List segmentation is a must in order to deliver the most relevant content to your subscribers’ inbox. It’s the best way to create a one-to-one feel for your marketing campaigns. So, how can you accomplish successful list segmentation? There are many ways to do it, but we’ll break it down into the ways in which you can achieve good list segmentation before and after the signup.

Use your email marketing campaigns’ analytics to review open rates and click-through-rates to begin segmenting by subscriber behavior. Reviewing the data will allow you to make your segmentation strategy successful.

Before/After Email List Segmentation Options 

Before Signup

Segmenting your list from the start is the best way to go. That way, your subscribers are receiving targeted content from the very first email they receive. You can segment your lists using signup forms in two very effective ways.

The first way is to use the data fields in your signup form. This could be by industry, location, gender or many other options. Gathering data like job title, zip code and phone number will allow for in-depth email list segmentation but for email content personalization as well.

This information will help sort out new subscribers and will allow you to send great, relevant content to each segment. If you’re a clothing company, you can send the new men’s and women’s lines to the right gender. When segmenting by location, you can even time your campaigns to send at the time you’d like, such as 9AM, in each time zone.

The other way to segment pre-signup is to allow individuals to select which list they’d like to join. The easiest way to explain this is with a Weekly or Monthly newsletter. Some subscribers may only want to hear from you once per month. Others would be excited to hear from you on a weekly basis. Your superfans may even select both!

After Signup

We don’t always get it right the first time (as in before the signup). Some may be so excited to get going with their email marketing, they don’t plan it all the way through in terms of list segmentation. That’s OK too. For this group, reports are especially important.

Your reports will speak wonders in regards to the preferences of your subscribers. By paying attention to the types of links your subscribers are clicking on, you can get an idea of the types of articles or other content that grabs their attention. You can then segment your lists based on that information.

Using your reports, you can also segment by levels of engagement. You can break it down to the individuals who are opening all of your email campaigns, some of your email campaigns and none of your email campaigns. By doing this, you can vary the strategy for each group. You can try a hail mary campaign to re-engage the ones who aren’t opening your emails. The best way to do this is simply by telling those subscribers you’re going to stop sending to them. Everyone wants what they can’t have.

Bonus: Unsubscribes


When someone decides to unsubscribe from your email campaigns, they already have one foot out the door. Before it shuts, you can direct them to a preference center. There, they can unsubscribe if that’s what they’re determined to do. However, like on the signup form, you can allow these individuals to change the frequency with which they are sent to or the types of lists they are a part of. You may save some unsubscribes and even turn unhappy subscribers into delighted ones.

Inactive Users

Successful email marketers can admit when their marketing strategy isn’t working. After all, digital marketing in itself is a lot of trial and error. When working through an email list segmentation project, a clear pain point is inactive users. If you’re reviewing open rates and click-through-rates by email subscribers, you’ll be able to easily tell who is active and who is an inactive user. This is when re-engagement campaigns become handy. Sending a quick note to this new segment asking if they’re still interested in your business. Give them the option to unsubscribe, or select which type of content they’d prefer to see. If the subscriber has no interest in the business any longer, perhaps inviting them to follow your company on social media instead (where your deliverability isn’t hurt by unopened emails).

Purchase History

Optimize your ecommerce email marketing strategy by segmenting your list by buyer personas. Analyzing your contact list or CRM data will allow you to group certain subscribers into buckets and develop email content related to specific products the subscribers frequently interact with.

In the same vein, you can send follow up emails to counteract inevitable cart-abandonment. When customers leave products in their shopping cart, you can trigger an email using marketing automation to send a reminder note. You know, those cheeky emails that say “Hey, I know you decided that you didn’t need that brand new leather jacket, but it’s still here waiting for you”. 

Large and small businesses can benefit from email list segmentation once it is realized that each email client has different needs. Providing the right message at the right time with the right CTA can be a catalyst to an email marketing strategy. Take a peek at your contact list and start planning a thriving segmentation strategy today.