Once a contact converts your aim is to keep building their trust. You could do this through testimonials that expose them to more of your offering or educational resources that help them get the most out of their purchase.
Webflow uses social proof to draw inactive users back to their platform. They let you know how many new users they’ve had since your last engagement, so you’ll get on the ball for fear of missing out on what everyone else is doing.
For subscribers who have been inactive for a longer period of time, you may want to send out a targeted email to see if they still want to hear from you, or if they’d rather unsubscribe. And at a certain point, you may want to remove subscribers who have been inactive for a long time.
Email Segmentation Basics
The concept of email list segmentation comes from the more general term, “market segmentation” — dividing a target audience into logical sub-groups based on defined criteria. In email marketing the idea is the same except your starting point is your email contact list rather than your audience as a whole.
Email segmentation is the process of separating contact lists into smaller sections according to shared characteristics. Marketers can then target different segments with tailored email campaigns based on what they know about subscribers.
The need for list segmentation comes from the fact that your audience is not a uniform group. Instead it’s made up of different types of customers whose motivations vary based on their profile. So, if you want to get the most out of each one of them, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to cut it.
Better campaign results
More relevant emails means a better response from subscribers. If your email subject line catches their interest they’ll be more likely to open it. And if the content does the same they’ll continue to do so in the future. You’ll also get more click-throughs and conversions if what you’re sending fits the reader’s needs.
On the flip side, a blanket email campaign can never satisfy everyone on your list. And if contacts regularly receive emails that don’t interest them, not only will engagement be lower but you risk a higher unsubscribe rate.
Increased knowledge of your audience
The process of segmenting your campaigns helps deepen your understanding of your audience. For example, you can test which content works for different profiles and identify groups with the best engagement to determine your most valuable customers.
The Beginner’s Guide to Email Segmentation & Personalization
Research from VB Insights found that 50% of marketers only target fewer than 10 segments. We’ve seen customers regularly have much larger ranges of segments that they’re working with, from 20 and even up to hundreds of segments. The majority of marketers also still define email personalization as including a person’s name in the greeting or subject line. That’s so far from what’s possible these days.
Being able to use real activity (or inactivity) and user attributes beyond more static demographics gives you so much more flexibility and accuracy to target the recipient who’ll be most receptive to your message. You can personalize experiences like the big guns, such as Netflix or Airbnb.
There is a disconnect between what people believe email segmentation and personalization is and reality. There’s also a disconnect between how many people believe they’re doing email segmentation and personalization right and how many are doing it wrong.
Now, everyone has at least two segments they can work with: active users and inactive users. Why treat the two equally? One is actively interested in your content or product and the other might not even recognize your brand name.
By sending them more personalized content, you can increase conversions. Motivations, intentions, anxieties, etc. change based on the stage of the conversion funnel, time, interests, age, gender – the list is endless.
Getting the email with a discount for the product you just purchased. Receiving updates on a version of software that you didn’t download yet. These are the signs of a poorly segmented list and great reasons you’ll click the unsubscribe button.
When you factor in deeper actions like purchase history, activity levels with your product/service and content downloads, then you’re able to significantly strengthen the relevancy and maximize the one-to-one relationship that email provides.” (via Zapier)
- You don’t need advanced tools – Mailchimp, Aweber, and the like are all you require.
- Configuration is cheap – because you don’t need advanced tools.
- Set-up is quick and easy – you create the few emails you want your subscribers to receive, add them to your email marketing platform, and you’re done. No need to add code to your site to track events, or to create multiple variations of the same emails for advanced personalization.
- There are no headaches – basic autoresponders, with one or two simple series of emails, are easy to understand. With complex drip marketing systems, if you don’t map out and document your sequences, you can easily get lost in your configuration. This could mean mistakenly sending someone the same emails twice, or losing subscribers “through the cracks”.
I strongly recommend that you start with a simple autoresponder series. Test things out, see what works and what doesn’t. By analyzing your results and fine-tuning your series you will be able to see incremental improvements, leading to better results every day.”
Like anything in marketing, you need an objective, KPIs and goals. Before you begin segmenting, ensure the system is scalable. If your list is relatively small, say less than 100 subscribers, spending hours on segmentation probably won’t be too helperful.
