If I build a huge email list, my business will be successful. Have you heard of this belief before? This is one of those big misconceptions that deteriorates the real standards of email marketing success.
No. A huge email list might be just like a business that makes one million dollars in revenue and zero profit because of its costs. A small yet active email list will generate smaller revenues but at the end of the month, similar to a smaller business, and it might bring a much higher profit than the million-dollar company.
Email marketing is a topic of controversy. Every single year, marketers and entrepreneurs are shouting out loud that “Email is dead”. You must have heard it too.
Email cannot be dead because it is a communication channel. It is one of the reliable bridges that allow for a convenient interaction between brands and customers, and one of the most effective ways to develop and shape solid business relationships.
There are four important aspects that define the success of an email marketing campaign:
- The way you interact and build a connection with your contacts
- The value you provide and the specific needs and problems that you solve (for specific people)
- The strategies that you approach and the tools that you leverage
One of the most effective email marketing strategies that seem to work wonders is email segmentation. In today’s post, we’re going to explore the definition, the benefits, and several insightful strategies that should help you segment your email list and personalize your marketing approach.
What is Email Segmentation?
If you’ve ever wondered how to increase your subscriber engagement so most of your email contacts open, read, and click on your emails, I’m going to tell you exactly how.
You need to send the right message, to the right audience, at the right time. That’s where email segmentation comes in.
Email segmentation is the division of your email subscribers into different segments based on specific criteria. The purpose of email segmentation is to allow brands to communicate with their prospects in a personalized and effective way.
The nature and purpose of each email should be perfectly adapted to the needs, problems, and expectations of a certain group of potential buyers.
For example, people who are just joining your list should be welcomed with an introduction, not a promotional email. Or, if you provide writing tips to a broad audience, you’ll have to send advanced tips to professional essay writers and basic tips to beginner writers.
Why is it Important?
Email segmentation allows us to personalize our message according to specific target personas. When we communicate with a person instead of one thousand, we can bring more value and relevancy to the table.
Customers and potential customers have a strong desire to feel special. If they feel that you’re talking to them, they’ll immediately start paying more attention to everything you have to offer.
And since one of your goals is to improve your email marketing performance to skyrocket your business performance, email segmentation is probably your best possible approach to achieve this outcome.
Let me show you some relevant statistics that show the power of segmentation and personalization:
- It is reported that personalized welcome emails produce 320% more revenue compared to promotional emails.
- Email segmentation increases the open rate by up to 15%.
- Segmented email marketing campaigns witness 64% more clicks compared to traditional campaigns.
- More than 59% of customers suggest that personalized content has a strong influence on their purchasing decisions.
The statistics show it and the logic confirms it. Email segmentation helps businesses create a special type of rapport that triggers better results.
Segmentation Criteria & Effective Personalization Strategies
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move to the core of our topic.
In order to segment your list, you need to take advantage of a professional email autoresponder. All reputable email software provides email segmentation options. Here are the most popular email autoresponders:
Each autoresponder provides different features, yet they all provide the necessary tools to properly segment your list and automate the content distribution process. Choose one, get familiar with it, and start segmenting.
However, before you segment your email list, you should acknowledge the most effective personalization strategies and segmentation criteria. And as you go through the next paragraphs, try to imagine the characteristics of your list and adapt everything to your situation.
Here’s a broad segmentation category that can be “exploited” in various ways.
Whether your subscribers live in different cities, states, or countries, it is critically essential to know where they reside. If you acknowledge their location and culture, you’ll be able to customize your information based on location in order to improve the relevance of your messages. For example, sending a Thanksgiving promotional email to an EU citizen is not going to help you!
Gender and Age
Men and women are different, and they respond differently to different stimuli. For example, the tone of voice that you use in your email messages can be easily personalized if you know who you’re talking to. Segmenting by gender is a great way to separate your male audience from the female audience, thus generating more impactful messages that resonate with each gender.
Concerning age, you won’t be able to say the same message to an 18-year old and a 60-year old. Therefore, segmenting your list based on age will allow you to create a better rapport in 9 out of 10 cases.
When does your audience open your emails? At what hour? You should be tracking that and looking for patterns. If your website receives the most interaction at 8 PM, you should schedule your future emails to land at the exact same hour.
Professional Occupation & Industry
To sell your products and services more effectively, you can separate your contacts based on their occupation. If you send basic information to marketing experts, they’ll never open your emails again. Or, promoting college paper writing services to individuals who have already graduated during the last years (but they’re still on your list) is not going to bring you any results. The key is to figure out what’s relevant and what’s not, for each of your email segments.
The Type of Subscriber or Customer
The following segmentation criteria allow you to track the current status of your email contacts, thus giving you the chance to communicate the right messages at the right time.
New Lead or New Customer
When a person joins your list, he should enter the “New Subscribers” segment and receive a “Welcome email” that will shape his expectations and give important directions.
When a subscriber turns into a customer, move him to the “One-time Buyers” segment and thank him for his decision. Starting from this moment, you will not treat him as a potential customer but as a respected loyal member of your community.
A frequent user segment helps you differentiate between the most important people that support your business. When a customer purchases more than once, you can intensify the onboarding process and offer him more discounts and opportunities due to his loyalty. Consider this segment as the “VIP segment” and treat your guests right.
Average Order Value
Some of your customers spend $50 on a shopping session, while others spend thousands. By differentiating these two different buyer personas, you can communicate and promote them in different ways, for customers of different statuses.
Here’s another broad segmentation criterion that you can easily play with.
You can define “activeness” in various ways. Some brands are segmenting their lists according to email open rates, while others prefer to segment based on click-through rate. You can opt for what suits you best.
The idea is to create a differentiation between engaged subscribers and the not-so engaged subscribers. Whenever you have something to communicate, send your email messages to your “best” segment first.
Click-Through Rates (CTR)
Segment your list based on the CTR you receive. If some of your subscribers are opening and clicking on your CTAs every day, you can treat them as very interesting prospective buyers and personalize their journey to purchase.
Some of your users will become inactive. That means that they’ve either lost interest in your products and services or they have forgotten about you. In fact, it doesn’t matter what it means. What you need to do is differentiate the active users (those who read and interact with your emails) from the ones who are not interacting at all.
Instead of deleting the inactive subscribers, put them in the “Inactivity” segment and send them regular “come-back” emails. Offer them discounts, exclusive opportunities, or relevant reminders.
Difference Between Email Segmentation and Personalization
Segmentation and personalization are two of those terms that always get mixed up. As I’ve mentioned above, segmentation is the process of separating groups of customers and placing them into specific “boxes” called segments.
Personalization is an entirely different concept, yet it is highly connected to the first.
To personalize your email campaigns means to focus on the individual relationship with a customer. It really doesn’t matter in which segment they are because the message that you’re going to send needs to be tailored to their needs and expectations.
Personalization cannot be done with individually identifiable data (name, gender, age, purchase history, interests, etc.)
The purpose of personalization is to make each customer feel like they’re having a 1 on 1 conversation with someone who understands their mentality, needs, and problems.
In a world in which big data is critical for mass business success, email segmentation is one of the most effective ways to engage your subscribers, generate interest, build your brand’s reputation, and turn cold leads into loyal customers.
You shouldn’t see it as rocket science. It is not. Take it all step by step. Start segmenting slowly and gain some experience before personalizing again. Make sure you always test what you do. Measure the results and take them as an objective reference for your future decisions.