Email Segment Strategies: Why It Matters

If you’re firing off that creative to 100% of your email contacts with every broadcast, then it’s time to reconsider your life choices. While every email you draft I’m sure is beautifully written and with the greatest of intentions, you’re likely harming your relationship with the ISPs (internet service providers like Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) that decide your fate.

Obviously, avoiding the spam button is goal #1. Therein lies the truth and power in email segmentation. The more disinterested subscribers you have receiving emails they no longer care about, the more often ISPs will begin to place you in spam and your reputation will disintegrate into sadness.

Where to Begin: Start with the Basics

An effective starting point for a first list segment is your openers from the last 30 days. From there, begin casting a wider net on a weekly basis if performance is lookin’ good. Additionally, if you have a low number of contacts in that segment, you can start increasing the time range to a 45 or 60 day window.

Here’s the deal though: open rates really only tell us so much since we’ve all been victims of the robot-opens from Apple and other sources. If your goal is to have a highly engaged segment that you’re sending to regularly, your segment should include a combination of clickers and openers. We recommend a blend of 30 day openers + 30 day clickers.

With all the openers misdirection that has come from new mail privacy protection tactics from the corporate  giants, clicks are now the first KPI we confidently recommend to focus on for improving list performance and health.

Segmenting will help you keep key engagement rates high (open rates above 25%) and spam complaints low (below 0.1%). And if you want to impress the eyes of the ISPs, or stay within Gmail and Yahoo metric requirements, you gotta play the game.

How Often Should I Do This?

Here at InboxGeek, we make these adjustments once a week. Did opens and clicks go down the previous week? Time to decrease your segment window. Did opens and clicks go up? Increase your segment window instead. Just don’t get too frisky with these segment changes; never adjust more than 1x/week.

Try This Next Time: Advanced Tactics

InboxGeek employs an advanced tactic that some other top email marketers might be using as well: unique list segments for each ISP. Recognizing that each ISP has its own personality, performance, and reputation, we tailor our segments accordingly. For example, for Yahoo contacts, we may use a 30-day clickers + 30-day openers segment, while for Gmail, we focus on the last 50-day openers. This helps a lot with keeping the number of sends to the max number we can send while keeping performance at a high level.

If you’re sending at least 1000 emails to any ISP, consider segmenting those ISPs to optimize your results.

Happy segmenting!