In email marketing, segmenting is so much more than a to-do list item; it’s an integral component of every single campaign. Though often time-consuming and tedious, segmenting is critical to growing and maintaining your subscriber base and the overall success of your email marketing efforts.
What exactly is segmentation? Simply put, segmentation is the division of email subscribers into smaller segments based on a specific criterion determined by you and your brand. When thinking about segmentation, it’s helpful to look at it as a two-step process: first determine the correct market segments, then determine how and when to engage them. Marketers craft their target segments and strategy for engagement by looking at an array of data around subscriber engagement metrics, purchase history, geographic location, demographics, interests, and more.
Before segmentation begins, remember that you already have your target audience –your subscribers, consumers buying your products, and the people familiar and engaged with your brand. It’s likely a large group of people with different habits and needs. The practice of segmenting comes into play so you can divide your audiences into specific niches that will help you relay the perfect message at the right time.
The following are best practices for segmenting your audience so you can take your email marketing campaign to the next level:
Wipe the slate clean. It might seem counter-intuitive to shed subscribers when you are constantly trying to add more, but it’s important to complete routine cleaning to achieve optimal segmentation and overall campaign success. For the most accurate segmentation results, it’s recommended that you clear out unsubscribes and low engagement contacts every 1-2 months. However, it’s even more important to keep a close eye on unsubscribes and to jump into action if you see bounce rates escalate. If that is the case, scrub those subscribers right away before it affects your deliverability. This will ensure you are not irritating people that are disengaged, or even worse, marking your emails as spam.
Value the most basic demographic information. There is a lot of emphasis on setting yourself apart from other brands, but segmentation is, and should remain, fairly black and white. In your quest to achieving top-notch segmentation, don’t ignore standard segmenting demographics like age, gender, and language that make your job simpler and more efficient. You can be brilliant in your segmentation while also honoring the basic differences that set people apart.
Let past purchases inform future emails. Keeping track of customer purchases is critical to segmentation. Not only does purchase history provide a wealth of information about your subscribers, but it also helps marketers make the most out of cross-sell opportunities. When you implement top-notch segmentation based on purchases, brands can act as personal shoppers for their subscriber, by recommending complimentary products based on their searches, engagement history and past purchases.
Automate responsive emails based on subscriber behaviors. Automation is one of the easiest, but most impactful actions you can employ in your email marketing campaigns. It relies on common customer behaviors, such as cart abandonment, frequent purchases, and spending habits, and allows marketers to re-establish a connection with customers almost seamlessly. Set up your email marketing program to send emails based on behavior triggers to quickly captivate your subscribers with content curated perfectly for them.
Allow subscribers to customize their experience. Instead of guessing personal preferences, allow your subscribers to customize their experience by setting up a customizable profile. Subscriber preferences, which might include frequency of contact, time of contact, or types of content they are contacted with, can help aid your segmentation efforts and keep your emails out of the spam folder.
Sending targeted emails to subscriber segments is a proven way to improve your email marketing engagement and return on investments. Keep up regular list maintenance and look for ways to get creative with list segmentation while also recognizing the abundance of data you already have stored.