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Email Segmentation: The Key to Higher Email Engagement

Do you send email blasts to your whole contact list? Do you shamelessly promote your bra discounts to your entire audience? Do you get complaints that your email messages are more annoying than the ads of Fox and CNN combined?

If you answered with “Yes” to one or more of these questions, then continue reading. 

We might have just the right solution for you. It’s called email segmentation.

Email segmentation works for pretty much any digital business that sends emails. It allows you to create personalized messages, better offers, and more effective promotional campaigns. On top of that it will help you reduce your spam reports and unsubscribes.

British tap sink
Bath sinks — one of the few things in the human world that do not benefit from segmentation.

Yet, most people use Mailchimp to create newsletters for their whole email audience. (No offense, Mailchimp, you’re great for sending beautiful emails, but your segmentation is kind of bad…)

Do not panic. 

In this article, we’ll discuss what email segmentation is and share some of the most effective ways to do it. 

Let’s dive in.

What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation comes from “market segmentation,” which is the process of dividing a general market audience into a set of more focused groups based on certain criteria.

With some quick research and analysis of your customer data, you can segment your audience easily.

For example, suppose you run an inventory software with users that come from different industries. In that case, you can separate your customers by the industry they operate in — merchandise, supplements, hardware, etc.; the market they serve — wholesale vs. manufacturing; how big the company is — 0 to 10 employees, 10 to 50; or the immediate goal they want to achieve — improve their workflow, automate barcoding, manage their warehouse, etc.

Of course, you would need to collect that data first, but once the data is available you can use marketing automation and analytical tools to perform the segmentation.

In email marketing, the idea and logic used are the same, but rather than starting with your audience in general, you’re going to look at your email subscribers first.

Email segmentation refers to the process of segmenting your email audience into different buckets. By dividing a whole email contact base into groups, marketers can use personalization strategies to deliver more relevant experiences and keep leads and customers engaged.

How to start with email segmentation

Here are the 4 types of data that you can collect from your customers. 

You can use a platform like Encharge to build segments with that data.

The 4 main email segmentation models

  1. Demographic segmentation.
  2. Psychographic segmentation.
  3. Behavioral segmentation.
  4. Geographic segmentation.

1. Demographic data

The most basic way to segment an email contact base would be through demographic data. This information includes age, gender, company position, income, ethnicity, etc.

Segmenting based on demographic criteria can help you curate email content right for the individual person and save you from the effects of one-size-fits-all marketing messages.

For example, with a demographically segmented email audience, marketers can address the needs of millennials separately from baby boomers. They can now create separate content that addresses the issues of their female and male customers, and so on.

This type of segmentation is especially important if you run a B2C business that serves different customers.

2. Psychographic data

Psychographics data used in email segmentation

Psychographic data includes personality, interests, motives, values, and opinions. This type of information is great for marketers since it adds additional insight that goes beyond demographic or firmographic data.

Psychographics are important because when you have ideas on how your audience chooses products and their decision-making process, you can structure campaigns tailored to their thinking. 

For example:

  • If you know that your customers like to read more statistics and data on a product before buying, you can craft content that highlights the scientific benefits and include positive numbers along with the message.
  • Suppose you’re a SaaS company, and your psychographic data shows that your customers are interested in automating their business workflow. You can demonstrate testimonials and case studies that show companies that have automated their business and alleviated their problems using your product.

3. Behavioral data

This is the process of segmenting customers based on their online behavior — the types of products and features they use, the content they like, and the posts they engage the most.

On the email side of things, behavior data means what are the emails they open, click, or reply to.

Behavioral segmentation helps you group people based on the actions they perform (or fail to perform) on your website or across the web. 

Behavioral segmentation can also give you implicit insights into your audience. For example: 

  • You’ve determined that your posts get the most interactions when published from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm. This tells you that a group of your customers is the most active during those hours. This information can be capitalized on by scheduling your content during those times.
  • Another could be when you’ve determined that a barrier for customers to purchase your products is shipping fees. Knowing this major hurdle in your customer’s journey, you can get rid of the shipping fee.

Behavioral data can reveal patterns in usage, which you can capitalize to deliver better messaging at the right time to the right people.

4. Geographic data

Geographic segmentation means segmenting your list by country, city, language, area, population, etc. 

For example, if you have a global brand and you have an upcoming winter jacket product. 

Sending a promotion to all of your customers may not be effective since some of them don’t even experience winter at all. Not only will that campaign be seen as useless by some, but it may also negatively affect the business since others may see the email as a lack of care for your customers.

By leveraging geographic information, you can highlight certain products to certain customers. The best part is that you can gather most of this data simply by installing a user tracking code on your website. Platforms like Encharge can automatically collect the location of the user down to the city or town.

Geographic data

Then, it’s simply a case of building a segment using that data:

Geographic data used for email segmentation in Encharge segment

Encharge will return all people living in New York:

Encharge contact audience screenshot

Additional email segmentation strategies

Most email segmentation strategies can fall under those four data models but to further expand on this topic and make the post more actionable, let’s discuss other email segmentation strategies that your business can use.

1. New customers, new subscribers, newcomers

When customers become new subscribers to your email list, it’s always a good idea to send them a welcome message

Welcome emails will most likely be the most engaging message in your onboarding sequence

Make this particular segment feel like they’ve entered a special group wherein they can get value. Express how you appreciate them for joining the list and discuss what they’ll be receiving from you.

Check out this welcome email by Kate Spade:

Welcome email

Not only did they express their gratitude, but they also rewarded the customer with a 15% discount on their next purchase. 

To get some welcome email inspirations, here are some welcome email templates for you.

