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MarketingSherpa – Email Marketing: How to overcome segmentation challenges and deliver targeted content


MarketingSherpa – Email Marketing: How to overcome segmentation challenges and deliver targeted content




By: MarketingSherpa

SUMMARY: Your audience is not a single group. There are many categories within your database, and until you identify them, you cannot send targeted content to improve results.

Check out the six steps we outline to start segmenting. The tactics are pulled from interviews with four experts as well as two MarketingSherpa research charts. There’s advice on everything from convincing skeptics to selecting your first segment.

by Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter

Marketers have proven that targeted messages can improve performance in almost any channel. In email marketing, targeted messaging begins with segmentation.

Only by understanding the differences in your audience can you move away from batch-and-blast emails and toward targeted content. Targeted emails connect more directly to subscribers’ interests and convince them to open, engage and convert more often.

“It is dramatically effective,” says Wendy White, Senior Marketing Strategist, Global Media Division, Acxiom. “If someone is not segmenting, then they are leaving money on the ground. There is gold in segmentation; diamonds.”

The value of segmentation has been proven through case study after case study, but some marketers struggle to get started. We’ve pulled together six steps based on tactics from four experts and data from MarketingSherpa benchmark reports to show you how.

Step #1. Convince your team it’s worth it

Segmenting your database will require resources. Whether you need money or a few man-hours, you will have to convince co-workers that your plan is worth the investment.

– Prepare for the skeptics

Arthur Hughes, Founder of the Database Marketing Institute, has encountered resistance to segmentation in some companies. This resistance is due to the affordability of email and the false impression that email is equitable to direct mail.

“The whole point of segmenting in direct mail is to avoid paying postage for people who are not going to respond, and saving yourself $0.40 or $0.50 a piece to put stuff in the mail. But email is so cheap, there are no savings by eliminating some people,” Hughes says.

However, email marketing is not direct mail marketing. There are hidden costs to sending irrelevant emails, Hughes notes. A steady stream of generic messages can encourage recipients to ignore emails or mark them as “spam.” This can undermine the quality of your entire program. Be sure to explain this to any skeptics.

– Arm yourself with info

Do your homework and present skeptics with case studies on companies in your industry that improved their email programs through segmentation. Some email service providers publish such case studies, and MarketingSherpa has published quite a few, as well. You can also recruit someone from your ESP to help support your case.



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  • Profile:  Jeff Ginsberg has 17+ years’ experience and is an industry known authority on email marketing who gets in the trenches with clients and helps them fulfill their marketing objectives, increase revenue and brand engagement. Clients rely on him and his team at The eMail Company to provide them with expertise from strategy to technology and from campaign management to channel integration. Jeff has worked with clients across all spectrums in the financial, automotive, retail and consumer packaged goods space. His experience covers both B2B and B2C markets. He has a strong background in educating and training agencies and clients about email best practices and is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to marketing tools and vendor selection. While Jeff’s team may be small, they know how to solve BIG email marketing problems. Looking for help with your next campaign? Don’t be afraid to give him a call – Jeff and his team ready to help you today. Give me a call: Toll Free: 877-We-eMail (877-933-6245) Local: 416-225-7711 eMail: jeff@theemailcompany.com
  • Website:  http://www.theemailguide.com
  • Twitter:   http://www.twitter.com/theemailguide
  • LinkedIn:   http://ca.linkedin.com/in/chiefemailofficer
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