Email Marketing

Why Email Segmentation Matters +12 Examples

Divide and conquer!

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Abdul Rehman

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Email marketing is an established way to advertise and promote a company or a business. With various email service providers and softwares to guide email marketing strategies, we can safely say that it is here to stay.

Email marketing is an invaluable way to engage customers. A simple but well-thought-out email can easily grab a customer's attention and make them click the call to action (CTA) button, redirecting them to the website's landing page.

There are several ingredients that make up a good email marketing campaign such as having a clean mailing list to fine-tuning A/B testing.

There is, however, one other extremely valuable ingredient called email segmentation.

A good email segmentation strategy can significantly impact a company's digital marketing campaign. It can lead to higher open and conversion rates, which are sure indicators of a good marketing strategy.

Conversely, a poor segmentation strategy can cause a company to miss out on the revenue and engagement it deserves.

Also Read: Email Funnels That Work: Leading Prospects to Conversion

Let's look at this concept in detail.

What is email segmentation?

You may already know what email segmentation is if you know about list segmentation. Both of these terms are interchangeable.

what is email segmentation

Email segmentation is the act of sifting through your subscribers, then dividing them into small groups based on a particular factor(s), and then sending them targeted emails. This targeted email campaign is optimized and perfected for that group of subscribers.

Let's put ourselves in a hypothetical situation.

If you and I, for example, are gardening aficionados, will we prefer opening an email about airplanes or plants? If you said plants, there you go! This imaginary email about plants was targeted to a specific audience (you and me!) because it was based on a particular aspect - our personal interest.

When companies use email segmentation to send targeted emails, they consider a lot more than just a subscriber’s personal interest. A targeted email may be optimized to the subscriber's geographic location, how active they are, their website behavior, whether they are new or old subscribers, etc.

Let's explore what makes email segmentation worth its while.

What are the benefits of email segmentation?

Segmentation holds tremendous value for email campaigns. Let's take a look at some benefits email segmentation offers.

Deliver relevant content

email segmentation to send relevant content

When a company has many subscribers with a wide variety of preferences, every subscriber may not find it worthwhile to open every email.

If the company delivers an email promoting, for example, plants to 10 subscribers when only one of them is interested in plants, the email is irrelevant to the other 9 subscribers. This makes it unlikely that all 10 of them will open the email. This will reduce your open rate.

Email segmentation will allow you to split your subscriber list and send emails to a specific audience. Such targeted emails will encourage users to open emails and click CTA buttons that will take them to your website's landing page.

In fact, irrelevant emails might even throw off subscribers.

Constant emails that simply fill an Inbox and are of no value to a subscriber and can cause them to unsubscribe from your email mailing list.

Delivering relevant content using targeted emails is, perhaps, the most significant benefit of email segmentation.

Deliver a healthy amount of mail

send the right amount of emails

When we say a healthy amount of emails, we mean-not too much and not too little

Your email subscriber has subscribed to newsletters and campaigns from many companies. It's not a good idea to add to the noise with constant emails - the bottom line is, don't email every day.

When email subscribers receive several emails, eventually they'll begin to leave them unread. Let alone the prospect of redirecting subscribers to your website, you might lose out on good business as they simply begin to ignore your messages.

A good email segmentation strategy means that your email will be focused to a particular aspect of your subscriber. So, they will not receive all the emails that your company sends out in a day. You will send fewer, focused emails.

But not too few either! It is important to not lose your subscriber's attention. If you send fewer, relevant emails, your subscriber is more likely to engage with your emails.

Your emails are not always making their Inbox overflow, and you also aren't sending too few - so they still remember you. It's the perfect mix.

Move your customers down the sales funnel

emails move customers along the sales funnel

Email segmentation based on where each customer is in the funnel, will gently take their hand and help them move to the next stage.

When customers find content that fits their requirements, what more do they need to be satisfied and convinced?

This means not only more established customers who are going to stay with your company, but also more revenue! It also means more email engagement, website visits and clicks and overall better analytics.

Connecting with your subscribers is key to a successful marketing strategy and, thus, pertinent emails through email segmentation surely put a company on that desired path.

12 ways to segment for your email marketing campaigns

If you are going to chop up your audience into segments, here is what you can base it on.

email segmentation according to demographic data

1. Demographic data

A super common segmentation strategy is demographic segmentation. There are several variables to choose from. Take a look!

