11 Effective Email Marketing Segmentation Strategies to Try Today

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Email marketing is one of the most effective business tools, period.

The reason?

People like receiving regular updates about brands and companies they love.

In fact, marketers have reported an increase in their email open rates when they used email personalization.

With that in mind, it’s difficult to understand why only 30% of online brands utilize this tactic.

Fortunately, after reading this post, you won’t be one of the 70% of marketers who miss out on the benefits of email segmentation and personalization.

1. The basics of email marketing

Email marketing

When you want to grow your brand or sell your product, email marketing is one of the most popular and effective tools around for marketing campaigns.

So, what’s it all about?

1.1. What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a powerful tool that small and large businesses use to acquire, engage, and retain customers.

It’s quite important if you want to educate your audience on the value of your brand or keep them engaged between purchases.

The most important part of email marketing is your email list — and having a good, clean email list is crucial to ensuring your success.

There are 4 main types of email marketing campaigns that you can use to promote your business and inform customers:

1. Newsletters — Share relevant and valuable information with your network of customers, prospects, and subscribers.

2. Acquisition emails — Involves some type of advertising in an email campaign in the form of a sponsored link.

3. Retention emails — Any email sent to an existing customer to keep them around as loyal customers.

4. Promotional emails — Speed up the buying process, create new or repeat customers, or encourage contacts to take some kind of action.

Each of these serves a purpose in your sales funnel.

If you want more information about setting up the perfect email marketing campaign, read this post.

Unfortunately, many people are busy and don’t want to read an email unless it directly benefits them.

Depending on the source, the average email open rate ranges from 18% to 22.15%.

But why invest time and money into email marketing when the open rate is that low?

Well, according to an eMarketer study, the median email marketing return on investment (ROI) is 4,200% — that’s higher than any other digital marketing channel!

And most of that’s thanks to email segmentation and personalization.

1.2. What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation takes your email list and divides it into smaller segments based on set criteria.

It’s a way of personalizing your emails for specific users to make your content more relevant to their needs.

Segmenting your email list allows you to cater specifically to each “sub-email list” and to obtain 46% higher open rates than regular marketing messages.

Now that you know exactly what email segmentation is, let’s get into why it’s a vital part of your email marketing strategy.

2. Why is email marketing segmentation important?

Email marketing segmentation

Source: GetVero.com

From personalized recommendations on Netflix to suggested playlists on Spotify, everyone wants that personal touch.

An interaction that’s personal and customized leaves you feeling like your likes and interests are important.

The same principle applies to email marketing.

Many businesses still think that sending the same email to an entire list of people is effective, but in reality, half the emails go to the junk folder.

Here are some reasons why personalization works:

  • It makes you feel like you’re in control

Personalized content makes you feel like you’re actively making choices according to your interests.

  • It reduces useless information

In a world filled with lots of information, it’s easy to get lost in millions of choices.

When people know that what they see on a screen is specifically geared for them, it makes them feel more willing to engage.

  • It targets pain points

Our brain uses selective attention, which means that it’ll naturally invest in information customized to our current mental state of being.

  • It makes you feel connected

Your ears naturally perk up amid the noise when your name is mentioned. It signals to your brain that you have to give your immediate attention to the situation.

Consumers make purchase decisions every day. When they decide on your product, they're thinking about solving a need.

Tailoring content to solve their individual needs will help you to increase customer satisfaction while boosting your sales.

How can you implement these segmentation strategies into your email list? Simple. Follow our practices below.

3. 11 Segmentation best practices

Segmentation best practices

Figuring out the best way to segment your email list can feel like a huge undertaking.

To make it a little less difficult, here are 11 quick and easy segmentation strategies that you can implement today.

3.1. Segment by demographics

The most basic way to segment is with demographic data.

You can obtain this information by simply looking at your website forms — most email marketing platforms allow you to customize your email sign-up questions.

You can also use opt-in boxes to obtain this information.

With demographic segmentation, you can easily group customers into multiple segments based on specific information.

Types of market segmention

The key is to identify which demographic data segments are most relevant to your business and how best to utilize the opportunities segmentation gives you.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  • If you run a clothing retail store

You will want to create groups based on location, age, gender, and sexual orientation.

  • If you’re marketing your contracting services

Create targeted emails based on location, generation, class, and personal preferences.

  • If you sell a software as a service (SaaS)

You want to create targeted campaigns based on age, location, and pain points.

