email marketing list segmentationWhen email marketing campaigns provide the right kind of content at the right time for the “right” lead they are extremely effective. In fact, email marketing has a fantastic ROI (over 4300%) – for every $1 spent the return is $44, according to the Direct Marketing Association.

The first step in developing effective email marketing campaigns is to segment your email lists based on where they are in the buying cycle, their interests, product or service preferences and/or demographics.

For more tips on how to create effective email campaigns, check out page 12 of our Digital Marketing Research Report. Click here to download.

In 4 Ways to Segment Your Email List to Get the Right Message to the Right Audience, Azure Collier of Constant Contact suggests 4 ways to segment your lists:

  1. Create email lists – such as Newsletter, Product/Service A, Product/Service B, Product/Service C, New Products/Services, Promotions and/or Events and then ask your email contacts to choose the information they are interested in receiving.
  2. Know where they’re located and segment lists based on geographical location.
  3. Pay attention to purchasing behaviour and create lists based on what products they buy, which emails they open and which links they click on.
  4. Focus on your relationship. Segment lists based on the type of relationship you have with your contacts i.e. personal, type of network, where you met them, former client, current client, qualified prospect, unqualified prospect, influencer etc.

Azure Collier of Constant Contact goes on to explain…

If you’ve been using email marketing for a while, you might have come across the term segmentation.

It’s a marketing term that simply means, dividing people into groups based on information like interests, demographics, or their preferences on products or services.

Why should you segment your email list?

Sometimes, emails are not one size fits all. One email might appeal to some people on your list while others need something completely different.

The people who aren’t interested in emails might delete them, or worse, unsubscribe if they find that your messages aren’t relevant to them.

In fact, 56 percent of people who unsubscribed from a business or nonprofit list did so because the content wasn’t relevant.

You can avoid this by segmenting your lists to target the right group with the right, relevant messages.

Here are four ways to consider segmenting your email list:

1. Ask for their preference.

One way to segment or group your contacts is by using email lists and asking your subscribers to choose the lists they’re interested in.

Fashion retailer No Rest for Bridget created lists for their communications and subscribers have the opportunity to choose what lists they’re interested in emails that contain in-store sales and promotions, information about new products, online sales, or all news and sales.

Their subscribers receive information that’s relevant to them and won’t find unnecessary emails in their inbox.

2. Know their location.

You can learn a lot about what your subscribers are interested in based on their location. Robert Paul Properties, a real estate firm in Massachusetts asks subscribers about the locations they’re interested in right in their email sign-up form.

They can easily target emails about new listings in certain towns and areas of the state to the subscribers who have expressed interest in those locations.

3. Pay attention to purchasing behavior.

Audience behavior is another great way to segment. Find out what your audience is interested in by using your email reports to see what they’re opening and clicking on. You can save those people to an existing list or create a new one.

You can also create lists for customers who purchased a particular product or service and send them emails about those items.

The Festival City Theatres Trust in Edinburg, Scotland, has 20 different email lists for the different types of performances they host and communications they send.

Subscribers choose from the lists when they sign up. And when someone purchases a ticket, they’re added to a list for that type of show as well.

4. Focus on your relationship.

Some businesses and organizations have very distinct audiences that they communicate with. That’s why organizing their lists by the relationship or customer status helps them get the right information in front of the right people.

Fairy Dogparents, a nonprofit organization in Massachusetts, divides lists by events attendees, board members, general information, people interested in specific initiatives, and volunteers.

That way their donors can stay updated on how their contribution is making an impact and volunteers will be notified when their services are needed.

And that’s segmentation in a nutshell.

These four strategies will help you get started, and above all else, they’ll ensure that the right messages get in front of the right audience.