Earlier in this ebook, we spent a great deal of time discussing crafting your email program around the various user states of your customers or users. Active users, lapsed users, inactive users, and abandoned users all will respond to different types of emails. While we're not going to make you re-read all of our advice on user state and your email program, we will remind you of a few key points here to help you get a full picture of list segmentation options.
Active Users: Active Users (or active customers) are your current customers and the bulk (we hope!) of your email list. You'll be most effective with them when you're using one of the other mentioned list segmentation methods discussed in this section. Your own business metrics will determine what an active user is. It may range from a person who has interacted with your website within the last week to a user who interacted with you in the last three months. You may also have seasonally active clients that you will want to segment out and only contact when it's seasonally appropriate.
Lapsed Users: Lapsed users (or lapsed customers) are users who have made a purchase or transaction, but not recently. They may be recently lapsed or "long-term lapsed." You will want to, if possible, segment these users out in order to ensure that your email list remains active enough to not be sent to the spam or junk folder. Again, however, be aware of cases where you have a seasonal product or a seasonal customer who should be contacted at the appropriate time.
Abandoned (Inactive) Users: These are users who have not used your site in so long that it is obvious that they have abandoned your brand or company. While email is still the most cost-effective and useful way to communicate with them, you'll want to segment them out and minimize the frequency with which you contact them. They will have low open rates for your email and often have high amounts of spam complaints or unsubscribe requests which, ultimately, can negatively impact your sender reputation.
Within each of these groups, as with all of the potential list segments we've discussed, it's possible to further segment the list into other subgroups in order to improve your overall conversion rate. The value of this versus the effort to break lists into multiple segments will be dependent on the importance of retaining or winning back customers to your business model.
Always remember that the more frequently you email your lapsed and abandoned or inactive users, the more damage you may potentially be doing to your sender reputation through low opens and high spam or unsubscribe complaints.
User state is one of, if not the, most important ways to segment your email database. It not only allows you to find the most valuable names in the database, it also allows you to protect your sender reputation while simultaneously not sending to poor value email addresses.