Add 1-3 of the most relevant demographic factors for your business (or more, depending on the complexity of your segmentation needs).

3.2. Segment with quizzes and surveys

Keeping your sign-up information simple has its benefits — some people are happy with just an email address and a name!

If you want more nuanced data about your customers, one of the easiest ways you can obtain that information is through using:

  • Polls
  • Surveys
  • eQuizzs

Surveys provide you with an opportunity to gain valuable demographic information as well as personal preferences.

Your engagement on these surveys may not be optimal. A way to counteract this is by adding incentives — this can be access to a helpful resource or a product discount.

If offering an incentive isn’t something you can do, turn it into a quiz — this way, you can offer results that would interest your audience.

The same applies to polls, as they allow instant showcasing of results to the community.

A great example of this feature is YouTube’s community poll:

YouTube’s poll feature

YouTube’s poll feature

3.3. Segment by engagement source

Segment by engagement source

Email engagement is a super simple way to segment your lists, and with the right tools, like systeme.io, you won’t even need to go further than your dashboard to access the information.

Segmenting by engagement source can greatly impact the results you get from email segmentation.

Let’s have a look at the 3 most common ways to gauge engagement:

3.3.1. Open rate and inactivity

You want to keep a super close eye on your open and engagement rates.

If someone stops opening your emails, they’re unlikely to engage with your content.

By segmenting your email campaigns based on active and inactive users, you’ll know which future campaigns to send their way, based on their relative interests.

In comparison to inactive users who haven’t engaged with your content in months, you want to ensure that your active subscribers receive constant contact from you.

Knowing your engagement rates also means you can create specialized campaigns designed to re-engage with your inactive subscribers while spending most of your marketing efforts on the active ones.

Let’s run through a quick example:

  • Send an email announcing an exclusive online sale.
  • The 60% of your audience who immediately open the email and engage with the content can be categorized into the “active” or “interested” segment.
  • Create a special campaign to target them as likely buyers from the sale.
  • The other 40% that don’t open or engage with the campaign can be segmented into smaller groups labeled “inactive” or “low engagement”.

This way, you can easily send email campaigns targeting subscriber behavior.

Behavioral data is a super simple way to see if you’re sending the right message to your subscribers.

3.3.2. Lead magnets

Segment your subscribers by the specific lead magnet that they opted in for.

You can do this by creating lists specifically for your lead magnets or by adding tags to certain segments of your list.

3.3.3. Recommended products

A great way to segment subscribers is to look at how they engage with their recommended products.

If you haven’t implemented this strategy in your email segmentation yet, then you definitely should!

Research shows that 37% of shoppers who click on a recommendation during their first visit will return to the site.

When you send emails that include recommended products, you should track which products your subscribers click on!

3.4. Segment by geographic area

Segment by geographic area

A simple way to segment your email subscribers is through using geographic location data.

If you’re a business that relies on location data, this could be a valuable tool for you.

Here are some ways that you can use geographic data to segment your email list:

  • Send emails based on geographic time to help you reach out to new subscribers at a time that’s optimal to their location
  • Base your advertising campaigns on regional promotions, and offer local events — limit events to specific store locations
  • Host a live webinar (or promote an evergreen webinar), and base the time of the event on their local time
  • Send out offers based on the physical store your customer frequents
  • Provide them with location-specific targeted campaigns that personalize your email subscribers’ experience

3.5. Segment by purchase history

One thing every repeat customer has in common is that they’ve bought from you before.

Their previous purchases give you insight into what content you can create to send targeted emails and encourage them to make another purchase.

Sephora Email Example

Source: Litmus.com

Look at your customers’ purchase history to see what products they’re interested in, and promote related products in your emails.

For example, if you have a multi-brand online store, you can send targeted campaigns to your users that show deals on their favorite brands.

This type of email is highly relevant because the content is based on your user’s behavior.

What’s great about this is that it’s a segmentation strategy that all ecommerce sites can use — from fitness stores to online gaming.

Keeping your email campaigns relevant will also reduce your unsubscribe rate.

Another way to segment by purchase history is to offer refills on previously bought items.

Items can include anything from shampoo to dog food.

Let’s take Thrive Market as an example. The subscription service lets you buy products from their catalog, then offers the chance to repeat the order automatically:

Thrive Market’s home page

Thrive Market’s home page

Calculate the approximate time it takes for a customer to use the product, and send them a friendly reminder to restock when they’re about to run out.

