Do you want to increase your email deliverability and open rates, boost your click rates, and decrease unsubscribe rates? Then email segmentation is the way.
Email segmentation can drastically improve the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns.
Smart marketers know the value of email list segmentation, but many need help to use it effectively.
Therefore, in this guide, you’re about to learn how to segment your email list and get a huge leg up on your competitors as we share 50 email marketing segmentation strategies that the pros use to create targeted email lists.
So whether you’re starting to use email list segmentation or would like to use it more effectively, we have 50 email segmentation ideas for you.
Let’s start with answering the question: what is email segmentation?
Email segmentation is a technique that email marketers use to send highly targeted emails by dividing their list up into smaller groups, or “segments.”
By understanding the specific characteristics that differentiate each segment, email marketers can target different segments by tailoring the content of their email marketing campaigns to each segment. This email segmentation strategy significantly increases conversions.
The difference in tactics is like how a shotgun and a sniper rifle operate. The former blasts away broadly and blindly hopes a few pellets hit. The latter tracks, targets, and precisely hits it.
You want your marketing campaign to be as precise as possible so the right message can hit the right people at the right time. For this, email segmentation is an absolute must.
Now that we have answered what email segmentation is, let’s look at the benefits of email segmentation in more detail.
Email list segmentation offers numerous benefits for both the sender and the recipient. Here are some of the key advantages:
Increased Relevance: By segmenting your list, you can send more targeted content relevant to a specific group of subscribers. This relevance can lead to higher engagement rates as the content resonates more with the recipients.
Improved Open and Click-Through Rates: Segmented email campaigns have higher open and click-through rates than non-segmented campaigns. This is because the content is tailored to the interests and needs of the segment.
Better Conversion Rates: With more relevant content, recipients are more likely to take the desired action, whether that’s making a purchase, signing up for a webinar, or following a call to action (CTA).
Decreased Unsubscribe Rates: People are less likely to unsubscribe when emails are relevant. Segmentation ensures that you are not sending the same generic message to everyone, which can be a turn-off for many subscribers.
Enhanced Customer Retention: Personalized and relevant emails can improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers feel valued when receiving content catering to their interests and behaviors.
Efficient Use of Resources: By focusing on more likely-to-convert segments, you can allocate your marketing resources more efficiently, ensuring you’re wisely using your time and money on more interested parties.
A/B Testing and Optimization: Segmentation allows you to test different strategies with different groups to see what works best. This can help you optimize your overall email marketing strategy.
Better Data and Insights: Segmented email campaigns can provide valuable data on the preferences and behaviors of different groups within your audience. This data can inform future marketing strategies and content creation.
Compliance with Regulations: With data protection regulations like GDPR, it’s important to send relevant and wanted emails by the recipients. Segmentation helps ensure compliance by targeting only those most likely to be interested in your content.
Increased Sales: Ultimately, all the above benefits lead to the most important advantage: increased sales. By sending the right message to the right people at the right time, you’re more likely to see a positive impact on your bottom line.
Email Segmentation can be based on various criteria, such as demographics, past purchase behavioral data, engagement levels, position in the sales funnel, and more. The key is to collect and utilize customer data effectively to create segments that will respond positively to your campaigns.
Let’s explore the various methods for segmenting your email list.
Here are several ways you can segment your list to tailor your messaging and offers:
This is based on demographic information such as age, gender, income level, education, occupation, etc. For instance, you might send different emails to students and retirees because their interests and needs are likely different.
Segmenting by location can be particularly useful for local businesses or when your product/service has regional relevance. You can also tailor your content to cultural events or weather patterns in specific areas.
This involves segmenting your list based on consumer behavior, such as purchase history, product usage, and previous interactions with your website or emails. For example, you could segment users who frequently purchase a particular product and send them information on related products.
Segmenting by engagement involves examining how subscribers interact with your emails. You might have a segment for those who open and click through most of your emails and another for those who rarely engage.
