6 simple rules for email marketing segmentation

email marketingConsumers say that they prefer to receive promotions and updates by email from their favorite stores and businesses. For marketers the first challenge is gettting the email opened and the consumer through to their website. The second challenge is to get the transaction once the consumer is on the website. Segmenting your email list will take more time but the targeted emails will result in higher open and click through rates, fewer unsubscribes, and higher conversions. Here are some simple rules for effective email segmentation

1. Integrate your email data with your CRM database

To get the most complete picture of your data, ensure your email data is integrated with your CRM database. With most stand alone email programs you only see name, email address, and open and click through rates, by combining this information with purchase history and geography you’ll be able to segment and create email content more effectively.

2. Analyze your data and determine the best groupings

Take inventory of the type of data you have and analyze it to determine the most logical groupings based not only the data you have but also on the message and goal of the email. How you segment for an email for a sale of a specific item will be different than how to target for a store wide sale or how you target for a new product announcement. The most common segments are based on demographics, behaviour and preference. Segments can be simple based on just one criteria or more complex by adding in additional targeted layers. The more complex your segmentation the more targeted the email with be, which will result in a higher conversion rate. But, the more segmentation you do the more time it will take to do the email campaign, so also take your own time constraints into consideration.

4. Optimize content for each segment

Write unique copy that is appropriate for each grouping. Also make sure the subject line is relevant to both the content and the segment, otherwise the result will be a low click through rate. Based on your segmentation determine if personalization is appropriate – do you want to address them by name, or refer to the store location they visit the most?

5. Test the subject and message with A/B split

You’ve done your analysis, determined your segments and written fantastic copy and subject lines, but to ensure you’re going to get the best results i recommend doing an A/B split to send a couple of test rounds to ensure you’re getting the best results. Pull out a small chunk of each segment and write a couple of different subject lines and send it. Look at the open, click through and conversions. If the click through rate was low look at the copy and try to determine the problem – is the call to action clear? Is there too much copy or not enough copy or images? Does the content flow properly? Change just one aspect of the content per email and resend each version to a test group. Analyze the results and choose the subject line and content that got the best results. Depending on the size of your email list extensive testing may not be feasible. In cases where you aren’t sending an email blast to thousands of people test different types of subject lines and copy over a few email blasts to see what works best for your segments. After sending a few you’ll find a formula that works best for the various types of emails that you send.

6. Track, analyze and optimize

After each campaign is complete analyze the results and use this information to help optimize your next campaign. You’ll probably find that after a few campaigns you know what segment responds best to what type of copy and it won’t be necessary to send test emails every time, but don’t become complacent, continue to regularly test your emails with something different, so you know you are getting the best results. Your segmentations may also change not only with each campaign but also over time, so it’s important to continously analyze your email results and your customer segmentations.


Image acknowledges: Image of email, email, email by RambergMediaImages and Image of Target Marketing  by Fogfish and are used by license under Creative Commons.

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