Email Segmentation The Importance of Sending the Right Message to the Right Audience

Email Segmentation Dynamic-Content Emails

Email marketing remains to be the tool of choice for most marketers. It has the ability to build relationships with your clients, which in turn translates to improved loyalty and revenue for the company.

However, finding ways to stand out in your clients’ inboxes have continued to elude many marketers. Improving the tone and writing of your emails are always helpful, but there is a more effective way to achieve better returns through email marketing.

How so? By segmenting your email list.

Email Segmentation

A common mistake many marketers do is to send a well-crafted offer to all the names on their email lists, and hope for the best. Also known as a spray and pray campaign, this, unfortunately, does not always work out as well as most marketers hope.

Your email list is comprised of a large number of people, with different personalities, interests, and locations. While your offer may appeal to some of these people, not all of them would react favorably to it.

If you segment your email list, then it would be a different matter.

What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation is the act of separating your email list into groups. Think of it as categorizing your customers based on their interactions with your brand, their spending habits, and so on. The more data you have about them, the more accurate your segments would be.

However, as Shopify explains, you can’t optimize your emails for every single person on your email list. But you can segregate your clients by customer type, behavior, level of engagement, location, and interest.

Here’s an example: let’s pretend that you own a sports outlet. If you send out a mass email to all your clients about a soccer sale, then it is likely that the majority of them would not be excited by the prospect. But if you send your offer to a list of customers who have bought soccer equipment before or have expressed an interest in soccer, then you are more likely to get better responses.

By segmenting your list by different sports, then you are more likely to get better quality leads on your offers.

Research has also shown that this is an effective way of getting the word out about your brand.

As pointed out by Optimove, sending a general email to your entire email list can only give you an average return of $28. If you segment your groups, however, then your average return is $42. There would also be groups that are more likely to spend more than others, such as your VIP list who are expected to shell out at least $150, and active long-time customers who may spend around $79. On the other hand, your new clients may make a purchase of anywhere between $3 and $48.

Overall, the figures you will get through segmenting your email list is going to be bigger and better.

Why do you need email segmentation?

The example clearly illustrates the need for email segmentation. But if you need more convincing, here are the ways segmenting your email list can benefit your brand:

It improves customer loyalty and email reputation.

Sending impersonal, unsegmented emails can result in content that is irrelevant to your audience. This means that if they receive an email from you, your potential clients would be likely to click the unsubscribe button or to file a spam complaint. You don’t want these to happen, as these can damage your email reputation.

What you do want is for your emails to get to the right people at the right time. And by segmenting your list, you are assured that you are doing just that.

If you send them enough relevant content, then your subscriber list will come to expect that they will get something of value to them every time they receive an email from your brand. Over time, you will see that you will get a more favorable response from them.

A good example of this is if you send a follow-up email after a customer has made a purchase for a fragile item. After the purchase has been made, you can send a follow-up email that explains how to properly unbox the package to minimize the risk of damaging the item. This tells your customer that you want them to get the most out of the product and that you value their loyalty. As such, you could leave a positive impression to them.

It improves sales and engagement.

Campaign Monitor explains that segmenting your email list has a staggering benefit to your revenue — a 760% increase at that.

But how does it do that?

If you properly segment your email list – say per location – then you can effectively target your customers from the get-go. So if you are marketing New York souvenirs, you are more likely to sell them to a group that is currently in New York than in a population in Texas.

You can also take advantage of a segmented list by anticipating their needs. For example, the cold in San Francisco can be notorious at times – if you need to clear your winter line, then you can simply send an offer to your subscribers based in San Francisco!

There are other ways through which you can segment your groups – such as by gender, job title, age, and buying history. All these data give you an insight into what they are interested in. You, in turn, can customize campaigns that should see more customers open your email, click your links, and make purchases.

It helps you avoid being marked as “spam”.

According to Return Path, only 79% of emails sent by marketers reach their subscribers’ inboxes. A factor to this is the rigorous email spam laws of most countries. The American CAN-SPAM Act of 2004 does its best to protect people from unrequested and unsolicited bulk mail – and you don’t want to be part of those lists that they want to unsubscribe to.

By segmenting your emails, you are at least sure that your subscribers want to receive emails from you. They have the option to opt out at any given time, so whoever is left on the list are those who are interested in your products.

It helps you reach your target customers.

Most marketers follow a four-step rule into segmenting their emails.

First, they ask their customers for their preferences. After the clients choose their preferred categories, marketers ask for their location, and then pay a close attention to their purchasing behavior. Finally, they build onto this relationship with the client.

By focusing on these aspects, you are then assured that you are reaching your target audience. You are not sending an email to a massive email list with the hope that even 20% of them respond – you know that the people you are communicating with are interested to hear about your products the first time around.

It helps you use templated emails effectively.

There are several ways through which you can entice a potential customer to respond to your email. One of which is by using templated emails such as these that would resonate with your targeted audience. Here are some of them:

  • A welcome email – Welcome emails are effective in giving subscribers an idea of your branding and messaging. Once they sign up, they will receive a welcome email which tells them who you are, what you do, and how you can help them.
  • A trial email – This is popular among service-oriented groups, wherein they will ask subscribers to try a product for a limited time. This has the added benefit of converting your subscribers once they have tried the product.
  • A personalized email – Since you are emailing from a segmented list, then it would be easy for you to craft a message that would effectively pique your customer’s interests.  This would also give you the added benefit of enticing them to purchase more from you.


Segmenting your email list can do wonders for your brand, as it allows you to give the right people with the right message at the right time. You can boost your customer loyalty and your brand’s reputation, earn more, and also get a subscriber list of a higher value. Clearly, you only have everything to gain and nothing to lose if you use this technique.

What do you think of segmenting your email list? Let us know in the comments below.

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