List Segmentation Makes Email Way More Effective


Audience segmentation has blasted way beyond simple demographic and psychographic descriptions of markets. Sophisticated email marketing schemes can suck data about your customers from Facebook and other sources to target obscure markets, like guys who enjoy Pilates, frozen dinners, and Finnish beer.

In this post, we’re discussing techniques you can use with most online email applications. Someday soon, though, you may send the majority of your email through marketing automation. Until then, email is a great way to model the benefits of segmentation.

Why email?

Not many small businesses have the resources to use or buy big data to target messages to individual consumers. Don’t wait, you can put segmentation to use in your email right away. Most email platforms, even the bargain basement brands, offer some capability.

Why should I care?

You can send tailored information to small but important parts of your audience and make them like you. Why pitch a $500 golf club to a novice golfer, or beer to a self-professed wine nut. It makes your company seem out of touch.

Because your content is more relevant, your conversion rates and sales will jump up, and you can celebrate with a can of your favorite Finnish beer.

Better numbers. The positive or negative performance won’t sway the analytics for your entire list. At Ideopia, we can always count on our friends and family segment for a 70% click-thru rate with our enewsletters. Mom’s will open anything! Great numbers, but they’re outliers when it comes to the performance of our overall list.

Zero in on the most profitable customer segments, and super serve them with customized content. Your email application may not have all the numbers you need, so bone up on easy ways you can track conversions and email visitors with Google Analytics.

Define your segments.

You’re only as good as your list. What type of data does it contain for segmentation? do you have to create segments? Options often include high-value customers, industry sectors, title, or recency of purchase. Identifying the segments isn’t enough, though. You need tailored offers or information to send through your targeted pipeline. Prioritize your segments by opportunity.

If you don’t have the resources to write six different newsletters, swap out the lead stories for each segment. Still pressed for time? Reduce the length of your stories, or mix it up with Vine videos or infographics. You’ll learn to eye everything produced for your brand as possible content.

How do I get started?

Sign up with an email marketing web application that handles segmentation. Here’s a helpful review of the most popular email marketing solutions.

Set target metrics or KPIs for each segment. Determine the most meaningful segmentation of your list. With any luck, your Customer Resource Management (CRM) system has already figured this out. Examples could include distributor / direct, gender, brand preference, geography, mobile vs. desktop, business category, etc. Start slowly; this is a journey, not a destination.

Modify your email address capture system, like web forms, to gather segmentation information. If you’re offering value, like a white paper download, you can ask for more than an email address. Progressive forms will help you out, too, by asking for different pieces of information on successive visits.

Get help! Recruit the product manager to write stories about their category. Put the people in your company who love your products and want to express themselves writing first-person pieces, or creating Vine videos. Assuming you want to see your family again, you need a content team.

Stagger your mailings, so the editorial crunch doesn’t hit on one day.

You can do it! This first step isn’t technologically difficult, it just takes the grit to plan and organize. You’ll see unsubscribes go down, and conversions and brand loyalty go up.

Is Segmentation Creepy?

On a scale of 1-10 with Facebook being the creepiest user of customer data, basic email segmentation is a -10. Do make sure that you upgrade your privacy policy, so visitors know exactly what you’re doing with their information, and make it easy to unsubscribe with a single click.

Learn more about content and email segmentation with these posts:

How to Evaluate Your Email Newsletter

Blow the Dust off Your Email Program

Mobile Friendly Email is a Must

Infographic: Troubleshoot Email Marketing 

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