September 14, 2022

Why You Should Use Email Segmentation

By: Mary Hiers

Email segmentation takes email marketing to new levels of success. It helps you communicate better and enjoy higher open and click-through rates.

Email marketing has great ROI, and email segmentation can further increase ROI. It requires extra effort beyond emailing everyone on your list, but it’s not that hard.

Here’s information about what email segmentation is, why you should do it, how to do it, and what to expect for your effort. 

What Is Email Segmentation?

Marketing emails may go out regularly to everyone on your email list. There’s nothing wrong with this, but you do risk sending people things they’re not interested in.

Email segmentation is dividing your email list into categories so you can send people information they really want without sending them a bunch of emails they’ll delete unread.

You can create segments from data you gather about email subscribers (which emails they open, which conversions they make, what products they buy) or about data they give you at your request (the region they live in, their profession, whether they own a cat or dog, etc.).

Segments allow you to create targeted emails that reach people who are most likely to want them. They allow you to avoid sending those emails to people who are less likely to be interested.

Why It Makes Sense

If you operate a small business with a single line of products or services, you may not need to segment your emails. But it may be worth exploring anyway.

Say you have a carpet cleaning business. People who sign up for your email list presumably have carpets that they want to keep clean. 

But could you, for example, segment your email subscribers into people who want home carpet cleaning and businesses that want commercial carpet cleaning? 

General email “blasts” are similar to your standing with a megaphone telling everyone your message. You will probably reach some interested parties. But you might annoy others.

Segmentation is more like gathering people with similar interests and making an offer specific to those interests. It is targeted, and effective. 

Campaign Monitor reports that marketers experience a 760% increase in email revenue from segmented email campaigns! There is no question that segmentation improves effectiveness.

4 Examples of How to Segment Email Subscriptions

There are countless ways to segment email subscribers. With a big enough pool of subscribers and the latest powerful segmentation tools, you can get extremely granular with your segmentation. But let’s start with some simple segmentation examples.

  1. Segmentation by Geography. Suppose your stores in Region A will be getting a shipment of an extremely popular product in one week. You can email subscribers in Region A to notify them of this.
  2. Segmentation by Demographics. Your new product is proving to be a hit among dads in their 40s with school-age children. You can send information about this product to email subscribers who fit this demographic.
  3. Segmentation by Lifestyle. Suppose you now offer an insurance product specifically for vacation homes. Lifestyle data on your email subscribers can help you determine which ones of them you should notify.
  4. Segmentation by Behavior. Version 2.0 of a product is scheduled to drop a month before Christmas. You can send emails announcing this to all the people who bought Version 1.0 12 to 18 months ago.

Use your imagination. If you can define a group of people who need to know about a product or service, you can most likely segment your email list to engage them directly.

How to Obtain Data for Segmentation

Maybe you’re thinking, “That’s nice, but how do I know how many mothers in their 30s subscribe to my email?” The answer is, you ask them.

Surveying your email list for just a handful of preferences and characteristics can give you tremendously valuable segmentation data. One way to do this is to include a brief survey when someone requests to download a report or infographic. Another is to include a quick survey in the form people use to join your email list.

You can also send out an email to all your subscribers with a brief survey. Don’t expect a high percentage of respondents, but you can still get useful data. 

When you ask for information, be as brief as possible, and minimize or eliminate the need for the respondent to type. For example, instead of asking their age, create several age ranges for them to choose from by clicking a radio button. This is helpful for those on mobile devices.

How to Set Up Your Segmentation Strategy

The specifics will be unique to your organization, but in general, you can create a segmentation strategy in five steps.

  1. Articulate your goals. Do we want more sales, more app downloads, or what?
  2. Identify the data that will help you reach your goals. Is it regional, demographic, behavioral, etc.?
  3. Capture the data through surveys or behavioral data you collect on your subscribers.
  4. Define your segments.
  5. Write and send your segmented emails.

The good news is that your email platform can help with all of this. Email marketing platforms collect data from your email subscribers. And many of them help you create segments and automate the process of sending segmented emails as much as possible.

Segmenting for Top, Middle, and Bottom of Funnel

One popular segmentation strategy that it would be remiss to ignore is segmentation depending on where in the sales funnel your email subscribers fall

Generally speaking, your top-of-funnel subscribers are easiest to identify by their demographics, how they came to sign up for your email list, and how engaged they are with your emails.

Your middle-of-funnel subscribers can often be identified by their interests and preferences, the products recommended to them, and whether they have recently abandoned a shopping cart on your site.

You can identify your bottom-of-funnel subscribers based on their purchase history and their purchase amount. If, however, they have made purchases and then become inactive, their bottom-of-funnel emails should focus on re-engaging them with what you offer. 

What to Expect from Email Segmentation

A strong email segmentation strategy sets you up for several benefits:

  • Higher open rates and click-through rates
  • Lower likelihood of being relegated to the “spam” folder
  • Higher sales
  • Happier customers

In other words, it’s worth the effort. You’re likelier to reach interested customers and less likely to annoy uninterested customers. 

Segmentation and Personalization Are Different

Segmentation and personalization are not the same things. Both are valuable and increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. But there are key differences.

Segmentation is about creating groups of subscribers with common interests or challenges. It’s a way of narrowing your audience down to those who are most likely to engage with your message.

Personalization is an enhancement of segmentation that increases its benefits. Personalization is about the individual customer rather than their segment. Good personalization feels natural, not creepy, and deepens engagement between you and that customer.

Manage both segmentation and personalization and you’re golden.

“This Could Be Overwhelming.”

Email segmentation takes a strong marketing channel and makes it stronger. It increases your email marketing ROI while strengthening your customer relationships. 

While segmentation can be simple, it can also be remarkably complex. If you’d like help with either understanding or implementing email marketing enhancements like segmentation, schedule a call with our team.

Our digital marketing team has the experience and knowledge that our clients trust when they want to make every marketing dollar work as hard as possible. We would love to put that knowledge to work for you.

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