3 Ways to Segment Your Email List: Ranked from Worst to Best

3 Ways to Segment Your Email List: Ranked from Worst to Best

In 2023, it’s essential to send targeted campaigns to your email subscribers based on their needs, preferences, and interests. When your email marketing strategy revolves around sending relevant content to each and every subscriber, you’ll see your open rates skyrocket and build a base of loyal customers.

In order to send more targeted campaigns, you need to create segments within your email list. A simple example would be segmenting your list to send different email marketing campaigns to men and women, but as you’ll see, it can get much deeper than that. 

In this article, we’ll examine three different ways that you can start segmenting your email list, and rank them from worst to best.

What is email marketing segmentation?

Email marketing segmentation involves breaking up your email marketing list into smaller, more targeted groups (called segments). 

The aim of email marketing segmentation is to group customers into cohorts that share a common characteristic, such as an interest in a certain type of product or a geographic location.

Therefore, if you want to segment your email list, you’ll need to collect more information than just your visitors’ email addresses. The more you know about your groups, the more sure you can be that you’re sending the right message to the right users.

What data should you collect for email list segmentation?

There are many different ways to segment your email list. Here are some popular types of data that you can use to send targeted emails:

  • Demographic data: This includes things like age, gender, and income level.
  • Behavioral data: Track things like what web pages they’ve viewed.
  • Purchase history: Past purchases can tell you what a user is interested in.
  • Geographic data: You already have access to your users’ location via their IP address, so why not use it to personalize future emails?

The more contact data you have, the more detailed your email segments can be. For instance, combining a customer’s purchase history with their geographic location can help you send individually personalized emails.

Benefits of email segmentation

When you start employing some of the segmentation ideas from this article, you’ll see more engaged customers, fewer inactive subscribers, and more sales.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of sending personalized emails instead of non-segmented campaigns:

  • Increased open rates: When your subscribers get used to seeing relevant content in each and every email campaign you send, they’ll get in the habit of opening your messages regularly.
  • Increased click-through rates: Not only will you see more subscribers opening your emails—more of them will click through to your website, too.
  • Increased conversion rates: As a result of sending tailored offers to smaller groups of customers, you’ll see higher conversion rates for your coupon code emails, exclusive events, and referral offers.
  • Fewer unsubscribers: All the benefits of email segmentation lead to lower unsubscribe rates.

3 methods to segment email list, ranked from worst to best

These three email segmentation strategies can encourage users to both sign up for email marketing campaigns and give you valuable data about their needs and interests. But they won’t all convert at the same level.

  1. Ask for all information in one step
  2. Use a conversational popup
  3. Reverse the order

Let’s start off with the least effective way to gather the data you need to run segmented campaigns. 

1. Ask for all information in one step

As we’ve seen, targeted email marketing relies on gathering information that allows you to segment subscribers into smaller groups. But how do you get that information?

The first popular strategy that many ecommerce sites use is asking for all the information at once. 

This means that you ask for your customer’s email and additional information, like whether someone identifies as a man or a woman, or what type of products they’re interested in, at the same time.

Check out the example below for what this email segmentation strategy can look like:

Segmenting your email list with a one-page popup

There are a few reasons that this method of gathering data from potential new subscribers isn’t ideal. 

First, the signup form looks like it will take a decent amount of effort to complete, which creates a big mental barrier. The dense, complex UI contributes to this feeling, since no visitor wants to read lots of small text to understand what the options for declaring their interests are.

Second, asking for too much information at once can feel frightening, and as a result many visitors simply won’t bother. 

When you consider those factors, you’ll see why a campaign like this won’t have a very high conversion rate. 

2. Use a conversational popup

So, if you shouldn’t ask for all the information you want at once, what other options do you have?

Well, you could use one of OptiMonk’s conversational popups to break your signup form into multiple steps. That allows you to ask a segmentation question (or two) before you ask for an email address. 

Since you’re asking for contact details and email segmentation information in two different steps, you reduce the perceived difficulty of completing the form. 

Check out how simple and clean the first stage of this conversational popup looks:

Segmenting your email list with a conversational popup

You can use the first stage of the popup to ask for whatever information will be most useful to you for creating segmented campaigns. For instance, instead of asking what new subscribers are interested in, you could ask them about their ideal budget or job title.

Once a potential customer has answered your questions, you can then ask for their email with a very short, simple second step. 

Using this strategy can increase your conversion rates by at least 20% compared to the first strategy. That’s a lot of extra email signups!

And best of all, since you know what each new subscriber is interested in, you can end this sequence by recommending relevant products to them. This helps move your visitors through your sales funnel and increase your sales at the same time as you grow your list. 

If you’d like to use this email segmentation idea, you can set it up in minutes using one of OptiMonk’s pre-made conversational popup templates below. 

3. Reverse the order

Finally, your third list segmentation option is called the “no-loss method.”

First, you ask for the visitor’s email address, and then you ask them your segmentation question.

We call this list segmentation strategy the no-loss method because it solves one of the major problems with strategy #2: the possibility that users will answer the segmentation question but then refuse to provide their email address.

These are “lost” conversions, since you’ve collected segmentation data from a user but you don’t have an email address to associate it with. And that’s exactly why the no-loss method is so great.

Here’s what the first stage of a list-building campaign using the no-loss method could look like:

Segmenting your email list with the no-loss method

Since everyone has to enter their email address to reach the second stage of the popup, you won’t lose any conversions

And since it takes so little effort for visitors to declare their interests, almost all of them (95%+) will answer your question! This will help you create email segments that are filled with lots of subscribers.

Wrapping up

Email marketing is as important as ever in ecommerce. But consumers now have higher expectations about the content you’re sending them: if you want to engage your subscribers, your email campaigns need to be full of relevant content. And the best way to accomplish that is to segment your email list. 

Hopefully, you’ve picked up some actionable information from this article on email segmentation best practices.

You can set up one of OptiMonk’s “no-loss” lead generation campaigns in just minutes and watch your list-building efforts really take off. And since OptiMonk integrates with all the most popular email marketing tools like Klaviyo and Mailchimp, you can easily send the information you collect directly to your email marketing tool. 

If you don’t already have an OptiMonk account, create one for free today!

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