Gender

While several products may be appropriate for both genders, there are some that may be preferred by a particular one.

Say a new set of men's watches comes out next week. Is this not a great opportunity to let your male subscribers know that they should be on the lookout?

Psst... drop a coupon code, they'll like that.

Age

This is another variable when considering a demographic segmentation strategy.

Selling spa offers? Target the adult age group. But if it's a new cafe that has just opened and is all over the internet!

Your best bet would be to speak to teens. Hit them up with an email and see your clickthrough rate skyrocket.

And so, the right email for the right age group will surely increase sales.

Geographic Location

Sending emails tailored to a subscriber's geography is another way to segment emails. Your company's revenue can significantly go up if your customer's geographic data is in line with yours.

For companies that offer their services across many geographic locations, there are multiple ways to offer location-specific services. Emails can be segmented based on countries, cities, zip codes and time zones.

If your company offers a service in a particular region, send emails to subscribers who live in or near that geographic area. Similarly, if your company owns on-ground stores in a place, market your store and products by emailing subscribers who live close and are likely to visit.

Because shipping costs can discourage buyers, you can highlight a zero to minimal shipping cost when you send emails to subscribers who live close to your store's outlet. This will definitely encourage sales.

When it comes to time zones, send emails during waking hours. This will make sure that your subscribers notice your email when it reaches their Inbox, and it will not reach them when they're asleep.

Therefore, segmenting customers based on location will make your email campaign more successful.

2. New subscribers

Did someone just fill out the signup form? If yes, then go ahead and add them to a separate group labeled something like "New Subscribers". You can also automate the process and have your email marketing software add a new subscriber to your email list.

If you group customers based on when they signed up for communications with your company, you can put it to good use by tailoring your email campaign accordingly.

New customers need to feel welcome (and that is also good etiquette!). And so, a welcome email is in order. Say hello and introduce them to your products. You can also offer a coupon code and show them around your website.

You can also try to keep your new subscribers hooked if you think they are slipping away after their initial interaction with your website. Try offering reduced prices or extend their free trials - upsell!

Take a look at how Fantastique, a French language learning website, does it.

email segmentation by Fantastique

To send more targeted emails to new subscribers, send them a form to find out more about their preferences; likes, dislikes, interests, etc.

3. Sales funnel

segment customers according to the sales funnel

Another way to segment your audience is according to their place in your sales funnel.

Different positions in the funnel demand a different email marketing strategy. Some people may be in the awareness stage, others may be in the consideration stage, while some may now be in the decision phase.

You will want to tread carefully when emailing the ones at the top of the funnel, such as those in the awareness stage by warming up to them with emails like "It is a pleasure to have you onboard" or "Welcome to company X".

Whereas for people deeper in the sales funnel, you could simply go ahead and pitch your product with emails like "Take a look at product X" as they are already considering buying your company's products.

4. Website engagement behavior

Behavioral segmentation can be the pot of gold for a company's email marketing campaigns. Once the company knows how a customer interacts with their website, they can figure out which categories to place them in.

Companies look at what their customer does when they land on their website. What pages they most frequently click on? How much time do they spend on a webpage? Do they just browse or actively add items to their cart?

Data about user behavior like this guides an email segmentation strategy and optimizes email campaigns.

You can create several drip campaigns that are tailored to different actions that a user performs on your website. You can email them accordingly.

For example, those visiting your blog often can get more information similar to what they have been looking at, people viewing a certain product can be retargeted via email by showing them that product again or similar products.

5. Inactive subscribers

email segmentation according to activity

Do you have a bunch of subscribers who used to frequently visit your website or were regular customers, but have been a little too quiet for some time? If so, it is time to gently wake these inactive customers up with a pleasant email.

Look for subscribers who open fewer than 5-10% of your emails. Then create a segment for these inactive users and try to engage them.

Try changing the amount of emails you send. You might be sending them too many emails and they could be finding it a bit of a nuisance. Try reducing the amount of emails you send.

Or, if you're sending too few emails, they might not even be noticing them, so ramp those emails up a bit.

Say hello or say you miss them. You can also remind them of how long it has been since they last visited your website. Ultimately, you just need to show them you have not forgotten them.

Here's how Duolingo does it. If you don't practice for a certain amount of time, Duolingo's team will send you an email telling you they miss you. Check it out.

email segmentation for inactive subscribers

And once they are back, don't forget to show them what it means to your company. Once again take a look at what Duolingo's email looks like after you complete a language lesson.

email segmentation inactive subscribers 2

6. Open rates

As email marketers can create a segment with inactive subscribers, they can also segment subscribers with high open rates.

