How to do email segmentation

Do you maintain an email list with thousands of subscribers but feel like you aren’t getting many click throughs? Perhaps you worry that you are flooding the inbox of your recipients, or maybe that your messages aren’t even being read? These, and more, are all common problems that can be fixed by introducing email segmentation into your skillset.

Intelligent email marketers know that segmenting subscribers can increase their open rates, improve their click-through ratio, and even help with conversions. MailChimp, the email marketing giant, reports a 10.64% increase in open rates and a whopping 100.95% increase in clicks, when segmenting email campaigns.

Even if you didn’t know this, do not fear. By the end of this article you’ll know the power of email segmentation and have all the information you need to be segmenting like a professional.

How to do email segmentation

How to do email segmentation

For those that don’t know, email segmentation is the process of changing your email marketing strategies to best fit your client base, typically by sending different types of emails to customers who aren’t on the same stage of their buyer’s journey.

Now, without further delay, let us go through all the key ways to segment your emails effectively.

Segmentation by signup source

There are many channels from which you may be collecting subscriber emails, from your opt-in page to your sales page, customers that have reached out with questions, and more. It is always best practice to use a different subscription form for each instance, allowing you to keep these customers separated and send them the appropriate emails.

Why, you may ask? Why would you want to segment subscribers coming in from different sources?

If you have a customer’s email because they’ve made a purchase, you don’t want to annoy them with a pre-sales sequence that they don’t need. Instead you would be better off occasionally sending them a coupon to bring them back to your eshop, or perhaps an invitation to join your general subscription list. Knowing why your customer gave you their email allows you to interact with them on a more personal level.

Signup source is the most basic of all types of email list segmentation. It is extremely important because the signup source shows intent. Is the subscriber interested in learning more about a particular product category? Are they almost ready to buy? Are they looking for free content to educate themselves? Knowing that piece of information, will allow you to get better results from your emails.

Location, location, location.

If your subscriber has provided their geographical location, perhaps their mailing address, zip code, or even just a country, you should be using this data to your advantage.

Do you have any physical stores where you sell your product, or will you be visiting any cities promoting your service? If you know your customers relative locations, you can entice them further with emails customized to their location.

Another perk is it allows you to use language that is appropriate, whether that be slang for the region or a completely different language. You are more likely to sell a product to a native French speaker if you approach them in their native language.

Location also allows you to be culture aware and use that to send more relevant content. For instance, when you know that a subscriber lives in Brazil, you’re able to send them an offer just before the Carnival. Also, you’ll be able to stop sending “happy emails” if you hear that a natural disaster has hit the area.

Engage the engaged subscribers

Email segmentation to engage customers

Every marketer is looking to increase subscriber engagement. What would the value of a “dead” list be anyway?

Open rates and click rates are your best friend, and segmenting your email subscribers based on this data is the perfect way to increase your ROI.

If a customer opens all of your emails and clicks through, perfect, reward them with coupons or special deals. If a customer hasn’t purchased in a while, now might be the ideal time to try to rope them back in with an enticing offer or new blog post on a topic they’ve shown interest in.

Now, re-engaging subscribers and customers is very important, given that the cost of acquiring a new lead or customer can be 25 times higher compared to retaining an existing one.

That is why we have tackled the topic of re-engagement emails in more depth in this article (hint: look at workflow #6).

Customizing the email journey

We all love to feel special, right? One easy way to keep a smile on your customers’ faces is by segmenting your email list based on the current phase of their customer journey.

Your loyal customers should feel more rewarded with special content or promotional emails, while customers that are just signing up to your email list might appreciate an entry survey to help them decide how often they’ll receive emails.

To get started with your very own survey, segmenting each and ever lead the flows into your business, click here to set up a free Askly account!

Being able to know exactly where your subscriber stands in their buyer’s journey is a powerful weapon in your email marketing arsenal. And current marketing technology enables you to do exactly that. Most email marketing platforms that have automation and website tracking features help you understand user behavior on your site and also track how users interact with your emails.

Cater to their interests

Interest-based email segmentation

Every time you write a new blog, it can be tempting to immediately send it out to your entire email list and share what you’ve written.

But before you do, think hard about who will actually read and appreciate it. People have limited time and availability, so why not have your subscribers spend their 5 minutes read a piece of content they’re actually interested in, which might also trigger an action, like buy one of your products?

If you’ve done your homework and gathered basic data on customer interests based on their purchase history, article reading history on your website, or previous email campaigns they’ve responded to, then you will be able to segment your email list accordingly. All of this data, should be available in the reporting or analytics section of your email marketing software.

Imagine sending out that shiny new blog post only to the customers who will love it, while at the same time ensuring that you aren’t flooding the inboxes of customers who have no interest in it.

Makes sense, right?

If you want to get more people on your list to open you emails, make sure to check out our top 100 Most Opened Email Subject Lines Report.  It's a free PDF delivered right to your inbox.

Abandoned form/Abandoned cart

This is an effective way to client prospecting if you have a service-based business, or increasing sales if you have an ecommerce site.

Sometimes people are just about to take an important action online but life gets in the way. In fact, abandoned carts were predicted to account for a dazzling $4 trillion in revenue loss last year. Now, what if you could filter out the cart abandoners and add them to a separate segment or list? Numbers say that you would get a chance to recover almost 30% of these purchases.

Sending specific emails to customers who have visited your site and either filled a shopping cart but never completed the purchase, or perhaps started a form and never submitted it, can give them the extra push they need to commit. If they purposely abandoned the cart of form, then there is no love lost, but if they got distracted and forgot about it, they will be thankful for the reminder.

Mobile vs. desktop

Reading a large clunky email on your phone is a nuisance, and reading a mobile formatted email on a desktop feels empty.

Segmenting customers by preferred device, and customizing the emails appropriately, is also an option you may want to consider. This strategy will not only increase open rates but also lead to overall higher satisfaction. In your desktop versions make sure to utilize the larger space with appropriate high quality images, while on the mobile version keep it simple and provide easy to click links.

Of course, it’s not always possible to segment people on the basis of the device they use to read your emails. That is why a more feasible way to approach this issue is to always send mobile responsive emails. A mobile responsive email would automatically adapt to smaller or bigger screen sizes and make your content readable regardless of the type of device.

Bonus tip

Do not make it difficult or time consuming for customers to unsubscribe, this will only annoy them and drive them further away. Do, however, give them the opportunity to change their subscription preferences before unsubscribing, this can retain customers who might have otherwise left.

Want more tips on how to create a solid email segmentation strategy from the ground up? Here’s an article we published a while ago that will help you get started fast.

Putting it all together…

Remember, these are just a few of the many, many ways you can segment your emails. Don’t be afraid to mix and match them, creating a smart email segmentation strategy that leaves every customer feeling like they are receiving the special attention they deserve.

Sometimes people won’t even know that you’re mass emailing, unless they notice your email footer. And that doesn’t mean they lack perception. Heck, no! It means that you have a done a great job creating personalized emails that just nail your email marketing.

With spam mail being so prevalent, people are often quick to be annoyed when being bombarded with emails. Segmenting your subscription list could help keep your customers reading what you send, instead of sending it right to the spam folder.