The beginner’s guide to email segmentation – part one

Email segmentation – you know you should be doing it but you just don’t have time.

It’s the complaint we hear most often from clients – including large organisations who you might think would know better.

It’s a frustrating situation – especially when it’s widely recognised that segmentation works. We all know it makes sense – by targeting your email to a specific group of people you’re more likely to be able include content that is more relevant and appealing to them. This naturally improves your open and click-through rates and drives higher revenue. It’s not just theory – the DMA reports segmented emails drive 58% of all email revenue (National Client Email Report, 2015).

Segmentation doesn’t need to be the headache many marketers think it is. There are some simple and practical ways to use and benefit from segmentation without having to create lots of different versions of emails or develop sophisticated profiles of your customers.

We’ve created a three part guide to segmentation suitable for varying levels of experience, time and resource. In part one we look at advice for some of the most basic practitioners – tactics you can use today without having to do much more than you are already. Pick and choose what you use and build up your toolkit over time while monitoring the results. Following these step-by-step guides are a great way of developing your strategy without biting off more than you can chew.

Separate your inactive and actives

Segmentation can start with as little as two segments. The most obvious and easiest people to start segmenting are the people who engage with your email marketing and those that don’t. By separating them you can tweak your emails to inactive people to encourage them to engage with you. It might be changing the subject line to incentivise them to open or sending your emails at a different time, but by separating inactives you can target them and monitor the results.

Retarget non-opens

When you send an email make sure you always re-target people who don’t open your email the first time around with a new subject line. It may be that the email arrived at the wrong time or the subject line wasn’t appealing – whatever it was, there’s no harm in creating a segment of non-opens from a campaign and re-targeting them. This type of segmentation will save you time and resource in creating another campaign from scratch.

Turn opens into clicks

Create a segment of people who open but don’t click your emails. If people are opening but not clicking then incentivise them. They’re clearly interested – they might just need a little extra push. If you’re putting a lot of content into your emails it could be that they’re paralysed by choice. Consider simplifying your emails by offering a clearer call-to-action or offering a time-limited offer to propel them into action.

Reactivate old customers

It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one (Invespro, 2015). This is the very reason it’s worth trying to re-engage customers who you haven’t heard from in a while. And don’t be tempted to include lapsed customers in the emails you send to everyone else – these people need a little TLC to bring them back. Once every few months target them with a separate campaign tempting them back with an offer, a free gift or a preview of your new products. This could be all it takes to trigger a response.

So there you are – the basics. These tactics involve minimal time and effort but will improve your results immediately. We suggest you choose one method from the list and trial it so you can see the results. Once you’ve built up your confidence you can start using others and develop your strategy slowly while generating results that prove the benefits of segmentation.

In part two we look at different ways of how to up your game, including smart ideas for creating targeted content with minimal time and effort. Take time to make sure you’ve explored the pointers in part one before moving on. And remember your Account Manager is always on hand to provide you with help and advice on your email marketing.

Download the Advanced Email Series: Segmentation Guide

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