How to Segment Your Email List

On February 28, 2020
7min read
Lidia Bondarenko PR and outreach specialist @HelpCrunch

Email marketing is not dying at all, but actually gaining momentum. And there is more and more evidence supporting this thesis every year. Being a more powerful tool than Facebook and Twitter, the email newsletter is guided by certain rules, without which you cannot evaluate its effectiveness.

There is no secret here. Just the word “segmentation” and your answer to the question, “Do you use it?” In other words, do you send the same letters to all subscribers, regardless of whether they are regular customers or completely new prospects?

We hope your answer is no. Next, we will justify our steadfastness in this matter.

In the meantime, the definition at the foundation: 

Email list segmentation is a tool for personalizing and dividing emails on the basis of different characteristics in order to send more accurately targeted messages to specific groups of customers. 

Segmentation can concern any information about your customer. This may be gender, age, place of residence, interests, behavioral data, etc.

Benefits from Segmenting Your Email List

Personalization of emails is one of the main trends of 2020 and you can’t turn a blind eye to it. Of course, it is important to understand how to break an email list into segments correctly and competently. Don’t worry, we’ll talk about this later.

Now, according to Hubspot, a personalized call-to-action letter provides a 202% higher conversion rate than standard impersonal calls to action.

Therefore, in the wake of your inspiration by these statistics, we will consider the main advantages of email list segmentation that you’ll be over the moon about.

Significant Growth in Engagement and Sales

The higher the relevance of your message, the higher the engagement of your audience. Segmentation will help identify target groups based on specific characteristics, personalized use of which will help you significantly increase the relevance of your emails.

For example, knowing that customers from a particular region are more interested in a certain product, you will no longer send them offers about everything you have. You will target this group with emails containing the offers they need.

Has your customer browsed your products in a particular category? Send them an email with similar products. Or maybe some customers have already purchased your product? Then now you can offer them other products that go well with the purchased one or complement it.

A great way to segment is to select the active customers who most often open your letters. Based on their actions with your email, you can draw conclusions about what content is the most interesting to them and give them exactly what will lead them to the target action. The category of less active subscribers can be processed in other ways: fewer emails, emphasis on re-engagement advantages, etc.

Enhancing Customer Loyalty

Don’t underestimate the importance of gratitude for your customers. Having received a discount on their next purchase as a bonus for activity, your subscriber will appreciate this step and look at your products even more carefully.

Segmentation creates a feeling of special treatment and engagement on a personal level. Customers are much more receptive to messages if they see that the sender has bothered to learn more about their field of interest. Personalization makes the email newsletter more like communicating with a friend who knows the person well and will never bother them with completely useless information.

Thanks to competent segmentation, you save your customers from letters that are completely uninteresting to them. At the same time, you provide engaged segments with content that is useful for them, without missing the next opportunity to remind them about yourself.

Having achieved a reasonable balance of letters relevant to different segments, you increase the value of your messages, while reducing the likelihood of receiving a one-way ticket to trash. Or, heaven forbid, to spam. Therefore, the conclusion is: email list segmentation means the harmonic number of emails that actually work.

Increasing Your Email Marketing ROI

If you’re still not entirely sure about the appropriateness of segmentation, it’s time for clear-cut statistics. What can you say about the fact that 77% of ROI comes from segmented email campaigns? Email marketers who use segmentation win in all respects compared to those who underestimate this tool. And what about statistics on personalization that generates 6 times higher transaction rates?

With the proper use of segmentation, all email marketing costs will more than pay off. This is due to the advantages described in the previous paragraphs.

However, it is important to note that it is not enough for you to simply segment once and relax in anticipation of stable results. The dynamics of changing customer preferences should immediately find a response in your actions to fine-tune segmentation to new parameters. So how do you segment an email list in the most effective way? Let’s boost your bottom line with the next tips for email segmentation.

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5 Ways to Efficiently Segment an Email List

1. Demographic Segmentation

If geography matters to your business, and product sales vary by location, your offers need to be location-specific. This applies, for example, to organizing exhibitions or other events with a clear location. It is advisable to send an appeal to attend the event to those subscribers who live nearby, and not at the far end of the country.

