Create a Highly Engaged Segment

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Sending to engaged subscribers is one of the most fundamental rules of good email marketing. If you don't send to engaged subscribers, you put your sender reputation and email deliverability at risk.

If you are migrating your list from another ESP, building an engaged segment is a critical part of list cleaning, which you should do before sending to any of your contacts. 

The quality and behavior of recipients are one of the most critical components of successful inbox delivery. Most major email service providers (like Gmail and Yahoo) track how recipients interact with emails from your domain and look at things like the following:

  • How many emails get marked as spam
  • How many emails are opened
  • How many emails bounce
  • How many links are clicked

These elements are combined into a ranking, unknown to us, the senders. This helps prevent spammers from gaming the system, but also makes triaging deliverability issues difficult. Sometimes not all of the information is available from the senders side by design.

The key to deliverability success is to follow best practices. If you send to an unengaged list or segment -- i.e. recipients that haven't opened an email in 3-6 months -- an email client like Gmail will start to place your emails in spam for all recipients.

Swap your master list out for an engaged master segment and you'll watch open, click, and conversion rates climb. 

Using Segmentation to Create an Engaged Master List

Use Klaviyo's segment builder to isolate engaged and non-engaged profiles. This means that you will not send to your master list, but instead to a segment of engaged customers only.

Step 1: Create a "very engaged" segment of your master list.

If you send daily the segment definition is this: Customers who have clicked or opened an email at least once over the last 30 days.

In the example below, you'll see an OR condition that includes subscribers added to your master list in the past 30 days -- this is to meant to capture subscribers who were recently added to your list and may not have opened or clicked an email from you in the past 30 days.

If you send weekly or monthly the segment, lengthen 30 days to 90 days to be more inclusive.

  1. Send exclusively to your "very engaged" segment for 4 weeks.
  2. Monitor your open rates using the Engagement Report.
  3. As your open rate increases, adjust settings on your “very engaged” segment.
    • If you send campaigns daily, you can expand the segment to customers who have clicked or opened an email at least once over the last two months. Then monitor open rates.
    • If you send campaigns weekly or monthly, you can expand to customers who have clicked or opened an email in the last 120 days. Then monitor open rates.
The following condition, Someone is or is not in a list > person is in Master List > and was added in the last 30 days condition will include anyone who was added to the list within 30 days. If you have very recently added an integration (Mailchimp, Constant Contact, etc.), these contacts will be included in the segment, even if they are much older. We recommend only including this OR condition if you have been collecting new subscribers with Klaviyo for 30 days or more.

Step 2 (if you are migrating from an ESP that integrates with Klaviyo): Add engagement criteria for your previous email service provider.

Klaviyo has integrations for the following ESPs:

If you are moving over from one of these platforms, add open/click criteria from your previous platform to ensure that you are targeting your most engaged subscribers.

Step 3: Isolate all inactive profiles on your master list based on your frequency of campaigns.

If you send campaigns daily the segment definition is as follows: Been added to your master list over 30 days ago and has not opened an email in that time.

Adjust the conditions of this segment to match your sending cadence and your list health:

  • If you send campaigns daily, use 30 days, or 60 days if you have steady 20% or higher open rates.
  • If you send campaigns weekly, change 30 days to 60-90 (again you can lean towards a higher threshold if you've got healthy open rates 20% or higher over your last 5 sends).
  • If you send campaigns monthly, change 30 days to 120.

How to Use Your Inactive List

After creating your segment of inactive subscribers, it may be tempting to try and get these unengaged users back with a winback campaign right off the bat. If you try to send a campaign to these inactive profiles before making an effort to increase your sender reputation, though, it's likely this campaign will end up in spam for most recipients.

Do not send to that list until you have sent to your highly engaged list for at least 3 weeks. When creating a winback campaign, here are some best practices to follow.

After testing a winback campaign, if you see that you have failed to re-engage inactive subscribers, you should suppress these profiles in Klaviyo to avoid emailing them anymore. Continuing to contact them despite their disinterest could negatively impact your deliverability.

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