October 30, 2013
Andrinne Erin2

An Outbox Divided: What email segmentation can do for your business?

One size rarely fits all, especially when it comes to a marketing campaign. That’s why many email marketers have started to use email segmentation to their advantage—and to the advantage of their customers.

What Is Email Segmentation?

In today’s age of near-constant cell phone and laptop usage, it’s crucial that email marketers have a list of as many of their customers’ personal email addresses as possible. Once they have this list, they can send out as many messages as they please.

However, it’s not a particularly smart idea to send every single promotional email to every single customer. They will most likely tire of your messages or, even worse, find these communications irrelevant to what they want or need from your business and discredit you because of it.

To fix this problem, email marketers have turned to email segmentation. By dividing a comprehensive list of your customers into related groups, you can send them more targeted emails that they will be more likely to open, read and appreciate. Although this concept might seem advanced, you don’t need a special program to do it; most email management programs allow users to create list segments or groups that work perfectly.

Drop Labels

That being said, it’s crucial that you divide your email list into proper, usable groupings so that you can send each subscriber exactly what they want to read. Depending on your business’s reach and customer base, you may want to consider some of the following label suggestions:

Location

Larger business may offer certain promotions or discounts at different locations and times. In order to avoid confusing and possibly upsetting those who can’t actually benefit from a geographically based promotion, create segments by location.

Abandoned Items

This one caters to online businesses. Let’s say your site has a promotion for a certain product that a handful of customers once had in their shopping cart but never actually purchased—they would probably want to know that there’s a deal on that product now, right? This will make customers feel like you’re looking out for them, which will certainly improve your image and relationship in the long run.

VIPs

Perhaps you have a group of customers who always read your emails even before they were targeted. Or, maybe you have customers who have faithfully taken part in your rewards program for years. Either way, it’s important to make returning guests feel like they’re valued, and email segmentation allows you to do so with the click of a mouse. Designate who belongs to this elite group and send them special discounts and offers as a thank you.

You can also segment your emails by recipients’ gender, employment status, income, education level, purchase frequency, past purchases, job function, interests, family and relationship status and more—find the labels that work best for your business, and use them to your advantage.

Divide and Conquer

In the end, segmenting your outbox may not necessarily be difficult, but it will take time and care to ensure that each customer receives the information he or she craves. Start by sending out a few emails to a small segment and track the results—once you get the hang of it, expand it to all of your segments. For most email marketers this switch pays dividends. In fact, surveys have shown that segmented emails see higher open rates, lower opt-out rates and, most importantly, boosted sales leads and revenue.

Adrienne Erin

Adrienne Erin is a social media marketing writer and avid blogger who has written for Content Marketing Institute, SiteProNews, and Search Engine People. Follow her on Twitter at @adrienneerin to see more of her work.