12 Stakeholder Re-Engagement Strategies
One important aspect of stakeholder management that’s not talked about enough is the re-engagement strategy. In other words, how do you engage and connect with your stakeholders that you haven’t spoken to for a while?
Perhaps you fell behind on regular stakeholder communication. Maybe it’s been a few months (or perhaps longer) since you last reached out to some of your stakeholders and you’re not sure if they’ll remember you… or how to restart the conversation without it feeling awkward.
Or perhaps you need to re-engage stakeholders who haven’t recently responded to your attempts to engage. If they’ve stopped opening emails or picking up the phone, you might be wondering how you can encourage them to actively participate again.
Disengaged stakeholders can happen to anyone — but the right steps can help you get back on track. So, let’s look at 12 stakeholder re-engagement strategies to rekindle existing relationships and increase your participation.
1. Know Why Re-Engagement Matters
It’s always a good idea to start with ‘why’.
Stakeholder engagement is an ongoing process, with long-term relationships often delivering the best return on investment because they already know and trust your organization. Regardless of why you haven’t connected with stakeholders recently, it’s generally worthwhile putting in extra effort in order to revive your relationships.
2. Review Your Data
Check your stakeholder software to see what data you have on your stakeholders. Even if the data isn’t recent, you might still find some gold in there that will help you understand your stakeholder groups, their interests, and other characteristics. From there, you can start to update any records with new information you already know, and remove contacts that are no longer stakeholders. Review the data to see what strategies worked well in the past that might help you formulate a re-engagement strategy.
3. Trigger a Memory
If it’s been a while, some of your stakeholders may have forgotten about you — or how you got their contact information. The challenge here is that some people are (understandably) cautious about hearing from someone they perceive to be a stranger. So, to avoid getting marked as spam or hung up on, restart the conversation with a quick intro.
Plus, it’s always a good idea to briefly remind contacts who you are and how they got on your list (remember — most people get a lot of email these days). A quick short in your email footer or a few words over the phone will often do the trick.
|You’re receiving this email because you signed up to get updates about our projects. By staying in touch, you can be among the first to learn about changes that might impact you — and get opportunities to share your feedback and contribute.|
4. Reach Out For a Good Reason
People’s time and attention is precious, so make sure that you have a good reason to reconnect with your stakeholders, especially if it’s been a while. Your reason could be:
- New information they might want to know
- A new opportunity to participate
- Something closely related to their interests
- Something of value you have to offer them or their community
Whatever the topic, as long as your initial email or phone call is something that’s worth opening or picking up, you’ll have a better chance of successfully re-engaging stakeholders.
5. Be Transparent
Depending on your organization and stakeholders, it may be appropriate to explain why they haven’t heard from you recently. Be clear about why you’re reaching out now, and set expectations for future communications. For example:
|Our team has been busy behind the scenes with X project, which is why you haven’t heard from us recently. But we’re lining up some exciting new projects for the coming year and will keep you in the loop as we relaunch our monthly newsletter, along with a few extra updates here and there.|
6. Be Relevant
People are far more likely to engage with something that’s timely, relevant, and valuable for them. Tailor your communication based on their location, interests, past activity, and more. The more personalized and meaningful your stakeholder communication feels, the more likely your stakeholders will take notice.
7. Try a Different Mode of Communication
Sometimes the best approach is to switch up your platforms or communication method. Not only because this can get someone’s attention, but because they may have a different preference, or may no longer be reachable via an old office location or email address.
If you’ve previously reached out via just one or two platforms, try something different, like:
- Shorter emails vs longer emails
- SMS messages
- Phone calls
- Postcards or letters
- Social media posts or stories
- Sponsored content
- Retargeting ads that reach your stakeholders on other platforms
- Podcasts or local radio interviews
8. Run a Survey
Early on in your re-engagement strategy, try to gather more up-to-date information from your stakeholder contacts. This will help to strengthen your list and provide insights that help you make your future communication and engagement activities more relevant. One good option is to run a short stakeholder survey that asks people to confirm their contact information and what they’re currently interested in.
9. Don’t Spam
Of course, like other types of communication, stakeholder communication should follow the relevant laws designed to protect people’s privacy and prevent spam. For example, any emails you send should include an unsubscribe link so that stakeholders can easily opt out of communication. This also helps you refine your stakeholder list, by ensuring anyone who’s still on it is interested in what you have to say.
But the colloquial meaning of ‘don’t spam’ fits well here, too. If you haven’t communicated with stakeholders for a while, it might be tempting to over-communicate in order to get their attention while implementing your re-engagement strategy. Instead, consider stakeholder expectations and use this to guide your approach — would they expect to hear from you weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or only as needed?
10. Keep Trying
If a stakeholder hasn’t opted out of your communication but aren’t yet re-engaging, you could assume they’re happy to keep receiving it and will re-engage when they’re ready. Consider a few possible scenarios:
- They may be busy or unavailable
- They may be uninterested in the current topic (but keeping an eye out for future issues)
- They could be planning to come back to your communication in future
- They may require a number of reminders and follow-ups before they take action on something
So, continue to share information and opportunities to participate, even with stakeholders that haven’t engaged for a while.
11. Prevention Over Cure
Prevention is always better than cure. So, as much as possible, try to keep your stakeholders engaged and your communication consistent.
Review your stakeholder communication and management strategies to see where stakeholders are falling through, or where your team is unable to keep up with regular communications. You might discover some gaps you can fill, like:
- Better tailoring your communication topics and platforms
- Planning communications further in advance so you’re better prepared (and able to maintain consistency)
- Getting more creative so stakeholders stay interested
- Conducting more frequent surveys so you can keep up with changing stakeholder interests
- Reaching out and discovering new stakeholders
- Regularly auditing your list to remove old contacts (i.e. those stakeholders that are no longer interested or impacted)
12. Use an SRM
Finally, many of the re-engagement strategies we’ve discussed here rely on good stakeholder data practices. It’s impossible to remember all your stakeholders, what they’re interested in, and every past interaction you’ve had with them — especially if you’re sharing responsibilities with a team.
A stakeholder relationship management (SRM) tool like Darzin makes it much easier to do things like:
- Look up stakeholder information
- Identify stakeholders that haven’t engaged recently
- Personalize and tailor your communication
- Contextualize communication based on previous interactions
- Communicate on an ongoing basis
- And much, much more
Want to take a closer look? Learn more about how Darzin can support ongoing stakeholder management or reach out to our team to request a demo.