As Matt Blumberg puts it, “Reaching the inbox isn’t your goal, engaging subscribers is.” And sending mass, generic emails aren’t going to get you there. To keep subscribers engaged, you have to send personalized emails that feel like messages between friends. It all starts with email segmentation. 

This article covers what email segmentation is and how it’s critical for creating personalized emails. Read on to learn how to segment your email lists. 

What is Email Segmentation?

Email segmentation is a prioritization technique where you categorize email contacts into different groups based on predefined criteria. 

Segmentation enables you to put customers who share the same characteristics in one group. For example, you could divide your email list according to customer interest, location, purchase history, customer type, and more (we’ll get into this later). 

Doing so makes it easy to personalize your campaigns and ensures every message is relevant to each subscriber. Sending emails that resonate with the specific pains, desires, and needs of the subscriber will boost engagement. Studies have shown segmented email campaigns yield a 90.7% higher click-through rate than non-segmented campaigns. 

Alex Souchoroukof of Moosend says that for seasoned marketers, segmentation is very much a beginner’s technique, but you’d be surprised how many marketers neglect these tactics in their own campaigns. “It is a nice and excellent idea for subscribers to share their email address with you, but you don’t optimize the full potential of your email marketing campaigns when you don’t segment your email address lists.”

Some of the benefits Moosend has seen from segmenting their lists include:

  • The ability to send more relevant material
  • Capitalizing on the funnel and journey their buyers are taking. 
  • Enhanced ROI
  • Walking the fine line between emailing too much and too little 

Best Practices for Effective Email Segmentation

You should segment your email list to enhance the overall success of your email marketing campaigns and to bring your email marketing efforts to the next level. To that end, you need to follow a set of best practices, including:

  • Set your segmentation goals. What do you intend to achieve with email marketing? How does segmentation help you reach those goals?
  • Continuously update segments. Your customers’ needs, interests, and preferences aren’t static. They change over time, and you should continuously categorize and recategorize customer types as their needs change. 
  • Measure segmentation success. Most importantly, measure segmentation results based on the stipulated goals. Keep in mind, that which is measured improves. 

The Top Ways You Can Segment Your Email List

Customers expect you to tailor emails specifically to them. In fact, 71% of your customers would engage favorably with emails if the content is personalized to their interests. 

However, to give your customer a personalized email experience, you must first nail segmentation. Here are some of the best ways to segment your email list: 

Demographic Segmentation

In demographic segmentation, you group email subscribers based on their identifiable non-character traits, including:

  • Gender 
  • Age
  • Level of education
  • Income
  • Profession
  • Family status

The use of those quantifiable characteristics to group email contacts is the most basic form of email segmentation. However, it still offers improved product relevance and advertising effectiveness. 

Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation is another basic form of categorizing email lists. In this technique, you group customers based on location identifiers, such as:

  • Region
  • Country
  • City
  • Postal code

This is by far the easiest form of segmentation. It comes in handy if you want to send personalized emails based on regional factors like local events, weather, language, or customs. 

For example, SpeechGear — a SaaS company that sells enterprise-level speech translation software — uses geographic email segmentation. The company has 92 granular email lists but doesn’t send emails to them all. Instead, if there’s an education event in Washington, the company sends targeted notice to educators in Washington who have shown interest in their SaaS product. 

Psychographic Segmentation

In psychographic segmentation, you group your customers based on their personalities and interests. For example, you may look at the email list and classify contacts by their:

  • Lifestyle
  • Hobbies
  • Values
  • Personality
  • Beliefs 
  • Life goals

Looking at these characteristics, you realize they aren’t the easiest to identify. For this reason, you have to do rigorous research and gather as much customer data as you possibly can. 

For example, you could add checkboxes on your signup form, requesting customers to state their preferences or hobbies. This way, you can automatically categorize contacts with similar interests into one group. 

Although psychographic segmentation is hard to nail, it spurs incredibly effective email marketing. This is because each customer receives emails based on their interests, which piques their desire to open and even act on the discount or promotion being offered. 

Behavioral Segmentation

In behavioral segmentation, you group customers based on how they interact with your brand and the products you sell on various touchpoints. For example, if you’re an eCommerce brand, you can categorize customers based on:

  • Browsing habits
  • Spending habits
  • Purchasing habits
  • Loyalty to your brand

Like the psychographic technique, behavioral segmentation is an advanced method and requires in-depth research and tools. Fortunately, you can harness most of the data you need from customers’ website usage metrics like page visits, time spent on the website, number of sessions, shopping cart value, and more. 

It’s also wise to segment your list based on how they interact with your emails. Look at things like who’s opening your emails, clicking on links, unsubscribing, etc. This can indicate who your most engaged subscribers are, so you can find ways to engage them further. 

Email Segmentation Tools

The complexity of the email segmentation task means it’s impossible to do manually. To get it right, you should utilize an array of software tools, including:

  • An email service provider (ESP) or an email automation tool, like Benchmark Email that supports segmentation.  
  • A page-level targeting tool to help you create targeted signup forms for specific web visitors. At Benchmark Email, our users can take advantage of our website forms and landing page builder to drive traffic to targeted pages and encourage email signups. 
  • Lead magnets that will let customers self-identify as belonging to one of the predetermined email segments.  

Get Email Segmentation Right to Boost Performance

The benefits of email segmentation transcend increased personalization. According to a study by HubSpot, brands that use segmented campaigns achieve a 760% increase in revenue. You can reap the same benefit, create more loyalty and generate more value over time when you hone email segmentation skills. Need help getting started? Sign up for a free account today!

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by Benchmark Team