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Five Simple Ways to Segment Your Email Marketing List

3 minute read

Chris Leone   by Chris Leone April 16, 2015

It’s this simple: companies that segment more, convert more.

Segmenting is the process of breaking a large group into smaller, more related groups, connected by at least one common trait. By tying that single trait into your marketing, you ensure each recipient receives a relevant message.

To segment your email list effectively, you’ll need a database or CRM software. The more attributes you have attached to each individual (e.g. age, location, interests), the more effectively you can segment.

Once you have your customer information organized, it’s time to slice and dice. Below are five creative ways to segment your email list for improved email marketing performance.

1) By purchase history

Purchase history is one of the most effective ways to segment an email list. The type of product purchased, the amount of money spent, and the length of time between transactions can all be leveraged for improved email messaging. Here are a few examples of segmenting based on purchase history:

  • high rollers: promote high-end products to the segment with a history of purchasing high ticket items.
  • product interest: cross-sell complimentary items based previous purchases (customers with a history of purchasing dress shoes receive emails for dress socks).
  • silent customers: send offers to customers who haven’t purchased in over a year to entice them to buy again.

2) By Geography

The messaging for someone in Roanoke, Virginia isn’t necessarily the same for someone in Richmond, Virginia. Weather conditions, current events, and user demographics vary enough to warrant tailoring your message. Swapping imagery is an easy way to make content locally relevant. For example, your Richmond customers receive an email with a picture of Carytown and your Roanoke customers receive an email with the Roanoke Star.

Ecommerce stores can also tailor promotions based on geography. For example, a home improvement store would stagger its lawn care promotions based on region. This way, customers in Maine don’t receive lawn fertilizer promotions while there’s still snow on the ground.

3) By Behavior & Response

The more you can observe website and email engagement by individual, the more you know your user, and the better you can target your message.

For example, review the types of pages a user visits. If they regularly visit your eBook page, add them to an “education and resource” email list (you’ll need the right type of software to track this behavior).

If they consistently respond to promotional emails, add them to a separate email campaign that sends more frequent promotions.

If you don’t know where to start, create 3-5 separate email blasts, each based on a unique theme. Send each blast out to your entire email list and compare the performance by user.

4) By Job Title & Organization Type

The message to a middle manager may be different from your message to a C-level executive. The middle manager is focused on their personal performance, excelling in their role, and making the right impression on their superiors. A CEO is trying to grow and expand the business. The messaging, content, and subject line should reflect this.

Similarly, the message to a non-profit might not be the same as the message to a Fortune 500.

If your CRM or email platform lacks these details, use LinkedIn or social media to populate relevant fields, then target accordingly.

5) By persona

Personas are fictionalized representations of your typical customers. To create your user personas, start by answering questions like the ones below:

  • what takes place in a typical work day?
  • how do they spend their free time?
  • what do they do on the weekend?
  • how much money do they make?
  • what are their spending habits?
  • what are their goals?

As you go through these questions, themes will begin to emerge, and your personas will start to take shape.

Let’s say this exercise results in three different personas: Professional Pete, Marathon Mary, and Weekend Warrior Will. You can now craft seperate email campaigns for each persona that speaks to their pain points, motivators, and value drivers.

In any form of marketing and advertising, users will determine whether your message is relevant in a few short seconds. This gives you a very tiny window to make the right impression. The more you know your user, the better you can craft your message. The more relevant your message, the better the result.

 


 

As President, Chris is responsible for leading all the day-to-day operations of WebStrategies. His work has been featured on the Google Analytics and Hubspot blogs, and he’s a regular columnist for the Richmond Times Dispatch.

 

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Email marketing

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