If geo-targeting is irrelevant for you due to the specifics of the product, pay attention to other aspects of demographic segmentation: gender, age, profession, position, income level, etc. Although specialists of your marketing department are fatally tired of this type of information, it remains relevant and can significantly affect email conversion.

Determine what demographic information is important to you and do not ask for more than that so as not to frighten the subscriber with questions that are too personal. You can get it through the registration form on your website.

There is also a more modern way to collect needed data: you can use the live chat functionality.

You can request certain data from the customer before starting a chat with them: name, email, phone number, company, etc. It is done using a pre-chat form if your customer support team is online, or through an offline form if the customer scrolls the website during off-hours. There are hundreds of live chat options for its implementation on the market: pick any of the solutions depending on the features that are your priorities.

Thus, you get the contact details of your visitors without even forcing them to register and you can already set up segmentation for a more meaningful conversation with them via email. Needless to say that while chatting you have real-time possibilities to learn more about their needs.

2. Interest Segmentation

This is a fairly advanced, but incredibly effective segmentation method. What could be better for sending personalized emails than a list of subscribers’ interests? But how do you get them?

Again, invite customers to fill out a detailed questionnaire on your website, focusing on the usefulness of this primarily for themselves. For example, you can offer the customer some useful information in exchange for an email. This can be interesting helpful information about the product, tips and checklists for use, how-to guides on specific questions about the product, etc.

Amazon, for example, offers users the ability to note their preferences during registration. Later, they can supplement or correct them through special CTA in the email newsletter.

If you use tools like Campaign Monitor, there is the possibility of creating custom preferences in its interface. After that, you simply add interest tags to each letter you send.

Dividing your audience by interests will help you easily break through the noise of monotonous emails and surprise your subscribers with an amazingly accurate fit with their desires and current needs.

The use of intent data can help segment your email list based on what content your prospects are already interested in. Build customized email outreach by intent signal to add tokens such as competitors they engage with or topics they like.

3. Website Activity Segmentation

Do you notice what your audience is doing on your website? It’s time to pay closer attention to this for segmentation purposes.

This is not only about the pages visited or not visited by them. There are many more options. You can track:

  • which icons visitors clicked on
  • how much time they spent on a particular page
  • which articles or videos they were interested in, etc.

Using special tracking tools – for example, Mixpanel – you can determine the easy-to-track actions of your customers, on the basis of which you can do segmentation. The simplest is the degree of customer interest in your product pages. If visitors are interested in a specific category of products and end on the pricing page, then they are probably very close to conversion – you can send them a pushing email.

4. Purchase History Segmentation

A history of purchases or pending purchases is a great way to segment. Customers who have purchased a particular product may be interested in learning about similar products or those that complement it well. This guarantees excellent cross-selling and upselling opportunities.

Customers could plan a purchase, but stop at a certain stage. For example, hesitating to take any action outside the free trial version, or being unsure of the list of selected products. Be active along this line. Send a letter that can convince them of the need to buy the full version or complete the purchase of selected products.

If you understand how to segment your email list in accordance with customer behavior and prove it in your letters, subscribers will undoubtedly pay attention to you.

5. Email Engagement Segmentation

We have already mentioned the ability to segment active and inactive subscribers depending on the open and click-through rates of your emails. Getting this data is very simple: it is available in your email marketing tool.

What will you get from it? A more careful emphasis on the points of interest or indifference of the subscriber.

You’ll be able to send more specific offers to active customers based on their actions with your previous letters. Less active subscribers or those who have not opened your emails for a long time should receive completely different notifications. Your goal is to get them to return, so it makes sense to offer some goodies, talk about how you can be useful to them, or even offer a re-engaging discount.

Using goodies as attractors works well to engage new subscribers either. Decide on a gift that you can offer and include this lead magnet into a separate email list to experiment with this approach.

The Final Word

Now you know how to easily segment your email list. These are the best practices for email list segmentation in a nutshell. These strategies are enough for you to start sending the right messages to the right audience. It won’t be long until you see the results.

Article by Lidia Bondarenko PR and outreach specialist @HelpCrunch

Lidia is a PR and outreach specialist at HelpCrunch, an all-in-one customer communication platform. Her professional experience encompasses customer service improvement, social media marketing, and SEO. Her free time she spends searching for new marketing trends and tv shows, and practicing yoga.