Pros and Cons of Segmentation: How Are You Segmenting Your Emails?
If you follow our blog, you’ve begun to increase your awareness for how to leverage data to drive better inbox placement. We hope these blogs have propelled you into a state of data enlightenment and have you poking and prodding your email program! The topics covered, reach far and wide, walking you through how to decipher the data that generates your Sender Score, to testing your campaigns with Inbox Monitor using seeds, as well as reviewing your list hygiene practices and evaluating the valuable components of your email program. As you can see, there are a variety of levers you can pull to gain insight and drive results.
So, what else can you do before hitting send? Let’s focus on segmentation and the different options to consider.
Email Activity/Engagement–Date of Last Open or Click:
Prioritize your list from most engaged to least engaged. This will help you leverage positive engagement metrics. Highly engaged subscribers ideally create a halo effect on the latter part of your list, which can drive more emails to the inbox. You also need to make the hard decision of identifying and removing inactive subscribers by setting a threshold for when you will suppress inactives. It’s not easy saying goodbye to subscribers, but they don’t always have a positive impact on your email program.
Demographic Data and Subscriber Preferences:
How robust is your preference center? Consider implementing a preference center asking subscribers for detailed information, so you can target messaging. Include preference options during the onboarding phase allowing the subscriber to decide what they receive and when. This can help lower complaints.
IP Address Segmentation
Load Balance All Mail Streams Over All IP addresses”
This allows the ‘bad actor’ performance to be ‘averaged out’ by the ‘best actors’, however, the downside of doing this is that deliverability sees an often predictable fluctuation. Load balancing allows you to quickly differentiate the source of deliverability issues, between problematic content, data source, and complaint drivers. Load balancing also allows you to do effective A/B split tests to measure volume, complaints, spam traps when testing data sources, and content changes, etc.
Segment Testing IP Addresses
Set up new, clean IP addresses used solely for testing that will enable you to do pre-deployment testing before implementing across the board. This will provide additional insight into reputation based deliverability issues. Before you start high volume sending, make sure your IP addresses is warmed up and sent seed campaigns regularity to minimize volume ‘peaks and valleys’ during test periods and to maintain a favorable sender reputation.
Segment IP Addresses by Data Source/Brand
This option allows senders to determine if specific data sources or brands are more likely to drive deliverability challenges and helps pinpoint problematic issues like disproportionate complaints and spam traps, allowing a sender to clean lists more effectively with minimal loss of data
Segment Data By Mail Type
Because welcome and invitation messages are typically linked to the highest rate of unknown users and are often responsible for a disproportionate rate of complaints, isolating this and any other ‘risky’ mail stream may help to keep performance high on the ‘less risky’ mail streams. Consider also segmenting “forward to a friend” mail streams and marketing from transactional mail streams by setting up individual subdomains for the mail type (e.g., corp.mydomain.com, newsletter.mydomain.com, welcome.mydomain.com, etc.)
Segment by Subscription Age
This is the least recommended option, as it could lead to sender reputation issues and irritate recipients. The benefit of this segmentation is it gives the sender two groups of IP addresses–one with better deliverability and one with worse deliverability.
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About Quincy Johnston
Quincy Johnston is a Technical Account Manager at Return Path. She has a passion for getting into the weeds with clients, surfacing the most valuable data for that "ah-ha" moment. Helping her clients be the HERO is what drives her. When not working, Quincy can be found at your local park or swimming pool with her two young boys, running with her dog, or snowboarding. Connect with her on LinkedIn.