Email Marketing Segmentation


In this week’s article I want to touch on an area that I have previously mentioned – segmentation – and expand on it a bit further. When I start working with clients on their email marketing strategy there is often a big temptation for the client to want to tell everybody their sales message and scatter gun everybody with the same email. If this worked it would be great and life would be a lot simpler. Not for me, because I would be out of a job, but experience dictates that this kind of broad brush approach to marketing doesn’t cut the mustard in today’s marketplace. You need to be a bit more sophisticated and work a lot smarter if you want to maximise on the success of your email campaign. Remember you are competing with a plethora of other emails that your prospects/customers are probably getting and if yours doesn’t stand out then you might as well forget it. So where do you start? Here are a few simple tips to get you going:

Objective setting

This is a great starting point. Lay down what you want to achieve with your email campaign and determine what will make it a success. Always treat your prospects different to your existing customers because they will have a different perception of your brand. Typical objectives that you might have could include growing your response rates, increasing your return on investment or increasing your email open rates by new prospects. The important thing is that you have an outcome in mind and that you tailor your email segmentation strategy towards achieving that outcome.

Choosing the right data

Sounds simple enough but it can get complicated. There are several ways you could segment your email contact list and the challenge you have is determining what makes most sense for the product or service that you are offering. Take a look at what you already know about your email database – do you know your existing customers from your prospects? Do you know what industry they are in? Do you have the decision maker’s name? Think about how you can get the answers to these types of questions in the future and study analytics from previous email campaigns or how customers/prospects currently interact with you. This will give you valuable insight and enable you to determine key segments for the future.

Profiles or behaviours?

Breaking your email database down further will lead to highly targeted campaigns that reach specific audiences that you are trying to attract. Profile based segmentation is looking at the demographics of your database such as age, gender, geography etc and is a very simple and effective way of targeting your message. In order to do this you will need to capture this type of information up front so think about how you can get this information when your customers/prospects interact with you.

Behaviours are looking at the clicking, browsing and purchasing actions of your customers/prospects. By studying these analytics you will get a deeper understanding of their needs and an understanding of how to engage with them in the future.

Getting creative

Once you have decided on how you want to segment your email campaign it is time to get creative. Think about compelling subject lines for your email, whether you want to integrate a competition, special offers, discounts, capturing information such as birthdays so that you can target these dates in the future with special rewards. There are several ways you can spice up your email campaign and make it more relevant and engaging.

With a bit of thought you can really tailor an email campaign so that it sends the right message to the right people so that you get the right result. If you would like help in creating a segmentation strategy for your B2B or B2C email campaigns then please contact Hayley Cashmore on 0845 116 2723 or email

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