Segmentation in e-mail marketing: doing it effectively


The term segmentation gets a lot of attention in e-mail marketing. You've been told or read more than once that you absolutely must segment and if you do segment, you'll see better results. Segmenting is indeed very effective, but only if you do it...effectively.

The first thing to ask yourself is why and how you want to segment. Is it to have more personal customer interactions? Is it to improve conversion? Is it to define lead nurturing strategies? Is it to do all of that? Your lists can be segmented in various ways, depending on your goals.

Selligent Interactive Marketing even allows you to segment your lists, based upon your own data sets and fields and previous cross-channel interaction input.

When looking at e-mail marketing in general, some basic segmentation criteria are:

  • Purchases
  • Recent visits
  • Demographics
  • Geography
  • Customer size: big clients, small clients
  • User preferences
  • Sharing behaviour
  • Social media influence
  • Active subscribers
  • Inactive subscribers
  • Pre-defined triggers
  • Buying behaviour

The list can go on and on. If you have the data then you can segment based on that data. Selligent Interactive Marketing allows you to segment depending on your needs and data. The better targeted your campaigns are, the more likely you are to get higher open rates.

Segmentation enables easier targeting and personalized relevance

The same message just won't resonate as effectively as your list grows and you are speaking to a more and more diverse number of clients and prospects. In fact, you don't talk to clients the same way you talk to prospects do you? There's a prime example of why segmenting is so effective in e-mail marketing.

Segmentation can increase relevancy and engagement because it makes it easier for you to target your message to the right people and give that group the specific information they are looking for. It helps you create more value and relevance through a personalized approach, a must in a world where people simple get too much information as you can read in this post.

Segmentation requires and integrated, systematic and cross-channel approach

However, segmentation can backfire if you are not using the right kind of solution to ensure that the segmenting you are doing is up to date. For example, you are going to send out a "winback" e-mail to a segment of your list comprised of less active subscribers who have in the past purchased from you. If the list segmentation is not updated with shopping data and maintained, you could end up sending that discount offer to a number of active clients who've just bought your service or product at the regular rate.

Let's now take an example illustrating this same potential problem from the point of view of a consumer. Imagine you want to buy something special for a "special" person at your favourite online store. Let's pretend that purchase is something you would never buy for yourself. Once you make the purchase, you find yourself segmented to a list of people who like to buy these kinds of products and you keep getting offers every week for some similar products. I doubt it's going to take very long for the subscriber to unsubscribe. What's worse is that you may never even know why they left and thus, not even be aware something is broken.

These are just a few simple examples of what can happen when segmentation is not done in an integrated way but they do happen.

Yes, segmentation is extremely powerful in e-mail marketing, but only if you have the automated technology in place to ensure that your segmentation is kept up to date and that you can segment and personalize in an advanced way, taking the cross-channel behaviour of people into account. Without that, you are risking becoming irrelevant or even outright annoying to the people subscribing to your list.  

Do you want to engage the multi-channel consumer?

Today's customer is cross-channel and he/she is at the centre of sales and marketing.

Communication channels depend on the consumer and marketing is about engaging the cross-channel customer and prospect throughout integrated dialogues that are driven by his/her buying journey, preferences, triggers, signals and behaviour.

Discover why your business should move to an integrated marketing approach step by step and how.

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