Time and again email has proved to be the most important weapon in the arsenal of a digital marketer. But gone are the days of “email blasts”. Now email marketing is mostly transactional in nature. Its success (or failure) depends entirely on how well you’ve segmented your audience, and which segment gets which email communication.
When you throw email automation into the mix, email list segmentation becomes even more important as email automation works entirely on nicely segmented email lists.
So let’s delve deeper into what email list segmentation is, and how it can help you send better email campaigns.
What is email list segmentation?
In offline businesses, it can be a real mess to treat individual customers individually based on their interests and background. For example, if I run a restaurant and wish to provide a customized menu to each one of my customers, it would be a disaster. Firstly, I would not know instantly what that person might be looking for. Secondly, it’s impossible to customize that many menu cards and ensure each customer gets the right one. But unlike human resources (with less memory than machines), email marketing can do that efficiently with the help of list segmentation.
Personalization is the future of retail and that’s exactly what email list segmentation aims to do. You split up your email master list into a number of smaller lists of customers based on their preferences, buying habits, professional background, and their history with your business. You can decide the size of these lists and how many filters you wish to apply.
List segmentation is all about converting heterogeneous email lists into small chunks of homogeneous lists.
How does list segmentation help?
List segmentation provides individual experiences to your customers. As emails can be edited and customized for each (or a group) of your customers, you can decide what goes there for that specific email segment. It works more effectively than other mass media where you have to choose for a ‘one size fits all’ solution which might not work for all your customers.
With segmentation, you can target customers following a specific trend and send them only relevant emails. As they know there’s something for them, they will open the mail and actually see its content rather than deleting them unread. If you do the segmentation wisely, you will see an increase in your email conversions and eventually sales. And that’s our ultimate goal behind any kind of marketing campaign.
How to use customer data to create effective lists?
Now you know that list segmentation works but its success depends entirely on the kind of customer data you have. To start with, remember that no customer information is ‘not useful’. As marketers, it’s our duty to make any kind of customer data work for us. People’s lives are increasingly being synced with the web now and that makes it much easier to extract data. And as long as you can align any given data with an e-mail address in your list, it works!
- Collect data from different sources and use that information to create user profiles. You can take help from email marketing apps to gather information like the customers’ location and engagement with related activities.
- Segment these profiles according to different criteria. For example, you can make a list of customers who are interested in cosmetics and others who are more into buying books. Further, you can filter what kind/brand/costs of cosmetics these customers use and what genre/length/writers the book lovers prefer. The more you filter, the more your email works!
Every piece of data is important. Starting from the gender of the targeted customer to their favorite sports team. You can use this data to send them specific offers in future. For example, when you know about the favorite soccer teams of your customers, you can use it to promote related merchandise during important matches.
Understanding the actual process of list segmentation.
1. Collect and organize data.
That’s the core of the whole process. Obviously, you can’t segment lists without data. To start with, know where you stand in terms of data and what kind of information you require to promote and sell your product. Before you start with the actual job of segmenting, decide what data is more relevant to your business and how you are going to organize the data you already have. Then you need to find ways to collect more data.
2. Create user profiles.
Based on the data you collect, create personas for your customers. You should know to which walk of life your customer belongs to. You can segment your list on this basis. Knowing if you customer is a mother, a student, or a working mother, helps you form the right segments. These segments can be used to promote different categories of your products. For example, knowing your customer and an idea of what a day looks like in their life, helps you know what products they use. You can then promote these products in the emails you send them.
3. Decide on your segments.
Now that you have all the data and email lists, choose how you want to segment these lists and start with the marketing. Apart from the norms that everyone follows, you can also find your own unique ways to segment your email list.
4. Curate your content.
After deciding on the segments, you now know whom to target and for what products or offers. Create your content and design based on your segmented lists. Make sure the content is engaging and is offering something to the customer in terms of information or other benefits.
5. Use your email marketing tool.
Employ any appropriate email marketing tools’ segmentation feature, and you are all set to send your segmented emails. Also, you are now ready for increased open rates, click-through rates, and conversions.
Email segmentation undeniably makes email campaigns more effective. Though it requires a lot of work in the beginning, once you start organizing the data, the workflow becomes easier. The most definitive goal of email segmentation is to target customers with the right products. Hence it is very important to follow the segmenting process systematically and efficiently.
Are you already segmenting your email lists or planning to do so soon? Do you think there’s anything significant that we are missing out? We would love to know your views in the comments!