Email marketing is an essential tool for any marketing program. However, one often overlooked component of a bulk email campaign is list segmentation, which allows you to build a more direct connection with your contacts, increasing the chances that your message will be opened, with higher click-through rates and sales.
Bulk email marketing allows you to reach the widest audience possible. For each email campaign you send out, using list segmentation gives you the chance of avoiding opt-outs and being labeled as a spammer, both by customers and ISPs.
If your customer list is large, list segmentation can be a time consuming and daunting task. (Insider tip: with great marketing software, it's much less daunting and time consuming.) Once accomplished though, future campaigns can be done in a more timely and targeted manner.
After marketing plans have been decided on, here are some ideas for segmenting your lists:
- Geographic Location: Your marketing campaign specifies you want to reach an audience of 50 specialty providers. Why send a campaign out to geographic areas that only have one specialty provider?
- Status: Active/Inactive: Don't take names off of your list just because they haven't responded. Always think of a name on the list as a potential customer if they haven't opted out of the list. Segment your list into length of time on the list, open rate, click through rate, and purchase rate. Target each of these segments according to your current market plan.
- Customer Purchasing Habits: Segmenting your list into customers who have purchased from you vs. those who have not, can allow you to reward previous purchasers and entice future purchasers. You will also want to look at purchasing habits, targeting those that purchase frequently and infrequently.
- Budget: Segment your purchasers into categories of spending threshold. You may want to target customers with marketing plans who spent under 1k vs. those who spent over 5k.
- Preferences Based on Surveys: Sending out surveys, and rewards for filling them out, can be an easy way to target your customers in ways that are likely to get the most response. This also allows you to show that you are listening to your customers by targeting your campaigns based on the results of the surveys.
- Marketing Content: When considering your marketing strategy, try sending out useful newsletters about your products and their uses, without a selling pitch. Combine this with the segments you have created for purchasing habits. Use different newsletters to target different purchasing habits. Offer industry news, product news, educational materials, and conferences/webinars. Consider geographic location when doing this.
- Shopping Cart/Form Abandonment: (Note: If you're not selling your products online, this doesn't apply to you.) Users who add items to a cart and then abandon the process should be targeted separately. Target them with specific marketing campaigns.
- Usage Stats: If you are using a good bulk email service, you can track opens, click throughs, time spent reading newsletters, time spent on your website, along with many more analytics. Use segmentation to form marketing plans and then target power users vs. browsers.
You know your market and know the types of businesses you want to reach. Once you have started using segmentation, you will come up with many more criteria than are listed above. Take time to understand why you would use any criteria so that you are putting list segmentation to work for you.
Once you have your list segmented into the categories you think might work best for each marketing campaign, the most important thing to do is to keep the categories up to date. Look at the analytics for each campaign, and consider reorganizing segments if needed.
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