10 Ways to Effectively Segment Your Email Marketing List

|by Emily Yarwood

Email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Not only is it your best bet of reaching customers directly, but it’s still a primary source of ROI for many businesses. 2023 could be a great time for you to re-evaluate your email marketing strategies and bring segmentation into the picture.

On top of daily emails, customers can feel bombarded with an onslaught of marketing campaigns and ads. If your emails aren’t relevant or personalised, you will see your unsubscribe rate continue to rise.

What’s the solution to this common problem? Segmentation.

Segmentation is one of the best ways you can connect with your individual contacts and it can be easily achieved with a few simple steps.

What is segmentation?

In its most simple form, segmentation is the dividing of your email list into smaller groups based on common traits or characteristics. Typically, this is used to deliver a more personalised email campaign to your subscribers and can be based on different criteria like a reader’s geographic location, interests, and purchase history.

Segmentation allows you to modify your email campaigns to be more specific, rather than sending one mass email, which may be deemed irrelevant to some segments. Here are some ways you can segment your email list:

1) Demographics

Considered the simplest form of segmentation, demographics cover aspects like gender, age, occupation, industry, language, or location. By tailoring your copy, offers and product recommendations, you can make your email marketing more relevant to the reader. This information can be gathered when customers subscribe to your email list or with a survey that they can complete in exchange for an incentive.

2) New subscribers

New subscribers may be eager to learn more about your company. Maybe they’ve recently made a purchase or responded to an advertisement, or maybe they are curious to discover more about your brand before they buy. This could be the perfect time to send them an engaging onboarding email.

To achieve this, you will have to set up automation which will update your subscriber list when a new person subscribes. New subscribers are likely to engage with the email you send them so are good candidates to prioritise.

3) Preferences

It can be helpful to ask your subscribers how often they want to receive emails and give them the chance to say what type of emails they want to receive such as blog post updates, discounts or important information.

You can achieve this by asking them to tick boxes stating their email preferences when they first sign up. They will then receive emails based on their chosen interests, which will lead to higher engagement.

4) Persona

You can create targeted email lists by separating your subscribers into different personas. Most businesses have more than one buyer persona who have different needs and will engage with different forms of content. Therefore, it’s always beneficial to send targeted campaigns to each one.

You can divide your subscribers by looking at what they prefer, what they engaged within your email campaigns and their user behaviour. This collective information can be used to create segments based on each customer profile.

5) Email engagement

Looking at how your subscribers have engaged with your brand and previous campaigns will indicate how you should approach them in the future. This can be considered one of the most effective forms of segmenting your email list.

When you factor in how many clicks and opens your messages are receiving, you can then begin to consider customer engagement. This gives you an idea of their current interest in your brand.

By considering your customer engagement, your subscribers will receive emails that align with their previous actions, meaning they will be more likely to follow through on your CTAs. We recommend looking at engagement across all your channels to get a better picture of your audience preferences.

6) Customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction scores are a great indicator of how happy or unhappy customers are with your service. By segmenting your customers into promoters and detractors, you can help increase the value of your most loyal customers while improving the experience for unhappy customers so they don’t leave your business. When you measure your customer satisfaction, you are letting your subscribers know you care about their opinions making them feel more valued and appreciated.

7) Stage in the sales funnel

You can create more personalised marketing messages based on a user’s position in the sales funnel. Those who have only made initial contact with your brand are at the top of the sales funnel so will benefit from content that introduces your brand. As they move through the sales process you can further determine what their interests and needs are, promoting products or services that are relevant to them.

This approach can be used on existing customers too. By sending them an after-sales message to follow up on their experience, you can keep them engaged and, even better, encourage further conversions.

8) Previous purchases

Purchase history can be one of the best sources of information you have about your customers. What they have previously bought can tell you a lot about the purchaser such as what problems they may have, what they’re interested in and how often they purchase something from your brand.

These past purchases can hold fantastic data to help you segment your email list for more personalised messaging. For example, you could send out an email promoting similar products to something they previously bought or a related and relevant service at a similar price point.

9) Buying frequency

Another aspect to consider is looking at customers who frequently purchase from you; you should always try to notify your loyal customers each time there’s a new offering from your company. Loyal customers could be rewarded through special discounts or first-hand knowledge of new products or services. There is also an opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell to these loyal customers by recommending products in your inventory that are like ones they have previously bought.

Another tip would be to look at shopping schedules and if a certain segment shops at a certain time, you could send them email campaigns following this shopping schedule.

10) Device usage

Segmentation can also be achieved by looking at your reader’s device habits. You must be aware of where your audience is consuming the content you produce as there is a large difference between mobile and desktop.

If your audience chooses to engage via their mobile, you will need to optimise your messages for smartphone consumption. You can do this by formatting your email in HTML or plain-text version so your audience can easily read your email. These considerations can provide a pleasant email experience, hopefully leading to a higher conversion rate for your campaign.

How will you segment your email list? 

Email segmentation is an effective and easy way to achieve a more personalised experience for your customers. This tactic encourages you to look at your user behaviour and understand your customers’ needs as they move through their sales journey. Your messages can become a personal part of the relationship with your users, making them feel included and valued by your brand.

With marketing campaigns that are this specific, your readers won’t be able to resist. 

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