Email marketing is probably the most powerful “sales machine” at the current moment. Every serious business (online/offline) is now leveraging email communication for various aspects: growing a database of fans, developing and nurturing connections with customers, announcing new product launches, news, updates, and so on.
Mark Whys, Marketing Strategist at Aussie Writings, comments wisely on the matter:
“A successful email marketing campaign comes after a challenging trial-n-error process, in which each brand must predict, test, analyze, measure, and optimize the performance of its content. You see, as with the website and blog content, the email content (your prescheduled emails) are also terribly important.”
They represent the “closing stage” of the sales process, in which the sale is supposed to happen. However, you need to pay very close attention to the way you’re treating your subscribers. Just like in a classroom of students, it would be a shame if the teacher would generalize over the student’s behavior and efforts. As each student (email subscriber) is different, you should personalize their experience according to their personalities (in case of email, it’ll be according to their behavior, demographics, etc.)
Without a proper segmentation, an email marketing strategy is not complete and it could never reach its full potential. Simply put, you’ll need to understand how to segment your list based on different criteria. These criteria are different for each business, so depending on a variety of factors which we’ll mention soon, you’ll be able to choose the proper segmentation rule for your email list.
The Benefits of an Audience-Specific Email Strategy
The benefits of segmenting your list should not be even mentioned due to obvious reasons, yet I’m going to list a few benefits that should convince the non-believers:
- Targeting –By assessing more user behaviors and left details, you can personalize your emails according to your subscriber’s preferences.
- Tracking–You get clear details on where your sales come from.
- Testing–Split-testing is terribly easy. If done right, you’ll soon find out what converts best and what performs worst.
- Follow-Up – After you make the first sale, you can take that customer by the and invite him to spend a little more time with you. Only this time, you’re promising him personalized “customer-only” emails. Let some time pass and mention you up-sell follow-up product.
- Improves Revenue if Done Right – Obviously, list segmentation improves your open-rates, click-through-rates, and obviously your sales. Do it right and you’ll see some real upgrades in your email marketing performance!
List Segmentation Strategies
Here are several list segmentation strategies that’ll totally improve your email performance. Apply them according to your own business needs and characteristics. Trust your instincts first, but don’t neglect to analyze your results.
[Must] Properly Understand Your Target Audience
Before segmenting your list, you first need to understand your target audience well. Find out what their biggest problems are. Find out what their biggest needs, craves, desires, and dreams are. This stage is all about putting yourself in the shoes of your potential customer.
If you can imagine the way he thinks, you can implement several solutions that’ll pay off well. Without a target persona, your list segmenting efforts will not pay off the way they should. Therefore, start learning more about your audience:
- Engage with them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn (send private messages, reply on comments, add them to private groups)
- Send surveys to your current e-mail list. Organize the surveys to better understand the needs and wants of your subscribers.
- Analyze niche forums and Q&A platforms. There, you will see a lot of people addressing all sorts of questions on the topics your website’s approaching.These places are great insights providers, so don’t forget to check them out as soon as possible.
1. Customer Demographics
The first and the simplest way to segment your list is according to the customer’s demographics. This includes details such as gender, age, professional position, and the average income the person earns. These details are just enough to give insights into the individual’s interests and probable needs.
You can get this information when people sign-up for your email newsletter. However, make sure not to ask for too many details during the opt-in process, otherwise, you might scare people off. One more thing: depending on your business’ niche and goals, you should decide which of these metrics are the most relevant to your email campaign!
2. User’s Engagement
You have to constantly analyze youremail engagement rates. For example, you can take the Open Rates or the Click-Through-Rates of your email campaign. Separate the subscribers who open your emails frequently from those who don’t. Stop emailing (or decrease the rate) the persons who show no interest in your emails.
Once you get the list of “inactive” subscribers, you may even organize a Facebook Ads campaign which is supposed to ‘retarget’ the users who were once interested.
3. The User’s Behavior on Website
If you can analyze your website performance well, you’ll be able to create different segmentations for different individuals who access different pages. For example, if someone has visited X page and spent a while reading it, you should place him on the X list. He’ll receive personalized emails according to the clues of interest that he’s previously shown while he was navigating your website.
MailChimp even has a feature that can help you accomplish this with much ease. It’s called the “Goals” feature, and it’s an option that lets you send emails according to different website behavior clues.
List segmentation is probably the most important email strategy that a company or website can adopt. Why? Simply because it gives you a lot of control over your communication, it helps you grow and strengthen relationships that pay off now and will pay off in the future, and it reduces the chances of a sudden revenue drop. Start implementing one strategy, make it work, then continue with the others. Good luck!