Segment Your Email Marketing in 3 Easy Steps

November 22, 2016

Email Marketing

Do you want better open and click rates for your e-newsletters? Segmentation is the solution. But before you groan and think, “I don’t have the resources for that kind of customized approach,” hear us out.

You wouldn’t target advertisements to all possible audiences because, well, that would be a big waste of money. After all, you’d be paying to reach people who don’t care about your business. So why use that approach to market your content?


Breaking up your email lists into different categories and tailoring your writing to each audience might seem like more work, but it’s really not. It just requires a change in strategy.

According to email marketing service, MailChimp, segmenting lists has an overwhelmingly positive impact on click rates and engagement. In fact, a study by the company found that targeting emails by interest group increased clicks by 64.61 per cent.

So you have more to gain than to lose by testing out email segmentation. All it takes is three simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to boosting engagement and reducing bounce rates.

Step 1: Collect data

In order to segment, you need to know your audience. If you’re only capturing names and email addresses through your website’s signup form, you won’t have a very good understanding of who your readers are and what they’re interested in. Not factoring data into your email marketing strategy is like rolling up your content, stuffing it in a bottle, dropping it in the sea and hoping the right person finds it. Not a great approach for businesses needing to engage specific audiences to remain profitable.

Step 2: Collect the right data

There’s a fine line between scaring people away (or annoying them) and collecting enough information to make segmentation effective. Before you change the email signup form on your website, consider the fields that will help you reach your desired audiences. Here’s a hint: geographical location, industry/interests and demographics are often popular segmentation categories. If you have a WordPress site, Contact Form 7 is an excellent plugin for creating custom signup forms. Take a month or two to test out a couple different forms to see what works best. But as a general rule, don’t use more than five fields on your form and don’t make all of them mandatory.

Step 3: Message your content by audience segment

Segmentation doesn’t always mean you have to produce completely different content for each audience; it just means you have to be smart about how you format that content and who you send it to. For example, through the data collection process, you might discover that a large portion of your audience is under a certain age. As a result, you might not want to send that segment promotions for extremely expensive or luxurious products. Mercedes-Benz, for example, segments its audience based on who can afford its products. Then, it sends content about increasingly more expensive vehicles to each audience as its members age.

Changes to content can, therefore, be as simple as only sending some offers to some segments or changing headlines and how promotions are worded.

And don’t forget to consider where your contacts are in your sales funnel. It wouldn’t be a very effective strategy to send the same content to a new subscriber as someone who has been on your email list for years. New contacts still need to be won over. You should already know what existing contacts want.

Overall, segmentation can take some trial and error, but it’s a much more effective email marketing strategy than spamming the same content to all your subscribers. Try it out for a few months and see the difference it can make.

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