Be on Target: 40 Segmentation Strategy Tips to Make Your Emails Relevant to Your Readers

How many emails do you get each day? Most of us receive well over 100 email messages every single day, many of them marketing messages. And many of those are not interesting to us because they are generic, sent by a marketer taking a batch-and-blast approach. What do we do with those emails? We ignore them, delete them and sometimes report them as spam. 

If you’re an email marketer, you do not want your email to be one of those many generic messages that are ignored, especially given the crowded landscape you’re competing in with all those hundreds of emails in the inbox that make it harder for your email to get noticed. 

What’s a marketer to do? Deploy an email segmentation strategy. Start segmenting your lists so you’re not sending generic emails to everyone. Instead, send targeted and relevant messages that resonate with your audiences. When you do that, you increase your open rate and your engagement. Your emails start to get noticed because your subscribers quickly learn that you’re sending content they want to get. 

It’s a fact that email marketing segmentation leads to better results. According to research done by MailChimp, segmented campaigns outperform non-segmented campaigns by far: 

  • Open rates are 14.31 percent higher
  • Unique opens are 10.64 percent higher
  • Clicks are 100.95 percent higher
  • And bounce rates, abuse reports and unsubscribe rates are all lower

Knowing that, how can you not want to use email segmentation? 

However, you can’t segment if you don’t know more about your subscribers. If you don’t know someone’s gender or interests, for example, you can’t very well segment your list based on that information. You have to somehow get the data in the first place. And you can! You can gather it over time by tracking their behavior and by asking for it little by little. 

To help you get started with email list segmentation, below are 40 possible ways to slice and dice your data so you can segment your list. These tips also include ways to gather the information you need to do the segmenting. 

