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An Email List of One: A True Story

Email marketing has evolved from its beginnings, and continues to be one of the most effective, if not the most effective tool in any organization’s marketing toolbox. If you are focused on selling to business-to-business organizations or to individuals with middle class (or above) type incomes, these people all use email. They use it a lot. In fact, I’d argue email is likely the preferred method of communication used by this group of people.

Regal PB&J

The majority of email marketers rely on the email “newsletter” as their primary form of email correspondence. The mass email newsletter is like the peanut butter and jelly sandwich of the culinary arts. While it has its utilitarian purposes, it’s the most rudimentary tool of email marketing and may, if improperly applied, offend the refined palettes of more discerning customers.

List Segmentation is the Fine Art of Email Marketing

Not all audiences are alike, and not all of your audience is homogenous. They have different interests, needs, tastes and situations. Here’s a true story to highlight list segmentation.

There is a successful graphic design and web development firm run by a woman we’ll call Lauren. She has done work with a very large technology company we’ll call Tech Company. However, Lauren sees opportunity and wants to get more business, maintain and develop this relationship, and make sure Tech Company knows about the full range of Lauren’s capabilities and services.

Think outside the box

Lauren comes up with a plan to achieve this. First, she selects several of her firm’s recent projects for other clients that used the services Lauren wants Tech Company to see. She writes up nice descriptions of the projects and how they benefited her past clients.

Then, she creates an email newsletter including this listing of specific projects. Finally, Lauren selects the email list which will receive this “email newsletter” and hits send.

Very nice. A newsletter to a client. The hook to the story? Lauren sent this particular email to an email “list” that contains just one contact; her contact at Tech Company. An email list of one person.

You know what? This email worked and helped to solidify the relationship and win Lauren’s firm new business from Tech Company. This email worked because when Lauren’s contact opened up the email, which appeared to be a regular email newsletter presumably sent to a wide audience, she thinks “hey, this is really speaking to me and my specific needs!”

An email list of one might be an extreme example of list segmentation, but it emphasizes my point that to be effective (and worth the time, cost and effort), you must segment your contact lists and send messages targeted at homogenous groups of contacts.

Are you using list segmentation? It’s easy with Constant Contact’s Contacts 2.0 tool for database management.

Would you like to see Constant Contact in action? Please request a live demo below.

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About the Author: Erik Bunaes is the exclusive Constant Contact Authorized Local Expert serving the Tech Valley and Upstate New York regions. He is also president of Endorphin Advisors, a management consulting company offering business development and digital marketing solutions to organizations seeking innovation, expansion and excellence. Connect with Erik on


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