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What is Email List Segmentation and Do I Need to Do it?

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So, what exactly is list segmentation?

List segmentation is nothing more than dividing your subscriber list into categories so that you can target them specifically with your email campaigns and promotions.

Further, segmenting your list will give you an honest and clear picture of who your customers are.

Let's clarify something before we move on: list segmentation isn't just for email. Anything that has a subscriber list, including SMS or fax marketing, can benefit from segmenting their lists.

Why do I need to segment my email list?

Understanding who your customers are is paramount for success. Why? Without knowing what their interests are or motivations are for buying from you, then you'll be promoting yourself blindly.

A great marketer knows whom they're selling to, and uses that information to their advantage.

For example, if you segmented your email list so that your top customers are highlighted, then you'll be able to send them a special promotion thanking them for their continued loyalty. Or, if you find that you have a bunch of subscribers that haven't responded, clicked or acted on your emails for a while, then send them an offer they can't possibly refuse.

What can be segmented?

  • Demographics: age, race, gender, ethnicity, education, occupation, income
  • Purchase history
  • Which products purchased
  • Recent activity or inactivity
  • Customer location: zip code, town, county or state
  • New subscribers (say, less than 3 months)
  • Loyal subscribers (older than 3 months)
  • Average purchase price
  • Open rates
  • Clickthrough rates

Where can I get this information about my subscribers?

There are two very simple ways to gather this valuable and critical information about your subscribers.

First, you can gather this data from your customers when they opt-in for your emails. An email best practice, however, is to require as little information from them as possible when they first sign up. Then, automatically set up a profile on your website that allows them to adjust their email preferences and also add more information so that you can send them targeted information.

Second, conduct a market research survey. Ask your subscribers to provide optional information about themselves so that it helps you serve them better.

You'll be surprised at the amount of information you'll get.

Third, good, old-fashioned Internet research. Google your list. Look through the Yellow Pages or 411 for more information about your subscribers.

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