June 7, 2018

10 Types of Email Segmentation for More Leads and Better Open Rates

Written by
Sam Holzman

Marketing trends come and go, but personalization is here to stay. In today’s competitive marketplace, customers expect businesses to speak directly to their specific needs and preferences. That goes for all marketing channels including the more tradition channels like email marketing.

Email marketing has been around for what seems like forever, but it hasn’t lost its effectiveness when it comes to generating leads and revenue. In fact, 59% of B2B marketers say email is their most effective channel in terms of revenue generation.

But, as with any other marketing tactic, your email marketing strategy must evolve over time to remain effective. As a result, you must do away with your one-size-fits-all email sends and move on to more personalized sends through email segmentation.

What is email list segmentation?

As most marketers already know, email list segmentation refers to the process of dividing your email list into multiple lists in an effort to craft more targeted marketing campaigns. Email segmentation has quickly become common practice for marketers. Here’s why:

The numbers confirm that when executed correctly, list segmentation improves open rates, lead generation, and ultimately, revenue.

10 Types of Email Segmentation

There is no right or wrong way to segment your email lists. If you are still in the process of developing your marketing program, start small. For larger companies with a robust email marketing program, it might make more sense to segment your email list into much smaller lists based on multiple factors. It all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish.

Let’s look at some common ways that companies can segment their email lists. This isn’t by any means a comprehensive list, but these examples provide a solid place to start if you want to improve lead generation efforts and increase open rates.

1. Job function

Job function is particularly important in the B2B space. Think about it, B2B companies often sell products for a specific group of people. Whether you sell a marketing automation platform or a payroll ticketing system, most products are geared toward a particular job function. Using these examples, your target job functions would be marketing or HR.

2. Job title

If job function isn’t granular enough, consider segmenting by job title. The difference between job function and job title is this: job title gives you an indication of a person’s buying authority and allows you to really dig in to specific pain points. When you segment by job title you are able to tailor your messaging to a person’s particular wants and needs based on their day-to-day responsibilities.

3. Company size

Companies of different sizes have varying buying preferences, budgets, and product requirements. You wouldn’t expect a small business to have the same needs as a large corporation, for example. If you have products designed for businesses of various sizes, it might make sense to segment your email list by company size.

4. Stage of the buyer’s journey

An effective marketing strategy moves buyers seamlessly through the sales funnel—and email marketing is no different. So, we recommend segmenting your email list by the buyer’s stage. That way, you can use messaging and offers that will bring them to the next stage of the journey.

Here’s an example: Blog subscribers have indicated that they’re interested in your content. Therefore, if you send them product-heavy emails, you likely won’t see the results you’re hoping for. Instead, try sending them blog updates but include a call-to-action towards the end of your email that encourages them to explore your product offering.

5. Geography

Depending on what types of products you offer, it may make sense to segment your email lists based on geographic location. Location often dictates regional laws, seasonal needs, and likelihood of event attendance. Think about it, if one country enacts a new law dictating how and when you can send marketing emails, you’ll want to keep people who live in that country separate to avoid compliance issues.

Or, say you’re offering a “back-to-school” deal—certain locations head back to school earlier than others. Segmenting your B2B contact database by location can make it easier to time emails to arrive when they’re most applicable.

6. Email engagement

If you want to improve your email open rates, it’s important to monitor how and when your subscribers engage with your emails. For example, we recommend testing list segmentation based on active and inactive users. When someone hasn’t opened an email within a designated period of time– say, three months – move them to the inactive list.

Then, you can develop personalized content and re-engagement campaigns to draw these users back in. Often, re-engagement campaigns offer discounts, inquire about a person’s preferences, or use catchy subject lines to determine whether or not a user is still interested in a company, brand, or product.

7. Past purchases

Segment your lists based on a customer’s purchase history to increase your chances of re-selling to a one-time buyer. For example, anytime you have product updates, added features, or new products that integrate with existing products, you can send related messaging to customers who have a track record with similar items. When you segment by past purchases, you are able to target the buyers most likely to be interested in a specific offering.

8. Deal size

If you want to get more specific, segment your list not only by past purchases but also by the amount of money the customer has spent. You can use purchase history information to predict which customers are more likely to buy expensive items and which customers only show interest in lower-cost items. Then, you can send people information about products that fit their budget.

9. Web behavior and online activity

A person’s behavior on your website can tell you a lot about their interests. When you monitor what pages and content someone responds to, you can predict what they’ll engage with in the future. That’s why we recommend implementing behavioral segmentation.

For example– analysis shows people who click through to a specific landing page are more likely to respond to emails about a corresponding product.

10. Signup date

We recommend you differentiate new email subscribers from long-time subscribers. That way, you can send unique messages to both new and old subscribers. For example, send new subscribers a welcome email upon signup, and then send several emails over the next few months that introduce them to your organization and your best content.

Conversely, you can show appreciation to loyal subscribers by surprising them with a discount, giveaway, or an exclusive piece of content.

Final Thoughts

The ultimate goal of email segmentation is improved personalization. In today’s crowded content landscape, personalization and targeted marketing have quickly become the gold standard. Segmentation allows marketers to tailor content to the particular wants and needs of their various customers. Remember, your customers are people and they want to be treated as such.

As with all marketing initiatives, segmentation requires long-term commitment and rigorous testing. What works for one company might not work for another. So we say be patient and try to think like your subscribers. What makes them different? Why do they need your products? How can you speak to them in a way that will get them to engage?

The right segmentation tactics answer these questions and more. So, whether you’ve been working with the same email lists for years or just haven’t explored the various ways in which you can segment your email lists, try something new! You may be pleasantly surprised by the results.

Sam Holzman is the Content Marketing Specialist at ZoomInfo where he writes for their B2B blog. ZoomInfo is a leading B2B data provider that helps organizations accelerate growth and profitability. Sam regularly covers topics related to sales, marketing, and recruiting, and likes to write about sports and travel in his free time.