How to Segment Your Email List

segment-your-email-listWould you prefer to receive a generic email blast to a product that may or may not interest you, or an email with a ten percent discount off an event you wanted to go to? Obviously, you’d open the email that’s relevant to your interests and provides something you will actually use.

Sales ‘coincidences’ don’t have to be left to the fates. If you’ve been sending out a single, one-size-fits all email to your entire email advertising list, you may find better return on investment of time and money if you  modify your campaign by sending specific emails to subsets of your list. Internet shippers today expect personalization and interaction. In studies, a segmented email list lead to higher click-through and conversion rates than a generic, mass-emailed list.

By examining your analytics, you can find the best way to segment your email list so you can send the right email at the right time to the right customer.

Factors upon which to segment your list may be:

  • Length of subscription — new subscribers should be handled differently than long time devotees.
  • Volume of products bought, and/or, amount of money spent in a single shopping trip.
  • Low activity. Determine why some users hardly open any emails. They may need extra attention with specific subject headers, or maybe they are reading email on a device or with an operating system in which you haven’t tested your email’s appearance.
  • Waning interest — a drop in click-throughs and open rates. Perhaps they need a ‘welcome back’ incentive.
  • Demographics. Geographic area, having children or not, yearly income, and other demographics may influence how customers interact with or need your brand. Even if you decide not to market to a given demographic, obtaining this information can help create more specific, personalized subject headings. For instance, one A/B test based on localization found a much higher open rate for customers who received emails that mentioned their local government representative.
  • Type of website behavior. Are customers shopping around the Internet and placing items in their cart, then abandoning it; or, placing items on a gift list and never returning to your site? Within an hour of someone placing an item in their shopping cart, send an email reminding them of the product they were thinking about buying, or similar products. They may come back and buy from you; if not, your email has caught them in the shopping mood, so they may come back for something else they need. For example, if they ended up buying a netbook from someone else, they could buy peripherals or a case from you (especially if it’s on sale exclusively for email listers).
  • Milestone events. Send birthday greetings, new baby congratulations, or moving tips. Think of ways that your product or service can be especially useful during special times in customers’ lives.

Remember to do A/B tests to see how effective your new format, content, and subject headings are coming off to your new, specialized sub-market.

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