Segmenting Your Subscriber List in a Smart Way - FireDrum Email Marketing

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7 Ways To Segment Your Email List

Managing Email Memberships Series Pt. 2
It’s a known fact that segmenting your email subscribers will increase opens and click-throughs rates across the board. Think of it this way – segmentation is a way of personalization. You’re personalizing each email message to fit a specific buyer’s interest when you segment them into separate lists/groups. This all sounds great, but how do you go about categorizing your email members? What’s the best and most effective approach?
In this article, we’re sharing our best list segmentation tips. Keep in mind, not all of these strategies may work for your business. Test, analyze, and survey your subscriber base to find out what works best.

Segmenting by Email Engagement

Segmenting your subscribers by engagement is an easy but effective method. Review your account to see who has opened your last few emails. Better yet, see who has clicked-through. Separating engaged and unengaged subscribers will help you send content that speaks to each user.
Imagine we’re running a candy store. After we separate our engaged users, we can design and send a newsletter thanking them for their loyalty. Attaching a discount code or coupon would make sense in this situation. For unengaged users, it would make more sense to send them an email asking if they’re still interested in receiving promotions. You can also ask questions like “would you like to receive our newsletter less frequently?”
To keep your campaigns as relevant as possible for your subscribers, we recommend organizing these lists at least once a month.

Segmenting by Demographics

If you have the data available, segmentation by demographic data is an easy way to push relevant content to your members. Separate each subscriber by their gender, age, professional title, income level, or income area (reliant on zip code) to send them relatable and relevant emails.
Although some of this data may not be pertinent to your company, the more information you collect the better. Segmentation is all about the specifics, and having this data available will help you form better campaigns.
Take, for example, a sports clothing company. Demographics can come in handy when creating your automated campaigns and regular newsletters. You can personalize each newsletter with clothing relating to their age, gender, and budget (income based on location).
To collect this data, update your website subscription forms with demographic specific fields. FireDrum’s form integrations have the capability to do this as well. Need help building your forms? Contact our email support specialists.

Segmenting by Location

There are endless ways to use and collect geographical information, so you must analyze and determine what details are most useful to your business. Some qualifying questions you may ask yourself:

  • Do you have large price range differences? If yes, you may want to collect zip codes to target wealthier areas with the higher ticket options.
  • Are you a local or national business? If you’re a local company, collecting full addresses could help you send more personalized content to each neighborhood. If you’re a national business, collecting city and state information can help send relevant content to each location.
  • Do you send out time-based emails and promotions? Collecting city and state information will help you determine the best time to send each newsletter.
  • Do you host events or advertise location-specific deals? Collecting city, state, and zip code detail will help you tailor content based on their place of dwelling.

To give you some perspective, let’s imagine that we own several hotels around the world. Advertising hotels in Arizona to Arizonans won’t give us much response. Instead, we can design and send an email to Arizonans that highlight the best getaway hotels near beaches.

Segmenting by Past Purchases

If your X-cart system has the ability to search and pull emails from past purchases, use this to your advantage! The history you compile can help you design emails that display product accessories, similar items, and recommended purchases based on their investment.
Be aware that not all eCommerce stores should send out past-purchase emails (i.,e, we wouldn’t send emails advertising our email marketing software to people who already use out email marketing software). Past purchase emails are more for retail businesses that offer multiple products.
Let’s imagine that we’re a pet store that offers food, toys, and general pet care products. If I create a list of people who have purchased a dog bed before, I can feel confident designing and sending an email that features dog covers, mats, and even collars.
To continue to push the most relevant content to your customer base, we recommend sorting through your X-cart system twice a month. Gather the latest purchase interests and create more personalized campaigns each time.

Segmenting by Behavior

Gathering user behavior from your website and campaigns is an intelligent way to learn and target emails based on your subscriber’s interests. Monitor what your users are clicking through to, what actions they perform once on your site, and then send them content that would relate to their actions.
Access campaign details through our reporting tool and user actions through individual member reports. Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, and BeamPulse can provide valuable insight to actions on the page, time on page, content engaged with, and so forth.
We recommend dividing your users based on the data you found into the following categories:

  • Pages/product pages that people visited
  • Pages/product pages that people visited, but didn’t engage with
  • Length of time that people engaged with a page
  • Products that people compared with another
  • Videos or animated gifs that people engaged with
  • Length of time that people engaged with a video
  • Unengaged members

To help you paint a picture, pretend you run a printing company. You divide your users into a few categories – two of them being unengaged members and members who engaged with a video about custom poster printing for longer than 20 seconds. Creating an email centered around discounted custom poster printing might appeal to your video watchers, while a message encompassing your various printing services would make more sense for your unengaged members.

Segmenting by Interest

Give your subscriber’s the opportunity to tell you what they love. Segmenting by interest is tricky but effective method if executed correctly. Publish your website signup forms with custom interest fields that automatically filter into specific lists.
For some clarity, picture that you’re organizing the email newsletters for a lifestyle blog. Some categories (interests) that you may create include food and dieting, parenting, relationships, and home organization. For each category, customize a sending that features only those topics. When you allow users to define these interests, you can lower the risk of unsubscribes and spam reports.

Segmenting by Business Type

Depending on your industry, segmenting by business type may be a successful way to connect with your members. By knowing what industry you’re advertising to, you can curate content and design your email based on interest and current news.
Some ways you can segment your subscribers are:

  • eCommerce store vs brick and mortar store
  • Chain company or local business
  • Specific industry type

To gather this information, ask for detail on your website forms (asking for business name/type) or conduct research via business email address.
Take, for example, an insurance company. Creating and sending an email that highlights franchise theft protection to a chain restaurant and another email focused on Small business identity theft protection to a local diner would prove more effective in the long run.

Making the Segmentation Process Easier

Segmenting your existing subscribers may be a daunting endeavor, but new categorizing new signups shouldn’t be a task at all. Our custom HTML forms allow you to create, edit, and add-on to your form without having to know any code. Simply select the categories that are most important to your business and copy/paste the code that is generated. A savvier way to integrate customized forms is using one of the FireDrum form plugins. Our simple WordPress plugin only requires an API code, while our more modern tools (Privi and WuFoo forms), will need your design input and an API code.

Closing Notes

Segmenting your email lists is an effective method to increase opens and click-throughs. Some of the ideas we shared in this article may not work for your business, so be sure analyze and test the results of each campaign before getting too invested. Need help segmenting your lists? Reach out to our team of email experts for assistance and advice.


Need ideas on how to increase email subscribers? Read our first blog from the Managing Email Memberships series, “7 Creative Ways to Increase Email Signups.”

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