Or, simply offer them the opportunity to make recurring orders based on their past purchases.

3.6. Segment by sign-up source

Source: Uplabs.com

Source: Uplabs.com

Segmenting subscribers based on how they were added to your email list is an uncommon, yet effective, strategy.

If you run your own online business, you probably have multiple ways for people to opt-in to your email list — and if not, we recommend you get started!

Experimenting with different call-to-actions (CTAs) and incentives provide your audience with a personalized experience, enabling you to segment them and target them with relevant offers.

Let’s take a coupon code signup form as an example:

The chances are that if your new customers enter their details, they have a high purchase intent.

You can generate targeted emails that provide them with personalized content based on what would drive them to make the final purchase.

This can be something like offering another 5% discount on the pre-existing 30% discount.

Using this is a great way to engage with new subscribers and create loyal customers who know what amazing value you offer.

Be mindful of the fact that there is one disadvantage with discounts — if you give them too often, your subscribers may grow accustomed to them being there and never pay full price again.

There’s a fine balance when it comes to offering discounts.

Another way you can implement your email segmentation strategy is by looking at how you structure your lead magnets.

Lead magnets don’t offer an immediate commercial intent, and they’re usually given at the informational stage of your funnel.

Here are a few examples of how you can maximize your lead magnets:

  • If you offer recipes and cookware

If you have a lead magnet that offers a free guide to weekly meal planning, you can send your active subscribers more cooking tips and recipes along with offers on cooking equipment.

Protip: If you don’t offer cooking equipment, you can always promote products that you have an affiliate code for.

  • If you offer fitness training

You know your subscribers are interested in fitness and well-being, so you can send them content on optimizing their workout and offer them products that help them do so.

When you offer a resource to a subscriber, you should include it in the first email you send them.

3.7. Segment by position in the sales funnel

Segmenting your audience based on their position in the funnel is one of the simplest and most valuable ways to customize and send the right message.

The stages in a sales funnel

Source: Copper.com

Someone at the top of the funnel should receive different targeted emails than the ones at the bottom of the funnel.

Let’s go through another example:

Say you have a large group of subscribers opt-in to your email sequence — you want to start by providing them with more generalized emails.

These types of emails can include:

  • The welcome email campaign
  • Insights into your products or features
  • Free resources

If they stick around and interact with your emails, you can automatically add them to smaller groups in your marketing funnel.

This will result in them receiving targeted email marketing campaigns and getting to know your business on a more personal level — you can guide them through the buying process.

Cart abandonment is a good indication that someone’s at the bottom of the funnel.

A 2020 report found that the average cart abandonment rate is 75,6%.

This presents you with an opportunity to qualify your contact list by reminding them that they still have something left in their cart.

If they want to buy from you, they will, and if their cart remains abandoned, you know that you can recapture them with non-segmented campaigns.

3.8. Segment by buyer persona

Most businesses have more than one buyer persona.

If you don’t, have a look at this template to create a buyer persona that’s perfect for your business:

Segment by buyer persona

Source: AmyWright.me

These personas usually have different needs and respond differently to various email copies.

By targeting the buyers in the relevant segments, you’ll increase your buyer satisfaction level.

Segmentation enables you to create targeted email lists by separating your subscribers into various buyer personas and looking at:

  • What they’ve opted in to
  • What they’ve clicked on your email campaigns
  • Their website activity

You can use behavioral segmentation for each of your customer profiles and send them relevant emails.

3.9. Segment by personal interests and preferences

personal interests and preferences

Segmenting based on personal interest is more advanced but still fairly simple to implement with the right email segmentation tools.

Creating more targeted campaigns based on the subscriber’s interests will allow you to implement the right email segmentation strategies.

Amazon is a great example of how to implement this email segmentation strategy:

Example of Amazon’s segmentation strategy

After your welcome email, you can always send a follow-up email to ask your audience to indicate their preferences.

This way, you can create customer-based email segments and cut through the noise by targeting their real interests.

3.10. Segment by the purchase amount and basket size

A great way to segment your emails is by looking at the customer purchase history.

You want to determine which customers are buying high-priced items and which are looking at lower-priced items.

This way, if you have a customer who only buys items when they’re cheaper or on sale, you’ll know not to target them with new and expensive items.

Also, if customers typically buy your newest items, it might be effective to send them an email every time you launch a new product or product line.

Something to also consider is creating and asking them to join your loyalty program and adding them to the relevant email segments.

