New Year, New Me...aningful data

The start of a new year signals a lot of things: a time to re-evaluate, to re-energize, and embark on a fitness journey that may or may not fizzle out after a few weeks. After 2020, however, there’s never been more incentive for getting rid of the superfluous and starting afresh.

A new year means a new start and this manifests in numerous ways. It could be sending clothes to charity, clearing out the garage, or simply cleaning up an email inbox. Many people, particularly after the frenzy of Christmas shopping and signing up to newsletters to receive a discount, will be sitting on their phones and getting trigger happy with the unsubscribe button. It’s “thank you, next” to any emails that aren’t cutting the mustard and aren’t giving the consumer long-term benefits.

And this is something you should be doing too. People who aren’t engaging with your emails and haven’t been for a while shouldn’t be included in your sends. Un-engaged recipients only serve to bring your open and click through percentage rates down and can have a negative effect on inbox placement. Your main focus should be on the recipients who are actively engaging with your emails. This is your tribe. This is the audience that will give you the most bang for your buck.

Here are some important reasons why you should say farewell to non-engagers:

1. Cost

If you’re using an email marketing platform that charges you per send or for the number of recipients you have, then suppressing the people who aren’t engaging with your emails will save you money.

Recently a client managed to cut their volume billing by half just by sending to an engaged segment rather than to all. This is particularly worth it during busy send periods when spend is high. By connecting with the people who are already actively engaging with your emails, you’ve won half the battle. You’ll have a far better return of investment if you narrow down your data.

2. Better results

Both your open rate and click through rate will improve dramatically if you start sending to an engaged segment. One retail company went from a lacklustre 19% open rate to an incredible 39% open rate just by sending to an engaged audience. In this case it was anyone who had opened a campaign in the last 12 months or any recent sign ups.

This shows a far more accurate view of how your audience, the real audience who open your emails time after time, are responding to your emails. Looking at results like that and knowing that you’re sending to people who care about what you have to say has huge psychological benefits too. 

3. Sender reputation

If you’re sending emails that have a poor open rate, this could trigger an issue with sender reputation for the email client. Whether it’s email content, spammy subject line, or dubious data, each email client analyses a plethora of different things to determine if an email should be filtered safely into an inbox or ushered into spam. One of these is historical open rate.

The better the interaction with your data, the better your reputation is and the more likely your email will be placed in the inbox. There’s no point in going through all that hard work building the campaign for it then to send up in spam.

4. You can always bring them back

Sending a re-activation or re-engagement campaign every now and then is a brilliant way of sweeping un-engaged data back into your active data. The key to this, however, is having the right incentive. By targeting your un-engaged audience, any open is monitored, sending that recipient back into your engaged data pot. It all hangs on what it is you have to offer them.

It might be an incredible discount, a new product, an exclusive giveaway, but it has to be something that makes them open your email. As well as the incentive, think about the optimum time to send and an irresistible subject line.

5. Positive vibes

Not only will this have a positive impact on your statistics and your wallet, but also your own motivation. Building a campaign to the point of sending and knowing that the data you select are “all in” to hear from you and that you’ll probably get a good response is a benefit that’s often overlooked.

Writing the content, selecting the photos, linking to the appropriate landing page, all feels a lot more worthwhile when you know the people you’re sending to will appreciate it. Your motivation will increase and you’ll feel in a better place to get a bit creative with campaigns.

6. Good practice 

Keeping on top of your data with engagement segments and reactivation emails is something that should be done on a regular basis. GDPR was implemented to protect the rights of data subjects and one of the knock-on behaviours to support this is to ensure that email marketing is relevant to the consumer. It’s made us sharper and better at doing our jobs.

Narrowing down your audience to just the engaged recipients makes it easier to hone the content of your emails, creating bespoke promotions, tone of voice, and layout which speaks to them on a personal level.


A new year is a time to re-centre your goals and make a new start. Unlike fad diets, making a change as simple as who you’re sending your emails to is a resolution that will last. Once you’re sending campaigns to an engaged segment, you’ll start to see the huge benefits instantly. Your campaigns will be more cost effective, better targeted, and will generate better results. Data should be thought of as long term gains… not a juice diet trend.

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Hannah Vaughan
Hannah Vaughan

With a background in book printing and manufacturing alongside running her own independent publishing house in her spare time, Hannah is adept at creating strong narratives to tell powerful stories – a skill she brings with her to the campaigns she works on for our clients.

Hannah Vaughan
Hannah Vaughan

With a background in book printing and manufacturing alongside running her own independent publishing house in her spare time, Hannah is adept at creating strong narratives to tell powerful stories – a skill she brings with her to the campaigns she works on for our clients.

Published:
February 17, 2021
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