8 top tips for email list segmentation

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, segmentation is the practice of splitting up your email list into more targeted groups.

Segmenting your list can dramatically improve your open and click through rates.

Latest user data from Mailchimp showed that segmented campaigns get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks that campaigns that had not been segmented.

Segmenting a your email list can feel really overwhelming and daunting, so hopefully the following tips will help ease the burden!

1 Demographics

This is often the easiest way to initially segment your data.

Depending on the info you have gathered from your sign up process, being able to segment by age, gender, job role, and income can help you gauge the email narrative you might want to present.  

When gathering the data for your segmentation, consider what will be important to your business – if you run a software B2B company then you will be looking to reach decision makers to buy your product so job role will be important, but if you are running a campaign for skin care, gender could potentially play a key role.  

When creating your sign up process and form for visitors to complete on your website, be aware that people do not want to be asked for too much information.

Taking too much time and being expected to give their soul will put people off.  

2 Geographical Area

For businesses where geographical location influences buying decisions this segment can prove very valuable.

For example, a company running conferences across the UK at different locations could use geographical area segmentation to good effect.  

Geographical data can help you advertise regional promotions if you have them and using a location in a headline or main content can help an email feel personal to your recipient. 

3 Email engagement

Open rate and click through rate are your metrics to use here. 

Although a basic approach, it can be effective. 

Segmenting your lists by level of engagement for example, is easy to do, especially on Mailchimp for example in the activity tab you can view recipient behaviour.

This can help you create different messages to different levels of engagement. 

This means you can focus your campaigns; re-engaging with lapsed subscribers and for those who do engage, you can be sure that you are following up with them correctly and potentially closing that sale.  

4 How much your subscribers have spent

If you run an ecommerce website for example, how much your subscribers have spent can help with segmentation too, providing you with a great aim for strategy. 

Using buyer behaviour like this, can help you determine which customers are likely to buy what.  

You can then send out targeted emails featuring products which are more interesting to the recipient and in their price range.  

Additionally, you can even send specific emails to thank your buyers for their purchase encouraging them to feel a part of your ‘community’ and suggest similar products or services.  

5 Past purchase

Another simple way to optimise your targeting on email is through the segmentation of your customers past purchases.  

As mentioned above, the easiest way to do this is by sending out email recommendations for similar items or even accessories (be them physical or partner software etc) that would go well with a previous purchase.  

You could also use what was purchased as a bench mark of what kind of email you could send out as a follow up.

For example if the purchase was shampoo there is a lifecycle for such a product and so you can line up your emails to encourage a repeat purchase which is timely.  

6 Survey of Quiz Results

Creating a survey or quiz provides the opportunity to gather that all important demographic information that helps segment your data well, along with giving you insights into the preferences, beliefs and primary needs.  

To make your survey or quiz attractive and to get people to respond and interact, an incentive is needed such as prize draw for example.  

There are many ways to create a quiz or survey which are customised for your audience.

If you are on WordPress, the Quiz and Survey Master plugin is a great tool, especially as this integrates with Mailchimp so you can easily export your results. 

7 Pipeline Position

Segmentation by where your clients and prospects are in your sales funnel or pipeline can offer one of the most valuable ways to customise your messaging.  

It may seem obvious, but many businesses do not do this in practice; the people at the top of your funnel ought to be receiving different emails to those who are at the bottom.  

For your new subscribers you would send generalised emails, providing an overview of what you offer or the products you sell, building that brand awareness and creating a relationship. 

Once a subscriber has been receiving and engaging for a while (such as clicking through on a link) you will be able to use this information to help you determine what they are interested in and make your emails even more targeted.

8 Period of time since last purchase

Segmenting your lists by using the last time they purchased from you or interacted with your service can prove a valuable and logical strategy.  

You can quite quickly appreciate that you have two major groups:  

  1. Frequent buyers – use your service or purchase from you at least monthly. They like you and your brand and you can target them by cross and up-selling to them and offer promotional deals that new clients and customers would not be eligible for.  

  2. One time client or customers – this group of people may have interacted with you, your products and your service up to 6 months ago, but has not returned. Or they even used to be a frequent buyer but they have dropped off your grid. Draw them back to your brand through personalised discounts on products or services they have enjoyed before, highlighting your business’ attributes, and updates about your business generally. 

As you can see, segmentation isn’t rocket science, but it is work, which is why most don’t take the time to do it right. 

If you do, you’ll immediately separate yourself from the pack. 

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