If you’re unfamiliar with how segmented email list works, you’re in luck, because we are going to cover that right now!
Below, you’ll get a step-by-step look at what segmentation is (and why it works), as well as some simple, yet powerful pieces of advice on segmenting subscribers to maximize the impact of your email list.
What is Segmentation? Why Bother?
At its core, segmentation is about sending unique messages to groups of subscribers within your database or list.
Sometimes these subgroups are created from many criteria, but often they’re based off a single, simple criteria such as, “Have these people already purchased a product from me?”
In many ways, segmentation is the secret sauce behind the world’s most successful email marketing campaigns.
It’s what separates Amazon’s laser-focused “here’s that exact product you looked at on our website — and 10 others like it” emails from the countless untargeted, low-response generating “batch and blast” style emails that so many other businesses send.
Segmentation is what makes customers feel like you care about them—not about their money (which in turn makes them like you and want to spend their money with you!). In fact, according to MarketingSherpa, click-through rates on segmented emails can be as much as double the rate for unsegmented emails.
Need more proof? Consider the following…
- Thirty percent of email revenue comes from segmentation. So by not segmenting you’re throwing away, on average, 30 percent of the value of your email marketing campaigns.
- Only 15 percent of email marketers do not segment their lists.
- Segmented email campaigns produce 30 percent more opens and 50 percent more click-throughs than untargeted email campaigns.
Many solo entrepreneurs or small teams don’t tackle segmentation because they fear they don’t have the time or resources to take it on.
While segmentation is something that big companies with big budgets do, the good news is that you don’t have to have a gigantic list to reap the benefits of basic segmentation.
How to Know if Your Segmented Emails are Working
Segmenting is easy, but it’s not 100 percent costless. It takes time and effort to determine how to segment your list and what to send to each segment. You’ll want to make sure that your segmented email campaigns are indeed performing up to their potential.
Before you start segmenting, benchmark your previous campaigns and determine how well your typical campaign performs. Benchmarking just means looking at your past campaigns and determining how well they perform on average.
The metrics you choose to benchmark will vary based on what would determine success for yourcampaigns. To help you get started, here are a few metrics you might include:
- Click-through rate
- Dollars of sales generated per subscriber
- Average order value
- Open rate
- Unsubscribe and complaint rates
Once you’ve determined your benchmarks, you’ll record the results for your new, segmented email campaigns and compare them to the benchmarks of your past campaigns.
Tips for Doing Segmentation Right
There are tons of ways that you can segment your list to offer different groups of subscribers tailored content.
Below are four ways that businesses have used segmenting to improve their email response rates and, ultimately, sales. Segmented email
1. Treat new subscribers differently than old subscribers.
The experience a subscriber has with your emails in the first couple of weeks will set the tone for the rest of their time on your list(s).
You might have good content going out to your more established subscribers, but is it the right content for someone who’s just getting to know you? If not, consider this two-part strategy for onboarding new subscribers and maximizing engagement and conversion:
- Create a welcome series of automated emails specifically designed for new subscribers. This is a great place to answer common questions, deliver free and valuable education, and make subscribers fall in love with your company and emails.
- Only send your regular newsletters and promotional emails to subscribers who have finished the welcome series.
2. Re-engage subscribers who have become inactive.
Have you ever noticed that when you first join an email list, you tend to read almost every email? But then, over time, you start to lose interest and read less and less—even if you don’t unsubscribe?
You’re not the only one. This scenario of subscriber fatigue plagues all email marketers. Fortunately, you can address the problem via segmentation. A few ideas:
- Use a reactivation campaign to gauge whether non-responsive subscribers are still reading (just not clicking through or tracking open rates), or if they’ve truly decided to opt out. An example from MarketingProfs is shown here. The language you choose can play a big role in how successful these campaigns are, so be sure to split-test a few versions to maximize response.
- Send an email asking subscribers what you can help with or what they’re most interested in these days. You can collect replies via surveys or by having people reply to you with their answers (if you can handle a decent volume of incoming mail, this is a nice personal touch that makes people feel appreciated). Segmented email
3. Resend a broadcast to non-responders to increase results.
What’s your average open rate for a typical email?
Let’s say you came in well above the average … say, 30 percent. Sounds great, right?
It does, until you realize this means that 70 percent of subscribers—who asked to be on your list—didn’t respond. Ouch.
It gets worse when you think about this in terms of sales. What’s your sales conversion rate on a given email … 5 percent? So that means 95 percent of respondents don’t buy. Double ouch.
It’s ok. These figures happen to the best companies out there. The good news is that there’s tremendous opportunity in that 95 percent—if you don’t write them off after one broadcast.
Resending the email can yield big gains, since you can potentially reach subscribers who might have missed your first email. You could try a different subject line or slightly different content in the body. You’ll also want to segment out the responders—that could be just people who ordered, or everyone who opened or clicked.
4. Send a broadcast to responsive subscribers to reward or thank them.
Your most responsive subscribers are arguably your biggest fans. They are more likely than the average subscriber to want more email from you, and they’ve proven that they tend to act on those emails.
There are many ways you can use segmenting your biggest fans to grow your sales and business. Here are a few to get you started:
- Run a special “thanks” promotion/offer just for your most loyal subscribers (those who have opened the past X broadcasts, for instance).
- Give your fans first access to new products, events, and content.
- If you’re promoting a new social media channel or post, send it to your biggest fans first; they’re more likely to share, comment, like, and so on. As a bonus, when you email the rest of your list and they click through to the post/page, they’ll see the activity from your fans, which makes it easier for them to share/like/comment as well.
Ready, Set, Broadcast
Now that we’ve reached the end of the guide, allow me to say that I sincerely hope you’ve been inspired by the pure potential that is an effective email marketing strategy.
Before you go, I wanted to offer some words of encouragement that I wish someone would have told me when I began with email: when you encounter a ton of information, like what’s been shared in this guide, it is all too easy to get caught up in “bike shedding”, otherwise known as Parkinson’s law of triviality.
That means it is deceptively easy to get too swept up in the trivial details instead of focusing on the essential stuff that matters.
If you’re a bit new to email marketing, leave the complex remarketing campaigns alone until you’ve gotten your feet wet. Instead, make sure the following basics are primed and ready to go:
- Have you made sure that you company blog has enough opt-in forms?
- Have you tried creating a simple auto-responder message greeting new subscribers?
- Have you attempted your first basic A/B test to your current list?
Segmented email —