What is Email Segmentation?
Email segmentation is the ability to leverage all the consumer data you collect by sending specific emails to a group of people who will likely be engaged in an email’s topic. Or more simply – It’s the process of splitting up your email list! Segmentation allows you to create targeted groups to which you can deliver tailored messaging. It also helps to promote even better personalization within your emails. One thing to note is that that although a lot of these points will be mentioning email segmentation, these strategies can carry over into other types digital messaging or list-based marketing.
Segmentation all starts with data collection. In order to segment, you need specific data about your audience – and the more data you have, the more granular and personalized you can get with your segmentation.
An email address is typically used as the primary key to an audience member’s data profile. From there, you want to build a rich data profile for each audience member. Remember, you can still segment your audiences as you build these data profiles, but you want to make sure gathering that data remains a top priority.
Your main goal is to get to a point where you can segment based off behavior, declared interests, or inferred interests, as this is where you see the most return on investment.
Why Does Segmentation Matter?
Segmentation provides you with a way to send emails that are relevant to that audience and spur engagement. As such, segmentation will boost your email program because it:
- Respects consumer choice and privacy
- Improves engagement and inbox placement
- Allows you to send email more frequently with confidence
- Reduces list churn
The main benefits of segmentation are:
- Relevancy: Sending email tailored to individual data points will improve relevance and engagement
- Improved Cadence: Allows you to send more frequently to people who are consistently responding to your messages, and save disengaged audiences for high value, general interest content
- Enhanced Customer Journeys: You can match your email to a customer’s relationship stage and move more prospects down the funnel
- Increased ROI: Segmented and targeted email campaigns account for more than half (58%) of all email ROI
If you have not initiated any segmentation strategies yet, a good place to start would be to focus on Declared Data – zip code, age, interests – and/or Behavioral Data – opens, clicks, other system data.
Here are a few specific strategies that focus on different types of data:
- Demographic – Age Based: With age data, you can provide segmented content that is health or age-related. A great program to implement, once you’ve collected age data, is a Birthday Club. This will allow you to interact with your audience and provide them with some sort of value on their birthday. This could be a coupon, compilation of top stories from the past year, or a short birthday video.
- Demographic – Zip Code: Segmenting based on zip code will provide you with geo-targeting capabilities that you can use to send your subscribers content relevant to their location. This could be notifications promoting events near them or store promotions/openings.
- Interests: Gathering interest data can be a great second step in the subscriber journey after the subscriber has provided consent. Follow up with a survey to capture subscriber interests, or include interest categories within your preference center. You can also utilize promotional engagements like quizzes and polls through Second Street to gather further interest data. Once you’ve gathered this data, you will be able to segment even further within your audiences to send specific interest-based content.
- Purchase History: This is essential if you are selling any product or transaction online. With this data, you’ll be able to follow up and point a purchaser towards complimentary items or remind them of abandoned items in their cart. Purchase history will also allow you to separate current customers from former customers and prospects so you can perform targeted marketing campaigns.
- Email Metrics: Tailor your messaging based on engagement metrics. Has a subscriber stopped opening emails? Segment and target those subscribers with a re-engagement campaign. Are you seeing subscribers opening emails but not clicking? Segment those subscribers out and test new and different content to see if that will better grab their attention and drive action.
Utilizing these strategies will then allow you to perform audience analysis. Look at how your different segments and groups are performing and compare and contrast their performances. This type of analysis will help you determine which strategies are working and which segments are engaging with which types of content. If something is not working, then you can decide how to adjust and re-focus your content. Try to do this type of analysis quarterly or at least twice a year to make sure you are addressing any potential issues as quickly as possible.
A Simple Framework
Consider the steps below as a simple guide when implementing your own segmentation:
- Include Consent: Always pair segments with consent. Make sure when segmenting, you are using an opt-in as a filter within those segments.
- Start with Engagement and/or Location Filtering: These are data points that you most likely already have, and if not, are very easy to start collecting now.
- Build Interest and Behavior Data Strategically: It will take a bit of time for you to build up these segments, so make sure you are focusing on data points that will make a difference for your program. However, these segments are really where the value lies, so do make this a strategic priority.
- Use Demographic Segmentation Sparingly: This is typically the first place people will start when segmenting, but it is often the least productive in terms of ROI. You will want to focus more on each subscriber’s personal interests rather than age, gender, etc.