Why you should be segmenting your email marketing lists

There are a number of email marketing best practices that marketers use without even a second thought. Testing campaigns, including an unsubscribe link, and placing a call to action, are all best practices that the email marketing community consistently use and love.

But what about segmentation? A lot of marketers aren’t aware of how segmentation works, and why it’s so necessary. Segmentation can drastically improve your engagement levels and can even help push the contact through the conversion funnel towards a sale.

According to Marketing Sherpa 32% of marketers say segmenting their database is one of their organisations top objectives in the next 12 months. Furthermore 52% of marketers say they have a great need to improve their database segmentation. So what next?

Read on to find out why segmentation is important to email marketing:

1. Your customers are not the same kind of person

You’ll know by now, that there is no one-size-fits-all customer. There are usually ideal customers, but each one reacts to marketing differently.

For example, let’s say you have a bike shop. If a prospective customer walked through the door and wanted to find more about your helmet selection, you wouldn’t show them the latest biking gloves would you?

It’s the same for email marketing. Your blanket campaign won’t be as effective as sending a targeted campaign based on their specific needs.

If you haven’t already, create buyer personas. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a typical customer.

Back to the bike shop example, your buyer personas may consist of a professional racer, a weekend biker and a beginner. Each of these people will require a different service and product offers.

Segmentation allows you to send content based on their needs. So you will able to send the latest helmet offers to customer A, and the latest glove selection to customer B.

2. Your prospects will be at different stages of the sales cycle

Your email database will be made up of contacts that are at a variety of stages of communication with your business. This means they will require different types of content depending on their stage.

Let’s go back to the bike shop.

Customer A has decided to take up cycling as a weekend hobby, and has no knowledge of the latest biking trends. Customer B is a seasoned professional; he has purchased from you in the past, and has redeemed previous offers from your marketing campaigns.

Customer B is more likely to purchase from you than Customer A. Your email to Customer B should cater to his position in the sales cycle, rather than a blanket email which will cover Customer A’s needs as well.

3. Segmentation improves your reputation

When you send targeted campaigns, your audience is naturally more receptive as the content is more engaging. For example, when drafting an email with Customer A in mind, you’ll have a wider understanding of the person, and their actions.

Over time, the contacts will begin to understand that the emails you send are relevant and interesting, and as such your reputation and brand credibility will increase.

Think about how you react to your own email inbox. The emails you are more likely to open are those that include content that always appeals to you.

4. Segmentation achieves better results

Targeted emails results in more clicks, and higher contact engagement levels. As your engagement increases so do your conversion rates and the contacts will take your desired action. Here are some stats that show how great segmentation is:

-    Jupiter Research found that relevant emails drive 18 times more revenue than basic broadcast emails.

-    Lead generation emails generate an 8% click through rate compared to a general email send which generates a click through rate of around 3%.

-    Lyris’ Annual Email Optimizer report found that 39% of marketers who segmented their lists achieved higher open rates,

-     28% of marketers using segmentation experience lower unsubscribe rates,

-     And 24% experience better delivery.


At the top of this post, we said that 52% of marketers needed to improve their segmentation techniques – this is probably because it isn’t easy without sophisticated technology.

Also, without great content your segmentation techniques will not work. Take time to tailor your content to the contact’s needs and to each persona.

As people become more accustomed to marketing messages, you’ll need to say something in your campaign that is different and stands out, which is how segmentation can become a really handy tool.

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