvigoration campaign. In addition to campaigns that did not include follow-up, reinvigoration campaigns benefit those companies that are switching providers or short codes, or looking to increase efficiency (and thus ROI) by re-adjusting the number of legit subscribers receiving messaging and updates.


The steps for launching a reinvigoration campaigns aren’t complicated, but possess equal importance:

  1. Conduct a wireless number look up on the stale list. This will weed out any non-mobile numbers (e.g. that might have been submitted incorrectly via a web form), folks who have canceled their phone plan or switched providers and any other riff-raff. Mobile number lookups come with a cost, but one that’s minuscule compared to blasting messages blindly to stale subscriber groups.
  2. Figure out what data (if any) you have on your subscriber list. Most important is date of opt-in to understand the age of the opted-in subscribers. Other pieces to look for include: opt-in channel (e.g. mobile/online/paper sign-up), reason for opting in (e.g. sweepstakes, alerts, etc.) and last time the subscribers received a message.
  3. Segment the list (again, if possible) by whatever data gathered. Most important is if you can get a sense of subscriber age and divide the list accordingly (e.g. within last quarter, two quarters ago, three quarters ago).
  4. Effectively A/B test your list according to the segments you defined. For example, if you can gather opt-in date, send test messages to your “youngest” subscribers and understand reinvigoration rate according to re-signups, replies, unsubscribes, etc. Adjust future messaging according to the data gathered from each segment blast.

When designing messaging for the reinvigoration campaigns, make sure to offer a very compelling incentive. Be up front and/or honest that you are trying to recommit to subscribers by providing them with ample reason to stay on the list.

In addition to the incentive, make sure to include a call-out to why people were on the list in the first place (e.g. <BRAND> SWEEPS ALERT), a way for people to confirm opt-in to the reinvigorated list (e.g. Reply Y to confirm sign-up), and a way for subscribers to opt-out (e.g. Reply STOP to cancel).

As you are designing the reinvigoration campaign, make sure to track your incoming data against success rate benchmarks. Ask providers for information if none exists on your end. Remember, depending on the above segmentation factors, unsub rates may be high. But those customers who remain opt-ed in represent some of your most valuable, as they have decided to remain loyal to the brand despite a non-optimal mobile experience.

Avoiding Reinvigoration

Of course, the best way to run a reinvigoration campaign is to never have to run one at all. Here are a couple tips to keep your subscriber list fresh and current:

  • Message at minimum once per month. Better than messaging not at all and once per month ensures that subscribers remain in-the-know about why they are receiving mobile content.
  • Collect as much segmentation data as possible. No brainers include opt-in date, opt-in channel and opt-in reason. Switch providers if your current solution cannot capture segmentation information or other metadata.
  • Use segmentation data to deliver more relevant and compelling messaging. Transition from “spray-and-pray” to “personalized engagement.”
  • Analyze success rates and optimize messaging accordingly. Set-it-and-let-it will not result in mobile success.

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