Anyone who’s serious about marketing will always want to make sure that the right messages reach the right people. It also makes sense that some of your audience have different needs and priorities to the rest.
With that in mind, it’s clear that sending out a blanket message to all your email subscribers simply isn’t always going to hit the mark.
And that’s where list segmentation comes in.
What is Segmentation?
Put simply, list segmentation basically refers to splitting up your email subscriber lists into smaller “segments” based on one or more criteria. By separating your subscribers in this way, you can send the most appropriate messages and offers to a suitable audience.
Segmentation is very handy when it comes to lead nurturing campaigns as it allows you to tailor your offering to different audiences and those who may have slightly different needs. Depending on what you want to achieve and the data you have to hand, segmenting can be an easily automatable part of a larger lead nurturing program.
Why Use Segmentation?
Segmenting your lists is a very useful tool in any email marketer’s arsenal. Think of it from your own perspective – if you received a marketing message that appealed to your specific needs, wouldn’t you prefer that over a bland message that was obviously trying to please too many people at once? Everyone likes something personalised, because we all like to feel like we’re being listened to. Segmentation can also be very creative and can feature several layers of criteria to really drill down to a specific subset of your audience.
Segmentation is awesome, but don’t just take our word for it – let’s look at a few statistics:
- This article from eConsultancy reports that 74% of marketers know that targeted personalisation increases customer engagement.
- This report from DMA found that 77% of email ROI comes because of segmented and targeted campaigns.
- The same DMA report found that segmented, targeted emails generate 58% of total revenue.
- Ascend2 reports that the ability to segment lists and individualize email campaigns are the most effective personalisation tactics for 51% and 50% of marketing influencers respectively.
Segmenting by Data
Segmenting by the data you collect on your leads is the simplest way to get started if you’re a beginner. When kicking off a lead generation campaign, most only collect a name and email address, but if you collect further information, you can use that to meaningfully split your list. Some ask the subscriber to share what industry they’re in, some ask what that person’s level within the company is, some ask what size the company is; so, don’t be afraid to ask more than the bare essentials when you’re asking people to subscribe.
However, as we’ve discussed previously on this blog, asking for too much information can turn people away, so don’t be too nosey! You need to decide what information is most important to you and keep it as straightforward as possible for your readers.
Segmenting by Behaviour
Your ability to segment by behaviour will all depend on the software you are using to monitor how your leads behave and on what platforms. If you use a basic email marketing management package, it’s likely you will only be able to segment on behavioural data that is directly associated with sending email mailouts. This may limit you to segmenting by:
- People who opened or didn’t open one or more previous campaigns
- People who clicked or didn’t click links within one or more previous campaigns
- People who were or weren’t sent a given campaign
- People who replied or didn’t reply to one or more previous campaigns
- Splits depending on the date or type of any changes made to the data you hold
- The geographic location of where one or more email was opened
- The type of device and/or email client that the subscriber used to read your email
However, if you use a fully integrated customer relationship platform, you will have a much larger amount of data to segment against, as well as access to the above basic functions of course. Because CRM software draws on joined-up data from your website analytics, CRM functions, call handling and email marketing, you can segment your lists by any of the metrics that these functions record. There are far too many segmentation options to list here, but here are a few examples to highlight how in-depth you could go:
- Subscribers who clicked on a link within a previous email and spent more than a minute on your website.
- Subscribers who called you within 24 hours of an email campaign being sent that don’t have a current case open.
- Sending different communications to those in different stages of your sales funnel.
- Subscribers that fulfil certain in-depth profiling/CRM criteria
- Subscribers that have purchased certain products or services from you before
- People who have tagged you in social media posts
Targeting to Each Segment
When you are considering what groups and criteria are open to you, carefully consider how you can frame any message differently to appeal to each segment specifically.
For example; if one of the data points you collect from your subscribers is their level within the company, you may wish to approach CEOs differently to department heads, and approach those in a more directly operational role differently still. Or to give an example of a behavioural segment – following a mailout advertising a certain offer, you may wish to segment by those that opened the mail and those that didn’t. Those who didn’t show interest may need more convincing by the email subject line, but those that did show interest may only need a little extra nudge to make a purchase.
Consider your next move in the context of which segmenting options you are looking to use. Carefully consider the ideal outcome you want to encourage; the ways in which you’ve separated your audience; and how you can persuade the required behaviour in the different segments. How do these three aspects tie together to play directly into your bigger marketing plans?
A First Time for Everyone
If you’ve never used segmenting before, the best way to start is to read up on what is possible and simply give it a go. You may wish to start with simple things like sending out a slightly different message to those in different industries or sending a follow-up prompt to those who didn’t open or respond to a particular campaign.
You may find it useful to run smaller campaigns to become accustomed to how segmenting can work for you before you dive into a larger lead nurturing program. The more of your own data you can gather, the better you can learn about the specific areas that your audience respond well to, which can help you on your way to targeting segments further in your larger campaigns.