Not segmenting your email list is the equivalent of throwing a bunch of shite up against the wall and see what sticks. By segmenting your email list, you can better tailor your email to the audience. This is particularly useful when you have many different types of customers or clients. Email list segmentation is what will increase open rates, conversion rates and not annoy your customers. What kinds of segments should you create? Here are some thoughts.
The first thing to consider is that a single customer can be in multiple segments. You will need to pick an application that allows that function. Think of segmenting your list as more detailed than just hot, warm and cold leads. Segments could include regular customers, or customers that bought a particular product, or they might be opening your emails regularly or all three. The easiest way to have a single customer in all these different segments is with tagging. Tagging allows a single customer to be in multiple segments. Based on these tags you can set up emails that address their loyalty or time to restock or we miss you, in any of these cases you are addressing them directly.
The next thing you need to do is integrate your website with your email application. Yes, you can tag customers manually, but as you get more successful, this will become more cumbersome, so you’ll want to automate this process. An email application like Mailchimp will integrate with a bunch of different shopping carts and typically they are easy to install and configure. This will save a ton of work. If you aren’t selling products you can set up tagging based on which link they click or if they visit a particular landing page. Trust me that automating this process will save you a ton of time.
The other way you can segment your list is within your CRM (customer relationship management) tool. Again the same rules apply but the advantage is that the customers don’t need to be on an email list, plus, many CRM tools, like HubSpot or Salesforce, have their own email functionality. The idea is that you can craft messages based on customer interactions and not generalizing that all your customers have the same interests or fall into the same category.
Email segmentation is not as hard as it sounds. The hardest part is creating the segments initially and setting up the automation. When considering how to segment you need to know your product or products, but more importantly, you need to know your customers and how you want to interact with them. Every business is different so what may make sense to you, may not work for another business. Another thing to consider is that segments aren’t always set it and forget it. You can start to create them on the fly based on different criteria. For example, customers that haven’t purchased a particular product in over 6 months, you may run a special promotion for them to get them back or your loyal customers may get a “thank you” special. These lists are more reactionary segments based on a need to move product or re-engage with older customers.
The important thing to remember is without segments you are just doing the proverbial throwing shite against the wall thing. You ask, what about cross marketing your other products to your customer base? You can use a segment for that as well. Not every customer will be interested in every product. You can link up products based on supplemental uses or if they are related to one another. I’m sure we’ve all seen the “you might also be interested in” products when we shop online. It’s basically the same idea, but you are doing it with email.
I encourage you to think about your customers and your products then come up with segments for them. It will make your list more engaged by creating messaging that is more targeted. This will increase sales and reduce your unsubscribes which is all you can hope for from your email list.