“Personalization doesn’t just mean including a person’s first name in the subject line. Executing a campaign to a highly targeted segment is one form of personalization. Triggering emails based on inactivity is another. Personalization, like segmentation, is is not a tactic you pull out when you need a sale, it’s a big picture strategy that affects how you collect data, write copy and plan marketing campaigns.”
Why is it important?
Email segmentation and personalization is important because without it, you’re writing emails for a specific type of person and sending it to everyone, whether they fit that type or not. It’s like having a secret to tell your 5 best friends and then announcing it on the 11 o’clock news.
How effective is segmentation? According to research from MailChimp, very. They sampled 2,000 MailChimp users who sent 11,000 segmented campaigns to 9 million people. Then, they compared the results to those users’ non-segmented campaigns.
Take Ferguson Enterprises, an $11 billion plumbing and PVF distributor, for example. A few years ago, they shared how improving their email campaigns resulted in a significant increase in sales. Using a one-click segmentation email, they sorted their customers into 14 different types.
How to do email segmentation & personalization right
To help you better understand email segmentation and personalization, here’s how to do it using three popular email marketing tools. Of course, there are many, many other tools you can use. Some will have more robust options than others, some will be specific to your industry (SaaS, eCommerce, etc.)
When using segments, you can choose a single condition or up to five (positive and negative relationships) per campaign. If you’re a Pro user, you get access to advanced segments, which allow you to create more complex, nested segments. Advanced segments can include more than five conditions.
How to create a MailChimp segment
Protip 1: Discover similar subscribers
Protip 2: Automation activity
If you use MailChimp’s automation features, you can create segments based on automation behavior and activity. For example, here’s a segment of people who have completed an automated workflow on dogs and are interested in other available workflow topics…
Protip 3: Subscriber data
That’s why you might want to use segmentation to improve your segmentation options. You can easily send an email asking your unengaged subscribers who were added to your list after a certain date to update their profile information, for example.
Protip 4: Campaign activity
MailChimp also allows you to segment based on campaign activity (i.e. how they respond to your emails). In this example, we’ll isolate subscribers who opened a specific, local email and who live within 25 miles of the local area. Then, we can see who is interested in local event content.
Protip 5 : Ecommerce / Goal Activity
You can also target people who signed up, but didn’t purchase. And track who visited a Goal URL and purchased a specific item before / after your email. And segment for amount spent, product category purchased from, etc.
Proptip 6: Poll Activity
MailChimp and SurveyMonkey have an integration. So, if you use SurveyMonkey, you can even segment based on your subscribers’ survey responses. For example, here’s a segment of subscribers who started a survey, but did not complete it…
How to create a Vero segment
Step Two: Add your conditions and save the segment. In this case, we’re segmenting people who haven’t opened any emails in the last 30 days, but have visited the site two or more times in that same timeframe.
3 Types of emails
Protip 1: Nesting and syntax
Vero allows segment nesting, which means you can create segments of segments. Essentially, you can combine two relevant segments or improve an existing segment without discarding the original. This saves a lot of time, and also allows you to really drill down and personalize.
For best results, use some type of syntax to organize your segments when using Vero. Otherwise, it can get quite confusing. For example, they recommend using [Customers] for existing customers, [Activation] for free trial users, [Blog] for content marketing campaigns, etc.
Protip 2: Onboarding campaigns
Let’s say the first step in your onboarding process is to create a project. The next is to create a task. Using segments, we can isolate customers who have completed step one, but not step two and send them a personalized email.
Don’t forget to reach out to these customers. Their feedback is incredibly valuable, and you can use it to improve your product and overall brand experience. This way, you should have fewer negative reviews over time.
What are email segments?
Email segments are a group of email subscribers defined by a set of conditions, like location or how recently they’ve clicked on an email. By segmenting your emails in your marketing platform, you can create personalized content that’s more likely to resonate with your entire audience.
Email segmentation is a process that helps create more revenue as it helps brands personalize the user experience. Using email marketing platforms you can personalize your brand’s ecommerce experience for different sets of customers and gather Customer-First Data™, that helps determine behavioral trends . And you get a revenue boost, too.
So, are you ready to dream up a segmentation strategy that engages your subscribers? Here are 11 of the most popular ways brands segment their email lists to personalize experiences, sell more products, and earn more loyalty:
Benefits of email list segmentation
If you have a large email list, it’s likely full of all different kinds of people with different interests. Segmentation is important because it enables you to send an email only to people on your list who care about that email. The best emails hold personalized content that is relevant to each individual subscriber.
