Businessman_Ignoring_You_300pxThe secret to having people respond to your marketing is to meet their interests. Unfortunately, there are often as many ways to determine the interests of people on your list as there are data points in your marketing system(s). To help you cut through the clutter, here are some simple yet effective ways to segment your contacts.

Your Big Spenders

You can create a list of everyone whose lifetime order value is greater than, say, $1,000. When you pick an amount that only your top 10% of customers have spent at your store, you will have a segment of your VIP customers.

Study the people on this list closely and provide them with special deals, behind-the-scenes access, exclusive products, personal touches, etc. These are your biggest fans (and a powerful potential marketing channel) and you would do well to acknowledge as much. Question: Have you already created this list, and if so, how are you rewarding your VIPs today?


If you sell clothing, do you have separate lists of men and women? I’m consistently surprised by how irrelevant are some of the messages I’ve received from etailers—even by these simplest of criteria.

For instance, I recently joined a trendy eCommerce site and purchased a pair of men’s shoes. Now I’m receiving emails about everything from women’s blouses to bed sheets to cookware. I’m millimeters away from hitting the unsubscribe button on this merchant.

Had they simply put me on a list for men and focused their remarketing efforts on improving my wardrobe, I wouldn’t be as annoyed. Bonus points to them had they sent me style ideas for those sweet new shoes.

Business Versus Pleasure

One thing I’ve noticed is that often times companies have business buyers as well as everyday consumers. Let’s say you sell specialty messenger bags. How do you know if someone buying your bag works at a company that could go on and make a large B2B purchase from you? Are you providing opportunities for this potential “business buyer” to identify him or herself?

Many merchants think that a B2B customer will simply call them up and start chatting about making a large order, but why take the risk? Wouldn’t it be better to simply allow them to self-identify in some way during the sales or research phase, and then send them business-related nurturing material?

How to do this: Do you have any business-related material on your site? If they’ve downloaded it or looked at those pages, you can add them to the “business” list for some light nurturing down the road. In this way, you could focus your business buyers on taking the next step of speaking with you or otherwise requesting a quote, and not fall prey to the far-too-common “they’ll call me when they’re ready” trap.


Are you building interest-based lists for your buyers yet? If not, your post-purchase marketing is probably bugging them, and at best it’s irrelevant. Some of the best ways to build interest-based lists are:

  • Ask them. If you don’t know who in your customer list is, say, a surfer versus who is a kiteboarder, then create a landing page that lets people customize their experience. That is, they can tell you that they prefer surfing, kite boarding, or both. The information you gather on the landing page can be as rich or sparse as you feel comfortable asking from your customers. For instance, I recently saw a landing page that asked 15+ questions about someone’s interests and background. But if you’re going to go that far, you best be prepared to deliver a customized experience for those answers!
  • Mine the order data. Ideally your eCommerce store and your marketing database are tightly connected and sharing purchase information. If so, you should be able to create a list quite easily of everyone who bought one kind of product from you versus another.
  • Mine the website data. If someone has browsed a certain category on your site 10 times in the past week, chances are they’re looking to make a purchase there. Why not add them to a list for cross-sell nurturing on those products they’re newly interested in?

What are some other lists you've created to successfully engage with your customers? Share your awesomeness in the comments below!

Ecommerce Reorder Marketing

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Originally published Jun 25, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated October 20 2016