NOTE: This blog post was originally written for an appeared on the NEXT Marketing Agency’s website, which is no longer in use. I am posting it here to showcase a reference to my portfolio. This post explains the writing I did for this marketing agency: Being a marketing writer / ghost blogger for a marketing agency
Talk about some good marketing. If you live in the Vancouver area and have an iTunes account you might have gotten an e-mail in your inbox this week that said, “Grand opening: The Apple Store, Guildford Town Centre.”
What?! How did Apple know to send that to us Vancouverites? Surely they didn’t send it to their list of worldwide customers, because they wouldn’t know what “Guildford Town Centre” is.
They didn’t. They used what is called list segmentation, and this article is going to explain why you need to be doing it too.
You can send messages that actually matter to people, which is plain good marketing
Not all your e-mail subscribers are going to have the same interests, the same way not all your customers will either. If you are segmenting your target markets, you should be segmenting your e-mail list to match that data. Don’t think that an e-mail blast to everyone you know will yield success the way specialized e-mails to certain groups of people, with certain types of messaging will.
With a proper list-building tool, like Aweber or MailChimp, you can collect subscriber data that will allow you to send relevant information to your audiences, which in turn will result in more sales. It might be the same information, but the way you word things can make a difference in the way the reader takes action.
Simple example: a department store is having a store-wide sale. They could send out an e-mail blast that says, “store-wide sale” to everyone they know. But then some people will think “meh” and delete the e-mail, because, “what else is new? They’ll just have another sale in a few weeks.” Or, they could segment their list, and to the women only they would write, “ladies brand name shoes on sale, plus more, only this weekend!” You see what a difference that makes?
Your product or service may not be as varied as what department stores offer, but there are still benefits to list segmentation in any business. Take geographic location, which Apple did in our example above. No one in Calgary or New York would care about something happening in Vancouver that is only accessible to Vancouverites. So how do you announce something like that without annoying a huge percentage of your subscriber base? You use list segmentation.
You may offer only one product but you can still use list segmentation for good marketing. If you want to attract more sales, and you want only new customers to be able to take advantage of your coupon code, you could have a list that identifies who your current customers are. Using filters in your e-mail marketing program, you can filter out the subscribers you have identified to be “current customers” and send out the coupon only to those who have never bought from you before.
You can recycle information to get more mileage out of past e-mail blasts
Another thing you can do with list segmentation is filter by the date of the subscription. If you know you sent an e-mail to your list 6 months ago, and you don’t want it to be part of an auto responder series that people get on default cycles, you can take that same content and send it to the subscriber segment that signed up in the period from when the e-mail was last sent until the present. Without list segmentation, some of your list would not see all the content you produce for e-mail campaigns, which is a lot of hard work! You’ll want to get as much mileage out of your content as you can. You shouldn’t ever try to send the same e-mail out twice to your subscribers; that is just asking to be marked as spam. List segmentation solves this problem.
You can target time zones
It is no secret that certain times of the day are better for e-mail newsletters to go out. For some reason they result in more opens if they are carefully scheduled according to when your target audience is awake and available to pay attention to what you have to say. With list segmentation, you can have your e-mail subscriber profiles include their time zone. That way, you can schedule e-mails to go out at the right time for each time zone or country you want to target. This is of course especially useful if you sell internationally and have subscribers in many cities across the world.
More ways to be a good marketer with list segmentation are out there!
We haven’t covered all of the ways and benefits of diving up your subscriber base for more relevant marketing, but we’ve given you a few good reasons why you should be starting to at least look into it. Your e-mail program will have documentation on how to segment lists in their system and what list segmentation abilities are possible. Here are some resources you may want to check out on some of the major e-mail newsletter providers:
MailChimp: How can I send to a segment of my list?
Constant Contact: Why and how do I segment my contact list?