1. Increased conversions and ROI
When you send more personalized emails, your subscribers are more likely to convert. In fact, segmented campaigns have been shown to deliver 14.32% higher open rates and 54.79% higher click-through rates than non-segmented campaigns.
2. Improved customer satisfaction
By definition, segmentation means that you’re sending the right message to the right people at the right time. This increased relevancy leads to improved customer satisfaction and can even lead to brand loyalty.
3. Reduced unsubscribe rates
When you’re sending messages that are relevant to your subscribers, they’re less likely to unsubscribe from your list. In fact, segmented campaigns have been shown to have unsubscribe rates 9.4% lower than non-segmented campaigns.
6 email segmentation strategies to get started
When done right, email marketing segmentation will help you to send more personalized messages and ramp up your engagement. One of the best ways to do this is with behavioral segmentation—where segments are created directly by actions your subscribers take.
For example, when a subscriber clicks a link in your newsletter, it triggers an email automation workflow that can send an email or add the subscriber to a new group. Everything is automated so you see the results without putting in a lot of work.
1. Segment by signup channel
We can create different interest groups based on the blog topics they read that inspired them to signup for our newsletter. So if a subscriber was reading an e-commerce article, we know that they will appreciate more e-commerce content in the future.
Segment your users according to the signup channels. The ones that signed up from your blog might be more interested in content about your company. The ones that signed up from your e-commerce site might want to know more about your products so that you can guide them down the sales funnel.
2. Segment by customer journey
Let’s say you have a multi-step welcome sequence that includes content specific to new subscribers that drips out over a few days. You can make a segment that includes subscribers that are active in that workflow in order to exclude them from receiving regular campaigns until they’ve completed the onboarding process.
3. Segment by prior purchases
Using MailerLite e-commerce integrations, you can segment your list based on prior purchases and use purchase history to send them new emails based on their style or interests. This type of recommendation marketing makes up over 35% of Amazon’s business!
For example, someone who just bought a new pair of sneakers from an e-commerce store might need waterproofing spray or socks. You can see in the newsletter below how a personalized email focused on prior purchases can be so relevant and effective.
4. Segment by email engagement
Another way to look at your subscribers is by engagement. Take a look at your email metrics and separate the less active subscribers from those who engage often. This way, you can create a segment of highly-engaged readers and offer them different incentives or encourage them to share content.
Your main two engagement metrics are open rates and click rates. MailerLite’s subscriber filter has a built-in Time inactive setting that you can use to segment. You enter the number of days a subscriber hasn’t opened or clicked an email, and it will find all inactive subscribers for you.
5. Segment by survey results
At MailerLite, we send out a Net Promoter Score (NPS) to get a temperature reading on how we are doing. Based on how people answer our survey, they are automatically added to a specified group and receive an email message crafted to address their survey answers.
6. Combine multiple filters
5 advanced email marketing segmentation techniques for hyper-targeted campaigns
When it comes to prioritization, a lot of our ecommerce marketers know how to segment an email list. But when it comes to creating more advanced email marketing segmentation techniques for practical use cases, many marketers lack inspiration.
So I’ve put together 7 of the most practical segments you can create for your online store, with an example of exactly how you can create them yourself.
First, from your dashboard, go to Audience in the top navigation bar. Then go to Saved Segments, then click on the Create New Segment button on the right of the screen.
#1. Segmenting by sign up source
Separating subscribers into segments by their sign up source might seem redundant. However, this allows you to do a few things.
First, you can see which one of your sign up forms brings in the most subscribers. Second, you can create different offers across those forms and see which of those offers resonate the most with your customers.
This is where you luck out. When you use Omnisend, your subscribers are automatically tagged with their source, whether they sign up organically, or they are imported from a file. From this point, you can layer segments on top of this initial segment to get even more precise targeting (more on that later).
What to send:
What’s interesting about this segment is that you can really tailor your offers to different customers. Instead of starting personalization with your first messages, you can really launch into personalized offers from their first browsing session by targeting your sign up forms, popups, and landing pages to appear to customers interested in certain things.
For example, say you have a sale category on your site. There are customers that will come to your site and directly head for clearance. You might want to hit those customers who are deal-sensitive with a popup after a few seconds to sign up for your newsletter with an extra discount as an incentive.
