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5 simple ideas for effective email segmentation

Splitting your email database into segmented lists allows for more personalised emails, resulting in better customer engagement.

Is your business growing? Are you getting more email subscribers by the day? Before your mailing list becomes unruly, it’s a good idea to split it up into segments.

Options for segments can include location, gender, hobbies, social media activity, profession, places traveled, customer journey – the list goes on.

It may seem daunting to break down a 10,000-strong mailing list into smaller categories, but this one task can actually save you an incredible amount of time and resources.

On top of that, email segmentation can help you reach your customers with messages that are most relevant to their interests. More categories means more personalised emails, resulting in better customer engagement.

So, where do you begin?

As a growing business, you may be wondering about the first step. There are so many ways to do email segmentation, but just like other tasks, you have to be strategic.

To get you started, here are five simple segmentation ideas, complete with best practices from different businesses:

1. Ask subscribers to set their preferences

Every new email subscriber signed up for a reason. They may have heard about your business from a friend, learned about an upcoming sale, or are interested in your product line-up.

Send them a welcome email and ask what they expect from your newsletters. Most businesses include a checkbox where subscribers can set their preferences. Let them know this will also filter out emails that they don’t want to receive. Aside from preferences, you can also ask about existing hobbies.

Here’s an example from Bespoke Post, which includes a good reminder that the business cares about customer data:

5 simple ideas for effective email segmentation

Source: Really Good Emails

2. Monitor customer engagement

It’s always good to have data when you want to make a major business decision. It’s even better when that data gives you a glimpse into your customers and how they make their own decisions about your business.

With email marketing dashboards and customer workflows, you can see when subscribers open your emails, find out which subject lines are most—and least—effective, and check whether your content is up to standard. You can also see how many times your email newsletter has been shared with others.

Once you’ve collected your data, you can set it against these ultimate email marketing benchmarks to measure your rate of success.

You can send an email to your customers for every milestone they reach with your business and recommend products that are right up their alley.

3. Use lead magnets

Downloadable checklists, webinar invitations, and free toolkits can be very attractive for your subscribers.

As you offer more lead magnets in your emails, you’ll discover that some customers prefer reading e-books to watching webinars, while others would rather download an infographic than a checklist.

And before they can download any of your content, you can ask for more information in return. Lead magnets not only grow your email database and drive conversions, they  also serve as good segmentation tools.

As an example, here’s how DesignModo included freebies in their email content – from the clicks, they can further monitor on-site which customers downloaded which freebies:

5 simple ideas for effective email segmentation

Source: Really Good Emails

4. Be specific with your call-to-action

There are only two things that can happen with any email marketing campaign: a subscriber either decides to ignore it or to act on it.

That’s why all successful emails have a specific call-to-action somewhere in the content because you want your customer to engage with you.

A call-to-action, or CTA, can be a tool to monitor which types of content subscribers act upon and which ones don’t receive as much attention. Customers also have varying responses to varying CTAs, which is also a good base to build your segments on.

CTAs can come in the form of discounts, written content, and referral or feedback requests, among others. Here’s an example from mattress company Leesa:

5 simple ideas for effective email segmentation

Source: Really Good Emails

5. Observe customer purchase history

What are your customer’s favorite products from your catalogue and how often do they buy it? Are they always looking for a discount? Maybe they work within a specific price range.

A customer’s purchase history, on top of the preferences they have set, will help you send the right emails, so that they don’t need to browse through your entire website to find what they’re looking for.

Remember that email marketing is also a tool to provide greater convenience for your customers, and not just a platform to promote your business.

In the email below, ecommerce website Woodhouse managed to integrate personalised recommendations with a huge sale:

5 simple ideas for effective email segmentation

Source: Really Good Emails

Make email segmentation work for your business

Businesses have come up with many ways to segment their mailing lists. However, in the growing digital landscape, it can also take your business just a few clicks to do the same.

In fact, with a good email marketing tool, you can segment your mailing lists, send those newsletters, and collect customer data across your campaigns. All at once. You can also gather feedback from loyal customers – feedback that will help you improve customer experience even more.

If you need help with building an email database, setting up email automation or growing your email database, Assemblo can help.

Assemblo is a full-service marketing agency based in Melbourne that can help with refining your marketing strategy, including developing effective email campaigns and growing your email database.

To learn more, give us a call on (03) 9079 2555 or drop us a note via our contact form below.


This article was written by Ash Salleh, the Director of SEO at Campaign Monitor. Ash works closely with content, copy, and analytics teams to improve site-wide optimisation. Prior to his time at Campaign Monitor, he also provided SEO and digital marketing expertise at Zappos and Axiata Digital.

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