Using email segmentation for better open and click rates

August 20, 2014
Cutting fruit

Segmentation is an effective way to tailor your email messaging to individual groups within your overall audience, allowing you to create more impactful, relevant messaging and achieve better open and click rates. Most email service providers (ESPs) offer the ability to conduct pretty advanced segmentation. Tools ranging from Mailchimp to Responsys give marketers a range of segmentation options, from engagement levels to geographic location to date added, so you can set up tracks that are tailored to the needs of each audience.

Let’s start by taking a look at 5 basic segments you can start out with:

  1. Prospects. These are unengaged, new leads. Since they have yet to purchase your products or services, focus on recent promotions and discounts you might be offering. Also, make sure your messaging to this segment focuses on the value or benefit you’re offering (as non-users they’re likely to be unfamiliar with your product or service).
  2. Cart abandonment. Treat these users as highly motivated prospects. They haven’t made a purchase yet, but they have shown you what they are interested in. Remarket to these users immediately with a stream of messages that will hopefully lead to a conversion. A typical implementation would include three messages over seven days that:
    1. ask the user if there was a problem checking out,
    2. ask the user if they need help with the product they’re interested in or if they have any additional questions, and
    3. offer a discount for the abandoned cart product.
  3. New customers. Highlight what they’ve just bought, and continue to introduce them to complementary products or services. Focus on developing these customers into repeat purchasers by showing them your most popular products in the product category that they made a purchase in. And, as with prospects, remind them of the value proposition you’re delivering.
  4. Unengaged customers. These are old customers who haven’t engaged with your product or services in a while. You can experiment with promotions and discounts, especially if there’s an upsell opportunity. If they were in the middle of a purchase and abandoned the cart, remind them why they entered the purchase process to begin with. You can also try letting this segment know how other customers are using your product.
  5. Engaged customers. For this segment, hold the discounts and promotions. Instead, highlight new features and upcoming releases. You can also leverage these users as product evangelists, giving them the tools and motivation to get their friends involved.

Advanced Segmentation

You can continue segmenting and targeting your messaging even further. Age and gender are quick, easy dissections. Geographic segmentation allows you to send targeted messages to specific locations, giving you the opportunity to playfully reference things like local landmarks, weather, or sports teams.

Even beyond that, you can continually capture specific data – through surveys or contests, for example – building out customer profiles in stages (this is called “progressive profiling”). If you can include website behavior as another data point, you can also start to uncover customers’ behavioral preferences (which don’t always match their stated preferences, contrary to what you might expect).

That’s it for now! If you’d like to get started with your own segmentation efforts, get in touch. We’d be happy to help.

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