If your ecommerce business has clients across the US or across the globe, you may find that a one-size-fits-all marketing message doesn’t work. You want to offer same-day shipping to people in Arizona, the state where you operate, but you don’t want to email that out to all your email subscribers and risk confusing your customers in Massachusetts.
The solution lies in email marketing segmentation, in which you create precise email campaigns for target customers from your broader mailing list. In the case of your shipping offer, you can send a different email newsletter to people based on their geographic location. Here is what email segmentation is and some strategies you can use for your ecommerce business.
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What is email segmentation?
Email segmentation is the practice of breaking down your overall email mailing list into smaller groups so you can send targeted emails. Through the use of email marketing tools, you can create segments based on elements such as demographic data, subscriber behavior, or a customer’s purchase history.
Unlike non-segmented campaigns, which send the same message to everyone on your email list, segmented emails allow you to efficiently send custom emails that target the needs and pain points of specific groups within your list. An email segmentation strategy bridges the gap between sending individual emails and a mass one to everyone on your list.
How can email segmentation benefit your business?
Email segmentation can help you connect with different target audiences that have unique needs and pain points, which are frustrations that they’re turning to your business to solve. If customers feel like they’re being spoken to directly, that increases the chances they’ll connect with your brand, and maybe even make a purchase. Email segmentation can also help you gain new customers by offering a discount code to subscribers who are first-time purchasers, win back customers who haven’t recently made a purchase, share location-specific deals, or alert someone who is browsing and hasn’t checked out with an abandoned cart email.
9 email segmentation strategies
- New subscribers
- B2B vs. B2C
- Geographic location
- Demographic information
- Loyal customers
- Inactive customers
- Less engaged subscribers
- People who have abandoned their carts
- Additional campaigns
Email marketers have developed a number of segmentation strategies to deliver custom messages to targeted groups as part of their overall digital marketing efforts. Here are some attributes with which you can create segments.
1. New subscribers
You can create a mailing list of brand new subscribers to send a welcome email. When new people sign up to receive communications from your business, they enter your sales funnel, but they may not yet be ready to make a purchase. A welcome email can engage these new subscribers and nudge them forward on their customer journey.
2. B2B vs. B2C
Your business-to-business (B2B) clients may care about fast turnaround times, while your business-to-consumer (B2C) clients may care more about affordability. The right message for a B2C client may focus on low prices, while an effective message to a B2B client might focus on the efficiency and responsiveness of your service.
3. Geographic location
When you segment subscribers based on geographic location, you can sell them relevant items more easily. A company selling tires might create audience segments based on who lives in snowy or rainy areas and who lives in dry areas. Ecommerce sites that sell apparel might pitch swimsuits to warm-weather clients and sweaters to cold-weather clients.
4. Demographic information
Demographic segmentation may be based on a customer’s geographic data, age, gender, or marital status. You may not have a lot of demographic information on customers if your list is an opt-in one or if it collates information from their purchase history. In those cases, you will have to ask them to supply demographic information about themselves, which you can do through surveys or interviews.
5. Loyal customers
You can thank your most loyal customers for their business by launching targeted campaigns that offer a coupon code that’s expressly for them. This can set your business apart from rivals who direct all of their offers toward new customers.
6. Inactive customers
You can also use discounts to woo back inactive customers who haven’t made a purchase in some time. Create email segments that target these past customers and offer them an incentive to re-engage.
7. Less engaged subscribers
You can create email segments based on how a recipient interacted with past messages. This might mean segmenting a group that only occasionally opens your emails, and sending them messages with an especially bold subject line in order to entice them to open a new email and engage with your content. Your email generation software can provide reports on how often a user opens your emails.
8. People who have abandoned their carts
You can gently alert people who have put items into their virtual carts but haven’t checked out that they haven’t yet completed their purchase. This can encourage users to navigate back to your site to finish their order—but take care to use positive language rather than scolding a person for not completing a purchase.
9. Additional campaigns
You can boost customer engagement by inviting your subscribers to join your other mailing lists. For instance, your apparel company could create a separate email list that is dedicated to its footwear offerings. You can automatically enroll subscribers who’ve previously bought footwear from you. Or, if you’d prefer to let subscribers opt in, include an interactive sign-up form in the body of an existing email.
3 best practices for email segmentation
When properly executed, email segmentation can be a highly effective marketing strategy, since each target audience in your customer base is getting a message that addresses their specific attributes. Here are three tips for getting the most out of your segmented email marketing campaigns:
1. Collect data on your customers
To effectively group customers into segments, you need to understand who they are. You may choose to use customer relationship management(CRM) software to track client interactions and purchase histories. You can also request client data on an email sign-up form, or allow clients to opt in to future emails on specific topics. Home cleaning specialist Handy, for example, asks its email subscribers to respond to an embedded interactive survey. When a person ticks a survey box, they’re added to a targeted email list that is custom tailored to their buyer profile.
2. Deliver useful content
Once you’ve segmented your subscriber list, now you must create an engaging newsletter to hold their attention. Provide greater value to your subscribers by creating a newsletter full of product tips, industry news, and customer success stories rather than messages that read like ads. You can even embed video, audio content, or interactive modules to keep things interesting. Think of your marketing email as a blog post that gets delivered to a subscriber’s inbox.
3. Take advantage of email marketing tools
The simplest way to create email marketing segments is to use tools offered by email service providers, including well-known brands like MailChimp, Sendinblue, and Shopify Email. These services allow you to set up multiple email segments that you’ll use for both current and future campaigns. You can automate email send times based on open rate data showing the times of day someone is most likely to open your emails. You can also use them to add custom elements to your email newsletter design, with different layouts going to different marketing segments.
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Email segmentation FAQ
How can I measure the success of my segmented email campaigns?
Is it possible to segment email lists based on subscriber behavior?
Yes, most email service providers let you create segmented email lists based on criteria like open rate and clicks on links.
Yes, it’s possible, and many businesses do. The most reliable way to learn a customer’s geographic location is to look at the addresses they put on past orders. You can also run an email campaign to ask customers or potential customers to fill out a form that includes their location.
Is it possible to use email segmentation to target specific geographic locations?
How can I automate email segmentation?
You can use an email marketing tool or a CRM tool to automatically generate segmented client lists based on factors like demographic data, geographic location, customer behavior, or engagement with past emails. You can then send out email campaigns to these auto-generated target groups. The emails themselves can be sent out manually, or they can be sent on an automated schedule using your email marketing software.