Segmented email campaigns get better results

Friday, November 9, 2018, Vol. 42, No. 45

If “one size fits all” is the phrase that best describes your email marketing strategy, you have most likely experienced declining opens and clicks and increasing unsubscribes.

In a market saturated with messaging, your emails must create what appears to be a one-on-one conversation.

So, how can you do that in a mass scale? The answer is in segmentation.

MailChimp’s latest user data showed that segmented campaigns get 14.6 percent more opens and 60 percent more clicks than non-segmented campaigns. Segmentation may seem daunting, but start with the basics, like demographics and engagement data.

Depending on your industry, the demographics used to segment will vary. You should collect the most useful information for your business at email sign-up, most likely on your website. Gender, geography, age, income and family status are good identifiers for many B2C businesses. B2B businesses may want to include company size, job function and position.

If your email sign-up does not include anything more than an email address, you can use surveys to get segmentation data.

Because you already have been engaging and established a level of trust with your email list, surveys are a great opportunity to have subscribers provide more information than they would have at email sign-up.

Develop surveys that have your subscribers identify what content they want – like newsletters, case studies or promotions – and how often they would like to receive them.

You can also have them provide behavioral information, like frequency of purchases and intent to purchase.

Even with no personal identifiers from sign-ups or surveys, you can still segment your email list.

Start with the data your email platform is providing, like opens and clicks. If you have subscribers who have not engaged with your brand in the last six months, meaning they haven’t even opened an email, move them to an inactive segment.

You may want to try to engage with them with bold, attention-grabbing subject lines before removing them from your list.

For those engaged with your emails, look for trends in content that appeals to them, which would allow for meaningful segmentation, like newsletters, product lines and offer types.

Once you have your list segmented, you can begin to customize frequency, subject lines, messaging and images for each segment.

What does this look like? If your list is segmented by recency of purchase, you may not want to send those making a recent, large purchase another email with an expensive product suggestion.

Instead, you may elect to offer them an email that features add-on items or that highlights your customer service.

If income is a segment, you won’t send affluent recipients deep discounts because that is less likely to influence their purchase decision.

Offering free or discounted products for children would only need to be sent to subscribers with children.

With a segmented email list, you will be able to deliver the right content to the right mailboxes and drive higher customer engagement and loyalty.

Ashley Sullivan, lead generation specialist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at