The Beginner’s Guide to Segmenting an Email List

Segment Your Email List

You’ve heard that the money’s in the list, so you’ve created an email list. Now what?

Now, it’s time to segment. Segmenting will help you build lasting relationships with your leads and convert them into customers. And, if your email list also contains some of your customers, segmenting will help you retain those customers and even convert them into referral sources to grow your business.

But what the heck is segmenting? And what’s the easiest way to segment if you’re a complete beginner with no clue about email marketing?

This post will help you segment your email list to benefit both you and your subscribers.

What Is Email Segmentation?

Email segmentation is the process of dividing your list of email subscribers into smaller groups. Why go through the trouble of slicing and dicing your email list? Personalization. By dividing your list into smaller groups, you can create more targeted content for your email subscribers.

Let’s say you’re a real estate agent and work with three main client types: First-time home buyers, growing families, and empty nesters. While there may be some overlap, your clients are ultimately looking for different things. One client may be looking for large backyards, another may be looking to downsize to a condo. One client may need information about qualifying for and buying their first home while another may want to know how to sell a home while purchasing another.

It makes sense to separate your email list based on what type of needs your clients have. This allows you to create more specific email content that answers their questions.

These are the types of emails that get opened and acted upon. There’s no benefit to having a large email list if your subscribers aren’t actually opening your emails. Instead, you want a list (even if it’s a small one) that’s active and interested in reading your emails. The best way to get your subscribers to open your emails is to create emails that seem tailor-made for that subscriber.

There’s no benefit to having a large email list if your subscribers aren’t doing this one thing: Click To Tweet

Research backs up the benefits of segmentation. According to research conducted by MailChimp, segmented emails enjoy 14.31% higher opens when compared to non-segmented emails. Unsubscribe rates are also lower — 9.37% lower — when you segment your list.

How to Segment Your Email List

Now let’s discuss how to segment your email list.

Choose an Email Marketing Service Provider

The first step to segmenting your email list is to go with an email marketing service provider that enables segmentation. Fortunately, most email marketing services offer this as a basic service.

Create Multiple Lead Magnets

There are multiple ways to segment your email list. One of the easiest ways to segment is via lead magnet. If you offer a different lead magnet for each customer persona, you can then use this as a way to segment your subscribers right out of the gate. Create your own lead magnet for free here.

20 Ways to Segment Your Email List

In addition to segmenting by lead magnet, here’s a look at 25 ideas for dividing your email list:

Here’s a list of 9 additional ways to segment your list.

1. Activity on Your Website

Monitor how your subscribers use your website and then send them email content accordingly. For example, your subscribers may open a link in your email and head over to the knowledge base. You may wish to send these subscribers a follow-up email to ask if they require any additional help.

2. Age Range

Depending on your business, you may wish to organize your subscribers based on their age. Coordinate your content with different life stages.

3. Amount of Purchase

Segment Your Email List

Group your email subscribers based on how much they’ve spent on a purchase. This can be useful if you offer multiple tiers of service and wish to upsell your customers to a premium service.

4. Behavior

How do your subscribers act on your website and within your emails? Do they click on certain links consistently? What time of day and what day of the week do they open your emails? This information can help you decide when to send emails to certain subscribers.

5. Birthday

Group subscribers based on their birthdays, customer anniversary, and other occasions. If you send out a special email to celebrate their day and perhaps provide a coupon, you can win their business.

6. Click-Throughs

Group your subscribers based on who consistently clicks on the call to action link within your emails. These people are the most engaged and should receive more actionable emails.

7. Customer Persona

Segment your list based on your target customers and their pain points. To learn more about customer personas, check out this post: How to Create Customer Personas From Scratch.

8. Demographics

Segment your subscribers based on key demographics, such as gender, income, geographical location, and education level.

9. Interests

The types of emails that your subscribers open can clue you into what types of content they’re most interested in receiving in the future.

10. Job Industry

This type of segment works well with B2B businesses that work with multiple types of industries. Divide your customers based on their industry so that you can send relevant content that interests your B2B customers.

11. Job Title

Similarly, knowing a subscriber’s job title can help you determine which emails to send. Some subscribers may be end users, others may be decision makers. The types of emails that they’ll look for may be different.

12. Multiple Opt-Ins

Did your subscriber opt-in for multiple lead magnets? Consider adding multiple opt-in subscribers to more than one segment. Do You Need Multiple Lead Magnets?

13. Open Rate

Divide your subscribers based on who opens your emails and who doesn’t. People who consistently do not open your emails should be deleted from your email list periodically. Consider cleaning your list every 6 to 12 months.

14. Purchase Cycle

How often does the subscriber buy from you? Weekly, monthly, annually? You can time your emails based on when the subscriber is likely to buy next.

15. Purchase History

Divide subscribers based on what purchases they’ve made in the past. You can choose email content to encourage future buys.

16. Shopping Cart Abandonment History

Segment Your Email List

Do you have a group of subscribers who have abandoned shopping carts on your site? Consider grouping them together so that you can send discounts, coupons, and special promos to close the sale.

17. Stage in the Customer’s Journey

Every customer goes through a journey, from awareness to consideration to purchase to loyalty. You may wish to group your subscribers based on where they are in their journey with your business. This can help you send more targeted content to guide them to the next stage. Here’s Help for Creating Content for Each Milestone in Your Customer’s Journey.

18. Subscriber Preferences

Allow your subscribers to determine what type of content to receive from you. Send out an email that allows them to segment themselves by choosing their email subject and frequency preferences.

19. Survey Participation and Answers

Segment your subscribers based on their answers to your email surveys. Depending on their selection, you may wish to follow up with specific subscribers. Also, you may decide to divide your list based on who participated in your survey and who didn’t.

20. Type of Purchase

What types of products or services has the subscriber purchased from you in the past? You may choose to send follow-up emails to recommend complementary products or services.

Final Thoughts

Don’t go crazy trying to segment your list into too many different groups. You may find it useful to only use two or three different segments. Choose the segment that makes the most sense for your business and then build from there.

Before you go, check out these related posts:

Don’t forget to download this list of 9 additional ways to segment your email list.