Good segmentation pays off

17 May, 2022

Whenever one talks about email marketing, best practices, sender reputation, or inbox placement, often a subject of “engagement” pops up. That is, indeed a highly important indicator of a consensual sending, which then is translated to a proper reputation in databases of the mailbox providers (MBPs). However, it is not all so often mentioned, that engagement has two faces. A smiley one, and a frowning one.

What is positive engagement?

This is, of course, what we all want. Just imagine: your emails are being read, your links are being clicked. Your address is added to the address book, and/or is getting whitelisted. Read time is above average. Messages are being moved around folders for better visibility. If any of them is being flagged as spam (by an obvious mistake, of course!) this is quickly fixed by the recipient him/herself - that awesome email doesn’t belong there!

In this scenario, your sender’s reputation skyrockets. Of course, that brings more inbox placement, preferable treatment, and a kinder approach from MBPs if whenever in any trouble.

Sounds good? I thought so. So what gives?

Have you ever been to a restaurant and received a meal, that you haven’t ordered? What an awful dish that was! Who eats fries with mayonnaise?! Disgusting! If only they segmented the customers for reasonable and tasteless…

Segmentation is proven to increase positive engagement in a very significant way. Studies show, that it brings up the open rate by for over 14%. But opens are rarely the most accurate way of actually seeing, what is happening to the email campaign; and that’s a topic for another post.

However, unique opens grow at about 10%, and actual clicks can increase by over 100% when an audience is properly segmented! Just think of the revenue kick-off!

But let’s look at the other side of the engagement coin - the bad one - just for a second.

A negative engagement is everything, that you want to avoid, obviously. Nobody wants to marry an idiot.

But seriously, what did you do with the blasphemy of the fries? That’s right, you send it back, you didn’t even touch it!

Delete without reading is one of the indicators, that your audience is not willing to positively engage with your content - but it’s taking an action. Hence, a negative engagement. Similarly, flagging messages as spam is a clear indicator, that this discount wasn’t meant to end up in the user’s inbox.  

A less impacting, reputation-wise, but still significant metric is an unsubscribe. Here, however, we can have multiple, not all equal, reasons for unsubscribing. The one we of course don’t want to hear about is “I didn’t consent to receive this email”. It’s basically saying - this is spam, take it away from me. But “I don’t want to receive this content anymore” or “I outgrew painting troll figures for my Warhammer army of doom” is rather preferable over simply marking the message as spam to get rid of it. That’s why some nice MBPs will help you out - Gmail will kindly ask if the recipient wants to unsubscribe from your list instead of marking the message as spam before actually taking this action. For this to happen, you need to fulfill some criteria, of course. Nothing’s for free. A good reputation in Gmails all-seeing eyes and specific headers are required. Working with Mailkit will help you to make sure, you have all the advantages in the email world.

So is segmentation also an answer for bad engagement?

Of course, it is! Statistics show that good targeting of the audience decreases the unsubscribe rate by almost 9,5% and the bounce rate by almost 5%!

That being said, we need to remember, that segmentation has to be done properly and with the know-how. Otherwise, it may turn up as a double-edged sword. WhatHow do I mean?

Well, it is rather obvious, that if you’re a man, and someone targets you with their rich and fresh bra collection, you won’t be that much interested in the C-cups (unless you are, you know, a hobbyist-enthusiast; don’t worry, that’s ok). However, there are other types of segmentation that use a simple demographic data like gender, age, or postal code.

The list can also be segmented also, by the signup date. This ensures, that we have a piece of information under our fingertips a piece of information, which part of the list is oldest, and which is freshly signed. It may help us to target only the ones that are our most faithful customers to serve them a gratitude discount. Or those, who are just the newbies in our online course and you need to send them a “Step one” link to enlighten them about why they are going to be disgustingly rich working online.

This needs attention, though. The oldest data will probably cause a higher bounce rate, as it is more likely, that some of the mailboxes are already inactive, full, or abandoned entirely. Careful list management and hygiene are key. On the other hand, the freshly added contacts might be the most responsive ones, still remembering the subscription in the first place, but those are the subscribers that you don’t yet know very well.

And segmenting by subscriber activity is another way of telling, how to approach different parts of your list. Some people tend to consume email like a hamster eating sunflower seeds, spending every single minute of their life on the phone, hoping someday smartphones will be powered by solar energy. Others are moderately browsing through their Internet Explorer once a week, sometimes. It’s a useful piece of information to know, when and which part of the list to target.

Better personalized content, based on interest, job title, age, gender, or even favorite color means much higher statistics in the best possible way - the positive engagement. At Mailkit, we help you to segment your audience, by providing our own internal metric called Engagement Score. It’s a slick system of evaluating how interested and active is the specific recipient and how likely he is to respond positively to your next message. You can also add multiple individual information about the recipient and keep them as targetable as possible. All of that helps with your email strategy, from warming up a new campaign to keeping the oldest customers thrilled about your stuff. Of course, our team of specialists will guide you and answer all of your questions in regards to the best approach. Don’t hesitate to reach out!