Why You Should Always Target Your Sends

Warming up a new sending infrastructure is a complex project with many moving parts. If you’ve gone through Sendlane’s white glove onboarding, you’ll be familiar with the strategic decisions made for every part of the process: content, timing, and, most important, audience segmentation. Segmentation is absolutely crucial during warm up because warm up is the period in which you make or break your sending reputation. But the end of warm up doesn’t mean it’s time to relax on segmenting your audience before sending; in fact, you can undo all the hard work of warming up your sending reputation with just a few insufficiently targeted sends.

Maintaining your sending reputation is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s something that has to be monitored and adjusted over the entire life of your business. There is never a point at which you can say, “We’ve made it; we can send whatever we want, whenever we want” without running the risk of burning your domain.

In this guide, we’ll discuss why you should always use segmentation to target your sends, and never send to your entire list at once. We’ll also provide guidance for creating Segments that make targeting your sends nearly as easy as sending to your full list!

🚨 If you're just starting out with email, you must warm your sending infrastructure

If you're new to email marketing in general or just new to Sendlane, welcome! Please read the Getting Started with Email Marketing guide for information on how to properly warm your sending infrastructure. Warming is absolutely critical to developing a good sending reputation!

Why You Should Never Send to Your Full List

Sending to your entire list can negatively affect your sending reputation, which in turn negatively affects your entire business. Here are the most important factors to consider before sending to your full list:

  • Spam traps. There are many different types of inactive or “faked” email addresses that inbox providers use as traps to catch marketing emails that are sent without consent. When an inbox provider knows that an email address is not used by an actual person, it expects the email address to not receive marketing email since no one has consented to receive it. When you send to spam traps, you’re telling the inbox provider that you don’t collect consent from the people you send to. Sending to spam traps is incredibly easy to do when sending to your full list because you aren’t using any indicators of engagement to determine whether the people you’re sending to want to receive your emails.
  • Email addresses get deactivated. Even without being turned into an official spam trap, old and inactive emails are more likely to hard bounce. Hard bounces can negatively affect your sending reputation if you accumulate too many, and sending to your entire list at one time is the easiest way to amass a lot of hard bounces quickly.
  • Interests change over time. People who haven't opened or clicked on your marketing emails in months or years aren’t very likely to start engaging again. While it’s valuable to keep older Contacts in your audience to maintain historical data, it’s important to recognize that any number of reasons can cause people to lose interest in your content and many of them are completely outside of your control, including simple changes in interests. When people receive emails they aren’t interested in, they are more likely to report your email as spam, which damages your sending reputation.
  • Unspecific content may inspire unsubscribes. People want to engage in content that feels like it was created just for them. When you send to your full list, you’re sending the most generic content possible to try and appeal to as many of your Contacts as possible. Generic content can lead Contacts to unsubscribe because it doesn’t seem useful or relevant.
  • It costs you money! Sendlane is a sending based platform, meaning you pay for the emails you send, not the Contacts you store in your account. Sending to your entire list at once uses up the valuable sending credits you pay for and all but certainly harms your sending reputation. Sending to your whole list just isn’t worth it.

Useful Segments to Target Sends for Every Marketing Strategy

Now that we’ve established why sending to your full list is not the best use of your sending infrastructure let’s go over what you can do instead! The Segments below can be useful to any eCommerce business to target Campaigns and increase engagement.

Time Based Engagement Segments

Once you’ve reached 30 days of sending, create a Segment for Contacts who have clicked in the last 30 days plus Contacts who subscribed to your marketing program within the last 30 days.

To build a Segment for 30 day active Contacts:

  1. Create a new Segment and name it 30 Day Actives
  2. Click the Engagement & Activity tab
  3. Select Clicked
  4. Select Recent
  5. Enter 30
  6. Select Days
  7. Click + or condition
  8. Click the Contact Properties tab
  9. Select Subscription Date
  10. Select in the last
  11. Enter 30
  12. Select Days
  13. Click Save

Your Segment will take a few seconds or minutes to process, depending on the size of your overall audience.

Repeat the steps above for two additional segments: one for 60 Day Actives and one for 90 Day Actives. These three Segments make up your trifecta of positively engaged Contacts and represent the portion of your audience that is currently engaging with your content. Your positive engagement Segments should look like this, with the number of days set to 30, 60, and 90, respectively:

Contacts who haven’t been engaging with your content need their own Segments too! The following Segment of Contacts who have not clicked in the last 90 days and signed up for your emails more than 90 days ago can be used as an exclusion list or later re-targeting (though we generally recommend against re-targeting in favor of focusing more resources on those Contacts who are engaged).

Create a new Segment and name it 90 Day Inactives, then:

  1. Click the Engagement & Activity tab
  2. Select Did Not Click
  3. Select Recent
  4. Enter 90
  5. Select Days
  6. Click + and condition
  7. Click the Contact Properties tab
  8. Select Subscription Date
  9. Select not in the last
  10. Enter 90
  11. Select Days
  12. Click Save

Your Segment will take a few seconds or minutes to process, depending on the size of your overall audience, and should look like this:

Purchase Activity Based Segments

“Purchasers” and “non-purchasers” are great segments of Contacts to have ready to go for sales, product announcements, and other special offers.

Purchasers should receive content inviting them to try a different product, and non-purchasers should receive content inviting them to try your brand for the first time. Check out Sendlane’s many guides to email and SMS marketing content for tips on creating effective content for these two important segments of your audience.

Because Sendlane allows you to exclude Segments as well as include Segments when building your Campaign audience, you only need to build one Segment to target both purchasers and non-purchasers: you’ll build one Segment for purchasers and exclude that Segment when you want to send to non-purchasers!

To build a Segment that will pull everyone who has ever made a purchase:

  1. Create a new Segment and name it All Time Purchasers
  2. Click your eCommerce platform’s tab
  3. Select your store
  4. Select order
  5. Select the order status you use to indicate that orders are complete (usually “Fulfilled”)
  6. Select Exists
  7. Click Save

This Segment will dynamically pull any Contact who makes a purchase in your eCommerce store and accepts marketing content. You can narrow this Segment down by order date, products purchased, and so much more to create even more targeted Segments.

Additional Resources

Did this answer your question? Thanks for your feedback! There was a problem submitting your feedback. Please try again!