What is Email Segmentation? 5 Best Practices & Strategies for 2023

Ammar Mazhar
Ammar Mazhar

Last updated on

November 14, 2022

It’s 2023, and email marketing isn’t slowing down. Statistics show that by 2025 active email users are expected to reach 4.6 billion. 

If this doesn’t convince you enough, here’s another interesting fact: 

81% of small businesses rely on email marketing for customer acquisition, and email marketing, at 80%, is a major marketing channel for customer retention. 

Email marketing is one of the most popular methods to connect with your target audience and existing customers. It can help you generate leads, engage customers, and turn prospects into customers. Email marketing provides you with a lot of opportunities to connect with your ideal customers at a personal level.

Segmentation makes the email marketing strategy more effective. It has helped the overall email marketing to evolve over the years, thus improving the overall efficiency of the email marketing strategy. The first email was sent in 1971, and the first bulk email was sent in 1978. With email marketing, you can not send the same email to everyone on your mailing list and expect to get the results you want. That’s why you need email segmentation.

What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation is the process of dividing your mailing list into multiple categories according to specific criteria. You can segment your contact list based on various parameters, including geography, age, gender, income level, etc. You can also create email segments according to content. It would also be significant to send relevant content to everyone in your target audience.

What is the difference between segmentation and personalization?

Like market segmentation, email segmentation divides your target customers into smaller groups based on their similarities. The members of each group share similar behavior, likes, dislikes, social values, etc. Market segmentation is a broader term for classifying the audience at large to understand customer behavior and target audience better. Email segmentation can help you achieve a better ROI with your email marketing campaigns. It can help you run more targeted campaigns to increase brand awareness, leads, and sales. 

Email Personalization, on the other hand, is how you design an email for every individual in a segment. It laser focuses on the person who is receiving or reading specific content. For example, you can email Mr. X about his recent purchase and ask for his feedback.

It is important to remember that both segmentation and personalization are essential for the success of email campaigns, and below are some ways they differ from each other.

Segmentation Personalization
Segmentation is about grouping your target audience, where you break down your target audience into smaller groups Personalization is about addressing the likings, and preferences of the individual customer. It addresses a single client at a time
The members of the group have similar preferences, likes, and dislikes Each individual has different preferences, and you will have to customize a product or service for each specific individual
The demographics could be – age, gender, occupation, or income. The data of the personalization is individually identifiable
Segmentation includes designing marketing messages for a target audience The elements that you need include

  • Name of the customer
  • Date of birth of the customer
  • The purchase history
  • History of the products that have browsed recently
Marketing messages are created for a group of customers Marketing messages that are only relevant to the individual.

Why is email segmentation Important?

Gone are the days when a single email could bring you excellent results. Many businesses believe they can run successful email marketing campaigns by sending the same content to everyone on their mailing list. Sending a single email to everyone is excellent as long as it's relevant to them. However, if you spam your email list with too many promotional emails repeatedly, it will badly impact your business’s credibility.

Email segmentation, on the other hand, can revolutionize the way you run email campaigns. With email segmentation, you deliver what the target audience wants to see. You can have a great email ROI when you can provide what they are looking for. As a result, your email marketing campaigns will help exponentially scale your business, the open rates will be high, and people will start interacting with your emails. 

Here’s why email segmentation is essential for businesses:

Infographic: Why is email segmentation important ?

1. Better campaign results

When you are spending a lot of money on email campaigns, you would want them to bring in more sales. Several contribute to it, including great copy, personalization, visuals, layout, and, most importantly, segmentation. While the rest of the elements are equally important, you can get the results you want with email segmentation because that’s how you can provide what people are looking for. 

Email marketing segmentation will help you send personalized content to your target audience and increase brand awareness and customer engagement. When you collect customer data for email segments, you will know where an individual is on the sales funnel. It will also help you increase sales by pushing them in the right direction. 

For example, you can create a separate email campaign based on what stage of the sales funnels your customers are in, i.e., awareness, interest, evaluation, desire, and action. 

Awareness: You can design educational emails for those in the awareness stage. 

Interest & evaluation: This is where the lead is already aware of the product/service, and you have to create content that would help them move forward in the sales funnel  

Desire: This is the third stage of the sales funnel, and the lead is just about to take action. 

Action: You can create emails for the segment of the audience willing to take action. You can create emails that entice them to act and buy your product. 

You can create educational and value-driven emails for the people who have just entered the initial stage of your sales funnel, or if they are already in the sales funnel, you can run an action-based email campaign. In short, segmentation helps you thrive through your email campaigns. 

2. Improved Email Deliverability

Another reason for segmenting email marketing lists is to save your emails from ending up in the spam folder. If you send generic content to everyone on your mailing list, it will get flagged as spam. As a result, your message will not reach your intended audience. 

However, if you collect customer data for segmentation, you can send people emails according to things that interest them. And getting targeted emails will turn inactive users into engaged customers. 

3. Better Relationship Fostering

The purpose of email marketing is not just to increase sales but also to develop a bond with the target audience. With email segments, you will know the right message for your target audience. And when customers get personalized messages and relevant content, they will develop a connection with the sender. A strong relationship with buyers will also increase customer lifetime value.