A company's marketing team will set a benchmark according to their industry, segment customers falling in that segment, and then approach that group with focused emails.

Because this group of customers loves a company's products and enjoys reading their emails, the company can continue to show them all that is in store. Sending continuous updates, offers, and telling them what is new is a good way to keep them engaged.

As this group is the most likely to make the most purchases, why not make use of the opportunity and drive sales?

7. Customer loyalty

email segmentation by loyal customers

Doesn't it feel good when someone tells you how good of a job you did and now they want to reward you? This usually makes you want to do more.

For e-commerce businesses this might mean customers who buy a lot through their website. For others it may be customers who have the highest engagement ratings, or customers who have stayed with the company for many years!

If you have a bunch of loyal customers, try rewarding them for their devotion to your company or your product. Send some emails their way with discounts or special offers. If your company's anniversary is coming up, create special offers for them.

For loyal customers who are very far in their customer journey with your company, nothing beats the feeling of being well-received and being put on a pedestal.

That's right, show some love and put your customers on a pedestal. Not only will your engagement increase, but your revenue will increase too!

8. Abandoned shopping carts

Oh no! Looks like someone took the trouble to look over your webpage and added several items to their cart too. But, it seems like they forgot to check out.

They may have forgotten to check out or may have changed their mind for the time being, but a slight nudge may lead them in the right direction.

A good segmentation strategy will identify this group of customers and send reminders that encourage them to go ahead with the purchase.

You can send them an abandoned cart email, offer a discount, remind them of other similar products, or ask them why they didn't check out.

Explore: Abandoned Cart Email Examples to Recover Lost Sales In E-Commerce Email Campaigns

You can send a short survey about why they did not move ahead with the purchase. Even if it does not move them to make the purchase, it will certainly help your company identify the reasons why customers aren't completing purchases - such as a lengthy checkout process.

9. Job roles

Knowing what kind of job your email subscribers do and where they lie in the hierarchy can be highly beneficial for your email campaigns.

Is your subscriber a CEO running his own business? Or an athlete who spends most of his day physically engaging themselves? Or maybe they specialize in horticulture to make ends meet?

Segmenting by job roles means you can send them content, products, or services that would be beneficial to them or that they have the power to make a decision about. For example, if you are selling software, you may want to contact a Marketing Manager. If you are selling consultancy services, you may want to contact all the CEOs on your list.

10. Customer personas

email segmentation according to customer personas

What is a better way to increase email engagement than by tailoring your email to match the personality of your target audience?

If you own a company website, you will need to take out your notebook and scribble down the following:

  • What product does my user most frequently buy?

  • What product/service does he/she spend the most time checking out?

  • What products he/she spends the least amount of time on?

  • Do they prefer products without shipping costs?

Now, you need to identify the pain points of your customer, their demographic and social profile, and their likes and dislikes. For example, one persona may be housewives between the ages of 30-45 with little kids between the ages of 0-7 that are tired of trying to entertain their kids everyday and want to find a good way to distract their kids so that they can find some "me" time.

These housewives prefer educational distractions, are conservative, and enjoy activities such as sitting down for a personal chat session with a friend, the occasional spa day, and shopping for clothes and home items. If a company is trying to sell educational video games, they will bank on this customer persona and make sure their ads mention things like, " Enjoy a spa day while your kids engage in fun educational activities" or " Invite your friend over for a chat, your kids are going to be busy".

You can create customer personas and divide your email list into these personas to target them with specific campaigns.

11. Brick and mortar customers

Does your company offer its products in physical stores as well as through online purchases? If so, then analyze customer data and create email segments for customers who buy at your company's store.

Customers who find it more comfortable to lay back and shop online will find no benefit in an email that gives them directions to the nearest company store.

Similarly, customers who prefer scrutinizing the physical product before they take their wallets out, will not interact with emails redirecting them to e-commerce sites.

Email segmentation based on where your customers like to shop is of huge benefit because it ensures that each customer is targeted with offers that suit their preference.

12. Purchase history

email segmentation according to purchase history

Going through your customer data to observe purchase history is invaluable for your email marketing segmentation strategy. There is so much you will notice.

