Three Tips for Using Email Segmentation to Boost Retention

by Sarah Patrick on Dec 5, 2016 1:00:00 PM Digital Marketing

Are you using your email list to its full potential? As a digital business, if you don’t have a strong email strategy, you’re missing out on some huge opportunities for engaging and retaining customers and making sales. In fact, in terms of ROI, email drives the best results of all marketing tactics, even more so than social media.

A perfectly timed, highly personalized email is one of the most effective ways to get your customers’ attention. But, if your email doesn’t feel relevant to them, customers will hit unsubscribe — or worse — mark your email as spam.

The solution is to segment your list and send highly targeted emails, but that’s easier said than done. In fact, according to a new survey from Clutch, a B2B research firm, targeting and segmentation ranks as marketers’ biggest challenge.

But it’s well worth putting in the work to get it right. According to research from MailChimp, segmented email campaigns have 14% higher open rates and get 63% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

Not sure where to start with segmentation? Here are three tips that can help.

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Think Beyond Demographics

One of the simplest ways to segment your audience is by demographics such as gender, age, or location. But this is just the beginning. Effective segmentation goes well beyond this and involves breaking down your email audience based on personas, interests, needs, habits, and behaviors.

Other ways to segment include:

  • Where they are in your funnel (Are they a lead or a repeat customer?)
  • Email behavior (Do they open your emails? Click your links?)
  • Shopping habits/purchases
  • Interests
  • Where/how they opted in to your email list
  • Incomplete actions or abandoned carts
  • New subscribers

This list is just the beginning, but you get the point. By getting specific about these and other characteristics, you’ll be ready to create and send emails your subscribers actually care about.

Get Personal

When we talk about sending personalized emails, we don’t just mean using subscribers’ first names.

In fact, some research shows customers actually respond negatively to emails that use a first name, especially when the message is from a company they don’t recognize. On the other hand, emails that are targeted based on past purchasing patterns got a positive response from the vast majority of customers studied.

Use personalized segments to suggest products they might like based on prior purchases and avoid promoting things that they’ll have no interest in. If someone has only purchased baby clothes from you, you’re not going to get results sending them an email about socket wrenches.

Personalized emails should make recipients feel like the message was written for them, not just a another person on a distribution list with thousands of people. That will make them more likely to interact with your message, and, more importantly, convert.

Make It Timely

Consider where and when a segment is likely to read your email and consider targeting accordingly. If you’re after B2B customers, an email that lands in their inbox as they’re getting to the office for the day could be effective. People who have a history of late night shopping might respond to an email sent later in the day.

Research also shows that sending birthday emails — especially when combined with a special discount — can be the most effective email you send, with a 481% higher transaction rate than other messages!

Lastly, timely emails that are triggered by behavior — like a reminder about an abandoned cart — can be highly effective. One study found that almost half of cart abandonment emails are opened, and more than a third of clicks result in a purchase.

Bringing It All Together

The best way to grow your email list — and retain them once they’ve subscribed — is to provide value. According to Kayla Lewkowicz of Litmus, “Email marketers should help showcase fantastic, helpful content or a great product that adds value.”

Not all content will be helpful to everyone and a valuable product to one person might be useless to another. For a truly effective email marketing focus on intelligently segmenting your email list and crafting tailored content for each group. By sending the right email, to the right person, at the right time, you’ll provide value to your customers and be in a better position to meet your email marketing goals.

Sarah Headshot - Clutch.jpgSarah Patrick is a senior content developer and marketer at Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC. She’s the digital marketing lead, focused on developing data-driven resources about social media, email marketing, content marketing, and marketing automation.





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