40 Segmentation Strategy Tips to Try

  1. New to your list: When someone first joins your email list, send them a welcome email. It might be they subscribed or it might be they made a purchase or registered for an event. Take that information into account as part of your email segmentation. 
  2. Use your welcome emails to learn more: Send them onboarding emails to help them get to know your company/brand/product/service if they haven’t purchased yet. But also ask for more information from them, a little at a time. How they respond to these initial emails—what they open, what they click on—will help you start segmenting them into targeted lists right away.
  3. Emails opened: This is an easy metric to start with if you’re launching your email list segmentation effort. From now on, start segmenting subscribers based on the emails they open. 
  4. Use a preference center: To get more information about your subscribers, offer a preference center where they can tell you more about themselves, such as where they live and their age, but also how often they do (or don’t) want to hear from you. All of that data is useful to your email marketing segmentation, even if they decide they only want a monthly email. That alone tells you they’re less engaged, right?   
  5. Use surveys: You probably don’t want to ask new subscribers to give you all kinds of personal information when your relationship with them is still new. But you can do surveys on occasion to learn more about them and their interests. 
  6. Geography on a large scale: Knowing where in the world someone lives can help you segment and also be culturally (and seasonally) correct with your emails. 
  7. Geography on a small scale: Knowing which state or even city your subscriber lives in can help you target in all kinds of ways, and even drive traffic to brick-and-mortar stores.
  8. Weather: When you know geography, you can also know the weather, so you’re not sending snow-related emails to someone in Phoenix, Arizona, and you can also be more helpful, promoting the right items at the right time for each subscriber by segmenting based on weather. 
  9. Gender: Knowing gender is key to email marketing segmentation for many marketers! This is information you can glean based on behavior, or you can ask at sign up or as part of a survey. 
  10. Age: As you’re slowly learning more information about subscribers or customers, you’ll want to find out age because the messaging that’s appropriate for a 20-something customer won’t be the same as what you’ll send to a 60-something customer. 
  11. Education level: Knowing someone’s education level can help you segment more effectively. 
  12. Income: Knowing someone’s income can also help your segmentation. Sometimes you can glean income based on ZIP code. 
  13. Homeowner: Depending on what you’re selling, knowing whether or not someone is a homeowner can be useful information. 
  14. Marital status: The same is true for marital status, that it can be useful information for segmenting in some situations. For example, if you sell jewelry, you might want to find out a subscriber’s wedding anniversary date too, so you can promote gifts at that time. 
  15. Parent: Depending on what you’re selling, knowing whether or not someone is a parent can be invaluable, as well as the ages of their children. The parent of a toddler, for example, will have very different interests when compared to the parent of a teenager. 
  16. Life stage: Like marital status and parenthood, life stage can be an important piece of information for email list segmentation. Someone in college with little money won’t be interested in a luxury travel cruise, while someone nearing retirement age with a tidy nest egg will be. 
  17. Interests: Knowing your subscribers’ interests is vitally important to your email marketing segmentation. If you’re selling outdoor recreational equipment, you want to know who is into biking and who goes kayaking, so you’re promoting the right products to the right people. 
  18. Buying history: You can learn a lot about your customers and their interests for segmenting by tracking what they buy. 
  19. Browsing history: Sometimes someone is not yet ready to buy but they are still telling you about their interests by browsing your website, and you can track that for segmentation purposes. 
  20. Registration history: If you host events, either online or in-person, a subscriber’s registration history can also tell you about their interests. 
  21. How long they’ve been on your list: Segmenting based on longevity can make sense if it reflects a loyalty to your brand. You also might want to use different messaging for people who have been on your list for only a short time. 
  22. How they got on your list: When someone joins your email list by subscribing, registering for an event, or making a purchase, make that part of your segmentation. 
  23. How much they typically spend: Customers who are spending more money are usually more engaged and you’ll want to message them differently. 
  24. How often do they buy: As per the typical purchase amount mentioned above, customers who purchase more often are also typically more engaged, and that affects how you market to them.
  25. Social media follower: Customers who follow your brand on social media are typically more engaged and even brand advocates, and you can segment them to take advantage of your “social” connections with them.  
  26. Links they click on: Subscribers also tell you about themselves and their interests by clicking on some links in your emails and not others. 
  27. The content they download: If you have a B2B business or you offer content on your website such as how-to guides, tracking the content downloaded tells you a great deal about a subscriber. 
  28. Pages they’re visiting on your site: Even if someone isn’t downloading or buying or registering, you can glean information about them and their interests by paying attention to the pages they are visiting while on your website. 
  29. Engagement: Engagement comes in many forms, from regularly opening your emails to actively promoting your brand. When you have subscribers who forward your emails or respond to your requests for product reviews, you have loyal and engaged customers and you’ll want to segment them accordingly, rewarding their loyalty to deepen that engagement even more.  
  30. Haven’t responded or reviewed: On the other hand, you might have people who are satisfied customers but who haven’t responded to your survey questions or requests for product reviews. Use a different kind of message to see if you can get them to engage.
  31. In-person shopper: If your customer typically buys from your brick-and-mortar location, you’ll want to segment based on that information and message them accordingly, perhaps with in-store coupons or specials. 
  32. Online shopper: On the other hand, if you have an e-commerce business or part of your business is online, you won’t want to send the online shopper an in-store coupon, but you will want to send them incentives they can use while shopping your online store. 
  33. Renewal notices: You can also segment lists based on if someone will get renewal notices to renew a subscription or order more product.  
  34. Holidays: If you know enough about a subscriber, you can segment based on the holidays they are probably celebrating. For example, you can market Ramadan decorations to your Muslim subscribers and Easter decorations to your Christian ones. Or you can use your segmentation to only promote your Halloween decorations in those countries that celebrate that holiday.
  35. Birthdays: Sending a subscriber a birthday email is a much-appreciated way to segment and personalize.  
  36. Inactive or unengaged: Sometimes subscribers will lose interest and stop engaging with your emails. When that happens, segment them to a different list so you can send them a re-engagement campaign to try and get them interested again.  
  37. Abandoned cart or form: When someone starts the buying or registration process but doesn’t complete it, send them reminder emails. 
  38. Job title: If you’re a B2B email marketer, you have some other considerations when segmenting, including someone’s job title. The messaging you’ll send to an influencer will probably differ compared to the messaging you’d use for a decision maker, for example. 
  39. Type of company: Again, for the B2B marketer, you’ll be less interested in factors like marital status and more interested in the type of company a subscriber works for and the industry it’s in. 
  40. What stage they’re at in the sales funnel: B2B marketers are often working with longer sales cycles, and knowing where a subscriber is on that buying journey can be useful information for segmenting. 

Keep Expanding Your Email Marketing Knowledge 

You’re probably not going to get all this information about every single subscriber or customer, but you can build up quite a lot of data about everyone with these segmentation strategy tips. Keep collecting data when they are browsing or buying and keep asking for more information over time as their relationship with and trust for your brand increases. 

Keep educating yourself over time. Email marketing is enabled by technology and technology keeps changing, as you well know. You can make sure you’re on top of the latest trends and technologies in email when you earn a certification in Advanced Email Marketing. Simplilearn makes it easy to do so with in-depth course content designed with the help of Internet marketing expert Matt Bailey. Topics include working with email service providers, marketing automation, reporting and much more—including email segmentation. 

Email is easy to do wrong, or at least poorly. The only way to really maximize your use of it—and the resulting ROI—is to ensure that you’re doing all of it right, and that means segmentation of your lists to get the right message to the right people at the right time. 
 

About the Author

Eshna VermaEshna Verma

Eshna writes on PMP, PRINCE2, ITIL, ITSM, & Ethical Hacking. She has done her Masters in Journalism and Mass Communication and is a Gold Medalist in the same. A voracious reader, she has penned several articles in leading national newspapers like TOI, HT, and The Telegraph. She loves travelling and photography.

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