A Guide to Creating Email Segmentation Strategy


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Email segmentation can increase your ROI in the long run if done correctly and this is one of the best hacks for making your email marketing strategy work. There are better ways to compete against others in your industry than sending a generic email to your audience in this day and age. In this article, we will explain what email segmentation strategy is and how you can create one that will help your business scale. 

What is Email Segmentation?

email segmentation; maildrip
Source: Mailmodo

Email segmentation refers to the process of segregating your email lists based on certain criteria that your audience fits into. By segmenting your list, you can send different emails to different people at other times. This will help ensure that you cater to the needs of each person on your list and not send a blanket email that might not suit them. 

No two customers are the same and the stage they are in your sales funnel can also differ. This means you have to address both differently, according to their personality, interest in your brand and how they relate with it, and where they are in the sales funnel.  

By meeting your audience and potential customers at the point of their needs, you can increase their chances of buying from you. Seeing more relatable content encourages your subscribers to open your emails more, which increases your open rate. Recent research by MailChimp has shown that segmented campaigns get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. They are also likely to take action, as it pertains to them. The more you create intentional content for each segment, the more they interact with your brand. This is a win-win situation. 

So, if you’re looking for an effective way to achieve your company’s marketing goals and generate revenue over time, email segmentation is your best bet. 

Why Do You Need Email Segmentation?

Anyone can create a mailing list for their brand. However, the real work is in getting your subscribers to open your emails and take action. While there are different kinds of emails, they are not enough to encourage the open rates if your list is not segmented. Research also shows that for every $1 that you spend on Email Marketing, you can expect an average return of $4. You can consistently get this number or even more with email segmentation. 

As long as your list is curated based on the people interested in your brand, you can create unique content for them from their interests. Everyone who joins your email list is a “lead” who is also considered a potential customer and every action you take from the moment they join the list is important. The average open rate for welcome emails is 82% but the number tends to drop with subsequent emails. If that number of people can open the first email, you can do whatever it takes to ensure the percentage doesn’t entirely drop. 

The data below from the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report also gives more insight into the result you can get from email list segmentation. 

How to Strategically Segment Your Email List

There are different ways to segment your list and while there’s no perfect time to start, it’s best you start as early as possible. You can use different data points while segmenting your list, some of which are explained below. 

1. Demographics

email segmentation strategy; Demographics chart; MailDrip
Source: QuestionPro

One of the most popular ways for marketers to segment their email lists is through demographics. This includes Age, Gender, Location, Income, Relationship status, and more. It gives you insights into a person’s life, what they might be interested in, and how to market to them. You can ask for these things in your subscription form based on the data you feel you’d need, which can be determined by the industry you operate in. Not every brand would need to know their customer’s gender or whether they are single or married. 

To make it easier and less cringe to fill out the form, give them options and keep them within ranges. For example, the Age category could have 13-19, 20-25, 26-35, etc. The income could also have a range, as not everyone would be willing to expose their exact income or give you too much personal information.

2. Current customers

Most brands already have details of customers who bought from them. In many cases, if you’ve connected your eCommerce site to your email marketing platform, they would have been automatically added to your list. You can take the extra step to segment them into a list strictly for customers who already bought from you. You can also break this list into smaller segments, such that your current customers are now segregated based on their specific purchases. This would especially be effective if you have a wide range of products. 

3. Surveys

If you already have your email list but didn’t get much data, you can still work on your email segmentation strategy. The least you would have gotten is their email address, so you can send out a survey asking specific questions to know about them and their interests. This might be a bit tricky because a lot of people might not want to fill out a survey. You can take it up a notch by including an incentive for completing the survey, to encourage more responses from your subscribers. 

Based on the responses you get, you can then place each subscriber into their respective segments. Now, rather than sending a generic email to everyone, you can serve them based on their interests as indicated in the survey. 

3. Interest in products

If your brand sells different products, you can segment your audience based on their interest in your products. This way, you won’t keep pitching them a product they are not interested in or a product they have already bought. Study shows that it is 60-70% easier to sell another product to a current customer, so this will be a good time to start pitching them products that they are yet to buy. 