However, you have other customers that will check out new arrivals and begin looking at your shipping prices. For those customers, you can tailor an offer for free shipping on their first order to sweeten the deal.
From sign up, they’ll already be segmented, so you can automate workflows to send them the codes they’ll need to redeem their incentives for their first purchase.
#2. Segmenting for customers who purchased in the last 30 days
Because convincing a customer to purchase the first time means laying groundwork for a lot of trust in your store. As long as you’ve followed through on what you promised them, they’ll have that trust reinforced.
So why not pull them back in while that great experience is still fresh?
You can target this even further by choosing exactly which kinds of products the customer would have had to purchase. This way, you can cross sell even better if you offer a variety of different products.
What to send:
#3. Segmenting for customers who haven’t purchased in the last 90 days
We know that repeat customers are your most valuable customers. These customers have proven that they’re interested in your products, or they were at one time. If they showed interest at one time, they can do it again.
What to send:
For example, if you were using lead magnets on your store, like the latest Fall Lookbook for your Autumn apparel, offer that lead magnet as a freebie for your inactive customers. Perhaps a little inspiration is all that’s needed.
That would be a great lead in your reactivation series. You could always follow that up with a limited-time offer for a discount, free shipping, or a free gift with purchase. This will help create urgency for your customer to react, and if nothing else, it’s sure to get a few click throughs and bring your customer back to your store.
Regardless of how well your reactivation campaigns go, clean your list of customers that have not been active for a year or more, meaning they haven’t even opened your emails in that time frame. This will improve your deliverability, and increase the overall quality of your contacts.
#4. Segmenting for signups that haven’t purchased in 30 days
Unlike customers that haven’t purchased in 30 days, these are subscribers that have never purchased from you. Obviously, you want to give it time for your welcome automations to work their magic, but you can’t win them all.
This is why you should set up a segment for 30 days after the initial sign up.
I love to hear the stories of small businesses & organizations who are using Constant Contact creatively and effectively. I also run BlaiseLucey.com, a website for writers and musicians trying to market their work online.
Benefits of Email List Segmentation
While large brands are hiring expert marketing to spread the word and drive more traffic to their websites, email marketing segmentation helps you to achieve exactly that but without spending millions of money.
Here is the challenge: As mentioned above, your subscribers have different needs and wants. That means that not all want the same content or offers. So, you can send the same message to your thousands of subscribers. This is the reason why marketers have realized the importance of email list segmentation.
1) Let you connect with your target audience effectively
The goal of email list segmentation is to increase engagement and drive conversions. And sending targeted messages to the targeted audience helps marketers to understand their interests so you can serve them with relevant content.
2) Monitor subscribers who open and those who don’t open your emails
So, email list segmentation helps to identify those who are opening and reading your emails and those who aren’t. This way, you can know how to convince them to open your emails, for instance by offering them freebies or sending them free offers.
3) Lets you create targeted promotions and campaigns
4) Increase open rates and click-through
Usually, the subject lines of your message can tell the recipients whether the message inside is for them or not. Segmenting email lists enables you to send relevant messages to relevant subscribers and this improves open and click-through rates.
5) Reduces bounce rates and unsubscribe rates
Email List Segmentation Best Practices
1) By Demographics
Chances are that your target audience lives in different locations around the world. It’s worth gathering all this information. Equipped with this information could help you tailor your messages based on where your audience comes from hence making your content more relevant to them.
Given that your email list comprises different people from different geographical locations it means they will open and engage with your emails at different times. And because you want to get more clicks and opens, then you want to send a message to your target audience at the right time. Sending messages to your target audience then they are offline is a waste of time. By the time these people are online, their inboxes will have too many emails and chances are that yours will be buried in the hip of emails. So, track the time when subscribers are active and send them emails at that time.
Once you have this information, you can then segment your email list based on the age and gender of your audience. This may help you to know what products to promote to what age of people of what gender.
Besides, you cannot promote accounting products to a person who deals with automotive parts. So you need to identify and differentiate these people so that you can target them individually with your messages.
2) By Geolocation
You can also target your audience based on weather patterns. For instance, if your brand is promoting rain jackets, knowing when it’s raining for your subscribers could help you reach out to them at the right time when they need rain jackets.
