What is Email Segmentation?

What is Email Segmentation

“Get 50% off on Fish Food.”

If you own fish, that message in your inbox will be a pleasant surprise. But if you don’t, you’re most likely to delete that email before you even open it.

What happened there? You know the business, but you own a dog, why are you receiving promotions for fish food?

That’s probably because the business hasn’t used list segmentation.

As reported by ExitBee, 70 percent of consumers become frustrated when content isn’t relevant to them.

Email marketing works, but without segmentation, your emails may be ignored, deleted, or worse — a reader may unsubscribe from your mailing list because your emails are irrelevant to them.

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Segmentation allows you to organize your contacts into different groups so that you can send targeted emails that are more relevant to the reader’s needs and interests.

There are different ways you can segment your email list, depending on what you offer, what information you have, or what interests your contacts display.

Getting started with email marketing segmentation

The question is, how do you begin segmenting your email list to send more targeted campaigns? Well, it’s simple. You create smaller subgroups of people who share traits, behaviors or interests.

Let’s say, you own a couple of gyms that have cardio equipment, aquatics classes, fitness classes, and spa services. There are likely lots of different subgroups within your contact list including demographic— age, gender, geographic location, etc; interest based—aquatics, yoga, nutrition, spa services; or engagement level. Once you identify the most appropriate segments for your business, you can then create targeted, relevant content  that speaks directly to each audience.

3 ways to easily segment your subscriber list

Ready to get started? Try any or all of these email segmentation strategies:

1. Contact details

You probably already have some information about your customers and contacts that you can use for segmentation purposes. Do you know where they live, their gender, or their age? Do they have children? Think about the data that you have and whether it makes sense to group people accordingly. Is there content or promotions that might be relevant to one group and not another?

Using the gym example from earlier, you might have several locations across the state.  In one center you are, launching a new aerial yoga class, and you only want to invite contacts who live nearby to register. Segmenting your contacts based on where they live will make it a quick process for you. Create a crisp email, with the essential information, and only send it to contacts in the vicinity of the gym. Taking the time to filter out members in other cities prevents you from sending them irrelevant content.

If you don’t have a lot of information about your contacts, you could ask them for more information through an ‘update your contact info’ campaign, add new fields to your sign-up form, or if you have the time, get in touch with them personally.

2. Engagement

Studying how your contacts engage with your emails can also help you create more targeted contact lists using segmentation. You will have some people who always open your emails, and take the action you want them to.You can classify these contacts as  “Highly Engaged”. But, you may have others who only read your emails occasionally or perhaps not at all — “Need More Engagement.” You can create distinct campaigns for each segment, one focusing on retention and the other focusing on generating interest.

Let’s say your gym is promoting a pilates session led by one of the most acclaimed trainers in town. Segmenting based on email engagement metrics such as open rates and click-through rates allows you to create more targeted messaging. For the “highly engaged group” you might send  a simple invitation with the event details and information about the instructor. For the “least engaged” segment you might include an extra incentive of a 20% discount coupon to register for the session.

When you use email service providers, like Constant Contact, you don’t need to open every email report to determine your contact’s level of engagement. Contacts can be automatically segmented based on contacts’ engagement with one specific email or across all email marketing campaigns.

3. Interests

Another way to group your contacts is by shared interests, so that you create messaging that speaks directly to what they care about. If you don’t already have data about your contacts’ interests, you can use click segmentation to obtain it, by automatically adding them to an interest-based list when they click on a link within an email.  If you have multiple products or services, you can create a single email with multiple links to sort your contacts into segments.

For example, your gym might have a monthly newsletter that you send to all contacts. You have three content blocks:  

  1. An article teaser, “5 pre-workout snacks that fuel you.”
  2. A feature about new services available in the spa
  3. A preview of the summer aquatics classes.

Each of these content blocks can be related to a different interest:

  1. An article teaser, “5 pre-workout snacks that fuel you” Gym
  2. A feature about new services available in the spa Spa
  3. A preview of the summer aquatics classes Aquatics

With click segmentation, whichever content block they click on, they will  also automatically be grouped into that interest segment. That way, you can send them additional relevant emails about the products or information in which they demonstrated interest.

Say, someone reads the email and clicks on the learn more about the spa. They will automatically be added to the “Spa” segment. You can now send them promotional offers as you add new services and treatments.

You can augment these segmented subscriber lists by placing distinct sign-up forms on pages of your website that address a specific topic, so visitors can self select which communications they prefer to receive.

For example, you could have a sign-up form on the spa services page and a different one on the yoga page. When a visitor to your website  fill out a form on the spa page, they are automatically added to the “spa” segment list and would begin to receive the updates and promos about spa treatments. You will not waste your time nor theirs by sending them information they don’t care about.

So, is segmenting complicated or time-consuming?

No. Segmenting is very easy and takes absolutely no time if you are using the right digital marketing tools. No matter how much, or how little information you have about your contacts, you can create segments to send more personalized emails. For example, with Constant Contact, segmenting is an automated process. Creating lists, or multiple segments is just a matter of a few clicks. Your job is to pair the right content with your segments.

Grow with email marketing segmentation

Your emails will generate the desired interest and action when they are relevant to your contacts. No one likes receiving emails or being targeted with marketing campaigns that are of no value to them.

Creating segments is the way to hit that target. Using segmentation with targeted content makes every contact feel like you are talking directly to them, and making an offer that’s just for them. You will always send the right message, to the right person.

There are many ways you can segment your contacts, and they will increase as your list and business grow. Understand your contacts, and understand your own business needs to know what really works for you. You may not need multiple segments if you have one professional service to offer. You can just segment based on how people are engaging with you. However, if you have a lot of products and services, you may want to create multiple segments so your contacts can see more of what is relevant to them.

You don’t have to do it all in a day! If you are getting started with segmentation strategies, create one simple segment today.

Dig deeper in our upcoming webinar:

Making Sense of Online Marketing

Register here

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