- April 24, 2019
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How To Segment Your Email Lists: 10 Best Practice Tips
Successful email marketing needs segmented lists. According to OptinMonster, a properly segmented campaign can improve your open rate by 14.37% and improve clicks by 64.78%!
Why should I segment my email list?
Segmenting email lists helps to provide a more targeted message to individual customers. By targeting your emails to customers who fit the criteria, you’re more likely to get a successful response, as the message inside will be more relevant to them.
So, it’s easy to see why proper email list segmentation is important.
But what’s the best way to segment a list? Where should you start?
To help you out, we’ve compiled some of the most successful ways to segment email lists. Smart Insights reports the open rate for marketing emails in the construction industry is 21.01% and the click-through rate as 2.03%. So, if good segmentation can improve your opens by 14.37%, you could see your open rate percentage sit around 35.38%! So, why wouldn’t you try it? In fact, with more opens and clicks, you’re more likely to land more leads.
And more leads = more sales.
Segment Via the Sales Funnel
Our first major tip is to narrow your segments down to where they sit in your sales funnel. You wouldn’t send a landscaping customer an overview of your mining products, right? So making sure you send the appropriate content to your customers is crucial to the success of your campaign. But, how do you segment via sales funnel? Below you’ll find some of the most common and successful sales funnel segmentations others swear by.
1. New Customers
Let’s begin right at the start. Your new customers, members or email subscribers are going to be in their own group. Send them a welcome email, maybe a one-time deal to draw them in, or a simple overview of your product range. This is probably the list that will get updated the most, as you will only need to send 1 or 2 ‘welcome’ emails before they are no longer a ‘new client’.
Welcome emails are a great way to introduce new clients to your product range, provide information about your business and other important aspects of your company. And you know what they say, “You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression”.
You’re more likely to click on an email that appeals to your interests, right? It’s the same with your customers.
If your business has a large and varied product range, segmenting your email lists into product interest might be a good idea. If you know 25% of your customers are primarily interested in your range of milling machines, then target that group of people with product-specific emails. This will help to drastically improve open rates and hopefully get you more sales leads.
Whether this sort of segment is worth it or not will depend on your business, email list size and your product range. We recommend starting with broader groups and narrowing it down over time to find what suits you best.
3. Purchase History
If a customer has made a purchase, don’t neglect them! Follow up sales with more product-specific email marketing.
For example, if you know a customer has just bought a new excavator from you, send them a follow-up email (after a reasonable time of course) with a selection of compatible attachments, tools and accessories. Maybe your customer bought an excavator years ago but buys parts and accessories from you… you could target them with your latest range of brand-new excavators..
While marketing to a potential customer’s interests is a great method, you know for sure what your customers have bought from you, so take advantage of it.
Making use of previous purchase history to design a marketing campaign is a simple way to create return customers and keep you top of mind.
4. Buying Frequency
This goes hand-in-hand with purchase history, but the frequency of purchases might be another option for you to segment your list. Target frequent buyers (and infrequent ones in some cases) with an email of your newest products or deals is a great way to keep them coming back (or to renew their interest in your business).
5. VIP/Reward List
Got a group of customers who regularly buy stock from you? Segment your email list into a ‘VIP’ list and offer them a great deal that only they can use. It always feels great to be rewarded for loyalty, and this is a simple way to keep your regular customers happy and turn them into advocates for your business.
There’s a bunch of ways you can create this list:
- Dollars spent
- Number of individual purchases
- Number of items bought
- How long they’ve been a customer
How you curate your VIP list is entirely up to you.
6. Missed Sales
The final part of the sales funnel is the missed sale (at least in this example). While this is a technique that is primarily for online stores, you can still take advantage of a missed sales email list, even if you don’t have an eCommerce site. The simplest way is to get your potential customer’s email early in the process. Then, if they don’t buy, add them to this list and follow up with them after an appropriate amount of time.
You may find this is a great way to put yourself back into their mind when they are thinking of purchasing, and can potentially get you a sale that you thought you’d missed.
What About Outside the Sales Funnel?
There’s far more to your customers than what they have or haven’t bought. Outside of the sales funnel, there are many ways to segment your email lists to attract more opens, clicks and sales.
This method won’t suit every business, but online stores and larger dealers may find it beneficial to segment email lists by location. If you know your QLD stores are having a sale on mid-range tractors, blast out an email to your QLD list. Or, if you’re doing an expo in Darwin, target your information to that area to get the most interest—your customers in Victoria probably aren’t interested in an expo held in Darwin.
2. Business Industry
Targeting your emails to specific industries can help to improve open and click-throughs. Knowing the sorts of products and needs of your specifics subscribers will help you tailor emails to suit their needs. If you run a farming machinery dealership, create a segment for professional contractors and focus your mower range to them, while your farmers and agriculture specialists may get emails with tractors and combine harvesters.
Well-targeted emails are a sure-fire way to improve your email marketing results.
3. Job Title/Seniority
This segment has less to do with specific products (though of course you still want to be relevant) and more to do with purchasing power. You can generally bet that someone in a senior position is the one making the purchasing decisions for a business. So why email a generic info@ when you can target the boss?
If you create a segment for senior staff and managers, you can tailor an email campaign to suit their buying power.
But in saying that, the other recipients are still important! While they may not be able to buy the latest CNC machine or plasma cutter, they will need their own personal tools and equipment. If you have products that match their needs, don’t hesitate to create an email that is designed just for them.
To create this segment will require input from your customers. Creating segments based on the frequency they wish to receive emails from you is a good way to show you actually listen to them.
Regulars may love getting emails about new products and deals, and will be happy to receive them weekly, while other customers may not need your products as often and a simple monthly reminder is enough for them.
Sendgrid did a study into how often businesses across industries send out marketing emails. They found:
- Agriculture & mining sent 3 per month
- Manufacturing sent 3.8 per month
- Construction sent 6.8 per month
- Wholesale & distribution sent 7.0 per month
It is very important to remember that every business is unique. And while it is good to know what other businesses in your industry are going for their campaigns, it may not work for you. If you notice a drop-off in opens and click-throughs after the 5th email in a month, stick to 5 or less. Finding the perfect frequency to send your emails involves a little luck, and a fair bit of trial and error. But there is one simple way to get a good head start.
Simply ask how often your customers are interested in receiving marketing. By providing a couple of options (and following their preferred timeframes), your customers are more likely to open your email, and less likely to get annoyed and throw it in the spam folder.
Segmenting your list into set timeframes will also help reduce your unsubscribe rate.
So, Which Method is Right for Me?
There’s no hard and fast rule about which segmentation is best. There are dozens of other options that we haven’t mentioned, and what works best for you may not work for someone else.
Depending on the size of your business, your product range, and where you’re located, you may find that some of our methods above simply aren’t practical. Assess your email list and come up with a few segments that you think will work for your business.
The good thing is, segments can constantly be removed, added or changed, so you don’t need to worry about getting locked into a segment that doesn’t work.
Sources: optinmonster.com, smartinsights.com, theseventhsense.com