5 Savvy Ways to Segment Your Marketing Emails

    by Meghan Keaney Anderson

    Date

    December 28, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    segmentation image Relevancy is becoming more and more central to today's marketing strategy, and buyers have come to expect personalization in their communications . According to a study by MarketingSherpa , 4 out of 10 subscribers reported that they've marked emails as spam simply because they were irrelevant . On the flip side, MarketingSherpa also reports that emails that have been tailored to specific audiences through segmentation get 50% more clicks than their counterparts .

    There are a number of different ways to start segmenting your audience. For a segmentation method to work, however, it needs to reflect two things: (1) your core business strategy, and (2) what you know about your typical buyers' purchasing decisions. Here are 5 great ways to segment your audience to create more tailored and effective email communications .

    1. Geographic Segmentation

    Segmenting by geography works best when the location of a buyer plays a significant role in his or her purchasing decision (e.g. with events and other invitations). Here is a quick list of instances when you should segment by geography:

    • When sending invitations to special events  
    • When your company or service has geographic limitations
    • When your connection to a town or region is a strength. For example, with local landscaping companies, cleaning services, or restaurants.

    2. Industry/Role Segmentation

    For B2B companies, a recipient's role or division is an important factor in how he or she interprets your communications. In simpler terms, you would speak differently to a salesperson than you would to a marketer. They have different goals, and therefore different interests in your company. Targeting these interests can increase your click-through rates .

    3. Segmentation Based on Content Interests

    The best segmentation tactics are based on true data about your audience rather than assumptions based on their role or geography. To segment based on interest, take a look at the content that members of your audience have viewed or the materials they have downloaded. The easiest way to start doing this is to pull a list of people who have downloaded a certain whitepaper or marketing offer, and then segment them into more targeted email or lead nurturing campaigns about that topic.  

    4. Behavior-Based Segmentation

    In addition to segmenting by interest area, you can also use audience behavior as a filter for your communications. This segmentation also relies on having the right closed-loop marketing analytics set up on your site to understand your typical sales cycle. Think about it: a person who has spent a lot of time on your site and viewed a lot of different marketing materials has different needs than someone who is just visiting for the first time. If you are using analytics that enable you to distinguish the browsing behavior of different website visitors, you can start to leverage this information to make your communications more relevant to how far along the recipient is in his or her purchasing decision.

    5. Segmentation by Brand Advocates

    One of the most important segments to get right is your brand advocates . Before anything else, make sure you know who your best customers are. Your brand advocate segment should contain: 

    • Frequent buyers
    • Social media fans
    • Customers who have recommended you to others
    • Non-customers who have advocated for you online

    Customer loyalty needs to be nurtured. Once you determine a list of your best (and most vocal) advocates, tailor your emails to acknowledge them. Send thank-you's, advanced notice on new services or products, requests for feedback, rewards, and other communications to show you recognize and appreciate their support. 

    Start Small

    You can start small with segmentation. Take a look at your audience, and see if there are any stand-outs or natural differentiations. Even the slightest segmentation can increase your email success rates. The list above is just a starting point, and you'll likely discover other ways to segment based on the individual characteristics of your audience and your industry.

    What other ways have you found to segment and send customized emails to your prospects and leads?

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