Segment by the purchase amount

When a customer spends a certain amount of money on your store, you can send them an email with a gift or another type of reward.

You can implement the same strategy with loyalty points — these points can be used to redeem rewards, discounts, etc.

3.11. Segment by website behavior

Segment by website behavior

Source: Hotjar.com

Looking at your website behavior is a simple way to gain more information about visitor interests.

A great way to segment users is by sending them emails based on the specific pages they visit.

But that’s not all — use behavioral data to determine:

  • Visitor scrolling behavior
  • Which icons they clicked
  • Time active on-page
  • Menus visited

Then, using your email service provider, send out targeted emails based on website activity, such as:

  • Pages people visited
  • Pages they didn’t visit
  • People who visited one page but missed another related page
  • What videos they watched (and how long they watched them)

(If you’re unsure which email service providers to use, read below to see our top recommendations!)

4. Email marketing tools and software

Email marketing tools

To aid you in your segmentation journey, you want to equip yourself with a powerful marketing tool.

Of course, there are many other tools you can use.

Some will have more robust options than others, and some will be specific to your industry.

For now, let’s cover the basics.

4.1. Systeme.io

systeme.io logo

systeme.io logo

Systeme.io is the all-in-one tool that you didn’t know you needed.

Our software comes equipped with email marketing tools that will enable you to segment your email lists in no time!

We also offer tools that will help you to build, grow, and scale your business.

These tools include (but aren’t limited to):

  • Building sales funnels
  • Sending unlimited emails
  • Creating a blog (without blog post limits)
  • Creating a membership site
  • Accessing unlimited file storage
  • Automating your business
  • Tagging customers and segmenting your list
  • Running A/B tests
  • Resting easy with 24/7 customer support
  • Creating a custom domain

And more!

Stressed about the price tag? Don’t be!

All these features (and more) are available to you for free!

Simply sign up to start using our Free plan, with no credit card details or hidden costs.

We’ll help you migrate if you choose to upgrade to a paid plan, which are some of the most competitive on the market:

  • Free plan — $0/month
  • Startup plan — $27/month
  • Webinar plan — $47/month
  • Enterprise plan — $97/month

We know our software ranks at the top for affordability and accessibility, and our users love it!

You have nothing to lose and the world to gain!

4.2. Mailchimp

Mailchimp logo

Mailchimp logo

Mailchimp is a marketing automation platform that allows you to create, send, and analyze email and ad campaigns.

The software offers:

  • Campaign transparency
  • Email tracking
  • Success and click-through rates
  • Custom reports
  • The ability to manage subscribers and un-subscribers

The software’s pricing is a bit steep and is priced as follows:

  • Free plan — $0/month — 2,000 subscribers and 10,000 emails

For users with more than 2,000 subscribers, Mailchimp offers monthly and pay-as-you-go plans:

  • 1,001 - 1,500 subscribers with unlimited emails — $20/month
  • 1,501 - 2,000 subscribers with unlimited emails — $25/month
  • 2,001 - 2,500 subscribers with unlimited emails — $30/month
  • 2,501 - 2,600 subscribers with unlimited emails — $35/month

These prices don’t include a subscription plan for access to their advanced marketing services and cost an additional $199 for the Pro subscription.

4.3. SendGrid

SendGrid logo

SendGrid logo

SendGrid is a cloud-based SMTP provider that allows you to send emails without having to maintain email servers.

SendGrid manages all the technical details of email marketing, from scaling to ISP outreach and reputation monitoring.

The tool offers the following features:

  • APIs, SMTP Relay, and Webhooks
  • Delivery optimization tools
  • Dynamic template editor
  • Insightful analytics
  • Ticket support
  • Deliverability insights

The software is priced according to the number of emails you want to send per month:

  • Free — $0/month (100 emails/day)
  • Essentials — $14.95/month - $29.95/month (up to 100,000 emails/month)
  • Pro — $89.95/month - $749/month (up to 1.4 million emails/month)
  • Premier Custom pricing

Again, this can get pricey if you plan to grow your email list and keep in contact with your audience.

5. Conclusion

Email marketing segmentation isn’t a tactic reserved for brands who pay hundreds of dollars for access to email marketing software.

Your answer to email segmentation can be found in systeme.io.

With our email marketing tool and a bit of creativity, you can start targeting your emails and increase your website and email campaign engagement in no time!

What are you waiting for? Sign up today!

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