Email: Segmenting Subscribers

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GRAPHICMAIL – Segmentation isn’t what happens when you peel an orange — it’s the practice of making your email messages more targeted to individuals by dividing your subscribers into groups of people with similar likes.

Even if your whole audience is made up of people who are just dying to hear from you, they’re still not all exactly the same kind of people. So throughout your email marketing campaigns you will find that there are people of many different interests and likes in your mailing lists; so why not identify themand use segmentation to improve your results by sending appealing, targeted content.

Targeted messages can improve campaign performance, and in email marketing targeted messaging begins with segmentation.

Segment your email marketing subscribers (GraphicMail video) from Nick Eckert on Vimeo.

Segmentation is a really valuable practice, but you might need some help to get started

If you want to move away from the less effective blast emailing approach, which involves sending a single generic email to your whole list, you will need to start understanding the differences in your audience to convince them to open, engage and convert more often.

Why bother Segmenting?

There are risks to sending irrelevant or generalized emails, as these can encourage recipients to ignore your messages or mark them as spam – which can undermine your reputation and your entire marketing campaign.

Here are four steps to start segmenting your subscribers:

Step 1: Segment new subscribers when they arrive

For subscribers entering your program, you should start on the right foot by segmenting them as early as possible. Make sure your subscription forms allow subscribers to specify which segment they belong to. You can do this by asking them to select a topic, product or other area of interest.

Step 2: Apply the Basics

• Build a mailing list with additional information: If you want to segment, you will need a little more information than a list of email addresses to base your segments on. Even very basic details such as gender or age groups is enough to get started.

• Customize your content: Because you are speaking to individual needs, each new segment you target can multiply the amount of content you need – whether you are altering a single email for each segment, or launching targeted newsletters.

• Testing your sends: The only way to be sure your messages will improve performance is to test them against control groups. Monitor your responses (i.e. open rates, click-throughs and conversions) to make sure you are hitting a good chord for each segment.

Step 3: Define your Segments

Segmenting and sending targeted content is likely to take more of your time than just sending a generic email blast; so start small with one or two basic segments:

Active vs. inactive: Separate people who enjoy receiving your emails from the people who are less interested. For example, you can separate subscribers who have clicked link in your email within the last few months from those who have not. Then test different frequency or content options for the less active subscribers who are hurting your response rates.

Converters vs. non-converters: This approach can be used to separate subscribers who have already bought from you from those who have not. GraphicMail has a Google analytics integration that allows you to do this. Knowing a customer from a prospect makes a big difference in how you should be pitching your products and services, for example; whether you should be trying to sell them on more costly advanced products as opposed to entry-level offerings.

Step 4: Send test messages to the segments

It can’t be over-emphasized that you need to A/B test your emails to adjust your messaging for each segment. Testing will reveal the best approach for each group and this will help you avoid over-emailing subscribers who are less interested in the message.

Cross-published at the GraphicMail blog.

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