Create an Engaged Segment

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Sending to engaged subscribers is a fundamental rule 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 warming your sending infrastructure, which you should do before sending to any of your contacts. Most major email service providers (like Gmail and Yahoo) track how recipients interact with emails from your domain and look at things like:

  • 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 that is known only to the inbox providers. This helps prevent spammers from gaming the system but also makes triaging deliverability issues difficult.

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

Create an Engaged Segment Based on Your Main List

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

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 main 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 and continue monitoring open rate performance.
    • 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.
    • If you send campaigns weekly or monthly, you can expand to customers who have clicked or opened an email in the last 120 days.
The following condition: Someone is or is not in a list > person is in Main List > and was added in the last 30 days will include anyone who was added to the list within 30 days. If you 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.

If you are migrating from a previous email service provider (ESP) that has a native integration with Klaviyo, add engagement criteria for your previous email service provider to the segment.

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.

Create an Unengaged Segment Based on Your Main List

Next, isolate all inactive profiles on your main list based on your frequency of campaigns. This is a process similar to list cleaning; however, you may not necessarily want to suppress these contacts in the event that they take an action that triggers a flow (e.g. abandoning a cart).

If you send campaigns daily, the segment definition is as follows: Been added to your main 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 Unengaged Segment

After creating your segment of inactive subscribers, it may be tempting to try to win unengaged users back 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 email your unengaged segment until you have sent to your highly engaged segment for at least 3 weeks. Here are some best practices for creating a winback flow.

If you see that you have failed to re-engage inactive subscribers after trying to win them back, you should exclude them from your campaign emails to avoid harming your email deliverability. These contacts can still receive flow emails if they take the trigger actions.

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