Segment lists to improve deliverability

1. Create a segment for unengaged subscribers who meet both of these criteria: have received at least 10 emails and have not opened any of the previous 10 emails sent.

2. Use the unengaged segment as an exclusion segment for your emails so that you're only targeting engaged subscribers.

If a contact has not opened any of the past 10 emails, they are considered unengaged and continuing to send to them will damage your sender reputation.

3. Create segments within your master list based on user characteristics like past purchases, browsing history, product life cycle stage, interests, or geographical location.

For more information on using segmentation see the Playbook on Segmentation.

4. Create relevant content specifically for these user characteristic segments and send it only to them.

The more bespoke the content of an email, the higher the open rates and CTRs will tend to be. This results in a better sender reputation as most inboxes prioritize user engagement and action like opening, clicking, and forwarding, when deciding on your sender reputation and inbox placement.

5. Create a suppression segment for subscribers that meet one of these criteria; soft bounce 4 times over all time or hard bounce 2 times over all time, exclude this segment from all future emails.

Check whether your email marketing platform automatically suppresses hard bounces, if it does, you can eliminate that criterion.

6. If you have overlapping segments in your mailing list, create a suppression segment for users that have received an email in the last 16-24 hours and exclude this segment from all emails.

Over emailing is one of the biggest causes of deliverability issues. By excluding those who have received an email in the last 16-24 hours, you reduce the likelihood of recipient fatigue. If the content or offer you’re sending out is extremely valuable or relevant or your user base is very engaged, you may not need to exclude this segment. However, if your open rates are not over 15% then it’s typically best to exclude this segment for all emails.

7. Create a churn risk segment for users who have not opened any emails from the past 5 campaigns and write a re-engagement campaign highlighting your best offer or discount.

This segment needs to be monitored as users are at risk of becoming unengaged. Your re-engagement campaign should also be as personalized as possible. Consider breaking the segment down further into product interests, past buyer behavior or geographical location and sending each segment a relevant offer. For more information please see the Playbook on re-engagement campaigns.

8. Once a month, review the open rate, CTR and unsubscribe rate for each of your active segments and note down any that are underperforming.

9. Experiment with the type of content or offers you send to these underperforming segments.

Segments can become stale and unresponsive if they constantly receive the same type of products or offers, and by preemptively changing the topic of your emails, you help avoid people in these segments becoming unengaged.