Mastering Email List Segmentation: 5 Best Practices for Targeted Campaigns

Consider the following scenario: you are a man in the US and you’ve signed up for an outdoor clothing company’s email list. You start getting emails about women’s hiking shoes that have free delivery on orders over €50.

Are you interested in that message?

The answer is likely no, as the outdoor clothing company has made a mistake in its email marketing efforts: they didn’t segment their email list.

Now, no one likes getting irrelevant emails in their inbox. It’s likely that, for the example I gave above, that email would either stay unopened or go straight to the trash.

The message doesn’t cater to you and your needs, thus it is irrelevant to you.

You aren’t going to make a purchase based on that email, and you might have a slightly negative opinion of the outdoor clothing brand based on their lack of catering to their audience.

That’s why segmentation is so powerful. If an email list goes unsegmented, then the emails those subscribers get will be incredibly general and non-personalized, and likely won’t attract much attention from your viewer base.

Now, let’s switch perspectives from the consumer to the marketer.

If you personalize those emails by segmenting your email list, you can draw much more attention to whatever product you’re promoting, resulting in higher open rates and higher CTR.

In the case of the example I gave above, let’s say the consumer receives an email about a US-exclusive deal for a pair of men’s hiking shoes with a limited-time window. That message caters much more to the consumer, and they’ll be more likely to click and make a purchase.

Before I go too hard on the benefits of email segmentation, I want to clarify…

What is email list segmentation?

Email list segmentation is the process of dividing your email subscribers into smaller, more targeted groups based on specific criteria so you can tailor messages to groups instead of sending one general message to all of your subscribers.

The criteria you can segment your audience on include demographic information like age, gender, location, and industry; and behavioral data like purchase history, engagement levels, or website activity.

The goal of segmenting your email list is to send the right message to the right people, as opposed to sending one general message to your entire email list and expecting it to work for everyone.

Considering that email personalization generates an average ROI of 122%, segmentation is an incredibly powerful tool in any email marketer’s toolkit that can drive conversions with much greater consistency with just a little bit of effort up-front.

5 Best Practices for Email Segmentation

1. Use the Right Tool for Email Segmentation

The tool you use for email segmentation is the cornerstone of your segmentation strategy, and you want to make sure you use a good one.

In my experience, MailerLite, GetResponse, and Constant Contact all have incredible segmentation options. That doesn’t mean other services don’t have good segmentation options, but I personally value those three over the rest in that department.

2. Label Contacts Immediately

In short, segment your contacts as soon as they end up in your CRM/email tool.

Not doing so could result in bad info on your subscribers, making your email marketing less effective overall. You’d potentially be advertising to people who aren’t the ideal audience for your products or services, and that is a waste of time and resources that could be better spent on more “ripe” subscribers.

3. Use Data Enrichment

If you have basic info on your contacts, like name and email address, you can market to them fairly generally and change your marketing strategy as you get to know each contact’s behavior better. However, using data enrichment services, you can enrich your contacts and get valuable info that could lead to leads and sales much earlier than if you hadn’t.

Data Enrichment only requires a list of names and companies and can extract further data on each contact including email addresses, phone numbers, social links, and more.

4. Combine List Segmentation and Automation

Combining list segmentation and email automation allows you to send the most relevant messages at the perfect time without having to keep a constant eye on each and every subscriber.

There are many email automation workflows that you can use to convert subscribers based on their data or behavior, and you can use many different triggers to set up drip campaigns that convert at high rates.

5. Keep an Eye on Your Results

Segmentation is an incredibly helpful tool for email marketers, but you can’t just set it and forget it.

You always want to track your segmentations’ performance to see what is working and what isn’t, and make changes approximately once a month.

Make sure that you’re targeting the right segments, track metrics like opens and clicks, and avoid segments that aren’t converting as frequently as you want.