This is a guest post from Katie Weedman at THAT Agency.
Email is still one of the most important digital marketing mediums available to you. Its benefits are tremendous and, once you have your lists, there’s really no extra costs beyond content creation for those emails.
Top 5 email marketing segmentation strategies
However, it’s very easy to make missteps in your email marketing segmentation. As a West Palm Beach digital marketing agency, THAT Agency has had the opportunity to see exactly what works, and we’ve had to save email marketing campaigns for businesses that had run theirs off the rails.
Read on to discover five email marketing segmentation strategies. They’ll each get more and more specific, allowing you to break down email content in a tremendously accurate and effective way.
Tailor your emails
Many businesses still imagine their email subscribers should simply all get the same content. It’s one big list, with minimal effort put in. That minimal effort shows. Nearly half of those who subscribe to email lists end up trashing those emails.
Why would they do that? They subscribed to those email lists in the first place. They checked the box or, in many cases, entered more detailed information. Contacts don’t give their information away for free.
They expect to get something from it, especially in current times where they’re beginning to grow more aware of the extent their information travels online.
It’s a good habit to let contacts know their information is safe. Even knowing that, they’re still trading with you.
If all you have to give them is something generic, then they’re not getting something back that is worth the value of their information. This is why segmentation is so important, and it’s equally important whether you are marketing B2C or B2B.
1. Geographic email segmentation
The most obvious way to segment emails is through geography. For instance, imagine your business is hosting a special event. You send out content to a full email list, which includes contacts both local and distant.
Those distant recipients may buy from you online, on vacation, or through a range of other circumstances. They’re still valuable contacts with exceptional potential for loyal business. When they receive that email for a local event, they’ll treat it one of two ways:
Offense: First, they may be insulted and they may trust you less. They trust your brand in terms of accountability and quality. What does it say about those two factors if you invite non-local contacts to a local event?
They felt valued; now they may think you’re not paying enough attention to them to know where they live. If this is information they provided, they could perceive your email marketing as ill-managed.
That perception will reflect onto your brand and your products and services. They won’t become loyal customers because you didn’t pay attention.
Miscommunication: The alternative is: They may take you up on it. This is great, right? Maybe it’s the perfect time for them to take another trip. But you should factor in some other elements.
For instance, you might start receiving questions about travel. Where is the location? How do I get there? What hotels are close? If your event was created with the expectation of locals only, this could cause some issues with the accommodations you have (or haven’t) made.
Both alternatives have one outcome: Contacts could feel your marketing is irresponsible, and that could cost you those customers.
Creating geographic opportunities: The other element to this is that you can create connections based on geography. If you sell online across the country or around the world and you have a few local contacts, you can bring them in for a tour or invite them to a feedback session or a sneak peek.
You might own a business where you can develop relationships and cross-promotions beneficial to both. All it takes to create a whole new sales vector is an hour or two out of one day for a tour or meeting with local contacts. But, if you don’t know which contacts are local, there’s no way you can create opportunities like these.
Have a manager, salesperson, or other trusted employee visiting a different area of the country? See if they want to leave a day early to host a meet-and-greet or take a high-spending customer to dinner. You can create local opportunities anywhere, even where you’re not local. You just can’t pull it off without successful geographic email segmentation.
2. B2B & specialization email segmentation
You work with other businesses. You may sell or provide services to other businesses. Do you send the same email to a vendor contact as you do to a sales manager? To a marketing specialist? To an administrative assistant?
B2B deserves attention: Many businesses don’t think to segment their business contacts in a way that’s similar to their customer contacts.
This is a mistake. How much time have you wasted trying to remember what role someone plays for an important business relationship? How unprofessional does it look when you get their title or responsibilities wrong in an email?
If they’re responsible for purchasing from you, whether it’s for their own use or for their inventory, and you get details about them wrong, then that relationship stays distant.
The business relationships that return the most benefit for the investment are those in which contacts can eventually share their experiences and ideas with each other.
Details build relationships: You don’t have to be best friends. We’d advise against it, generally. Yet comfort on a personal level makes expanding sales, services, or achieving more favorable price points easier.
Contacts in these business relationships who can identify with each other will be more trusting and more willing to take chances on the other.
Get the details wrong concerning who they are and what they do in an email, and you’ve just set that relationship back. They cannot identify with someone who can’t even remember who they are.
3. Content-specific email segmentation
Now we’re getting into more detailed territory. Geography, job titles, and the like are very basic. They each involve a single level of data collection and segmentation. The most effective segmentation for email content will be based on analyzing multiple layers of data.
