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How to segment your email list for better conversions

4th April 2018 Print

One of the best ways to increase conversions from marketing emails is to send content to the right person at the right time. And one way to achieve this is through segmentation of the emails you send your customers. However, too many people have limited knowledge of how segmentation works and how to implement it correctly. Here are a few tips on how to segment your email list for better conversions.

Tell Us All About You

One method of gathering the information for email segmentation is to ask your customers about themselves. Don’t make them jump through a three-screen questionnaire as a condition of signing up. 

Instead, let them sign up at the landing page or as part of the checkout process with a simple interface, then send them an “all about me” survey later. You may need to incentivize the survey with a coupon code only provided at completion of the survey. Or you can enter those who complete the survey into a draw for a free item.

If a survey seems too invasive, send the questionnaire out as a “quiz” instead. This makes it look fun and exciting, and you can still use the questions to understand the preferences and habits of your audience.

Now you’ll have the information like their age, interests, preferences and other demographic details. A good customer relationship management system will automatically feed this information to the customer’s database record so that you can segment emails later based on any one or multiple categories.

Different Mailing Lists for Different Categories

This is a good option for those without a customer relationship management system and that may not have the resources to do surveys. The simplest method is having different mailing lists for different products or domains. 

A restaurant could have one email list for general customers and another for their catering clients, for instance. Customers determine what email list they’re on by what they choose to sign up for. This does create the risk that someone will end up on multiple lists due to multiple sign-ups, but they retain the ability to opt out of what doesn’t interest them.

What matters most, however, is that you don’t blast everyone with every marketing email you have. More than half of those who unsubscribe do so because the content they receive isn’t considered relevant enough.

Improve Email Engagement While Getting the Data You Need

One reason why people start filtering emails as spam is that not enough of the content seems relevant. And if you’re skimming past articles that are worthless to you, that’s a realistic assessment of the content. 

A strategy you can use to improve email engagement is to put several different snippets under article titles on a single screen teaser email. The customer sees several different article snippets and can choose what they want to read or watch. You get information on the type of content they’re interested in and can record that, while they don’t feel like they’ve had to wade through three articles to get to one of value.

A side benefit of this approach is that you can run A/B testing for the types of content you’d like to offer for each market segment as well as its presentation. And you aren’t sending out emails that are as large. 

Don’t forget the critical email segmentation of active versus inactive users. Track how often people open your emails. Have separate content and campaigns for those who are actively reading your messages and taking action versus accounts that may have gone dormant. 

You can up the ante by sending people announcements on sales and categorizing those who are interested while trying to engage them in word of mouth campaigns; coupon codes to this audience or refer a friend incentives do wonders. Conversely, for those who are disengaged, sending them emails with a subject line that “we’ve missed you” or “you haven’t ordered this in a while” let you show that you’ve noticed their absence and are trying to lure them back. That message is more likely to be read than another generic marketing message.

Email Based on Position in the Sales Funnel

An easy way to market to customers via email is tying the email marketing into their position in the sales funnel. For example, you can improve shopping cart completion rates by sending someone an email a few hours after they abandon the shopping cart, reminding them of the uncompleted transaction. 

This message is more likely to be read because it is a relevant reminder rather than a generic marketing email, and it can push them into finishing the transaction. Conversely, someone who keeps browsing but doesn’t buy might benefit from an email when something they’ve checked out repeatedly is significantly discounted. Repeat buyers would appreciate a thank you in the form of some sort of incentive, showing you recognize the business relationship and appreciate them.

Email segmentation can dramatically improve conversion rates of customers on every account. There are a number of ways to gather the information you need for segmentation, whether or not you already have it. Once you have it, only send relevant content in a timely manner so that you don’t lose your audience.