Creating and using segments

By Mathew Patterson on 7th February 2007

Something you may not have used in your Campaign Monitor account is segments. A segment is a subset of one of your existing subscriber lists. For example, instead of emailing to everyone on your 'Alpaca owners' list, you might just want to send an email to the Huacaya Alpaca owners. That's a perfect job for a segment. Instead of paying to send your email to everyone on the list, send it to just the people who are most interested in your particular topic this week. You save money, and you can make your email much more specific, hopefully leading to better response rates.

Creating a segment

Segments link on the 'Manage Subscriber List' page

To get started with segments, jump into your account. Hit the 'Manage Subscribers' tab, and then pick the list you want to work with. You'll find the segments link at the bottom of the right column.

Now you can hit the big green button to create a new segment.

You'll need to give it a sensible name that describes the segment so you can use it later. So, in my example, 'Huacaya owners'. Create the segment, and you are ready to add some rules.

Using rules with segments

Adding a rule

Rules are what you use to select the addresses you want. For every list, you can create rules that are based on Name, Email address and date subscribed. If you have custom fields in your list, you can make rules based on those too.

In my case, I want to create a segment of subscribers who have an 'Alpaca Type' of 'Huacaya'. So I drop down the select box and choose 'Alpaca Type', and hit Go.

Selecting the type of rule to use

Now I can create my Alpaca Type rule. I would select 'Alpaca Type equals Huacaya'. (It's not case sensitive)

The full list of possible rule types is:

Value:
Equals Does not equal Is provided Is not provided
 
Number:
Is greater than
Is less than
 
Email address:
Contains
Does not contain
Date subscribed:
Is before Is after
 
Campaigns:
Campaign was opened
Campaign was opened - Any link clicked
Campaign was opened - Specific link clicked
Campaign was opened - No link clicked
Campaign was not opened


You can combine any number of rules to split your segment as far as you like. Not all of them are available for every field or list. You can also add multiple rules for the same field. For example "Email contains hotmail or Email contains gmail"

Segment currently contains 6 active subscribers (view)

Each time you save your segment, the count at the top right will show you how many people you are selecting with all the rules applied. You can also hit the link there to see who is in your segment.

Segments are smart!

Once you've finished tweaking your rules, you'll have a set of subscribers. Every time you come back to check out your segment, and every time you send a campaign to your segment, the rules will be re-applied to your list, and the segment will be updated.

New segment is available to send to

So now you when you create a new campaign and select some recipients, your new segment will show up as an option. Huacayas owners will rejoice with their own individual email!

More ideas for using segments

As well as picking your favorite Alpaca owners, segments can be used in lots of different ways to increase the effectiveness of your campaigns. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Send a special thank you offer to your old school members, who signed up before a certain date.
  • A second chance offer to people who did not click through on your last campaign
  • Target campaigns to certain geographical areas
  • Offer special prices to frequent purchasers
  • Send emails to people interested in certain topics

FAQs about segments

Is sending to a segment charged like a normal campaign?
Yes, each time you send to a segment of your list, you will pay the normal rates (USD$5 delivery fee and 1 cent per recipient).
Do I have to update them manually?
No - segments are automatically updated before you send to them, and each time you view the segment details. They don't update 'live' because of the amount of processing that would require.
Can I do a 'contains' rule for custom fields?
Sorry, no. At the moment, you can only use 'Contains' and 'Does not contain' rules for the email address.

10 Comments

  • James Walker
    8th February

    Must say that I think the segments feature is great - we’re already using it…

    I think i’ve mentioned it to you guys before, but is there any chance of having custom date fields that you can create a segment on? e.g. last order date - We’d love to be able to target emails to our customers so that we can send an email out to those who haven’t ordered for a month, or who ordered twice but then haven’t ordered again for 2 months, say.

    I think this would make the segments even more powerful and we’d definately start using it much more…

    Scheduling emails to regularly run, based on a segment, and sending to those people who hadn’t already received the email would be great too, but I think that’s asking a bit much at the moment!!

    Cheers for a great product guys!

  • Jacob Fentress
    8th February

    Great write-up on the segments feature. I’ve been playing around with it for a while and love it, but most of the emails I send out are sent using MailBuild instead of Campaign Monitor - for the template goodness.

    Any chance of getting segments (and custom fields) implemented in MailBuild? Please?

  • Dave Greiner
    8th February

    James, great to hear you find the segments feature useful. We’ve had a few requests for support for a date type and if we continue to hear from customers asking for it we’ll definitely consider it. It can get a little messy when importing dates because of different formats, but if it’s what plenty of customers need then I’m sure we’ll find a way to make it work.

    Jacob, custom fields is definitely on the way for MailBuild after our billing update goes live. If the demand is there once we launch that, then segment support would certainly be the next logical step.

  • Trevor Ryan
    13th February

    Dave,
    love the new segments feature and I agree with the date request above. We have a law in Ireland that prohibits people who’ve not been contacted within 12 months from receiving mails. It would be very handy for this, rather that us manually doing this.
    I would really love to be able to filter with regex / wildcards such as a search for location = %Dublin%

  • Mark Figart
    21st February

    Yes, segments for MailBuild!  We have a couple clients asking for them already.

    Thanks, guys.

  • Barry Hopkins
    24th March

    Thanks for yet another informative leaning curve. While I am not a power user… Its getting there, and this will be a great help. I also agree that MailBuild has been my send method of choice, and segments in there would be a great help.

    SO Fat all my questions asked of you guys have resulted in being pointed to a helpfull and usually the ultimate solution to any questions I have.

    Not only a great system, but customer service too… Well done

    Barry Hopkins aka Uncle Wiggy

  • Sharda
    2nd May

    I need to use SQL and SAS to generate my campaigns. Do you have example codes that use the above.

    Thanks
    Sharda

  • Dave Greiner
    2nd May

    Sorry Sharda, but we don’t provide that functionality I’m afraid.

  • David Bee
    14th September

    Would be nice to have the ability to click on contacts information (as in the normal ‘View Subscribers’ page) from the View Segments page.  Unfortunately, all that is displayed is their email, name and what I suppose is the filter value andand/or the date.

    Given this, I’d love to see some functionality that would enable MOVING segment subscribers to their own list.  I’m sort of in disbelief that I can’t move subscribers from one list to another.  Anyways, otherwise a great service, thanks!

  • veronica kent
    14th October

    Is there a way to add extra sections to the subscriber page. We would particularly like a section that contains subscribers street address? this way we could use CM as our database instead of maintaining 2

Sign up for free.
Then send campaigns for as little as $9/month

Create an account