Email segmentation best practices

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Email segmentation is the practice of dividing your mailing list into smaller groups, called segments. When sending emails, instead of sending to your entire mailing list, you send to specific segments. 

There are many ways to build these segmentations, but we’ll share a way to segment your audience that will help you achieve maximum deliverability and inbox placement.

Email segmentation for deliverability

Use data from your email service provider or your own analysis to divide your audience into the following groups. 

Email segmentation

Segment: No consent

These are email addresses you have that have not consented to receiving emails from you. Under no circumstances should you send this segment any emails. 

Recommended email frequency: Do not email this segment

Segment: New (<30 days old)

These email addresses have been added to your list within the last 30 days. This segment can receive a good amount of emails, since they are typically active. It’s a good idea to set up an onboarding flow to welcome these new customers to your brand.

Recommended email frequency: 1-3 emails per week

Segment: Passive (31-90 days old, No opens or clicks)

These emails are between one to three months old, and they’ve never opened or clicked on one of your emails. Since they are relatively new contacts, there’s still a chance for them to engage with your emails. But if you’re a very frequent sender, you might want to dial back your emails so you don’t push this group away.

Passive accounts should make up less than 2% of your mailing list.

Recommended email frequency: Varies, aim for no more than 1 per week.

Segment: Active (More than 1-month-old, open or click within 90 days)

These accounts have demonstrated recent engagement with your emails, and are eligible for a relatively high email frequency. A healthy email list should consist of at least 40% active accounts. You’re in great shape if 65% or more of your list is active.

Recommended email frequency: Can receive your highest frequency

Segment: Lapsing (More than 1-month-old, last activity 91-180 days ago)

Lapsing accounts haven’t interacted with your emails in the last three months, but they had some activity within the last six months. They’re starting to tune you out, possibly because you’re sending too much repetitive content. 

Try to send this segment fresh content, and focus on good personalization techniques to get more engagement. You should also move this segment to a reduced sending frequency, you probably won’t win them back by sending even more emails.

Recommended email frequency: 1-2 emails per week (for high frequency senders)

Segment: Lapsed (More than 1-month-old, last activity more than 180 days ago)

These accounts have lost all interest in your email. ISPs can see how much recipients are engaging with your emails, and if they see that someone hasn’t engaged in the last six months, they’ll typically push your emails to the spam folder.

Accounts in this segment can also be spam traps, since ISPs start to reclaim abandoned email addresses after 180 days. If you continually hit spam traps, you’ll get very negative marks on your sender reputation.

These email addresses are adding very little revenue to your business. You should consider purging them from your mailing list altogether, or creating a win-back campaign to try and re-engage them.

Recommended email frequency: 0 emails per week

Segment: Inactive (More than 90 days old, never opened or clicked an email)

Inactive accounts contribute no revenue to your business, and that is unlikely to change in the future. You should definitely not send emails to this segment, since they are decreasing all of your email metrics. Removing this segment from your mailing list will create an automatic boost in open and click rates, and will help you avoid spam traps.

Recommended email frequency: 0 emails per week, remove from your mailing list

This segmentation can be used by senders of all sizes and from all industries. It also serves as a good measure of the health of your emailing list.

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