Segmenting by purchase history can be very effective. You can target customers who have purchased within a specific timeframe, are frequent buyers, or last purchased a while ago.
Depending on where a subscriber is in the sales funnel, you might want to send different information or offers. New leads might get educational content, while those closer to purchasing might get a demo or a discount code.
Loyal customers can be segmented into a VIP list that receives special offers, loyalty discounts, or early access to new products.
For e-commerce, segmenting users who have left items in their cart without completing the purchase can be a way to send targeted reminders or offers to encourage them to finish their purchase.
Some subscribers prefer daily emails, others weekly or monthly. Segmenting by preference respects the subscriber’s wishes and can reduce unsubscribe rates.
If you offer various lead magnets (free content in exchange for an email address), you can segment your list based on the specific lead magnets downloaded. This indicates the subscriber’s interests.
If you’ve conducted surveys or collected feedback, you can segment your list based on the responses, targeting specific concerns or interests.
If you offer different levels of membership or subscription services, you can segment your list accordingly to send the most relevant information about each service level.
Some customers may only purchase during certain times of the year, like holidays or back-to-school season. Segmenting these customers can help you target them at the right time.
For those who have attended your webinars, conferences, or other events, you can create a segment to follow up, provide additional resources, or promote future events.
Segmenting by the type of device used to open emails (mobile vs desktop) or the email client can help optimize the email design for better readability and engagement.
Remember, the more data you have on your subscribers, the more effectively you can segment your list.
Next are the tools that we recommend for the job.
You’ll need an email service provider that allows you to segment your list. You’ll also need a tool that will enable you to create targeted email optin forms and add them to the appropriate email segments.
The email service providers we recommend are:
For your optin forms, OptinMonster is by far the most powerful solution.
OptinMonster’s page level targeting module allows you to display unique optin offers based on the visitor’s location and interaction on your website.
For instance, if you want to show a specific lead magnet only to visitors reading blog posts from a specific category, you can do that.
Once you’ve captured their email address with a high-converting lightbox popup or another OptinMonster campaign, OptinMonster integrates with your email service provider to add new subscribers to the appropriate segment(s).
For the best bulk email services to reach a wider target audience, check out the Top 10 Best Bulk Emails Services in 2023.
Are you ready to start segmenting your email list?
Here are 50 email marketing segmentation strategies that the pros use:
Don’t neglect your brand new subscribers by taking their email addresses and leaving them in the cold. Instead, give them a warm welcome with a welcome email.
Lululemon uses their welcome email to remind you of the benefits of being a subscriber: you’ll be the first to see the new gear. They also set expectations by telling you that they’ll be emailing you once per week, and they introduce you to their blog.
Crayon’s welcome email helps you to get started with an article for new users. They also recommend some fellow Crayon marketers to follow.
But why stop at just one welcome email? You could even send a series of emails to all new subscribers with the best of your blog content, or show your new app users how to take the first step, and then the next, and the next.
Whatever you decide to do with your welcome email or welcome sequence, make sure that you’re introducing your new subscribers to your best stuff, so you can begin to grow that relationship with them.
For more inspiration, check out these highly effective welcome email examples.
Amy Gesenhues, a reporter for Marketing Land says, “One area where brands continue to fail is marketing to customers based on their preferences.”
Ask your customers how often they wish to receive your emails, and give them the option to select the type of emails they want to receive. Do they want blog posts updates, discounts, important updates, or all of the above?
Bonobos give their subscribers a chance to update their frequency preferences when they click “unsubscribe” in an email. As a result, Bonobos retains 25% of those subscribers who would have otherwise opted out.
Use your data on your subscriber’s interests to curate content that you know they’ll love.
Rdio uses their data on what music you listen to in order to create targeted emails that recommend more music by your favorite artists.
After signing up for their email list, Skillshare sends you opportunities to enroll in courses that match the criteria you specified when you signed up.
Unless people travel across the country or the world to attend your events, you probably don’t want to blast your entire email list every time you have an in-person event in a particular city.
