10 Email Marketing List Segments for Successful Sends

Posted by Sarah Wai on Dec 5, 2016 3:00:00 PM

email list segments for different audiences

Email marketing isn’t rocket science, but it also isn’t elementary addition. If you’re feeling lost and don’t know where to begin, we’ve got you covered.

The first thing you want to do is segment your contact lists. Initially, this will take quite a bit of time. However, once you set guidelines for segmenting, it becomes an automated process for future email sends.

Segmentation is one of the key elements to sending the right email to the right persona at the right time. This is not a step you want to skip.

Getting a Grip on Segmentation

According to The Direct Marketing Association, 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented, targeted, and triggered campaigns in 2015. In 2016, you can bet that has increased. Many say that email marketing is dead, and they're right (in a sense). Sending your marketing messages to anyone and everyone and writing for a general audience with no purpose other than to shout "Buy! Buy! BUY!": that’s dead. But segmented and targeted email campaigns- those are very much alive and kicking butt.

Email is an incredible tool, as it is unlike other widespread communications such as TV and radio. You have the opportunity to narrow your focus and send messages to targeted personas within your contact database.

Email segmentation enables relevancy, and relevancy gets results.

The point of segmentation is personalization. If you segment correctly, your audiences receive desired information. This level of personalization can lead to more conversions, an increase in purchases and customer delight.

MailChimp sampled 2,000 MailChimp users who send roughly 11,000 segmented campaign emails to about nine million recipients. They concluded that segmented campaigns performed significantly better than non-segmented campaigns.

They found that:

  • Opens were about 15% higher
  • Unique opens were about 11% higher
  • Clicks were 42% higher

The more information you collect about your contacts, the more opportunities you have to tailor your emails.

New Call-to-action

The Beginning Stages of Segmentation

Segmentation can be as broad or as precise as you want it to be. You’ll want to get as precise as you possibly can over the long run because that will give you a greater ROI. However, there are specific segments that you'll likely want to begin with to get you on the right track. I’ve laid this out simply so you can get the idea without being overwhelmed.

1. Geography

  • Segment by ZIP code or geographical area: This is especially important for businesses where location greatly influences purchasing decisions.
  • Utilize smart sending: Send emails at optimum times for customers in different time zones.

2. Age

  • Send age-appropriate content: You don’t want to send an email about wrinkle cream to a college student.
  • Adjust messaging for the appropriate age group: Use terminology that your audience can relate to and understand.

3. Stage in the Buyers Journey

  • Are they in the Awareness, Consideration, or Decision stage?
  • Determine what kinds of content would appeal to them in their current Buyers Journey stage and offer it to them.

4. Buyer Persona

  • This helps you cater to varying needs and pain points
  • Verbiage used will greatly affect this segment

5. Organization Type

  • Are they a B2B, B2C, non-profit, small business, etc.?
  • They all face different challenges and need to be targeted differently

6. Industry

  • Jargon that is specific to your target's industry gives you a leg up because it lets your audience know that you understand them.
  • But use sparingly and naturally. You don't want to seem like you are trying too hard.

7. Job Function

  • Segmenting by job function is important because you don’t want to send an administrative assistant an email pitch on “Expanding Your Corporation.” That doesn’t fit their role or goals.

8. Education Level

  • This can sometimes influence the topic you write about and the vocabulary you use.

9. Past Purchases

  • Contacts who've purchased an item before will likely purchase again in the future.
  • If a customer bought something that requires replacement, refills or renewal, you can send out targeted emails based on their potential needs.
  • Maybe there are upsell opportunities, but you need to know who is more likely to be upsold.

10. Interests in Products or Topics

  • Have they shown interest in certain web pages, or read blogs, or opened multiple emails with the same topic in the past?
  • You can ask your audience to indicate their interests when signing up for a subscription. This gives both your marketing and your sales departments more to work with.

Segment Away!

A company of any size can and needs to segment for email marketing. It’s a tactic that (with a bit of creativity) can take you a long way. You don’t need the most advanced marketing automation software to do it. Just pick your starting place and segment away.

Sarah Wai

Written by Sarah Wai

Former Content, Email, and Social Media Marketing Specialist of Tribute Media. Bachelor of Science in Digital Communication Arts and Master in Business Administration.