4 Strategies To Segment Your Email List


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Oluebube Anukam



As an email marketer, you’ve probably come across the term email list segmentation a handful of times. It is a modern, data-driven feature in Email Service Providers that helps you catch up to the trend of targeted marketing strategies.

What is Email List Segmentation?

Email list segmentation, or mailing list segmentation, is an email marketing strategy that categorizes your mailing list based on any given criteria to deliver relevant content to your subscribers.
If you have an email address and have, at one point, handed over that email address to a subscription service, newsletter, etc., there’s a very high chance that you’ve received an email based on a category you were put in. Your subscriber’s list can be segmented based on any number of categories, it can be segmented based on clicks, survey answers, demographics, time spent reading emails or websites, etc.

For instance, Amazon sent me this email that contains a recommendation of books that are similar to the one written by an author I follow. It’s safe then to assume that Amazon has a segmented mailing list with at least one specified category for “Similar Genre”.

Source: Author’s Cam

Generally, the advantages of list segmentation are that it’s better for business and drives conversions and this is evident because it
a.) Allows you to send content that is relevant to each unique subscriber
b.) Increases your ROI
Some categories into which your mailing list can be segmented are:


Demographics is the most common category to set up in email list segmentation. It’s a criterion that can transform your campaigns from generic to genuinely impactful. Let’s say you run an online fashion store. You have a trendy new collection of summer dresses, but you also offer a line of formal business attire. Without demographic segmentation, your male subscribers, who traditionally wouldn’t go for the dresses, might end up receiving promotions for dresses, while your female subscribers are bombarded with suits and ties.

That’s why demographic segmentation is important, it’s not just about sending emails; it’s about sending curated emails showcasing the right products to the right recipients. This level of personalization boosts engagement because subscribers receive content that aligns with their needs and preferences.

Demographic segmentation involves categorizing your email subscribers based on key demographic factors such as age, gender, location, income level, and occupation. Think of it as tailoring your content to resonate with the unique characteristics of various groups within your audience. When subscribers receive emails that reflect their interests and identities, they’re more likely to open, click through, and even make a purchase.

Whether you’re promoting a special offer tailored to a specific age group or a location-based event, demographic segmentation increases the chances of converting leads into loyal customers.


Another category you should segment your email list by is “behavior”. It involves grouping your email recipients based on their behaviors and engagement patterns. Behavioral segmentation helps you understand your subscribers’ actions and inactions by answering these questions: Are they frequent website visitors, avid clickers, or perhaps subscribers who’ve been inactive for a while? Yes, demographics offer a great starting point for personalization but when you layer behavioral insights on top of that, you’re stepping into a realm of hyper-relevance.

You can send tailored emails to subscribers who’ve abandoned their carts, gently reminding them of what they left behind, or craft exclusive offers for those who’ve consistently engaged with your content. Behavioral segmentation enables you to respond to your subscribers’ digital body language in time.

At its core, behavioral segmentation isn’t just about boosting open rates or clicks. It’s about nurturing a relationship that leads to conversions. By understanding how your subscribers interact with your brand, you can strategically guide them through the customer journey. Sending timely emails based on their behavior can rekindle their interest, address their concerns, and provide solutions they didn’t even know they needed. Every click, open, and scroll is a piece of the puzzle that forms the bigger picture of your subscribers’ preferences.

Behavioral segmentation allows you to assemble that puzzle and create an email marketing strategy that feels tailor-made for each recipient.

Preferences and Interests:

After segmenting by behavior, another category you should consider is “Preference/Interests”. These categories are very closely aligned but Preferences and Interests allow you to segment your mailing list based on the particular thing that defines your subscribers’ engagement patterns. For example, one of the male subscribers in the earlier example might be browsing your online fashion store for those summer dresses instead because that is where his interest is at the moment. He will be a frequent webpage visitor for the dresses section instead and may spend significant time on there.

Therefore, his interest in your summer dress collection defines his behavior on your website.
In your mailing list, no two email subscribers are alike. Some may be drawn to your brand for its cutting-edge tech solutions, while others might be more interested in your eco-friendly product line. Preferences and interests segmentation involves categorizing your subscribers based on what makes their hearts race and their curiosity pique. You can send an email about your latest recipe book to those who’ve shown a penchant for culinary delights, or share insights about your upcoming tech webinar with the gadget enthusiasts. This level of personalization creates a genuine bond between your brand and your subscribers.

The essence of preferences and interests segmentation lies in delivering content that matters to your subscribers. When recipients receive emails about topics they care about, they’re more likely to open, read, and engage with your content. This heightened engagement not only keeps your brand on their radar but also establishes a stronger connection.

Purchase History:

Let’s look at another scenario: You run an online bookstore. A customer recently purchased a mystery novel. Instead of sending them an email promoting a romance novel, why not suggest another captivating mystery from a bestselling author?
Purchase history segmentation centers around categorizing your subscribers based on their previous buying behavior. It’s like having a conversation that picks up from where it left off, offering relevant recommendations and promotions. Purchase history segmentation enables you to send recommendations that align with your subscribers’ past preferences, making your emails a valuable source of information and inspiration.

One of the most compelling aspects of purchase history segmentation is its potential to guide subscribers along the path to conversion. A significant portion of business comes from repeat customers so sending targeted emails about products related to their past purchases can gently nudge them towards making another buying decision.

When you segment based on purchase history, you can nurture these valuable relationships. Whether it’s offering a discount on a complementary product or sending a thank-you email with a personalized touch, this strategy shows your customers that you value their loyalty.


One important thing to note is this: email list segmentation should only be based on relevant categories. If you send newsletters on the latest tech trends or climate justice, it is irrelevant to segment your list based on say, gender.

To automate your email list segmentation, you need a modern ESP. Maildrip, for example, gives you the option for unlimited email list segmentation and as an ESP especially tailored for drip marketing, you have access to a wealth of other data-driven features as well.

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