Take a Shot at Email Segmentation



If you are familiar with the game of golf, you have to use a certain club for certain shots. You would not use a putter to make a long shot, because that is not its specialty. Likewise, you would not use an iron to take a shot at the hole from three feet away; that’s not what it is made to do.

The same rules apply for email marketing; how you send your emails to specific audiences matters. Just as you use different golf clubs for different shots, you need to segment your emails to go to specific audiences. For example, sending middle-aged females the same email you send young males is not going to hit either of those targets; you must send the first group one kind of email and the other audience a completely different kind. In the email marketing world, this is known as segmentation.

There are three ways to add segmentation your list.

First, you can collect self-reported user information on your Opt-In Form in your Preference Center. This information should include psychographic information such as gender, age and geographical information, which is the most straightforward part of segmentation. If someone tells you she is 40 and female, and another person says he is 20 and male, then you can separately target your next communications to reach each segment.

You don’t want to forget about the importance of collecting what types of communication your recipients want to receive from you. For example, if your company has a newsletter, and other email campaigns, you can add all of those publications to the Preference Center. Your recipients can opt in or out to receive one, two, all or none of these communications. Instead of deleting the communications they don’t want to get from you, they are able to let you know the types of information they do want to get.

Next you can segment your data based on past behavior. This requires tracking who did what when you sent out an email. Perhaps there were a significant number of people who opened the email, but did not click on anything inside the email. You could create a special, targeted message to send to that segment with the intention of re-engaging them. Adversely, perhaps you have subscribers who not only always open your emails, but they click on links inside the email, and then share the content on social media, comment on the content, or go to your website to complete a transaction. Segmentation allows you to reward these faithful customers with a coupon or a freebie.

Finally, a third way to divide your database is to segment by time/date and behavior. For example, you may want new subscribers to receive a different type of message than those who have been on the list for a couple of years. Another example is if someone has been subscribed for a long time, but has never interacted with you. This calls for a specific, targeted message to get that segment engaged.

Segmentation will help your email marketing programs be more successful because it is a personalized way to reach people on your list.

Even if you start with simple segmentation on your Preference Form first, such as where a person lives, it will give you a much more targeted approach to the type of person to whom you are selling your product or service. Be creative with the types of questions you ask to get information about your audience. The more specific information you have, the more accurate your data, the more powerful your emails!

Joy Ugi
Digital Marketing Coordinator, WhatCounts


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