When you segment your email lists, you use the data that you have about the recipients in your list to create smaller subgroups. You then can send more targeted, relevant emails to those smaller groups helping to increase your results.
The most basic example is separating your leads and prospects from your customers. While some email content might be appropriate for both audiences, there is definitely information that will benefit one group more than the other. Your recipients will enjoy the emails that you send them more, if the content is relevant and timely to their needs.
The problem is that segmenting your leads can be hard. Sometimes getting the right data is the problem, other times you only have it for portions of your list, other times it's stuck in a database somewhere and you have to beg an engineer to help you access it.
However, according to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, shared with us by eMarketer , 39% of marketers who segmented their email lists experianced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates and 24% experienced greater revenue. So while it might be hard to segment your list, it seems that it's worth some effort to see if you can improve your results.
Here are 3 tips to help you start segmenting your lists:
1. K.I.S.S - There are a million ways you can segment an email list. If you try to start with multiple criteria you will likely end up with an unmanageable maintenance task and could quickly get overwhelmed. Start small. Look at the data you already have available. Figure out the most logical groupings based on the information your recipients want from you, the questions they might have, or their stage in the buying cycle.
2. Analyze, Analyze, Analyze - There is no doubt that segmentation takes some effort. Make sure you are measuring the results of your email campaigns so that you can determine if you have the right segments and are seeing benefits that make all the work worthwhile. It doesn't make sense to keep putting in the effort if the ROI isn't there, so make sure you have the numbers to prove it's worth it.
3. Get Help - Once you have determined that segmenting your email list is something that makes sense for your business, there are tools out there to help. Once you get the data into an Excel spreadsheet, you can import it to tools like HubSpot , Exact Target, and Salesforce and get help creating the different segments and maintaining them over time.
Originally published May 13, 2011 8:00:00 AM, updated June 09 2021