How smart segmentation can help you become an effective email marketer (and boost sales)

I have a friend who’s chocolate-brown | He’s always so kind when I’m feeling down | He’s very different from me, it’s true | But to give up a friend like that is something I couldn’t do

I have a friend with eyes of blue | She’s the one I tell my secrets to | It’s true she’s very different from me | But she’s a wonderful friend, as sweet as can be

That’s a song by Chana Goldberg, “Friends of all colors”, sung by Sarit Haddad.

But Sarit Haddad isn’t the only one who has lots of friends – you do, too! As marketers, you have friends of all colors, and you don’t want to give up any of them.

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Personalized marketing, suited to the users’ preferences, will let you reach each and every one of your customers in a way that’s relevant and appropriate for him or her, adapted to his or her unique characteristics.  Personal marketing begins with segmentation.

What is segmentation?

Segmentation is the way to divide and filter your customers according to their characteristics and fields of interest, in order to send them content that’s suited and focused especially for them.  In the following article, we’ll check out how to use segmentation effectively with regard to email marketing; into which groups you should divide up your customers, which content to send to whom, and of course, how to use it to increase your conversions and sales.

Segmentation groups

There are a number of ways for you to divide up your contacts and filter the content you send them.  The best way to get information about your customers is through the fields of the sign-up form.

In the sign-up form you can ask your subscribers about their personal characteristics, such as gender, birth date, place of residence, areas of interest, position in the company (for B2B marketers), and more.  It’s a good idea to ask for information that you’ll actually use later on and you can even explain briefly on the sign-up form that you’re asking for this information so you’ll be able to send your subscribers content that’s just right for them.

Division according to geographical location

One of the ways to target your emails to specific subscribers is geographical segmentation.  If, for example, you send the same email in English to recipients all over the world, using geographical segmentation you can obtain data about your open and click-on rates according to country.  That way you can see which email succeeded the most in which country, and where it didn’t do as well, and to come to conclusions accordingly.  From then on, you’ll be able to change the characteristics of your email to suit the country your contacts are from.  Thus, for instance, you won’t send the French email after six in the evening or on Sundays, since those are the times they’re not working and then there’s a higher probability that your email won’t be opened.

Another example of division of contacts according to geographical location is if you own a chain of stores and you have a sale at only one branch.  Through geographical segmentation, you’ll be able to send an email about the sale only to people who live near the branch that’s having the sale.

Division by gender

Division by gender allows you to send dynamic and personal content in accordance with the characteristics of your target audience.

Another advantage you may find in segmentation by gender is in the content you market.  Be careful, though, not to turn the segmentation into sexism, since you might lose a lot of customers that way.  A Google study found recently that marketers who focus only on certain target audiences lose an average of 50% of their customers that way.  If you’re marketing sports products, you should know that according to the Google study, in the U.S. 56% of the people who search for these products on mobile are women, while 68% of the public opinion influencers in the field of skin care in the last half a year were men.

 

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So by all means, use segmentation, but don’t fall into the sexist trap.  Market your sports-related products to both men and women, but address each group a little differently. If you have women’s clothing and men’s clothing, send the former to women and the latter to men, but make sure beforehand that you don’t make a division that could lose you customers.

Use A/B testing in order to learn which content works best for whom, which subject lines get more women to open the emails, and which work better with men, and use the knowledge in your upcoming campaigns.

Division by fields of interest

If you’re a large chain that sells a wide range of products, of if you’re emailing content on a variety of fields, the best way to market your content, whether it’s reports and articles or discounts, new collections, and sales, is according to your customers’ fields of interest.

Again, don’t presume what your customers are interested in.  That same study of Google’s revealed that 40% of baby product purchasers live in households without children.

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Whether these are people who buy presents for their friends who have babies or people who like using baby soap instead of regular soap, this finding clearly shows why it’s a good idea to find out your contacts’ intentions and desires instead of predetermining them.  Ask them if they’re interested in baby products, instead of asking if they have babies at home.

Using the choice fields in the sign-up forms, you can ask your contacts any question you like, and use the info to assign them to the appropriate group.

In this way, large chains or email marketers in a variety of fields can distribute emails on all the subjects they deal with, without bombarding the recipients’ inboxes with content that’s not relevant or interesting to them.

After you divide up your subscribers into groups according to their fields of interest, you can send them emails that suit them perfectly.  In our new automation system, you can make each group its own automation and decide within the automation that at any given point only the members of a specified group will receive a specific email, SMS message, and more.

Segmentation catapults your email marketing system to new heights and makes your emails smart, focused, personal, and accordingly – more profitable.

So go ahead, start working on your new groups and adding new fields to your sign-up forms!

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