Instead, use your subscriber’s location to send targeted emails to let them know about upcoming events in their area.
Use information about your subscriber’s open rate to segment subscribers who frequently engage with your emails vs. those who engage less frequently.
For example, you could reward your more engaged subscribers by giving them special opportunities, like beta access to your new program before anyone else even hears about it.
If your subscribers have been inactive for a little while, remind them of the next step that you want them to take.
The Proctor Gallagher Institute segments subscribers who opted in for a free coaching appointment but still haven’t followed through after two weeks.
Webflow uses social proof to draw inactive users back to their platform. They let you know how many new users they’ve had since your last engagement, so you’ll get on the ball for fear of missing out on what everyone else is doing.
For subscribers who have been inactive for a longer period of time, you may want to send out a targeted email to see if they still want to hear from you, or if they’d rather unsubscribe. And at a certain point, you may want to remove subscribers who have been inactive for a long time.
This way, you keep your list fresh.
Segment your subscribers by the specific lead magnet that they opted in for.
You can do this by creating lists specifically for your lead magnets with your email service provider. Then, you can design your campaigns in OptinMonster and send subscribers directly to that list:
Or you can go directly to your email service provider to add tags to certain email segments of your list. Here’s what that would look like in Constant Contact:
You can add tags to certain email segments of your list depending on which campaign they opted into. Manually adding these tags may seem a bit cumbersome at first, but it will pay off in a big way.
Plus, once your tags are created, you can add them to your OptinMonster campaigns to easily add leads to just the right segment.
Kobo does a good job at lead segmentation. After downloading a free preview of an eBook, they send you an email inviting you to purchase the full version.
This is a highly targeted email because it is going to people who have already expressed interest in the product.
Everyone learns in different ways. Some subscribers may prefer to attend your live webinars, others prefer to read your summarized PDF reports.
When you segment your subscribers based on the type of lead magnet that they initially opted in for (and any additional types they opted in for later), you can continue to give them the type of content they like best.
Some of your subscribers opt-in for one of your lead magnets, while others may opt-in for multiple lead magnets.
Create a segment of subscribers who opted in for more than one lead magnet, and you’ll know who is most likely to want to hear about any new lead magnets that you have coming out. Then, you can notify that segment about your new lead magnets without pestering your other subscribers.
Image via Flywheel
How about targeting visitors who started to fill out a form on your website, but never completed it?
For example, you may have a web app with a free trial that requires a signup. A certain percentage of your visitors are going to start to sign up and then either change their minds or get distracted. You can recover those signups by sending them an email reminding them to finish the process.
Just make sure that the first step in your signup form is to ask visitors to submit their email address, or use the WPForms Form Abandonment Addon to automate capturing emails even if they never hit “submit.”
Here is a fun example from Bonobos. The main call-to-action in this email is to “Finish the Job” (finish checking out). The secondary call-to-action is to reply and talk to a “customer service Ninja” with any questions or if you need help.
For more inspiration, see our roundup of the best abandoned cart email examples.
Perhaps your visitor missed out on an opportunity to buy something altogether. For instance, you may have launched a product for a limited time, and now they’ve missed the window of opportunity to buy.
What is the next step for these subscribers? The first thing you may want to do is send them some really valuable free content, to remind them of why they wanted to follow your brand in the first place. Maybe they didn’t buy because they don’t know your brand well enough, or they don’t have enough trust for you yet.
Build a stronger relationship with these subscribers, and the next time you have something to offer they will be much more likely to buy.
Use your customer’s purchase history to offer cross-sells or up-sells.
For example, the Dollar Shave Club sends you an email before the box you ordered is set to ship, while you still have a chance to add on more items. Why not toss in a few more while you’re at it?
Segmenting your customers by the amount of their purchase allows you to offer them an appropriate up-sell on the backend.
You can also give special treatment to customers with especially large purchase amounts by offering them a free “thank you” gift, or some other bonus that will reinforce in their minds that they made a good decision by buying from you.
