5 Ways to Nail Your Email Marketing Segmentation Right Away

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Email marketing segmentation can be tricky, even for the most seasoned marketer. We’ve got five tips to help you nail it.

a computer monitor on a red background with two email message icons overlaying it

Email marketing is a staple of any healthy marketing strategy. Companies spend tons of time and money building dynamic, helpful email content. But here’s a hard truth: The most dynamic, helpful email content is only as good as the accuracy of its segment.

We’ve all been customers frustrated by spammy emails that aren’t relevant to us, or our needs. More often than not, our response to these emails is to ignore and delete them, or unsubscribe from the mailing list altogether.

The prevalence of poor segmentation leaves a huge opening for businesses like yours to win customers with smart email marketing segmentation. Campaign Monitor reports that marketers who successfully use segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue.

5 ways to improve your email marketing segmentation

Whether you want to take advantage of an opening offered by other businesses’ lackluster segmentation or simply need to improve your segmentation efforts in general, we’ve got you covered.

Here are five ways your business can nail email marketing segmentation, today.

1. Just ask your customers

A radical idea, I know.

Asking your prospects and customers what they’re looking for from your business and what kind of interactions they prefer goes a long way toward customer trust and satisfaction.

Consider asking how a customer would prefer to be contacted, what types of goods and services they’re interested in, and maybe even how far into the buying process they are. The answers to these types of questions allow your email team to build segments around what your prospects and customers will find the most helpful and relevant.

Survey software is a great way to keep an open line of communication with your prospects and customers, and the best part is a lot of great survey software is free!

Check out Capterra’s breakdown of the top 10 free and open source survey software options.

Survey question builder in Feedier

Survey question builder in Feedier (Source)

2. Use customer behavior to inform your demographics

Be sure to review and analyze all your interactions with a prospect as you decide how to segment and build your email campaigns. You can find useful customer insights in unexpected places.

For example, if your business sells kitchen equipment and cooking tools, visits to your content pages could be a great indicator of what a prospect is interested in. Did they visit your article comparing refrigerator models, or your article outlining different types of sauce pots and frying pans?

Your email marketing team could build out two very different campaigns for each of those customer segments.

Many of the most popular email marketing software solutions offer users the ability to filter and segment email lists based on demographic information.

Customer targeting by demographics in Campaign Monitor

Customer targeting by demographics in Campaign Monitor (Source)

3. Be on the lookout for change indicators

More often than not, customers will tell you when their circumstances have changed. Whether they’ve decided they’re interested in upgrading an existing product/service or are ready to explore a new market, these customers have entered a new stage in their buyer journey due to changing needs or pain points.

This is where good CRM software really comes in handy. If you’re diligent about tracking your interactions with prospects and customers, you have the opportunity to catch key change indicators as they occur and reach out with a targeted, timely email reflecting those changes.

Be on the lookout for signs that a change has occurred for your customer. Signals include:

  • Change in content engagement
  • Change in purchasing behavior
  • For prospects, change in communication with your sales team

Customer management feature within CRM software Act!

Customer management feature within CRM software Act! (Source)

4. A/B test, again and again

Categorizing your customers based on their preferences, demographic information, and actions requires a nuanced understanding of both your industry and your customers’ most pressing pain points. With all those factors to account for, it can be a daunting task for marketing teams to perfectly capture the motivations of each unique customer segment.

Before you succumb to decision-making paralysis, remember that email marketing segmentation is also a great opportunity to leverage your email marketing software’s A/B testing capabilities.

A/B testing lets you run small batches of different email designs, messaging, and recipient groups, and compare results with built-in analytics. Your team can compare open rates, social engagement, and other key metrics as you hone in on your most effective customer segmentation strategies.

Analytics and reporting feature in iContact

Analytics and reporting feature in iContact (Source)

5. Keep an eye on AI

Advances in marketing technology have and will continue to play a part in email marketing segmentation practices.

Gartner’s “Market Guide for Email Marketing” notes that “Increasingly, providers are turning to machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to make customer insights more accessible and actionable (full article available to Gartner clients).”

The guide identifies the following top three small and midsize business email marketing trends:

  • Adding support for interactions across mobile, social, and advertising channels.
  • More automation and advanced segmentation capabilities.
  • Increased integration capabilities with CRM and eCommerce platform.

Keep an eye on industry-leading software vendors to see what new technologies they roll out. With an eye on the forefront of these tech trends, you’ll be able to advise your business on when it’s time to invest in new tools and software.

Happy customers feel seen by your marketing tactics

A killer email marketing segmentation strategy means your business is meeting potential and existing customers right where they are.

These five steps will put you well on your way to an email marketing segmentation strategy that satisfies your leadership team and makes your customers feel personally catered to.

How does your company segment its email marketing? Tell us in the comments below.


Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.

Looking for Email Marketing software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Email Marketing software solutions.

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About the Author

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Samantha Bonanno

Sam covers Buyer Marketing at Capterra, offering insights and thought leadership on marketing trends and best practices for small and midsize businesses. An Upstate New York native, Sam spends her free time backpacking with her dogs and holding snobby opinions on craft beer and single origin coffee.

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