3) Based on Website Behavior
Usually, when a person lands on your website, they are probably going to visit certain pages of interest. You can use tools such as BeamPulse to monitor customer behavior on your website such as the menus they visited, icons they clicked, etc.
4) By Purchase History
You can also use customers’ purchase history to target them with messages promoting products that cater to their interests. This will help to drive more sales and create a long term relationship with your target customers.
5) Based on Survey Results
6) Based on Email Activity
7) By Cart Abandonment
Abandonment cart email doesn’t have to be complicated. You just need to include the most crucial elements which specifically include the item abandoned and a soft CTA that convinces a customer to carry on with the checkout process.
8) Based on the Type of Customer
These are customers who come what may; they will still use your products or services. You need to identify them as well. They might be subscribers who are clicking and opening your emails every time you send messages to them. Keep them engaged by sending special offers, discounts, and send surveys to know them more so you can improve your strategy.
This applies to brands that offer trial versions of their products. You need to find ways to convert these users or customers into buyers. You need to convince them to upgrade to your paid version of the products they are trying after the trial period has elapsed.
Here, you need to focus on educating them about the benefits they can get when the upgrade to the paid version, how to use the paid version, explain to them the features and how your product can help them achieve what they are looking for, etc.
This is where email segmentation gets complicated. Non-converters are the most difficult to convince. But you can send them surveys regularly until you identify their problems and learn more about them and then convince them to convert.
9) Based on the Purchase Amount
A good example of a brand that used this segmentation strategy is Intermix. The women’s clothing brand segmented their customers into three distinctive groups (VIPs-those that can spend more money on items, Sales shoppers- those who buy when offered discounts and Brand shoppers- those who are eager to buy but still doubt the price).
10) By CTA
If you send an email for a free masterclass and some people click on the link but don’t end up signing up, you can create a separate segment for them the next day and send an email nudging them a bit more to sign up since they have shown slight interest in it by clicking the CTA in the previous email.
Why should you segment your email list?
Creating smaller groups of contacts, or segmenting, is the first step to sending the right messages to the right people at the right times and significantly improving your email results. Sometimes, emails are not one size fits all. One email might appeal to some people on your list, while others need something completely different.
Email segmentation statistics
The takeaway from these email segmentation statistics is simple. Email segmentation works. Your subscribers don’t want your emails unless they are relevant to them, and segmentation ensures you can send relevant emails to everyone.
Note on open rates: Apple’s Mail Privacy Protection feature, which was released on September 20th, 2021, has made email open rates less reliable. While historical open rate data can still provide valuable insights, we recommend marketers focus on other email marketing metrics, like clicks and conversions, when measuring their success going forward.
4 email marketing segmentation techniques
1. Simply ask email subscribers for their preferences
Fashion retailer No Rest for Bridget created lists for their communications and subscribers have the opportunity to choose what lists they’re interested in — emails that contain in-store sales and promotions, information about new products, online sales, or all news and sales.
2. Ask subscribers for their location
You can learn a lot about what your subscribers are interested in based on their location. Robert Paul Properties — a real estate firm in Massachusetts — asks subscribers about the locations they’re interested in right in their email sign-up form.
3. Pay attention to purchasing behavior
Audience behavior is another great way to segment. Find out what your audience is interested in by using your email reports to see what they’re opening and clicking on. You can save those people to an existing list or create a new one.
4. Focus on your relationship
Some businesses and organizations have very distinct audiences that they communicate with. That’s why organizing their lists by the relationship or customer status helps them get the right information in front of the right people.
Improve your email campaigns through segmentation
As we’ve discussed in this article, most email service providers offer filtering capabilities that’ll help you run segmented email campaigns no matter if you’re trying to welcome brand new subscribers or increase sales from existing customers.
If you continue to ignore all the data you have at your disposal and keep on sending the same message to everyone there is a very high probability that much of your database will progressively become disinterested, then inactive.
And over time, the messages which once reached the subscribers’ inbox may very well end up in spam – as ultimately, they are no longer interested. ISPs make filtering decisions based on how wanted your messages are.
Most smart marketers diversify their email marketing campaigns. On top of sending an occasional promotional email that has offers the same content to everyone, they use email personalization and target different customers individually.
Hopefully, throughout this article, we’ve managed to both convince you why it’s worth developing an email segmentation strategy, and we’ve shown you that it’s not all that complicated if you know what you want to achieve with your email marketing campaigns.