4. Interested but yet to purchase

While some people would purchase your products, some love your products but are yet to decide to buy. They are called “leads” and you can create lead-nurturing emails to move them up the sales funnel. These sets of people are likely already subscribed to your mailing list but haven’t made a single purchase or they kept your product in their cart and didn’t check out. 

Some eCommerce sites let you know when someone has your product in their cart but didn’t check it out. In this case, you have their details and can always reach out to them or add them to this segment. The emails you send to this category would be focused on getting them to know more about your brand and fueling their interest to make a purchase. 

5. Email engagement

Certain people on your list engage your emails better than others. Some email marketing platforms make this easier by showing your active subscribers, based on open rates, click-through rates, and response rates. You can create different segments from that based on how they engage with your emails, whether they are active or inactive, or in-between. You can specifically target the ones who actively engage you and try to sell to them since it’s obvious that they are interested in your brand. 

Best Practices for Targeted Email Marketing Segmentation Strategy

Now that you have created your email marketing segments, what next? It’s not enough to have your list divided into segments, you also have to send the right emails. The following points highlight some of the best practices to guide you. 

1. Use link triggers

Segmenting your email list doesn’t have to be an everyday hassle when you can automate the process. Using link triggers saves you a lot of time and effort. This simply means that based on the action a customer takes, they can be directed elsewhere which will determine the kind of content they get next. For example, with MailDrip, you can create and automate drip campaigns. These campaigns can be designed in such a way that after the first email, the actions your subscribers take from the links embedded would determine the next email they would get. 

This makes the process easier and less daunting for you in the long run. It will also be a great way to meet your audience where they are. This means a new subscriber doesn’t have to meet your campaign midway. Once they subscribe and get the welcome email, the link trigger gets working and they keep getting emails that align with their interests. 

2. Create buyer personas

Buyer personas are a fictional characterization of your ideal customer and this can be helpful when creating your email segments. You can use the data you’ve gotten so far to create your personas, so you can always have profiles to work with when creating content or building products. This will further help your marketing strategy, as you can easily know the kind of customers you want to attract and the best ways to publicize. 

3. Offer something to each of the segments

To improve the email segments, you can create offerings geared towards each of them. This will help ensure that you create what the audience needs and also never run out of content ideas. As you constantly build the segments, you can determine what each would prefer and use that to come up with product ideas that can cater to each of them.

How to Know if Your Email Segmentation Strategy is Working

The best way to check if your email segmentation strategy is working is to monitor your metrics. Some of the key things to look out for include:

  • Open rates: this tells you the number of subscribers who opened your email.
  • Click-through rates: this tells you the number of people who clicked on a link in your email and the particular link they clicked on. 
  • Conversion rates: this measures the people who not only clicked the link but also took the required action. For example, if you placed a link to a book download, the conversion is when a subscriber downloads the book. 
  • Bounce rates: this determines the number of emails that did not reach the customer’s inbox, which is often due to a wrong email address. 
  • Unsubscribe rates: this tells you the number of people who unsubscribed from your list. Some marketing platforms let you see the exact email they took the action from. 
  • Return on investments: with this, you can tell how much you’ve made from email marketing compared to how much you’ve spent so far. 

You can check these metrics for every email sent to each of your segments and also check the overall metrics. This will let you know which email did well and which didn’t, so you can know how to improve and what to improve on. 

Does Your Business Need Email Segmentation?

Yes, it does. To compete with the best companies out there today, you need to bring your A-game to your marketing strategy. One way to do this is to take email segmentation seriously. The only time you would probably not need this is if your business meets only one need, has just one product, and targets only one category of people. 

To make the most of your email segmentation strategy, you need advanced marketing software that allows you the liberty to explore and see results. In an earlier post, we shared the key things to consider when choosing an email marketing tool. Choose your tool carefully, as this can determine how you implement your email segmentation strategy.  

Now that you’ve learned how to create email segments, you can take your business up a notch by implementing some of these strategies. However, before creating segments, you need a marketing strategy to work with. As important as that is, we understand how strenuous it can be to come up with one. This is why the team at MailDrip created a template that you can work with for your business. All you have to do is fill out the form below to get it in your inbox. 

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