More Useful Ways to Segment Your List

Segmenting your subscriber list is known to be an important way of improving results. Divide your list by zip code, job title, or “customer type,” for example, and some research has found that open rates improve by almost 19 percent, click rates by nearly 22 percent, and even the bounce rate drops a little. But those aren’t the only criteria you can use to segment your list. Other data, in fact, may be a lot more useful.

Proven Interest
The most obvious targeting feature is subject. Websites often invite new subscribers to tick boxes to ensure that they only receive the information they’re interested in. But what readers say they might be interested in isn’t always the same as what they’re actually interested in.
Your click data won’t just tell you how many clicks an email received. Dig a little deeper and you can discover who clicked which link, allowing you to create a new segmentation for people who have actually used a link on that topic.
You’ll need to send a general email covering a range of different subjects to everyone on your list. Include multiple links to different areas of your business then compare the subject of the links your subscribers clicked to the interests they chose. You might well find that your current segmentation is cutting you out of some valuable opportunities.

Buyers Versus Leads
You should certainly know who your buyers are, and you should be treating them differently to the people who have given you nothing more than a promise of consideration in the future. These are people who have read your marketing material, trusted you and paid you. Losing them will be much more expensive than losing a subscriber who offers perhaps no more than a 5 percent chance of buying.

You should also know what your customers bought and which emails led them to buy. You want to make sure that they only receive relevant emails and that the messages you send to them are suitably inviting — and rewarding. Your buyers list will be the most important list you own.

People who have been reading your regular messages for a year or more will feel closer and friendlier. You can send them special offers in which you talk on a lower register — in the same way that a café owner is less formal to regulars than he is to occasional customers. Those familiar emails may be just enough to push an interested lead into your buyers list.