4 Ways To Segment Your Audience:

How to Categorize Your Email List for Increased Engagement

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I nerd out hard on a really well-segmented email list.


When Madewell sends me recommendations that are obviously based on my previous purchases, or my local coffee shop sends me an offer for a free beverage on my birthday, I nod my head enthusiastically.

Yes, I want those things! But more importantly, yes, you’re not bugging me with irrelevant B.S. I don’t need to know about!!

Grouping people with like experiences, interests and past behaviors on your email list can be a challenge. In order to make it easy to join your list, you probably don’t gather a lot of information from them… at first. But there are at least 4 things you know about them without even surveying them for more information.

And these 4 things can give you just enough insight to categorize them and customize the content you send. These 4 things are email segmentation gold.

#1. Segment by how they got on your list in the first place.

Are they clients? Ticket buyers? Donors? Did they sign up via a specific opt-in on your website? You can definitely tailor content to a “how I know you” audience.

For example, I know everyone who signed up for my email list in order to download our free worksheet about pinpointing your ideal audience is interested in that kind of discovery.

If I am offering any other “target audience” teachings, they’ll probably want to know about it. If I am designing more worksheets for working out marketing ideas, they’ll likely be into it.

#2. Segment by sign up date.

Been around the block a few times? Why not celebrate those who have been with you for years!

Offer something special or simply send a thank you to some of your diehard subscribers who have been with you since the beginning.

You can also ask for referrals and connections from this most loyal of groups. These people stuck around for a reason. Maybe they’re willing to give a testimonial or send another prospective client your way.

#3. Segment by email behavior.

Do you have some subscribers who open everything you send? Maybe they should hear from you first about new offerings and get rewards for sharing or forwarding your announcements. Maybe you should even consider increasing the frequency you send emails to that group.

Did you sell a product or program last year that you’re selling again this year? Why not open the offering first to everyone who clicked but didn’t purchase last time around?

Do you have a group of subscribers who haven’t clicked on any of your last 20 emails? How can you re-engage them (or encourage them to unsubscribe if you’re not a right fit)?

#4. Segment by purchase behavior.

Has someone on your list purchased an entry-level service? Or a program that was a bigger investment? Did they buy tickets to a specific show? Participate in a specific event?

Personalize their emails by providing more information and detail surrounding their specific purchases. And come to them first with similar offers!

If they bought a sweater last fall, sell them one from your new collection this autumn. If they bought tickets to next month’s performance, tell them some nearby restaurants before their night out. Let them know when that same company is back in town next season. Send a follow-up email asking how they liked the show…

The more information you can collect about your email subscribers, the greater clarity you have on how to communicate with them. And that goes for what you keep track of naturally via your email service, not just surveys and polls and profile updates.

When your emails become more personal and more relevant, they’ll get greater engagement and promote increased loyalty and higher sales.

ready to make your email list work for you?

My online master class will help you magically send emails your subscribers actually want. 

I’ll teach you ways to fully automate personalized, relevant content for your email subscribers. Strengthen relationships & grow sales — without going crazy.  

Or, welcome new subscribers with grace & generosity.

Our free welcome email template will help you introduce yourself and your services to your new email subscribers, so everyone knows what they signed up for. And it offers yet another touchpoint where you can delight your potential new clients and customers.

    I strategize, consult and manage digital marketing and communications for small businesses and creative entrepreneurs. I’m based in Brooklyn, because I have a thing for exposed brick, cozy, local coffee shops and the can’t stop, won’t stop energy of New York.

    Because I work with small companies, I get the chance to really know my clients – what makes them tick and how and why they should stand out in a crowded marketplace. A lot of my clients have a smaller staff, a limited budget and are already stretched thin for time. This leads us to tailor marketing strategies and solutions to each company’s unique needs and actual capacity.

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