  1. Do your customers buy expensive products or inexpensive ones?

  2. How much is your customer willing to spend in one checkout?

  3. How costly was their previous purchase?

A customer's purchase history gives valuable insights. Based on the questions above, we can easily determine what price range suits our buyer.

This segments customers into groups enabling you to show products in the relevant price range to each group, so that they have the power to buy them.

How to build your email segmentation strategy

How do you start segmenting emails?

email segmentation strategy

Step 1: Identify data points

Data is the foundation to your email segmentation strategy. Look at the following questions and scribble down answers:

How is my company collecting data?

Find your data sources. These could be signup forms, surveys you send out in your welcome email to get to know them better, analytical data about their interaction with your website etc.

What sources of data am I missing?

Identify untapped data sources by identifying what methods of data collection your company has not employed yet.

What type of data am I collecting currently?

While it is important to know one's data source, it is also important to know what type of data a company is collecting.

We have looked at 12 examples of email segmentation. If a company is collecting information about any of the variables we just read about, they can put them to use by incorporating them in their email marketing campaign.

Step 2: Create more data points

Now, do not be shy in utilizing every possible data source, or creating one if you don't have one already. Consider the following questions:

What data sources can I create?

If your company does not offer a "Tell us more about yourself" survey, try introducing one for your new subscribers. Think of it as meeting your new customer over a cup of coffee and getting to know them.

You can also send occasional surveys to customers who have been with your company for a long period of time.

What type of data can I gather?

Just like in Step 1, the type of data you can gather is also an important determinant.

Ponder over ways to segment and try adding them as new questions in your survey that you will hand out in your next email. Ask about more personal interests. You can also ask about other businesses whose services they procure to get a better understanding of what they need and are looking for.

These new questions will gather data that your company was missing out on previously.

Should I begin collecting more data?

Once you have covered all variables and are satisfied that a particular set of information is all that you need for your email marketing segmentation strategy, go ahead and collect more data!

You don't have to send the same survey to all subscribers. You can customize your survey too!

Look for patterns and group subscribers based on what is common in them. Then politely dig deeper by asking them more questions.

For example, there's a flower shop that ships all sorts of accessories and plants. You and I have been keen about the plants themselves but not so much about accessories. Whereas, two other customers have always shown interest in plant accessories but not the plants themselves.

To create their email marketing segmentation strategy, the flower shop can now get to know all four of us more. They can customize the forms they send to us and the other two customers by asking us more about our plant interests and asking them more about their interest in plant accessories.

Step 3: Time to experiment

Once you are done with Steps 1 and 2, you're ready! It is time to throw in the fishing line and pull in the fish.

You can use GoCustomer extreme personalization feature to create customized emails for your segments. Send and wait till the results start pouring in.

Step 4: Evaluate results and modify your strategy

The last step is to go over your click rates and assess the level of email engagement. Look at your sales and website analytics.

If your new email segmentation strategy has hit the nail on the head, congratulations!

But if you not satisfied with the outcomes, there's no harm in going back over these steps to find loopholes and make relevant edits and modifications to your strategy.

Explore More: Crafting Hilarious Emails to Entertain Your Prospects: Email Funny Strategies

Bottom line

The value of email segmentation is very clear. In order to effectively implement a strong email marketing strategy, it is essential to segment your audience.

GoCustomer has the perfect suite of features for you to send customized drip campaigns. It offers an AI email writer, an email warmup service, A/B testing and several other features.

Sign up now for access to a bundle of email marketing success!

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Reach more customers with your cold emails

Table of Contents

    In a nutshell

    Segmenting emails means dividing your subscribers into various groups based on factors such as demographics, preferences, user behavior, persona, etc. This is done to customize emails for each group so that they receive relevant content and offers.
    Segmenting emails is highly beneficial to a company as it keeps users engaged, increases open and click-through rate and strengthens their sender reputation, it prevents user from unsubscribing, and it leads to higher revenue.
    Customers at the top of the funnel need more information to start considering your product, while those in the consideration stage need better offers and further information regarding why it is the best choice. Those in the decision stage may need a slight nudge with a discount. Customers are segmented according to what stage they are at in the sales funnel so they can receive the type of information that helps them move along the sales funnel.
    Abandoned cart emails are usually sent by e-commerce businesses. However, other businesses such as SaaS businesses can send emails to customers who didn't finish the form for a free trial but clicked the button etc.
    Businesses can get more information about customers through brief surveys.
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