Email Marketing: Segmentation for Success

Email Marketing: Segmentation for Success - Renee HodeMany small businesses share one big mistake. They overlook segmentation as part of their email marketing strategy. Segmentation is simple, powerful, and cost-efficient.

Did you know that marketing professionals have proven segmentation to be effective at increasing email open and click-through rates?

I get questions all the time from small business owners on how to improve those very metrics. One of the best ways to achieve that is through personalized messages sent to groupings of subscribers. In marketing, it is always about getting the right message to the right customer at the right time to drive action.

Use these tips and tactics to help you segment with success.

Determine your goals before you launch your email campaigns

Will the purpose be to educate, inform, offer discounts/sell, retain customers, etc.? Be sure to spend time identifying your desired outcome(s) and work backward to develop a strategy and identify the appropriate subscriber segments. Remember the key is to match messages to groupings of subscribers as personalized attention drives results.

Define the ways to segment subscribers

What variables will you use to segment your customer base and enable you to achieve your goals? Widely used attributes for segmentation include customer preferences (likes/dislikes), demographics (age, gender, income level), psychographics (values, opinions, beliefs), behavior (prior purchases, email opens/clicks, etc.), customer value (current and future).

Keep it simple

If you are new to segmentation, begin with a single variable and build segments over time. For example, if your business sells running shoes, you may start segmenting by demographic information. Simply separating by gender allows a level of personalization through messages and offers to target men or women. Next, you may wish to gather data and segment by individuals with children which would enable targeted and timed messages to be sent promoting kid’s sneakers just prior to the start of a new school year. You will find lots of ways to group your customers, just be sure to remain focused on your goals.

Seek and gather subscriber data

Do keep the data collection minimal when asking individuals to join your email list. Once they’ve signed up, however, be creative in ways to gather more customer detail. Custom surveys or polls embedded into your email campaigns provide an opportunity to scout added data including insights into certain preferences or tastes. Surveys will generally gain more demographic information and polls can be designed to determine customer preferences. To boost your response rate on surveys, here’s a tip: offer respondents an incentive for completion ($10 off coupon, entry into a drawing, etc.).

Analyze and Evaluate

Review segmented campaigns to determine what’s working and make observations on how additional segmentation can further improve subscriber engagement and bottom-line results. Check within each segmented lists for bounces and remove non-existent addresses and fix any noticeable typos in addresses marked undeliverable.

Remember, today’s crowded marketplace means subscriber inboxes are packed full. Amid the clutter and competition for attention, segmentation is the tool you need to succeed. Now, it’s time to try it. Apply these tips to for relevant, targeted and results-driven email campaigns and to win subscriber engagement.

Renee Hode is the executive director of Central Piedmont Community College’s Small Business Center. She has worked at CPCC eleven years with the goal of assisting entrepreneurs and small businesses. Renee welcomes you to contact the Small Business Center at 704-330-6736. 


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