Marketers and sales teams send emails daily for many reasons, like educating their audience, sharing a promotion or incentive, or driving a reaction from the contact they are emailing. For them to know they are speaking in the right way to the right audience they split them up into groups or the commonly used term, segments. This is called segmentation and is broadly used by marketers within tools like Mailchimp, Hubspot, Constant Contact, and more. Email segmentation can be a great way to drive growth as it lends itself to personalization, improved messaging, better metrics, and taking the time to understand your constituents. We've compiled our top tips for how to get started with email segmentation.
With email segmentation, the first step is understanding your constituents. Take the time to understand their needs, interests, and values. What are their pain points? What motivates them?
You can segment your email list in several ways, but the most important thing is to segment it in a way that makes sense for your constituents.
Before you start segmenting your email list, it's important to know your goals. What do you hope to achieve with email segmentation?
Are you looking to improve your open rates? Increase click-through rates? Drive more donations? Or something else entirely?
Your goals will dictate how you segment your email list.
There are several ways to segment your email list. Determining how you will segment your audience upfront will allow you to build on this strategy over time and run tests to optimize your email messaging.
Segmentation is a great tool because it allows you to personalize your lists or groups of contacts. This way, you can ensure that your message is relevant to your audience.
For a service or SaaS business, you may want to create a list of leads, people interested in your product but not yet customers, or clients, people that are paying for your product or service. The way you engage with these two groups will be different as a lead might need more information about your offering whilst a client likely already knows what you are offering but could use updates about what you offer.
Let's take for example a contact that you have in the top of the marketing funnel. The best way to reach customers at the top of the marketing funnel is to use content marketing. Content marketing is a type of marketing that involves creating and sharing content that is relevant to your target audience. This content can take many forms, such as blog posts, infographics, ebooks, and more.
Now let's consider the bottom of the marketing funnel. At the bottom of the marketing funnel is where contacts are most likely to convert into customers. Therefore, it's important to use targeted and effective marketing methods to reach these contacts. One of the most effective ways to reach contacts in the bottom of the marketing funnel is through retargeting. But in this case, we are focusing on grouping these active leads for the purpose of email targeting. Your message will likely be more detailed and closer to the product, or service offering.
Segmentation can also be used to create an ideal audience by attributes. Here are three examples:
If you are a local service business operating in a small regional area this might not apply to you now but if you happen to expand this will be very useful.
For other businesses that operate across different timezones and regions, this can be helpful when you are emailing, but also in the voice you use when speaking to that audience and developing an offer. Timing is essential because there are often days and hours that offer a healthier Open Rate or generate a higher Click Through Rate (CTR) email. This is because it's tailored to your audience's schedule and behavior. Testing and finding out times can be a great way to optimize your campaigns to the time that is best for your audience.
If you are a large company or have audiences broadly across the world one of the best bets is to label these contacts—many email platforms offer a way to do this via the contact details. Examples of labels are Europe (EU), United States of America (USA), South East Asia (SEA), etc. for all the main regions in which your contacts reside.
You might be a company that serves a large scope of people. If you are a B2B organization you can consider segmenting your email lists based on your ICP or by the job title of an employee. If you are doing outbound communications for example there is generally a difference in how you might try to book a meeting with an entry-level employee vs. a C-Suite executive, who likely has someone filtering through their emails, the message you deliver should feel genuine. Our friends at Zapier have a great list of some of the benefits of segmentation like this over on their blog.
Persona, on the other hand is generally a fictional person that organizations use to create a ideal customer to target. Often businesses have multiple based on their ideal customer and those most likely to engage with their brand. Personas can incorporate job titles but they often go into other details such as gender, age, location, buying habits, interests, and more. The best part of personas as they can be as broad or as detailed as needed to develop content, messaging, and campaigns.
Imagine how email segmentation with Job Titles or Personas you might be able to drive more engagement in your emails.
One way to improve email engagement is to let your audience choose the types of emails they want to receive. For example, you can create a list of options like newsletters, product updates, event announcements, etc., and allow people to opt-in to the ones they're interested in. This way, you're more likely to keep people engaged and decrease the number of unsubscribes. Another tip is to send an email every few months to those who are disengaged with your emails and let them choose their preferences. This way, you can better cater to their interests and keep them engaged.
When brands or organizations start by segmenting by preferences, they automatically put customers into segments that they can then build customer journeys around. This allows them to create more targeted, specific content that is relevant to the customer's interests or responses. Additionally, they now have first-party data about the customer that can be used to make future marketing decisions across all channels, including email, social media, and performance ads.
Much of this probably sounds straightforward, doesn't it? You would be surprised at how many brands or businesses do not tailor their marketing to segmented audiences. Reasons are often insufficient time, not sure where to start, or lack of the right people to help support this development.
Our team at Chasing Creative would be happy to help you think through the best route for your business in segmentation. That said, continue to whiteboard ideas using tools like Miro to map how you might start segmenting your audience. Keep collecting as much information and data as permitted to use in the future—often after collecting enough data you will begin to see opportunities for tailoring your marketing to those segments.
It's important to always listen to your audience. You can do this through surveys, conversations, or by looking at the results of your emails. The best way to remind yourself to do this is by blocking off 45 minutes in your calendar each week. Thanks for reading!
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