Especially if you offer a lot of different types of products, segmenting your customers by purchase type is a great way to determine what their interests are so you can offer curated products that you know they’ll love.
Here’s an example of a curated email from Fab, an accessory shop.
If you want to learn more, read 8 Product Recommendation Email Examples to Drive Sales.
On the flip side, you use targeted email marketing to encourage one-time customers to come back for seconds.
When you get a new customer, do you ask them the following loyalty question: “On a scale from 0-10, how likely is it that you’d recommend us to a friend or colleague?”
You can use their answers to segment your list based on Net Promoter Score (NPS), or those who have a high score between 9-10 (“Promoters”), a medium score between 7-8 (“Passives”) and a low score between 0-6 (“Detractors”).
Certain purchases have a cycle: they are seasonal, or they occur at certain times. Knowing where your customers are in their unique purchase cycle can guide your email marketing campaigns.
For instance, let’s say you sell diapers, and one pack usually lasts for one month. When the customer is probably starting to run out of diapers (say, 21 days after their purchase), you might send them a friendly reminder email asking them if they’re ready for a new shipment.
Each subscriber’s stage in your sales funnel should determine what email they receive next.
New subscribers need to be nurtured. Warm leads need to be primed for the sale and eventually sold. Customers need to be presented with cross-sells or upsells. Every stage should have its own unique email marketing campaign.
Sometimes people simply get busy and they stop engaging with your emails like they used to. This can happen no matter what you do. However, if you don’t do anything to re-engage those subscribers, you could lose them forever.
Duolingo is sensitive to the fact that you’ve probably been busy, so when you haven’t logged in for a while they send you a targeted email with the call-to-action to take a 5-minute lesson to get back on track. Anyone can spare 5 minutes, right?
Particularly if you offer a monthly subscription, or you have a product that needs to be re-purchased on a regular basis, you should check in with customers when they change their purchase behavior.
If a customer cancels their subscription, you might want to send them an email to ask them why. Even if you don’t get that customer back, their answer will help you to improve the experience for future customers.
Online consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices for eCommerce. And while you may be optimizing your content for mobile, are you segmenting your email list for it?
If the answer is “no,” you may want to rethink your current email segmentation strategy. The email reading experience is completely different depending on whether you’re reading on your mobile phone or your desktop.
Most email statistics point to the growing trend of accessing inbox from mobile devices. EmailMonday sources several stats backing this up, showing that 61.9% of email opens occurred on mobile in 2019.
This trend is expected to continue, meaning that responsive email design will be more important than ever, so make sure you’re segmenting your list based on your subscriber’s device. And don’t forget, you should target your popups and opt-in forms to your mobile audience as well!
Here’s an example of an email campaign by Domino’s. The desktop version is on the left, and the mobile version is on the right:
Image source Selligent
If you want to refine your email design more, you can segment by the different email clients that your subscribers use.
Perhaps an even better use of this segmentation, however, is to interpolate what other services your subscribers have along with their email provider. For instance, HubSpot suggests asking everyone who has a Gmail address to add your blog to their Google Reader.
Do you have an affiliate program? Don’t forget about your affiliates! Nurturing that relationship will really pay off, so make sure you have specific email campaigns just for them.
For example, you could run a contest for your affiliates and offer a big prize to whoever has the most sales over the next 30 days. You can even send email updates to your affiliates as the contest progresses, showing off the “leaderboard” of affiliates who are currently in the Top 10.
Maybe you don’t have an affiliate program, but you do have subscribers who referred you to their friends. These are highly valuable subscribers who should be treated with special care, so give those people a special tag.
Once tagged, you can give these evangelist subscribers a special “thank you” gift, an exclusive discount, or VIP access that no one else gets. Let them know how much you appreciate them for spreading the word about your brand, and they will show you undying loyalty.
Your customers can be your best brand advocates, but only if they take action by sharing their experience.