For this, you need to rely on data collected about specific contacts. What pages did they visit on your site? What did they download from it? What tools did they use? Did they purchase anything?
If you gather separate information on their interests, this is also incredibly valuable. If they engaged a chatbot, how did they direct the chatbot to help narrow their search?
Serving customer interest: For example, imagine you sell clothing, jewelry, and accessories. You send a customer information about a line they’ve never looked at.
Why would they care? There’s nothing in it that they’ve chosen to engage with before. Some customers in this circumstance will still engage with it, but most won’t. They’ll ignore it or, worse yet, mark it as spam.
The more unrelated an email is to a contact’s interests, the higher the risk that contact marks the email as spam. The higher that risk, the higher the probability that contacts will never see your email again, because it’s going straight to their spam folders.
Segment by interest and you can send that same contact more relevant information. Perhaps it’s about an accessory that will complete an outfit they already bought or a new item in a line they’ve been loyal to and buy from regularly.
These contacts will engage. The more they engage, the more likely they are to keep an eye out for further emails and repeat that engagement until it becomes a regular habit.
4. Behavior-specific email segmentation
This goes into a level of email marketing segmentation that’s even deeper. How long is a customer lingering on a page? How many pages do they view on an average visit? Do they visit and buy quickly, as an impulse buyer? Or do they visit a few times in a week, loading the same items into an online cart and cancelling, like a nervous buyer?
Which of your competitors do they visit? Is this their first visit to you or their hundredth?
Advanced analytics: These pieces of information rely on advanced analytics tools. They’re combined to essentially form behavior profiles. Each profile type will respond to different email approaches. Some may only want an introduction to what you offer. Some may want extensive information.
Impulse buyers will bite on sales for individual items without thinking, but often only on the items they’re truly interested in. You don’t want to deluge them with choice. You want them to click through as quickly as possible.
Nervous buyers will respond to packages where they perceive a greater overall savings. There may even be items in that package they’re not as interested in, but they see the overall savings when items are combined.
Even if that package is more than they might have spent on items they want, the total savings makes them feel as if they’re getting an exceptional deal. That nervousness is no longer about buying the item; it’s now about missing the deal.
Gentle pushes will appeal to new contacts. Different contacts will want professional language vs. friendly language. Tailor this information and you can drastically increase the responses you get through your email lists.
5. Influencer email segmentation
This is more complicated than the title alone suggests. Customer loyalty is no longer just about purchase totals and frequency of purchases. Today, it’s about who recommends your brand. Who’s given you testimonials or reviews? Who shares your brand on social media? Which platform? How effective are they?
Social media: Brand advocates and influencers will often share your website, social media posts, blog content, products, and services in order to build their own followings. How can you help them? Where you can share fans with them, they’ll share fans with you.
Sharing monetization: If an influencer makes a video about your product, they can share a link on YouTube. If their viewers click on that link and buy through that connection, the influencer can get a small cut of the profit.
It helps them monetize their content, and it brings you new customers. More importantly, fans have extreme loyalty to influencers. That loyalty to an influencer can very quickly be turned into brand loyalty to you.
This can be done through many social media platforms. Perhaps an Instagram model wants to do a shoot with your jewelry line, and connections made through Instagram get them a small cut while providing you new, readily loyal customers.
Measure + maintain: Measure the efficacy of these relationships and maintain them. Brand advocates and influencers like Twitch streamers, Instagram celebrities, and YouTube content creators are today’s rock stars.
Send thank you notes. Give them notice on possible future campaigns. Check in to measure their satisfaction with their end of the bargain. Appreciate the service they provide. Don’t just contact them when you need them; maintain the relationship.
Implementing these strategies
You don’t need to tackle your entire email list or hammer out every level of email marketing segmentation at once. It’s more valuable to master one of these five strategies before developing the next one than it is to fumble with implementing all of them at once.
The more detailed segmentation strategies covered here can be difficult and time-consuming to implement, especially if you lack experience in them. It’s worth it to have a professional agency enable you to reach your goals more quickly.
For faster implementation, training, and active strategizing, contact THAT Agency. We’re a West Palm Beach digital marketing agency, but we help businesses throughout the US create and execute successful email marketing strategies.
Katie Weedman is a content marketing professional with more than 15 years of experience in diverse industries ranging from hospitality to financial services. As a content strategist for THAT Agency, Katie specializes in creating digital content that’s both compelling and optimized for search.