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The Why & How of Email Marketing List Segmentation

Since all people are different in terms of certain characteristics, behavior and preferences, it makes sense to send different groups different information which is specific to them.

When it comes to email marketing, this is referred to as email list segmentation. There are virtually limitless ways to segment your email contact list into more homogenous sub-groups.

Some segmentations to consider:

  1. Customers/Clients vs. Prospects

  2. Purchase Frequency

  3. Monetary Spend

  4. Geo-targeting

  5. Demographic characteristics (male/female, age, occupation, income)

  6. Other habits/preferences

From a mechanical perspective, how do you go about segmenting your email list? In this article, we would like to highlight two ways to break down your list:

  1. You manually divide up the contacts into specific groupings.

  2. You let the customer’s actions divide up contacts into specific groupings.

The first one is fairly obvious, but how do we let the customer’s actions guide segmentation? Here are a couple ways to make this happen:

  1. Purchase behavior in your online store.

  2. Responses to email surveys or polls. (see how this works in this video).

  3. If website visitors download a free offer such as a whitepaper, guide, ebook, checklist or worksheet, provided they first enter their email address to get offer. (see example here).

Once you have identified how exactly you would like to divide up your email list, you next will create the method by which you will make that segmentation possible.

Be careful when using email list segmentation so that you do not end up with too many conflicting email lists. If you go too far down this rabbit hole, you may end up with trouble, such as worthless or overlapping email groupings. One suggestion would be to always start from the main list and only segment it once. If you wish to further segment list, start with the original list and only go through one iteration of segmentation.

Here is a quick checklist to guide you through the whole process:

  1. Decide what segments you would like to divide your email list into.

  2. Choose the mechanism you will use to divide your contacts (or divide them manually).

  3. Determine how you want to communicate to your segmented email list or lists. Will you educate your customers on something or make a special offer or recommendation?

  4. Create focused material to send to segmented list via an email (or automatic email series). See more about creating an automated email series in this video.

One interesting side note about automated emails: Did you know that the open rates on automated emails are significantly higher than standard emails like e-newsletters? To learn more about email automation strategies, click here to download a recent presentation deck.

By: Erik Bunaes, President, Endorphin Advisors LLC and Constant Contact Certified Local Expert


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