4. Increased Knowledge of your Customers

When you collect customer data for email marketing segmentation, you will learn many essential things about your target audience. It will enable you to become well-versed in the interests and likes, and dislikes of your target customers. Increased knowledge of your customers will also help you improve the quality of your products and services. 

5. IncreasedBetter Revenue 

Segmentation helps you exponentially scale your revenue streams. According to the statistics, email segmentation can help businesses to improve revenue by up to 760%. 

Act smart as you segment because not everyone will respond to marketing or promotional emails. People often look for something valuable and educational. Make sure you provide what they are looking for. And that’s the beauty of email segmentation 

Types of segmentation strategies

There are a lot of parameters to choose from when dividing your email subscribers into segments. It can be overwhelming if you don’t know how to divide your audience into different categories. That’s where segmentation strategies come into play. 

With segmentation strategies, you can figure out how to send the best messages to new subscribers and repeat customers.

Infographic: Types of segmentation

1. Demographic

Infographic: Segmentation based on demographics

You can segment your audience based on demography. Demographic segmentation includes parameters like age, gender, and income of your target customers. 

For example, you would like to run an email campaign to target a high-level income group audience for a high-end product you are launching this month. Or you might want to run a campaign for the baby product that you launched. And for this reason, you will have to target mothers having newborn babies.

Below is an example,

So, here’s how you can target the audience based on several parameters:

1.1. Age

Knowing the age or age range of your target audience can help you figure out which product or service you should market to them. For instance, you wouldn’t want to send emails about a product line created for younger audiences to people in their 60s.

You can ask people about their ages through an email signup form or create a separate form for your mailing list to obtain demographic data. 

1.2. Gender

Gender also plays an important role in email marketing campaigns. And knowing the gender of your audience can help you run better email campaigns. You can confidently send targeted emails to subscribers based on their gender when you have the right data. 

For instance, with data on gender, you won’t end up sending marketing emails about menswear to women. 

Some of the parameters that you can use when targeting your audience based on gender basis are fashion, gaming, leisure, healthcare, travel behaviors, astrology, dating, etc. 

Here’s a detailed visual of how you can segment your audience based on gender.

Stats on gender based segmentation

1.3. Life stage and family status

The shopping preferences of people also depend on whether they are single or married with children. Once you know the life stage and family status of your audience segments, you can use the knowledge to run and curate successful email campaigns. 

For instance, you can send a promotional email about children’s clothing to people who have kids and travel advertisements to single subscribers. Or send an email to the beauty-conscious target audience about your beauty products. 

Demographic segmentation example: ILIA

1.4. Income

The income of your subscribers will give you an idea of how much they can spend on a product. You can ask brand new subscribers about their income through email or website forms and then send them relevant content through emails. It would save you from the embarrassment of sending an email about a luxury item to an individual who belongs to the middle class. 

For example, you can’t send an email about the launch of a brand-new car to a low-income group of people, it’s a waste of time and money.

2. Psychographic

Infographic: Segmentation based on Psychographics

Through psychography, you can create segmentation depending on parameters like values your audience preach, interests they care for, and lifestyle they aspire to have. The word psychograph dates back to 1883, and it is a combination of the words ‘psycho + graphy’ which means “history of an individual soul; the natural history of the phenomenon of mind.”

Thus, the basis of psychographic segmentation is understanding the behavior of your target audience and studying the varying behavior of interests, lifestyles, and values. It helps you to understand the aspirations and motivations of your target audience.

You can connect with your audience at an emotional level. Since most people make their decisions based on their emotions, and if you can understand their emotional behavior, it will be a win-win situation. As a result, it will help you improve your level of communication with your target audience and be able to successfully customize them to their liking. 

Psychographic segmentation example

Following are some parameters that will help you find out the psychographic traits of your target audience. 

2.1. Interests

People have varying interests based on their age, income, etc. You can’t sell video games to an individual who prefers books, which is why it is important to know the interests of your target customers. With list segmentation, you can make sure that people get emails according to their interests and that your website gets engaged customers. 

2.2. Lifestyle

Another thing to consider when creating list segmentation is your audience's lifestyle. For instance, you wouldn’t want to send club membership invitations to someone who doesn’t like participating in social activities. 

Social activities are for those who are outgoing, extroverts, and who love interacting with others. On the other hand, introverted people like to stay in a small loop of circles with people who are too close to them. You have to segment carefully. 

2.3. Values

Marketing emails should not disrespect the beliefs and values of your audience, which is why you must know these things in advance. Respecting the values of your customers will also lead to an increase in brand loyalty. 

Below is a comparison of the demographic and psychographic profiles:

3. Behavioral

This email segmentation strategy can tell you how customers interact with your content online.

Infographic: Segmentation based on Behavior

This email segmentation strategy can tell you how customers interact with your content online.

3.1. Email engagement metrics

Email metrics can tell you what percentage of your audience interacted with your email messages. Keeping track of email engagement statistics will become easier if you use the right email marketing platform. Once you know what types of emails are doing well with the customers, you can also modify your future emails. 

