July 2016 - Hytner

Email Marketing: The Art of Segmenting Leads


One of the most overlooked marketing strategies is email segmentation. Although misunderstood by many, it’s in fact an essential part of email marketing. By segmenting your email leads you are ensuring that the right campaign is sent to the right audience.
Take SwayChic for example, a women’s fashion site who segmented their email lists based on buying habits and high-engagement hours during the day and managed to increase open rate by 40%.

What makes email marketing so powerful?

The idea that email marketing is more targeted than generic ad campaigns is arguably what makes it such a strong form of marketing.  Segmentation – the practise of categorising your email lists into groups based on different characteristics, helps you as a company speak more intelligently and directly with your leads giving them what they want and need.

Why you need to segment your emails?

Mainly, because your leads aren’t all the same. They won’t have the same interests, be in the same industry or live in the same geographic location, therefore, you can’t treat these people the same. Unfortunately, in email marketing one size does not fit all.

How to segment leads strategically?

For each one your marketing campaigns, the key is to create messages that support your business and its objectives then target them to the appropriate audience.

There are no written rules to how you should leverage your data for list segmentation. However there are things that every business should consider…

segmented emails to target audience

Any quantifiable characteristics of a person such as their age, gender, location, job, and salary are base level segments. They help you group leads together without getting into the nitty gritty details such as interest and purchasing patterns.

Just by segmenting their lists into male and female, the clothing brand, Johnny Cupcakes, saw 123% more conversions and a 141% increase in revenue for each email campaign.

Use demographics as a base to form groups and an infrastructure for your list segmentation:

  • Location – If your business operates in certain towns or areas, location is a significant influence in the purchasing decision process or, your campaign wants to target people attending a specific event.
  • Gender – If your business is oriented more towards a specific gender then it would be in your best interest to have separate lists for males and females. You can then take advantage of the festive seasons to send campaigns to the opposite gender.
  • Industry/Job Title – Different industries will have different needs, just like different job roles.
  • Age/Life Cycle – Considering age is essential; 18-30 year olds will be at different stages of their lives than 50+ which means they will have different interests and needs.

How will lead segmentation help me?

List segmentation works because it provides a personalised experience via a mass medium. Instead of generating generic content you can craft it based around their wants and needs and not have to hope it will appeal to a majority as is usually with other marketing methods such as TV, social media and radio.

1. Increase open rate

No matter how compelling the content inside is, if people do not open your emails they won’t be buying what you’re selling. When you target segmented lists, you can send tailored subject lines to specific groups and entice them to click.

2. Increase click-through rates and conversion rates

List segmentation helps you to send your leads content that they actually want to see or are interested in. High quality content followed by a strong call-to-action and a motivated customer, the next-step is a no-brainer.
If you need anymore convincing look at HubSpot, they used list segmentation as part of their marketing strategy and hit a massive 16.4% email click-through rate – that is 583% better than the email marketing industry standard of 2.4%.

3. Decrease unsubscribers

Constant Contact polled people to try and figure out why they unsubscribe from emails, 56% said because the content wasn’t relevant to them. Which is why the segmentation of your lists is key to ensure that leads only receive information that is relevant to them.