The best ways to segment your email list

Segmenting your email list has a lot of advantages. It allows you to categorise your subscribers based on various criteria, which helps you send them highly relevant content.

Segmenting is essential. If they get relevant and valuable emails from you, they will less likely mark your email as spam or unsubscribe.

Moreover, chances are high they will continue

  • looking forward to your emails, and
  • opening them,
  • clicking on your links,
  • interacting with your content.

Which is the surest way to eventually convert them to paying clients and customers.

Also, if your emails get positive engagement in general, that boosts your sender reputation, and can help get your emails delivered to the inbox.

So, you see, if you’re serious about email marketing, you need to give some thought about how you segment your list.

What is a segment in email marketing?

A segment is a group of people who share some common characteristics. This can be for example based on:

  • a common interest,
  • a similar behavioural pattern,
  • a shared geographic location or
  • their stage in the customer lifecycle, just to name a few.

By grouping and adding subscribers to such segments, you can customize and personalize your content in a way that best serves the needs of that particular group.

7 ways to segment your subscribers

Email marketing aims to sell your products and services to interested parties, aka your subscribers. So always choose segmenting criteria that help you achieve your business and financial goals.

Find below a list of seven segmenting options as a starter.

Segments based on the customer lifecycle

When people first meet you on your website or social media, they are a cold audience. They don’t know you yet. But if your products or services pique their interest, they may decide to start a relationship with you—by signing up to your email list.

Obviously, everyone who signs up to your list will be a regular subscriber, or a cold subscriber at the beginning. And if they are brand new subscribers to your list and just about to get to know you better, they need different types of content than your repeat customers. But more about this later.

Suppose they find your content valuable, and regularly open and reply to your emails. In that case, you can move them over time to the warm subscribers. You have higher chances to sell your products and services to a warm audience. It converts better if you send your offers to this segment.

The moment they buy from you—or hire you—they become customers or clients. Based on what they purchased or which of your services they booked, you can personalise your future email content even further to them.

You can send this segment content that helps them make the best of their purchase. Or you can offer them additional complementary services.

And if they become a repeat customer or a repeat client—first of all, congratulations!—and treat them accordingly. Create exclusive, high-value content just for them. Or reward them with special discounts and offers.

Segments based on purchases made

If you follow along and segment your customers based on their purchases, you can recommend them other related products or services that might be of interest.

Also, suppose they already bought a particular product. In that case, you can ensure you’re excluding them from getting promotional emails that are not relevant for them anymore. Or at least for the time being.

There’s nothing more disappointing when you buy a new fridge in a webshop, and then you start getting promotional offers and recommended items all featuring other fridges. If I just bought one, why would this be a relevant offer for me 2, 10, 35 days later?

A relevant offer could be a freezer perhaps. Or additional kitchen appliances.

Segments based on amount spent

Not all of your subscribers or prospects will book your most expensive service offer at the first time. So segmenting them based on whether they purchased an entry-level product—at a lower cost range—versus a mid-tier or high-end offer, gives you valuable information on what type of additional content to send them in your newsletters and future email campaigns.

Segments based on purchase frequency

You will have subscribers who only will buy from you one time. No matter how much you try to sell them on your next offer. And that’s perfectly fine. You have two options: respect their choice or adjust your marketing message for this group, serving them different types of content to warm them up even more before your next sales offer.

On the other hand, if you see subscribers regularly taking advantage of your promotions, you should consider treating them differently.

Repeat buyers should be rewarded, as they can turn into your best brand ambassadors. Ask them for feedback, and use these testimonials on your website, social media platform, landing pages as social proofs.

Segments based on demographics

It may not apply with the same weight to all businesses. But if for your niche it’s essential to collect demographic information—like age, gender, company position, income level etc.—then create relevant segments in your email marketing platform for the various groups.

Decide what demographic information is essential, focus on 1-3, and the best place is to ask them on your website via your signup form.

Check your choice of email marketing platform if it allows collecting such data. Or create a custom form on your website and sync it to your email marketing database.

Segments based on geographic location

Suppose you’re shipping worldwide, but you want to run promotions only for specific regions. In that case, it’s worth collecting location-specific data from your subscribers, and segmenting them accordingly.

But even service-based businesses can benefit from knowing their subscribers’ location. If you run online workshops, or masterminds, you can adjust the event timing based on your audience’s location.

Beyond that, knowing where they are located can also help you better time your email campaigns based on their time zone.

Segments based on engagement

This is an often-used segmentation tactic and a must-have.

First of all, who wouldn’t want to know who the most engaged subscribers are? Reading all your emails and clicking on your links?

Secondly, sending emails to engaged subscribers helps you boost your email open rates and click-through rates. And as they are showing interest in your content, they are good candidates for receiving special promotions and offers.

Lastly, knowing who hasn’t opened your emails in quite a while can help maintain a healthy email list. Add your less-engaged subscribers into a segment, and send them a re-engagement campaign. If they still remain inactive, consider removing them from your email marketing database completely.

What are your favourite ways to segment your list?
Let me know in the comments below.

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