Sleepers. They’re customers who have free accounts but haven’t used them in a while. They got far enough to sign up and start using your product. They just never made it over the hump.

We’ve been thinking about how to wake these sleepers. After all, it’s a lot easier to wake a sleeping customer than win a new one.

A one-time reminder email seems like a good nudge. Something that reminds these people they signed up, shows them what they’re missing, and offers a path for getting back in the saddle. And a discount or coupon never hurts.

For example, Jamis tried StumbleUpon once a while back. They recently sent him this email:


There’s also the option of offering sleepers a treat to wake up. David, who stopped using NetFlix, recently got a letter from the company saying “we miss you” and offering a 20% discount on the first few months.

The goal is to find a nice, positive way to poke inactive account holders. You could even frame it like this: “Hey, you have data with us you haven’t used. Would you like to delete your account? If not, here’s a deal…”

Of course, it’s best to keep pokes like this to a minimum (sometimes sleeping dogs just want to lie).

Also a good idea: Allow the recipient to cancel/unsubscribe. A lot of these sleepers are sleepers because they simply don’t want to use the service. It’s only fair to give them an easy to way get back to sleep.