Nobody wants to be the one who emails the same message to their entire audience regardless of their past engagement with previous emails. It’s important to get it right, because email marketing is the cornerstone of marketing automation. Personalization is critical. So is delivering relevant content that interests your audience with subject lines that attract attention.

List Segmentation is a great way to split up your database so you can run more effective campaigns or tailor your message to a specific audience. Subdividing your list or database into groups with similar characteristics, needs, or interests is key here. This process will allow you to build groups of customers or prospects around relevance and engagement.

Start with buckets

Place your contacts into buckets based on their conversions or content interests. For example, as soon as a lead completes a purchase, you can tag them as a customer. If they make another purchase, you could then tag them as a repeat customer. Similarly, you can tag a lead or prospect as a warm lead once they complete a goal such as downloading a whitepaper.

Some common tags include:

Lead: a prospect or someone you are trying to engage
Customer: someone who has made a purchase, or is a current/past client
Partner: someone who facilitates engagement in an indirect way. A friendly. 

Hot, warm and cold leads

You can further segment your leads by the content that has appealed to them in the past. For example, you can decide how “hot” a lead is based on their engagement with your emails:

Hot lead: opened an email within the last 3 months.
Warm lead: haven’t opened an email within the last 3-6 months.
Cold lead:  haven’t opened an email over the last 6-12 months.

These breakpoints will often vary by industry and use-case, so be sure to adapt these according to your business.

The communication cycle

You can further segment your leads by looking at how long they’ve been in your communication cycle to give you an idea of message relevance. You need to have different strategies depending on where they are in the cycle. Emailing New Leads first (because they are more likely to deliver a higher open rate) is a common strategy. You can also use Marketing Automation to drive deeper engagement with your target audiences through targeted messaging cycles.

New Leads (within last 60 days) send more detailed content with more frequent messaging.
Not-so-New Leads (within the last 6 months) send exciting, value-driven messaging.
Old Leads (older than 6 months) time to say good-bye.

Focus your messaging

Companies with more than one product or solution can group their leads by interest, identifying which solution they were interested in to be really focused. You can base this kind of segmentation on several different criteria, such as:

  • Conversion history
  • Website page views
  • Consumed content
  • Past behaviour (messaging they have previously responded to) or,
  • Set up a subscription management center to let audiences decide what they want to receive from you.

List segmentation is a great way to start building your marketing automation strategy while keeping your email reputation intact. If used correctly, it will ensure that email remains a vital way to maintain a trusting, productive relationship with your customers while driving success for your business. Email may no longer be a standalone way to reach audiences, but it still has its place in the modern marketing stack. Not bad for one of the internet’s oldest mediums!

If you need help on best ways to segment your email lists, contact us today.