To create a segment of newly registered subscribers in Encharge, you can use the “Created at” default field. This will display people that have been created in your Encharge account within that period:

New subscribers this week segment in Encharge

2. Engaged customers

There are two types of customers in your subscribers’ audience — those who actively read your emails and those who don’t.

Do not dwell too much on your inactive contacts. 

Instead, you can reward those engaged customers or your active subscribers.

Rewarding them can come in different forms. It can be through discounts, early access, or special offers. 

Take a look at how Jet rewarded their engaged customers by inviting them to be early users of their new program:

Jet reward email

It’s up to you to define what an active contact means. 

It could be all people that have opened your emails at least 5 times in the last 14 days:

Engaged customers segment in Encharge

Or people that have clicked on the last email in your lead nurturing sequence:

Engaged leads segment in Encharge

Or maybe people that were active within the last day. Encharge has a sophisticated last activity function that enables you to segment based on a number of activities like email engagement, page visits, form submissions, and others.

Segment based on last activity in Encharge

3. Inactive subscribers

It’s only normal to have inactive subscribers in your email audience. 

If you’ve determined which people are considered inactive, don’t just archive them from your contact base right away. 

What you can do instead is try to win their attention back. They were once potential customers (or at least subscribers) who had some interest in your products, so there’s still a great chance to hook them up again.

Here’s an awesome example from Teespring, who leverage a bit of personalization through merge tags:

Inactive subscribers re-engagement email

One of the easiest ways to filter the inactive subscribers is to use the Email Activity condition and create a segment of people who have not opened any of your emails in the last 60 days.

Segment using last activity field in Encharge

4. Abandoned carts

Cart abandonment is a big issue in the world of eCommerce. The average cart abandonment rate in 2021 across all industries is already above 80%. 

Given this fact, marketers need to take some serious measures. They need to re-engage these leads and do it quickly and aggressively.

This is where the cart abandoned cart solution comes to the rescue.

Creating emails to address abandoned carts allows businesses to remind their (potential) customers of forgotten items and re-engage people once they leave the website (oftentimes forever).

Look at how Under Armour reminds its customers of their abandoned items:

Under Armour cart abandonment email

Not only are they reminding their users, but they’re also giving out a reward in the form of free shipping in their next order.

If you’re planning to do the same, here are free cart abandonment emails for you.

5. Price of items purchased

High-value customers — customers with high AOV (average order value) and LTV (lifetime value) — are great opportunities for upsell.

It’s safe to assume that these customers love your products. By grouping them together, you now have the opportunity to promote relevant offers and increase your retention rates.

Plus, you also get to identify the customers you need to focus the most on. These are the people that you need to roll the red carpet for and treat them extra special.

Other than being avid shoppers, this group is also the one who engages the most with your email campaigns. So make sure to curate a personalized email that suits their needs.

Benefits of email segmentation

Every year small and medium-sized businesses cross the chasm and become successful companies because of their deep knowledge and understanding of their customers.

You can have the best marketing and content, but those efforts will be wasted if you are can’t speak the voice of your customers and intimately understand their needs. 

If you want to be the business that understands your customers needs and answers to their problems you need to use email segmentation to your advantage, as much as possible.

If you are not convinced yet, here are some of the benefits that you can experience when integrating email segmentation in your marketing practice:

1. Increase in email engagement

It’s no secret that if you provide what your customers need, they’ll be more engaged and interested in what you have to say. 

When you can successfully segment your email list, you can craft marketing messages relevant to them. 

You’ll have improved click-through rates, better conversion rates, engagements, shares, and feedback. 

2. More sales (duh!)

Better segmentation leads to better personalization which leads to higher conversion rates. It’s as simple as that.

With a segmentation strategy, you can showcase the right features and services to the right audience and address the right objections at the right time.

With a touch of personalization in your campaigns, you’re increasing the chance of closing that sale.

3. Improved customer relationships

Do you treat your email list as a database of email addresses living in your marketing automation tool? 

It’s hard to build relationships when you treat your audience as email subscribers and not real people.

With email segmentation, you’re able to connect with your list on a much deeper level. You get to talk about their interests, beliefs, values, and a whole lot more. 

Talking about things that are close to them shows that you value them. This creates trust between your business and customers.

This might sound obvious, but it’s still one of the things that many businesses overlook by sending generic email blasts.

4. More relevant messaging

Do you create content for the sake of creating content, or do you genuinely try to help customers?

Your marketing messages should do one of the following things:

  • Address consumer problems.
  • Present solutions to relevant problems.
  • Try to improve the current state of your customers.

When you segment your email list, you’ll have a better understanding of your customers. You’ll get to see what they like, how they behave, and what are the biggest hindrances throughout the buying journey.

This knowledge allows you to approach content creation in a smarter way. 

You’ll be able to create content that speaks to your customers and addresses their issues. You can now highlight your products in a way that is structured to solve their problems and other challenges they face.

5. More advocates for your business

One of the best ways to improve sales would be to increase consumer confidence. 

Email segmentation can be one of the activities that can help you to boost consumer confidence. As you provide content and campaigns your customers want, they’ll have more confidence that you know exactly what they want.

When customers are happy and confident, they’ll be more than willing to share your business with others. With social media platforms being used frequently to share customer experience, your business might just get a positive review or a shoutout from a highly satisfied customer. That’s called customer advocacy, in a nutshell.

That’s it from us for today.

You’re now equipped with the knowledge to start segmenting your email audience. What is the first segment you’re going to create?
Start segmenting your audience with a powerful marketing automation tool. Try Encharge for free for 14-days and let us know how it goes.

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