How to Improve Your Email Marketing with Better Segmentation

Nov 12, 2012 10:45 PM  By

What’s your definition of email segmentation? When I’m asked this question, I think of the word relevancy.

If you’re an online marketer, your email acquisition program has relevancy in the names you acquire (inbound) and the messaging you send (outbound). Look closely, and you’ll discover important data points such as subscriber demographics, marketing sources, recency of opens/clicks, and demand drivers that influenced and attracted the person onto your list in the first place.

Why is this important? Because it allows you to effectively silo your email marketing efforts to both house and cold list names through targeted offers and relevancy in your messaging. This is always a more effective approach than bulk-and-blasting your names.

Segmenting also improves your inbox deliverability, reduces spam complaints and hitting of spam traps, and heightens your subscriber engagement—both are crucial, as today’s ISPs factor these metrics into safe sender scoring based on the engagement levels of subscribers. So if you are not segmenting your lists to make your email marketing more relevant, you need to be.

Here are some other major benefits of email segmenting:

Segmenting matches your message to the market, adding new lifts
Part of relevancy is aligning your “2-Ms”: message and merchandise. This creates more subscriber engagement measured through higher open rates, increased clicks thru rates, and ultimately more sales (or opt-in) conversions. And who doesn’t want to know which names on your lists are (or are not) being responsive to your email promotions? Use the 2-Ms.

Segmenting exposes hidden lifts lurking beneath the surface
Further segmenting by subscriber data points such as customer /lead type, zip code range, or last action can create instant increases in open rates, clicks, and conversions. There are lift factors that are alive in your data, and it’s your job to uncover them through more relevant segmenting and frequency testing. Combine this with A/B creative testing, and lifts be can be consistently realized.

Segmenting keeps you from guessing on engagement levels
I have a sign in my office that reads, “In Data We Trust.” It’s a conscious reminder to myself and others that we don’t have to guess at decisions regarding the effectiveness of our email strategies. Ask: How much more valuable can we be as a marketers when you identify our engaged names? This is especially true if you’re investing significant dollars in email acquisition programs, as it allows you to do frequency analysis, fall-off studies, comp segment reviews, and ITV/LTV analyses.

Segmenting aligns your campaigns with laser focus and efficiency, and cuts costs
Why spend money marketing to someone who has consistently ignored you over 90 to 180 days? Instead you should re-evaluate your contact strategy since this person is inactive and unengaged.

Emailing patterns need to be dynamic and fluid, where automated re-segmenting of your name files occurs daily based on subscriber behavior. From here, test differing creative, set new engagement strategies, or tweak your contact frequency (or remove the name permanently). This improves deliverability, increases engagement, and cuts your list deployment and hygiene costs.

Segmenting gives you clear comp segment analysis to gauge incremental growth
It’s not about adding email names to your lists. It’s about adding new and engaged names. This is especially true for multichannel companies, where name “migration” is very common. A person who has purchased from you via telephone, for example, may opt-in to your email program and buy online.

While this reduces your transactional costs per order (phone v. web),it falsely overstates the effectiveness of your email acquisition program with a name already on your file. Segmenting—especially comp segment analysis—gives you a truer picture of whether incremental (new) growth is occurring.

Daryl Logullo is the director of ecommerce for American Lantern Press, which publishes news, view, and analysis to empower savvy, self-sufficiency seeking individuals in protecting their assets, health, freedom, and privacy. ALP is parent to and