How To Make Your Email Marketing List Really Take Off


by Charles Gaudet


Email marketing is a powerful way to talk to customers. Learn how to segment your list and reach more of the right people at the right time.


First, the bad news: Almost two thirds (62 percent) of people who subscribe to an email newsletter aren’t engaged with the content.


Why aren’t people responding to the email messages they receive? Usually, the content fails to address their concerns and problems. If you want email to produce results for your business, then you need to use it a little smarter. You need content that addresses your reader’s unique situation and helps move them toward achieving their ultimate result.


Segmenting your email list is one way to achieve precisely that.


What is email marketing segmentation?

Simply put, email marketing segmentation is dividing your email list into different groups. These different groups (or segments) will have different characteristics based on criteria you determine. You can segment based on where they are in the buying process, what their interests are, whether or not they are existing customers or prospects, etc. You can then create email content targeted directly at a segment’s particular problems and aspirations.


One of the most popular email service companies, Mailchimp, recently looked at 11,000 campaigns – sent to more than 9 million users – to see what effect segmentation had on open rates. Users who implemented Mailchimp’s list segmentation feature had a 14.4 percent better open rate.


Why is segmentation so effective?

Well, it gives you the ability to send far more personalized emails, tailored to a person’s (or group’s) unique situation. More refined, tailored messages increase open rates and reader engagement. Don’t you respond better to messages that speak directly to your wants and needs?


There are plenty of ways you can choose to segment your email marketing list. Here are a few examples:

  1. Geography: Dividing your list by geography is a great idea if you’re selling nationally or globally. These segments enable you to target your emails according to local and even seasonal factors. You can also use location to determine whether you will promote local offers. Running an in-store special? Offer it only to those who are most likely to visit. (We use Response Flow’s iGeoIp360 to automatically tag our opt-ins based on location. It works well with Infusionsoft.)
  2. Customer history: You can also use purchase history to guide your segments. This is a great way to send emails promoting products or services that compliment a particular purchase, or stay in contact with previous customers to follow up with further information about the products/services they’ve already purchased.
  3. Engagement level: Open rates and click through rates can measure this. Segmentation by engagement allows you to target readers who are most responsive – without alienating those who may want more information first.
  4. Start date: Segmentation allows you to market differently to newbies, compared to those who have been on your list for a much longer period of time. For example, you can provide newer subscribers with a special limited time offer. This can help create a sense of urgency and increase the likelihood of a purchase. Similarly, you can offer long time subscribers special offers to thank them for their loyalty.
  5. Age: Age can play a significant role in how you communicate with someone. Picture a financial advisor who runs an email newsletter. The topics that may resonate with someone fresh out of college will be significantly different than topics geared toward a baby boomer on the cusp of retirement.
  6. Industry: This one is especially valuable for B2B businesses. If you have customers from a range of industries, you’ll want to consider segmenting your list into industry-specific groups. Sending the same marketing message to dentists and restaurateurs is probably not going to be as effective as separate messages catered to each.


Email segmentation can be a very powerful way to help you build a more engaged readership.


Keep in mind that it takes work (surveys, data mining, etc.) to gather the information you need to segment your email list effectively. If you have a relatively uniform audience, then segmenting may not be the best approach. But if you have a broad and diverse readership or your email open rates are dropping, the benefits of email segmentation are well worth considering.


Used correctly, segmentation allows you to create and transmit content that speaks directly to your readers, even when those readers are vastly different. This kind of customer focus can pay off in increased engagement, trust and loyalty.


Charles E. Gaudet II is a leading marketing consultant and speaker providing advanced marketing strategies to small business owners. He’s the author of “The Predictable Profits Playbook.” His advice appears in worldwide media including Forbes, Inc. and Fox Business.  Follow him on Twitter @CharlesGaudet or at his blog at


Originally published by StartupCollective. Syndicated with permission on


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