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Embrace Email Segmentation

Increase your email open rates by providing relevant, valuable content to specific audience groupings.

Segmenting audiences in an email marketing campaign is something that we frequently see small business owners intimidated by — but the reality is that segmenting your email lists is actually a fairly simple task. And you’re sure to see a positive impact.

And better yet, the whole point of utilizing email to market to your customers (and prospects) is to offer relevant, timely information that provides value to your recipients. 

The problem is, one size usually doesn’t fit all. So while everyone on your mailing list may have one thing in commonyour organizationthe reality is that not every email will be of interest to everyone.

Spending a small amount of time learning about who your ICPs (Ideal Customer Profile) are and how you can segment them for a more tailored message can pay off in a big way in just a short amount of time. Neil Patel points out that email segmentation can increase your open rate by 203 percent!  

And a HubSpot report found that marketers who use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760 percent increase in revenue. 

With results like that, how can you not think about segmenting your email campaigns?

Don’t let the term “segmentation” throw you off

Segmentation is simply grouping users together who have similar characteristics and needs. 

You know your customers. Do you see differences in customers from specific areas and how they buy from you?  What information can you provide that would be most relevant to each specific group?

Do you have a group of subscribers that came in through one specific landing page?  If so, tailoring a message similar to the message on the landing page may make perfect sense.

That, in essence, is segmentation. 

Some ideas to get you thinking about segmentation  

In a great article on email segmentation, HubSpot threw out several ideas for ways to look at segmenting (or sorting) your emails.  Some of those groupings include:

  • Geography
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Persona
  • Organization Type
  • Industry
  • Job Function
  • Education Level
  • Purchases or Buying Activity
  • Event Attendance

Really, the most important lists are those that fit your own customers and your sales process. And you know how your customers buy better than anyone…so get started thinking about it!

Writing Emails for Segmentation Purposes?  Easy!

Believe it or not, creating emails for a segmented audience is much easier than trying to write one that will appeal to many different groups at once. Think about it: If you have a group of like-minded recipients, your message can be simple and strong and create a clear click through action (CTA).  

By creating a highly targeted message, the relevance to your like-minded recipients will leap off the page, feeling much more personal than a generic message for the masses. 

As we talked about in an earlier post, you should always have a strategy for each email you send…whether segmented or not. That strategy should always line up with your overall business strategy. 

You may want to send out emails to a geographic-specific list if you have an event in a city or state near them.  Gender may be a big influencer if you are sending out emails about a sale on clothing or shoes.

The services your SMB offers may span more than one industry, so you can always tailor an email based on those details, as well as job function (hint: a CEO will most likely not have the same pain point as a senior project manager.)

An agile and segmented marketing program will take some work up-front but you will learn a great deal as you go and should be able to use that information to be agile and pivot when needed.

“Do. Or not do. There is no try.” Yoda

Sorting out your list in groups isn’t necessarily a hard thing to do. And, depending on what programs you are using, it may be quite easy.

Many email programs have tags built into their systems that allow you to sort for a variety of characteristics. Or, you may be able to sort users based on their past activity.  And, bonus points if you are using a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system to sort out your subscribers to send them highly targeted messages.

Think about it: we get too many emails daily. Only the emails that offer a benefit to the recipient will get noticed, whether it is a discount for future purchases or information that solves a pain point. The problem is that not everyone has the same pain point or buying habits.  

So by sorting out your subscribers into groups with similar characteristics, you can create an effective and useful message that will get results.

The bottom line is you can get started segmenting your email audiences in even the simplest ways just get started! Yoda would approve.

Some Next Steps

  1. Understand and define your market. Surveys, focus groups, and polls are helpful here as well as looking at historical sales data.
  2. Decide what criteria is best for segmenting your audience. For example, demographic, geographic, buying behavior, etc.
  3. Create your customer segments within your CRM and your email marketing tool. Remember, your CRM is the starting point for collecting audience data and should be syncing with your email marketing tool.
  4. Test your segmentation. Create an email campaign, use the segments and review the engagement data. How effective is your segmentation compared to before you were grouping your audience and targeting your messaging? Not hitting your metrics, make slight changes and keep on testing.

Tomato Fish is an Indianapolis consulting company focused on helping small and midsize businesses make good strategic planning decisions.