Email List Segmentation: Target Your Clients Like a Professional

What makes email an effective marketing channel? Some say that the secret sauce is email list segmentation—the practice of dividing your email list into groups based on characteristics like interests and demographics.
According to MailChimp, when the email lists are segmented based on data like location and job title, open rates increase by almost 19%, and click-through rates by almost 22% compared to non-segmented sends.
Personalization is the purpose of list segmentation. Emails that go out to your entire list might help some people, but others will be left confused. By contrast, if you slice your email list into segments based on what you know about each user—like their buying habits, familiarity with your company, and professional background—then you send each segment of people based on personalized information.
Before list segmentation:
After list segmentation:

What are the types of data you can use to segment your list?

Basically, any data could be the main criteria for segmentation. Here are some ideas to help get you started:
1. Demographic Data
Demographic Data can be used for base-level segmentation that helps group users together without getting granular into interests and past purchasing patterns. But that doesn’t mean it’s ineffective. Just by segmenting the list into male and female customers, eCommerce shops can get up to a 42% jump in clickthrough rate, 123% more conversions, and a 141% increase in revenue for each email campaign. Here are the main types of demographic data:
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Hometown
  • Job title
  • Persona (favorite football team, color, etc.)
2. Behavioral Data
Behavioral Data helps you understand why and how your clients purchase products. Try using these segments to target people based on their interests:
  • What subscribers do with your product – Knowing which features of your site someone uses most often gives you insight into their interests.
  • What subscribers buy – This is the classic Amazon strategy: watch what your customers buy, and pitch them on similar products. Segmenting by purchase habits doesn’t require a complex algorithm, though, just send them similar proposals.
  • When subscribers last clicked on an email – Click frequency tells you who your most engaged customers are, but it also tells you who don’t want to be bothered. Using list segmentation, you can experiment with low engagement in a couple of ways: by sending more emails to get the user involved, or fewer to avoid being annoying.
  • When and how often they buy – Sorting customers based on when, not just what, they buy can help you determine a timeline for your email campaigns—you can create segments based on seasonal purchases, or specific data like the peak time of day for click-throughs.
3. Customer Sign-Up Date
  • Onboarding new users – it engages new users and gets them hooked while their interest is piqued.
  • Rewarding your best customers – eCommerce sites can use these insights to thank long-time customers or delight new ones.
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4. Customer Email Client Data
Customer Email Client Data can create groups based on browsing devices and how often your customers use email.
  • Mobile or desktop – Consider sending mobile-focused customers a tweaked HTML version that’s optimized for the smaller screen.
  • When subscribers want to receive emails – Instead of trying to pick the perfect send time out of thin air, just let your customers tell you when and how often they want to receive your emails.
Which email list segmentation criteria to choose?
To make the most of your email marketing, focus on optimizing your data-gathering processes so it fits your conversion goals. Answer these three questions:
  • What data are we already collecting? – These are your lowest-barrier-to-entry segments.
  • What data can we start collecting? – These are data points that you have the ability to track but haven’t organized into usable information.
  • What data do we need to ask for? – This is data that you need to request from your users directly, or that you need to engineer a way to collect it.
Next, choose your segments and start creating relevant content!

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  • Heath Weaver

    Managing Director, Principal

    Heath Weaver has almost two decades of eCommerce digital marketing experience. He has run multiple agencies, headed up Search Engine Marketing for the consumer electronics division of Sony, and served as a Vice President at Trilogy Software. He enjoys working day-to-day with clients to level up their retention marketing game.