How To Segment Your Email Database For Stellar Results

If you have been sending mass campaigns to your whole email list, then the odds are high that your emails are either not being opened, or even worse – marked as spam! If that’s the case, you should revamp your old list and consider email list segmentation.

Mailchimp’s latest user data revealed that segmented campaigns witness 64.78% more clicks and 14.37% more opens than non-segmented campaigns.

That said, chalking out a fail-proof segmentation strategy from scratch can be daunting. To make it less intimidating for you, we present to you email list segmentation basics and the most potent segmentation strategies that will get you high impact and stellar results.

What is Segmentation?

Your audience is not a uniform group; it’s heterogeneous and made up of different types of customers with different interests and motivations.

Email segmentation is the process of division of email subscribers into smaller segments or sections based on shared characteristics. After segmenting the subscribers, marketers can target segments with tailored email campaigns based on different segments’ different characteristics.

The smaller the segments, the more likely it is that the message shared will resonate with the recipient.

By segmenting the list correctly, recipients can be targeted with relevant messages, which leads to more conversions, more purchases, and satisfied customers.

Segmentation has Myriads of Benefits

1. Boosts Open Rates

If your target customers are not taking action on your emails, your sales won’t see any growth. Segmentation allows you to create tailor-made subject lines for different groups of people in order to entice them to open and click.

2. Increase Click-Through Rates

List segmentation allows you to make your messages more relevant to your customers, which encourages them to click and even interact with them. For instance, HubSpot found that segmentation helped them hit a 16.4% CTR.

3. Boost Conversions

The ultimate goal of all the marketing activities is to encourage customers to buy. Using email list segmentation, you can put relevant content in front of your customers, boosting your conversions.

4. Decrease Unsubscribes

When your subs opt-out of your mailing list, you lose the ability to have direct access to their inbox. But why do people unsubscribe in the first place? Emails not being relevant and sending too many emails are two of the top reasons for people unsubscribing.

Marketing SharpaSource: Marketingsherpa

List segmentation can help address both the issues — you can increase the relevancy of your content and control how often you send emails to different segments.

5. Avoid Spam Filters

An Email intelligence company recently found out that close to 8% of emails in the U.S. hit spam filters, which causes deliverability issues even for legitimate brands.

If you are sending emails to unengaged recipients, your chances of landing in spam folders become too high. By sending tailor-made messages using segmented lists, you can increase customer engagement and avoid the ‘spam trap.’

6. Stronger Relationships

By understanding your customers needs, better user segmentation, and consistently sending content that appeals to them, you’ll forge stronger relationships with your customers and increase trust in your brand.

Different Types of Data For Email List Segmentation

Data is paramount for B2B marketing success. Different data can be used differently for segmentation purposes.

Demographic Data

Sectioning an email list by demographics is the most commonly used criterion. It includes:

  • Age
  • Gender identity
  • Life stage and family status
  • Income

If you want to segment your email list using demographic information, the easiest way is to use website forms. Always remember to keep your website form short, concise and easy for the visitors to fill. The survey is also a good method of gathering valuable demographic information.

Psychographic Data

This type of email list segmentation goes a step further as it takes into account the psychological factors motivating consumer behavior as well, which includes:

  • Customers’ Interests
  • Lifestyle
  • Values

For psychographic information as well, you can use surveys, which will help you get insights into individual preferences, tastes, and beliefs. If you are using surveys for collecting customer information, always offer some kind of incentive for completing it. Instead of using long surveys, you can also use a quiz that would interest your audience.

Contact Behavior Data

This information comes from the actions contacts take with respect to your brand or product.

Below are some activities which reveal insights about contact behavior.

  • Interactions with your website
  • Email engagement metrics
  • Purchase history
  • Use of your product or service
  • And others

Technographic Data

In the case of B2B customers, you can go a notch higher and use the knowledge of their technology stack to deal with them. It includes:

  • The technologies being used in the organization, such as – hardware, software, etc.
  • How the technologies are being used.
  • When were the technologies acquired?

Below are Some Most Commonly Used Segmentation Strategies

1. Subscriber Engagement

Email engagement metrics, such as email open rates and click-through rates, give you an idea of your customers’ current interest in your brand. You can tailor your communications accordingly and capitalize on those showing the maximum interest.

But that doesn’t mean you should ignore customers with low interests. You just need to use re-engagement strategies to boost your sales and conversions.

2. Device

Using analytics, you can find out what device subscribers are opening your emails on. Some use their smartphones to open your email, while the others use desktop.

Email MondaySource: Emailmonday

You can divide your audience into these two groups and send them different email designs optimized for their preferred device.

3. Send Time Preference

This criterion is particularly relevant for global audiences who are scattered across different time zones. You can segment campaigns to tweak your send times for audiences living in different time zones.

Another factor to consider is how often. Most marketers consider 1-2 emails every month the best.

You can directly ask your customers how often they’d like to receive emails from you via preference forms and then segment them accordingly.

4. Company Profile

In the case of B2B customers, you can categorize them by shared traits that impact what they’re looking for from your brand. For example, the size of the companies, type of industry, etc.

5. Stage in the Sales Funnel

By determining where a contact is in their customer journey, you can place them in different segments and nurture them with lead-nurturing strategies to help them move to the next stage.

For example, for newly acquired leads that are still in the phase of discovering your brand, you have to use high-value, educational content that showcases your brand credibility and expertise.

6. Discovery Source

For B2B email marketing, you can make your segments even more precise by also taking into account how they found out about your brand. Using this strategy, you can feed the leads with content that is most likely to keep them engaged.

For example, if someone discovered your brand by downloading your eBook on a particular subject, you could center your future emails around the topic that first caught their interest.

How to Get Started With Email List Segmentation

Now that we have some idea about segmentation basics, it’s time to learn the key steps and put them into practice.

Step 1: Define Your Data Points

Determine which data matters the most to your company, how you’re going to collect and organize it. Focus on optimizing your data-gathering processes, so it fits your conversion goals.

Step 2: Create Personas for Your Customers

For successful segmentation and email marketing, it is very important to know who your best customers are. For this purpose, you will be creating customer personas, which will help you define which segments need which message. You can use the below questions to build customer personas.

  • What demographic data do you have about your customers?
  • What are their main issues?
  • What are they trying to achieve?
  • How can your solution help them?

Step 3: Choose Your Segments and Start Experimenting

Choose some email list segments and start experimenting with them. For example, if you know which apps small business owners use, like Evernote, Google Docs, etc. Create an email list segment of small business owners, and send them tips on how small businesses can benefit by using Google Docs.

Wrap Up

Effective list segmentation can be a game-changer for your email marketing, but getting started can be intimidating, and without proper strategies in place, your segmentation exercise can lead to a tangled mess of email campaigns. With these basic tactics and a bit of creativity, you can easily get started and witness amazing results with your email marketing efforts.



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Author: Robert Duke
Robert Duke is a Marketing Manager at Blue Mail Media. With over 10 years of experience across B2B Marketing, Lead Generation, and brand marketing, Duke has helped several SMBs and large-scale organizations to elevate their marketing strategies.
Lance Rogers, Consultant