How to Segment Your Email List

When it comes to understanding your market, you can’t afford to settle for a “one size fits all” approach. Through the practice of market segmentation, companies come to realize that each segment of their customer base might have different sets of needs and issues. When you’re trying to get a particular message across to your customers, it might not resonate for various reasons. The message itself might only be relevant for a select group of customers, or the message might need to be stated in a different way for different targets. Expertly segmenting your marketing efforts should be standard practice, and that extends to segmenting your marketing emails as well. 

Studies have shown that targeted messages perform better. From one such report, MediaSherpa found that segmented emails get 50% more clicks than normal emails. Furthermore, when email lists are segmented, open rates increase, and opt-out/unsubscribe rates decrease. In fact, segmentation can even impact your bottom line. Research by Jupiter Research found that relevant emails contribute 18 times more revenue than general ones. Therefore, groups of customers with similar problems and needs should be addressed differently from others, and email segmentation is a process you should employ if you aren’t already doing so.

Targeted messages perform better because they are more relatable and engaging. In short, they speak to us. There are many ways to divide your market and, by extension, your email list. Here are five important criteria that you can use to identify customers and segment your email lists. 

1. Customer Behavior 

When a customer purchases something, does he or she receive a “welcome” and/or “thank you” message meant to create a positive experience? Do regular customers receive positive messages, perks, sales and other ways of thanking them for their loyalty and engagement? 

If they don’t, consider creating emails that target your repeat customers and others for those that haven’t shopped with you in a while. By doing so, not only can you target specific groups, but you’ll also get insight into how each customer acts, and this can help you determine the best way to market to them in the future. Are they a new customer? Do they shop with you frequently or infrequently? Has their behavior changed? Each of these questions presents with it a potentially different customer segment. 

2. Location 

Geography will determine how important a message is to a customer. For example, if you want to inform your customers that a new location for your business is opening up in Los Angeles, that may not be very pertinent for your customers in other parts of the state or the country. Furthermore, a local sale or on-site event will only be applicable for customers in the general area of your physical storefront. If you operate a brick-and-mortar business, location is going to be extremely relevant for your customers, promotions and especially email messages. 

3. Gender 

For many businesses, men and women will have different buying patterns. As such, your business might benefit from crafting separate messages that are tailored for each gender. But think less in terms of men versus women and more about what makes something feminine or masculine. To start, consider all of your customer’s possible buying situations. For example, a woman could be purchasing an item for herself, or she could be buying something for a man, or vice versa. In each of those scenarios, different messages would apply. Just be sure to know what you are doing when segmenting by gender; the last thing you want is for people to feel stereotyped. 

4. Age 

Think about the children in your life, whether they’re yours, your friends’ or your family members’. Now think of the elderly people in your life. Would you market your product to both groups using the same messages? Both of these segments have entirely different needs, largely due to their respective ages. Your parents may be planning for retirement, whereas your child is only just entering the workforce. If your customer base includes both, it’s an opportunity to target each with completely different messages. 

5. In-Store vs. Online 

Some customers may prefer to shop in-store, while others engage with your business online. Each presents an opportunity to acknowledge each of their preferences by sending them specific messages that cater to their habits. Customers who like to be in the physical store should receive invites for local events and sales to further entice them to frequent your storefront. On the other hand, online shoppers should receive virtual coupon codes that encourage them to continue shopping on your site. 

As noted earlier, these are only five of the endless ways you can segment your email list, so be sure to consider your customers and your intended messages before dividing up your database. Email software can help you identify email addresses for each segment, but always use logic as you approach the process. Proper segmentation, including proper evaluation of your efforts, can significantly contribute to reaching your business goals. Email segmentation is a process that can provide endless opportunities and financial rewards for those willing to invest the necessary time.