Segmenting out inactive subscribers from unused email list - best practices?

  • 24 August 2023
  • 2 replies



I'm diving into email marketing for an ecommerce business I'm part of. We've got the basics down with some established flows, but now we're looking to spice things up with win-back flows and cool campaigns. Our main goal is boosting conversions, but we're also excited about educational content, rolling out new products, and more.

Here's the thing: we've got this list of around 30k profiles. I'm thinking about giving it a cleaning and warming it up so it's all prepped for our brand's emails. Now, I'm not exactly an expert in this arena – far from it. I've been reading up on win-back and sunset flows, but I'm still not sure if that’s the way to go.

I've got a few segments already created, and I'm pretty confident about using them once I figure out who's really up for getting our emails. The question is, how do I get to that point? I know I should segment out inactive subscribers, but how do I know they’re inactive if we have never actually emailed them (beyond the order and shipment confirmation emails)? Any tips? Thanks!


Best answer by ebusiness pros 24 August 2023, 23:39

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Userlevel 6
Badge +24

Hi @Vera Santos!


This is an exciting opportunity, and a great move to make before the holiday marketing rush hits. I’ve had great success in reactivating cold email lists for my clients, with results ranging from 30-80% reactivated depending on how cold the subscribers/ various segments of the list are.


List health evaluation

First thing I’d do is use this tool Emailable. Export all unsuppressed profiles, and run them through this tool. It’ll help you confirm all known deliverable emails, and all known undeliverable emails. 


The undeliverable ones are no use to you, so I’d immediately suppress those. The trickier judgement call comes when evaluating any email identified as “risky” - if you decide to try and reactivate those emails, I’d reach out to this group AFTER the known deliverable emails.


I’m also happy to give you more context to help you decide as you make your way through this. Some emails in the “risky” group can be spam traps, but not all - that’s where the judgment call comes in. 


Here’s a Klaviyo help doc to help you understand spam traps.


When you’re ready to start sending emails to wake people up, here’s what I recommend:


Flows or campaigns? Test with campaigns first, so you can reach out to the “lukewarm” segments and use them to run A/B tests on subject lines, and ID what the winners are so you have the best shot at getting colder people to open your emails. Depending on the sequence you’re wanting to send, you might later end up turning this into a flow.


Warming up your sender reputation: If you have some extra budget to work with, there’s a tool called InboxAlly that I’ve used for several clients, and had good results with so far. There are technical details behind the value of this that I can share if you’re curious, but for now the short version is you get a reputable list of “seed emails” to help you warm up your sender reputation, and build up positive engagement activity for inbox providers like Google to associate with your brand.


Basically, the “seed emails” is a list of email addresses that are tied to bots in the US that will safely and reliably engage with your emails. How this helps you is you would send each campaign to this InboxAlly list at least 4-6 hours before the email is scheduled to send to your true list.


The warmed up sender reputation helps your emails make it into the inbox or Promo tab, and skip the spam folder. That helps your emails get seen, and opened, at a higher rate than you’d otherwise experience with the cold subscribers.


As part of this process, this Klaviyo help doc on deliverability monitoring will be helpful to get familiar with. 


IF you don’t use InboxAlly, I’d focus on starting to send to those deliverable emails that have become inactive within the last 90-120 days. They’re less cold than others, so they’ll most likely “wake up” faster, and that’ll help your sender reputation. 


Then from there, you could reach out as far as the last 180 days, or even the last year. Also, there’s a helpful tool from Google called Postmaster that can help you monitor your sender reputation. 


Hopefully you find this helpful! 


The whole process can feel overwhelming at first, but now’s the perfect time to do it, so you have a bigger segment of active profiles to work with for the holidays!





Klaviyo Champion & Marketing Lead at ebusiness pros


Userlevel 5
Badge +18

Great question @Vera Santos !

Re-activating those 30k inactive users (when they haven’t been targeted with marketing emails ever) could be a little tricky and would require some strategic approach to deal with such audiences as they can badly influence your active email audience and may create deliverability issues.

Though, the audience size is not too big but still a good number to consider re-activating them.

The goal for any reactivation email program is to focus on engagement and bringing them back in the business while making sure you don’t hurt your deliverability. Expecting any sort of conversions from this audience will be too much IMO.

However, with limited context and understanding about the business, I’d like to understand a few things from you:

  1. Where did you get those 30k profiles - existing customers, prospects, subscribers? I suppose these are customers, right?
  2. How old are these profiles?
  3. Why haven’t they been targeted with any marketing emails?


  1. Validate those 30k profiles using a good 3rd party email validation tool to ensure you don’t end up hitting any spamtrap.
  2. Create a re-engagement flow to activate them and engage them back under controlled frequency and unique content startegy.
  3. Suppress those profiles who wouldn’t engage further using a sunset flow to avoid any reputation damage.
  4. Once activated, don’t put them into regular emailing stream, rather, nurture them slowly and lead them towards conversion
  5. Monitor your email performance and adapt your strategy accordingly when you see any issues. @inboxingmaestro can help implement a smart deliverability signal platform for your email programs that will show you a holistic view of your email performance.

Here’s a resource by me that you can take a look - 



P.S: If you’d like to implement the exact plan for re-engaging inactive users and grow your email performance, I’d be happy to connect 1:1 and discuss.