Email Marketing List Segmentation for Maximum ROI
The world of email marketing is ever-evolving, as are consumers’ expectations. Email subscribers are expecting increasingly tailored messages that speak to their unique needs and interests. As an email marketer, you’re looking to meet these needs, but consumers and messages are not one size fits all. Only through increasing the relevancy of your messages with more targeted marketing can you stand out from the crowd. And the best way to do this is by segmenting your large subscriber list into two or more smaller lists using one or more grouping options like demographic and/or interest.
The positives to email list segmentation are many, and the drawbacks nearly none (save the initial challenge of settling on a segmentation strategy and implementation plan, which appears harder than it actually is). Email list segmentation is sure to result in a highly relevant and targeted email campaign, which yields the following benefits:
- Increased email deliverability
- Improved sender reputation (which, in turn, leads to more successfully delivered email)
- More opened email
- Higher click-through rates
- Enhanced customer loyalty
- Decreased unsubscribes
- Increased sales
Though it might seem like a huge undertaking to segment your list, it doesn’t have to be. You can start slowly (using just one of the segmentation options below) and add more later.
- Demographics (ZIP/postal code, gender, age, occupation). Because this is the information you automatically gather from your subscribers, it’s easy to think about segmenting your list using broad demographic information. For example, a young female population probably won’t want to hear about how to treat hot flashes just as the mountaineer from Colorado won’t read with as much interest about a surf school in California. If you increase your message relevance through separating your list by a few key demographics, your subscribers will feel as though you’re talking to their needs.
- Prospective vs. Current Customers. Arguably, these two populations are the easiest to segment and also should be treated differently. Prospective customers can be wooed with first-time user deals and educational emails about your products while current customers can be rewarded with loyalty programs and special “VIP customer” deals. If current customers receive emails that are worded to indicate they are not “known,” as they should be if they are current customers, they might feel unimportant, or worse, disrespected, and could even unsubscribe as a result.
- Loyal Customers. Just as it’s important to segment your current customers from new potentials, it could be very worthwhile to pay special attention to those frequent-buyer customers of yours who visit your site often, make frequent purchases, and also spend big. Anyone that’s showing you this much love should get some love in return. This is your chance to thank your most loyal customers with goodies like platinum status, free shipping, membership upgrade, or gifts with their next purchase. Their loyalty will soar, and you’ll probably see more conversions and even some referrals as a result.
- Inactive Subscribers. And on the opposite end of the spectrum are these former customers who, for one reason or another, haven’t paid much attention to you in a while yet are still on your email list. If someone hasn’t opened an email from you or clicked on a link over a period of time they are deemed “inactive” subscribers. But contrary to your initial thoughts, they can be won back fairly easily. After all, they saw value in your business/product/information before when they initially subscribed. Now is your chance to make them fall in love with you again. You can ping these inactive users with an email noticing that they haven’t “visited” in a while and can then offer an enticing incentive to return. The result? Your inactive users will feel special and may likely respond to your new offer, launching you back into their sightlines.
- New Subscribers. Your recent subscribers should be courted just as you would that new “special someone” in your life. Now is the perfect opportunity to hook them with special offers, new user promotions, and special educational newsletters about your offerings.
- Interests and Purchases. This is your opportunity to target your messages to the type of information is your subscriber interested in. If you start tracking the kinds of products or brands they’re buying, you can easily create more relevant messages that will speak to their specific interests and needs. By taking buying habits and turning that information into targeted emails that deliver relevant information, you will create even more loyalty and trust from your customers.
- Preference Surveys /Interest-Based Preferences. Most people feel the most valued when their opinion is asked. Consider integrating periodic short surveys or questions into your email marketing strategy. Even better, provide the results of the survey in a future email newsletter, and the implementation effects directly impacted by your subscribers’ opinions.
Takeaway: In order to segment your lists, be sure data gathering from the outset is part of your email marketing program. But ensure you carefully and respectfully collect information about geography, birthday, age, gender, interests, buying habits, etc. Even if you don’t have a plan for segmenting your list right now, gather the data as you go, and get started on your list segmentation strategy ASAP.