Customers who haven’t left a review yet can be sent a targeted email with a friendly request to leave a review. TradeGecko does an excellent job of this by first complimenting the customer, then making their request to leave a review, and closing the email with another compliment.
If you have both a brick-and-mortar plus an online shop, segment your customers by where they shop. That way, you can provide specific information to your brick-and-mortar customers about in-store only promotions.
Do you have different customer profiles who are worth more or less over their lifetime as a customer? Be sure to segment those out so that you can really focus in on those customers who are worth the most over the long-term.
For example, you might have one segment of consulting customers who hire you to give them advice, and another segment who hires you to provide them with high-end, done-for-you services. The done-for-you customers have a much higher lifetime value, so you may want to give them some special treatment.
Monitor your subscriber’s activity on your website so you know exactly what they are looking for.
For example, Canopy takes your personalized data collected from their website to curate very specific items for you. Not only that, but they tell you the exact criteria they used. It’s like they read your mind!
You can also use website inactivity to segment your email list and get those users back on task.
Handy flags users who got a free credit, but never actually claimed it on their website.
And Dropbox sends you an email when you sign up for their service but don’t follow through with the install.
Use your website visit data to send targeted email campaigns to subscribers who visited your web store or your sales page but didn’t purchase.
For example, you could let them know that the offer is about to expire. Or, you could offer them free shipping or a free bonus to sweeten the deal.
Most businesses have more than one buyer persona. These personas usually have different needs and respond to different copy, so why not send targeted campaigns to each?
You can create targeted email lists by separating your subscribers into various buyer personas by looking at what they’ve opted in to, what they’ve clicked on inside your email campaigns, and their behavior on your website. Use that collective info to create email segments for each of your customer profiles.
OptinMonster’s page level targeting makes it easy to segment by buyer persona. You can use display rules to target specific buyer personas with a specific opt-in form, and then automatically add those subscribers to a segment on your email list.
What does your subscriber do for a living? Are they a designer or an art director? Are they a salesperson or a customer service representative?
Each job title has different pain points which can be addressed separately with email segmentation.
When it comes to making the decision to purchase your product or service, your subscriber’s seniority in their company often plays an important role.
For example, a busy manager may want to know that your solution is something that they can delegate to their employees. On the other hand, the employee will need to have compelling reasons to give their manager for making the purchase, since their primary motive is to make their manager happy.
How skilled is your subscriber at the discipline you’re trying to help them with? Are they a complete beginner or fairly proficient? Or are they already advanced, and looking to take their skills to an even higher level?
The content you send to your subscribers can vary greatly depending on the skill level of your audience. So knowing what level to speak to them can be extremely helpful for your campaigns.
Segmenting by birthday is a nice thing to do for your subscribers, and it makes them feel special.
By sending them targeted emails with special offers, or even just a simple “happy birthday” note, you can connect with them on a much more personal level.
As you can see in this example from Facebook, you don’t necessarily have to give them anything except a friendly greeting. After all, who doesn’t like to be remembered on their birthday?
Does weather play a role in your subscriber’s behavior? Use what you know about the weather in their area to entice them to take the action you want.
For example, Airbnb sent the following email to a segment of their subscribers who live in parts of the United States that they knew were experiencing chilly weather. The email entices subscribers to take a trip with copy that reads, “Woke up on the wrong side of the cold front? Jack Frost is back. Skip town soon.”
What can you deduce about your subscriber’s psychographics from your data?
Psychographics are traits like personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. If you know what makes your subscribers “tick,” targeting emails to them will be so much easier and more effective.
You can collect your data from lead magnets downloaded to clicks and website activity to “profile” your subscribers by psychographics and send them targeted emails that focus on just what they need from you.
Use your data on who attended your events to send segmented campaigns.
For example, you could keep track of people who attended your webinar vs. those who registered but never showed up.
Or, you could have a segment of subscribers who attended your in-person event so you can send them photos from the event and notify them about the next one you have coming up.
If you collect industry information about your subscribers, you can tailor your email content so it is highly relevant to them.
