Believe it or not, your deliverability is in the hands of your subscribers. Engagement, or how people interact with your campaigns, is critical in determining whether your messages land in the inbox or spam folder. Positive interactions, like opens and clicks, and negative ones, like when subscribers ignore, delete without reading, or report your messages as spam, all impact your email deliverability.

So whether you’re new to email marketing or an industry veteran, we’ve zeroed in on three key tips to keep your audience engaged and your emails out of the spam folder.

Segmentation is Key

Segmentation is one of the most effective tactics to engage your email recipients. Segmented marketing campaigns have considerably higher opens, clicks, and conversions compared to non-segmented campaigns. In our studies, we’ve seen that brands deploying highly-targeted email have a read rate 5-10 percentage points higher than those who do less targeting. However, a surprising amount of marketers still don’t incorporate segmentation into their deployment strategy. Here’s how to get started:

  • Step 1: Tidy Up.  Sending to large numbers of non-engaged users hurts your deliverability and may prevent your active subscribers from receiving your email to their inbox. A good start to segmenting your audience is by list pruning. Think of it like cleaning out your closet: you’re getting rid of all the articles of clothing you’re no longer wearing. Email is no different—if  portion of your audience is not engaging with your messages, it’s time to clean out your list and focus on people who want to receive your messages.
  • Step 2: Analyze. Once your non-engaged users are out of your sights, you can focus on creating targeted campaigns for your engaged subscribers. Segments can be as large as all users who have subscribed in the last six months or as small as users who purchased a specific item from an advertisement. Closely examine your data, see how customer segments are engaging, and create personas for your audience to further differentiate one user from another.

Personalize your Messaging

Once you’ve segmented your audience and identified a set of personas, you’re ready to start personalizing your campaigns. Start by brainstorming what types of content will be relevant to each of your segments and also to each of your customers as individuals. What do you want them to do? Why should your message matter to them?

From there you can begin testing out your new first impression: your subject line.

Subject lines are the first influence in whether a subscriber is willing to positively or negatively engage with your message. Most email recipients report email as spam based on the subject line alone! Here are a few ways to boost positive engagement with your subject lines:

  • Target their interests. The best way to ensure someone will engage with your message is to mention something they are interested in. Use your segmentation strategy to your advantage by including words in your subject lines that will pique the interest of your target audience.
  • Use their first name. People love to hear their name and seeing it in an email is no exception. Use a person’s name in the subject line or address them in the preview text to make your message stand out amongst the rest.

Find your own style.  The best senders have one thing in common: their messages sound like them. Perhaps it’s the content, the word order, or the emojis, but simply glancing at the subject line gives you an idea of who sent it. Let’s look at an example from Sephora:

Sephora is smart about crafting campaigns that highlight their audience’s interests, which is one reason why they have great inbox deliverability. Check out all recent email campaigns from in Competitive Tracker for more examples and inspiration.

It’s important to develop your own voice and incorporate elements in your subject lines that represent your brand best. Jot down some ideas, and head over to Subject Predict (powered by Persado) to test them out before you deploy, seeing the predicted open rate and comparing that to your industry average.

Develop Eye-Catching Designs

Successful senders not only have great segmentation and catchy subject lines, but they also incorporate sleek and consistent designs in their messaging. Layout optimization is also key; most users will delete messages that are not optimized for mobile. Here are some suggestions on how to get started crafting messages that are visually appealing, consistent, and mobile-optimized:

  • Research success stories. A great way to glean inspiration for your own templates is to check out messages from successful senders. Competitive Tracker will be your new best friend during this discovery process, as it gives you the power to search campaigns from over 190,000 brands. Perform a broad search within an industry or input specific brands you’re wanting to keep an eye out for. From there, enter Visual Mode to see a beautiful array of graphics to find designs that may suit your brand.



  • Create your design. Once you have found the look you’re going for, it’s time to design your template. Don’t be shy about experimenting with new imaging, fonts, and layouts. Just be sure that your designs are consistent with your brand, customized for your different segments, and can scale down nicely when viewed on smaller mobile screens.
  • Test it out! After you created your template, run it through Design Tracker (powered by Litmus). Design Tracker provides a preview of your new template across different inboxes and devices. In addition to the preview, we’ll also give you a predicted spam score and link analysis to make sure everything is optimized before deployment. Any red flags can easily be identified and fixed before your audience sees your awesome new design.


There you have it! Integrating segmentation, personalization, and a fresh design are three easy steps you can take to improve engagement with your audience.

If you’re interested in learning about the products mentioned in this article, click here to schedule a demo with us. We’ll walk you through each component of the platform and show you more ways eDataSource can help to improve your deliverability and engagement.

~ Sarah