How to Get Started with Email Segmentation And Succeed

By AdStation | January 3rd, 2017 | Categories: Email Marketing

Getting recipients to open your emails has become more difficult than ever before. If you are not segmenting your email list, you are simply not going to be successful in today’s market. This article will show you the “what, why and how ” as you learn how to get started with email segmentation for your email list from scratch and develop successful strategies tailored to your particular business needs.

77% of ROI comes from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns.

Why Email Segmentation Matters

I nearly titled this article “Why not segmenting your email list is the worst marketing plan ever” and it would have been just as fitting. Because the truth is, successful email marketing gets more difficult all the time – and all indications are that it’s only going to get harder.

People today are inundated with an overabundance of email. You have to send the right message to the right person at the right time. In short, you have to give people something they truly want to open and read.

Email marketing today is not about sending people sales emails. People want help, advice and information. They often like to be entertained as well. To keep subscribers engaged with your email marketing list, you have to give them the help and information they want and gently move them towards the sale. If you’re not doing this, your email marketing will suffer.

Segmenting your email marketing list is how you get the right message to the right reader. It allows you to create content that fits their wants and needs, in the right language and tone for their experience level. Segmenting your email list can mean the difference between getting your emails opened or ignored.

What Is Email Segmentation?

It simply means taking the subscribers on your email list and grouping them into different segments based on whatever criteria you choose. Your criteria will relate to your marketing strategy and the needs of different types of subscribers who make up your list.

Let’s look at how your subscribers may differ…

Why You Should Segment Your Email List

In most cases, (probably in all cases), all of your subscribers are not the same. This is especially true if you sell products or services.

Your subscribers may be different in these ways:

Awareness: A subscriber may be aware that they have a problem, slightly aware that they have a problem, or completely clueless. Further, they may vary in their awareness of your company and its solutions.

Needs: Your subscribers may have various problems and needs. This is especially true if you sell multiple products.

Experience: Depending on your products or services, your subscribers may have various levels of knowledge and experience.

Buying cycle: A subscriber may be at the “researching options to their problem-only” stage; at the “has done the research and is considering options” stage; or is at the “ready to make a purchase” stage.

Why NOT Segmenting Your Email List Is A Bad Idea.

Not segmenting your email list is bad because more often than not – one type of email message will not fit all of your subscribers. As we just discussed, your subscribers are different in their awareness, needs, experience, buying cycle and more. Segmenting your email marketing list solves this problem.

It should now be clearly obvious that it is unlikely you will be able to send an email message that is a perfect fit for everyone on your list. The only types of emails that do apply to everyone on your list are those offering a sale or discount – and those aren’t the type of emails people want to be bombarded with continuously.

Creating email segments is the only process that allows you to send the right message to the right group of people at the right time. This is why email segmentation is a must. It is the only way to send separate relevant messages to separate groups of people.

Email Segmentation Quick-Start Guide:

Let’s start with the simplest way of creating email segmentation. This will help you understand email segmentation at its most basic level.

You can break any email marketing list into any number of segments to optimize your marketing strategy. But that’s advanced stuff. Let’s begin your understanding of email segmentation by creating two basic segments.

For this example, we’ll assume you have a product or products that you sell. Therefore, we can segment your email list by the most bare-bones grouping:

  1. Buyers.
  2. Non-buyers.

This is as simple as it gets. You create two groups, putting everyone who has purchased from you into one email segment. Everyone else goes into the other segment.

Non-buyer Segment

Your segment of “non-buyers” will be subscribers who haven’t made a purchase yet. They need a variety of carefully crafted email messages that will be geared towards earning their trust and leading them toward a purchase.

You will send them email content, in this order, such as:

  • Educational: Helpful, informative and valuable content. (how-to, best practices, guides, checklists, instructional videos, etc.)
  • Trust Building: Testimonials, success stories, personal experiences.
  • Selling-Oriented Emails.

Once a “non-buyer” makes a purchase, they are then moved into your “buyer” segment.

Buyer Segment

Your “buyer” segment of subscribers requires emails that are written towards their needs and considers the ways they differ from “non-buyers.”

To keep your existing buyers as active and engaged subscribers, you’ll want to send them helpful and valuable content on a consistent basis as well. However, their type of “helpful” content should consider products they have already purchased. You don’t want to give them redundant content or information that is beneath their level of knowledge.

Besides helpful content, buyers will get different content in addition, such as:

  • Thank you” emails following any purchases.
  • Follow up emails asking if everything is going well with their purchase and/or if they have additional questions.
  • Survey emails about their purchase, experience with your product, etc.
  • Unexpected, free gift offers.
  • Promotions for additional products.
  • Discount offers for future purchases.
  • Loyalty or rewards offers for your most active subscribers or buyers.

Using Software to Create Your Email Segments

You are probably thinking by now… “Okay, I understand I need to divide my list into two different segments, at the very least – but how do I actually divide my list? Is there an easy way?” The answer is: “Yes – there is.”

Most people sending large amounts of email use bulk email marketing service providers. If you are already sending a large number of marketing emails, I assume you probably already use this type of service. But if you are not, providers such as MailChimpAWeberConstant Contact, and on the higher end of features: Infusionsoft and Drip. These are just a few of the more widely-used email marketing service providers. These bulk email marketing services provide you with most of, if not all of, the tools and automation features necessary for making the email segmentation process easy.

MailChimp, for example, offers preset templates for email segmentation for a wide variety of situations and needs. They call their email segments “workflows.” Here is a screenshot of their different available email segmentation workflows.

Email marketing service providers also furnish methods for moving subscribers from one segment to another, and this task can be automated. Additionally, in many cases, you can create and save new segments from your existing list of subscribers without needing to collect new data from your subscribers.

Top Reasons to Segment Your Email Marketing List

  1. Reduce unsubscribes and opt-out.

Happy subscribers don’t unsubscribe. Segmenting your list helps deliver what your subscribers want.

  1. Increase email opens.

It’s simple… When you are delivering what people want, they are going to open your email. Segmenting helps ensure that you are delivering the right message to the right people.

  1. Increase click-throughs.

When your emails are delivering the right message, your subscribers are going to want to know more. Properly segmenting your users to deliver the right messages helps you get that all-important click.

  1. Increase conversions.

Delivering the right message to the right subscriber increases their trust in you and your products. When you’ve earned their trust, demonstrating that you have the solution they need – it turns prospects into customers.

  1. Improve subscriber satisfaction.

Segmenting your subscribers into groups that match their needs, interests, wants and expectations means they’ll keep coming back for more.

  1. Improve reputation score and spam filter blocking.

When a certain percentage of your emails go unopened and/or undelivered, it hurts your reputation score. This tends to also set off spam triggers with email service providers. The result? Less and less of your emails will get through to your subscribers. Not good.

Take Away Points from This Article

What: Email segmentation is the method of grouping your subscribers into segments relating to any number of different criteria for your marketing purposes.

Why: Segmenting your email marketing list helps you send different emails to different subscribers. This ensures each subscriber will receive messages that are the most relevant to them.

How: Using bulk email marketing service providers gives you the tools to easily create different segments from your email marketing list and automate the process.

Top reasons to segment your list: Improve subscriber satisfaction, reduce unsubscribes, increase open, increase click-throughs, increase conversions, improve your reputation score, decrease spam filter blocking of your emails.

Now that you understand the most basic email segmentation strategy, you are now prepared to look at more in-depth methods for creating segments. Our next article will focus on email segmentation strategy. There are many more ways and criteria to use for segmenting the subscribers on your email marketing list. In the next article, we will uncover those additional and look at the best email list segmentation practices.