Perhaps you have written a blog post about how to market your business. When promoting that blog post to your email list, you could send one email to your real estate subscribers that explains how this blog post will help them get more clients. You could send another email to your restaurant owners that explains how your blog post will help them get more customers through the door, and so on.
If your subscribers have their own business, you can segment by the type of business they own.
Are they an eCommerce or a brick and mortar, a franchise or a non-profit, or an enterprise or a small business?
Each business type has its own unique needs that you can specifically address by segmenting.
If you sent out a survey, send something special to those who participated.
They will be glad to know that you respect and appreciate the time they took out of their day to help you out!
Image Source: ConvertKit
Is your subscriber’s free trial about to expire? How about their membership that’s almost up? Let them know that it’s time to upgrade or renew.
Here’s an example from Apple Music. They make it super easy for you by allowing you to “Turn On Automatic Renewal.”
Segment subscribers who registered for a webinar by whether or not they attended. That way, you can re-engage those who didn’t attend with an opportunity to register for the encore. Or you can simply give them a brief summary of what they missed.
You can also segment your webinar attendees by how long they stayed on the call. Those who stay for the entire presentation might get a special bonus download, whereas those who drop off early might receive a survey about why they had to go, or what caused them to lose interest.
Reward the top 1% of your email list in terms of engagement and purchase activity with something exclusive, just for them.
Muzli makes their subscribers feel special with an exclusive sneak preview and early bird registration, before the official launch (which doesn’t happen until the following week):
And yes, you can segment your email list by demographics too…
If you have different offerings for men and women, go ahead and segment your subscribers by gender.
Adidas sends out two completely different email campaigns. You’ll get one or the other depending on whether you’re male or female.
Sometimes segmenting by your subscriber’s age can be important in relating to them better.
For example, Derek Halpern segments his subscribers by age when they take his Entrepreneur Assessment Tool. Then, they get an email with a story about a like-minded entrepreneur who is also close to them in age:
Segmenting your subscribers by income can be helpful.
For instance, some subscribers need different information depending on their current income. If your subscribers are small business owners, one segment may want to learn from you about how to grow their 5-figure business to 6-figures. Another segment might want to know how to scale from 6-figures to 7-figures. Yet another segment may just want to know how to make their first 2K month.
In some cases, it may make sense to segment based on the level of education.
For example, if you’re an educational institute, you may need to send different content and promotions to subscribers whose highest level of education is a High School diploma, versus those who have earned their Bachelor’s degree and are looking to get their Master’s.
If you’re a career coach or a recruiter, you may need to segment based on employment. Your groups might look something like this: 1) subscribers who want to change careers, 2) subscribers who are unemployed and looking for employment, 3) subscribers who simply want to “climb the corporate ladder.”
50 smart ways to segment your email list. If this list seems overwhelming, don’t worry: you don’t need to use all of these ideas. Just choose one or two to start. You can keep referring back to this list as your needs grow and your email marketing campaigns become more sophisticated.
But as you grow and start to segment your audience, you may want to add a small twist to your current marketing strategy to gather information on your leads.
In conclusion, the power of email list segmentation cannot be overstated. It’s the cornerstone of a successful email marketing strategy, allowing you to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time.
But to truly harness the potential of email segmentation, you need the right tools. This is where OptinMonster shines.
With its user-friendly interface and robust feature set, OptinMonster empowers you to create targeted campaigns that resonate with your audience segments.
Whether you’re looking to convert visitors into subscribers or turn casual browsers into loyal customers, OptinMonster’s segmentation capabilities can help you achieve your goals and celebrate the wins with your growing audience.
Remember, in email marketing, one size does not fit all. Embrace the art of email segmentation with OptinMonster, and watch as your email marketing campaigns transform into personalized conversations that lead to more celebrations of success.
Get started with OptinMonster today and take the first step towards smarter email marketing and a brighter business future.
The post 50 Email Segmentation Strategies You Need To Use in 2023 appeared first on OptinMonster.
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