Pay attention to the following aspects of emails, 

3.2. Website interactions

Another way to collect behavioral data is to examine the website activity of individuals in each segment. Customer behavior on your website can tell you who is interested in a certain product. Focus on tracking, analyzing, and reporting the website interaction to design an excellent email segmentation strategy. 

It can also help you determine each customer's average order value. Tracking website interactions will not only help you in creating a personalized message for them but also enable you to push them further in the sales funnel. And you can do this easily with quizzes.

3.3. Purchase history

In order to create email marketing segmentation, it is vital to observe the purchase history of your email subscribers. Purchase history can tell you which products your email subscribers have repeatedly bought and which ones they didn’t return. Both past purchases and the current purchase history of your subscribers can help you with designing segmented email marketing campaigns in the future. 

Segmenting your audience based on purchase history lets you understand what your target audiences love to order too often, how much they are willing to spend, and how what is the frequency of their purchase. 

3.4. Product or service usage 

Email segments can also enable you to educate new subscribers about product and service usage. And if your email subscribers have already used a product in the past, you can ask them for their opinion to improve the product quality.

The geographic location of your subscribers can tell you a lot about their shopping preferences which is why it should also be considered when sending segmented emails. 

Infographic: Segmentation based on Geography

4. Geographic

The geographic location of your subscribers can tell you a lot about their shopping preferences which is why it should also be considered when sending segmented emails. 

Geogrpahic segmentation example

4.1. Country

It would ruin the sender's reputation if you send a Thanksgiving email to your email segments in India. However, you can easily avoid making this mistake if you know the customer's location. Knowing the geographic location of your subscribers will also enable you to send them targeted emails and increase sales. 

Or you might randomly send a 4th of July email to your audience based in Canada. It will signal that you don't care for your audience, or better yet, you don't even know where your audience is. 

4.2. Region

There are many region-specific deals you can send to your loyal customers. But this is only possible if you know their geographic location. Once you have data on the region, segment your email list accordingly. 

You might want to send an email about a new sale of winter items to someone who lives in the hotter region. This could again ruin your overall campaign. Make sure you pay attention to everything you do. 

4.3. Town

If there’s an upcoming event in a town, you can make the most of it by sending special offers for that day to bring people to your store. Once you segment your email list according to the town, you can regularly be a part of local events and increase brand awareness. 

4.4. Zip code

Knowing the zip codes of your audience is also important for email marketing segmentation. You can ensure that people get targeted emails relevant to their area code. 

4.5. Time zone

Time zones can help you figure out when to send emails to get maximum engagement. That’s why knowing time zones and when your customers open their emails is important for email marketing

Time Zone segmentation example: Foodpanda

4.6. Language

When creating your email marketing strategy, it is also essential to know about the language preferences of your audience. A welcome email in the native language of your audience will leave a good impression on them. 

How to segment an email list using Mailmunch?

Mailmunch is an all-in-one tool that helps you understand your audience better and smarter. It will help you target an audience ready to buy from you. This way, your email marketing is more effective and has a great ROI. 

  • Mailmunch allows you to generate leads, where you can convert your visitors into your email subscribers. 
  • The advanced segmentation feature of Mailmunch allows you to understand the audience in more detail. 
  • You can have a better ROI with your email marketing strategy.
  • The most critical feature of Mailmunch includes automation of your email marketing campaigns. 

Here’s how you can create segments from your contact lists:

1. Establish Segmentation Criteria

The first step in email marketing segmentation is establishing criteria. You will have to decide how to segment your email list before you can turn to email segmentation tools for help. You can use your marketing strategy to determine which criteria to choose for email segmentation. Once you have decided on the criteria, you can move on to the next step. 

Some of the segmentation criteria could be, 

  • Gender
  • Age
  • Nationality
  • Education
  • Profession
  • Income
  • Family situation

2. Collect data

Data is precious, and if your email segmentation is based on the real-time data of your target audience, it can never go wrong. Work with your data analytics team to get first-hand data about your target audience. 

Whether it is the geographic location of your audience or their purchase history that you need for email segmentation, you can only get the answers with the help of data. So, at this point, let an email marketing platform like Mailmunch help you with data collection. 

3. Segment using Tags

Once you have the data, you can start creating list segmentation. To ensure your marketing campaign runs smoothly, create list segmentation using tags. This way, you can automate your emails with the help of email service providers easily. 

Marketers can segment the audience based on the following tags, 

  • Source tag - This refers to the source where your lead originated from. For example, the source could be a seminar conducted in the past month or a new product launch you have had recently. 
  • Engagement tag - It refers to how engaged your leads were with the content you create
  • Action tag - An action tag depicts your contact's action to turn into a customer. It could be visiting a product page, a landing page, downloading an eBook, watching a video, etc.
  • Product/service tag - A tag refers to the product/service the lead has purchased. You will have a list of the contacts with the product/service you purchased this would be called segmentation based on the product tag.

4. Segment contacts in automation workflows

With Mailmunch, you can automate everything when running an email marketing campaign. So, to make the automation process smoother, create segments of your email. You can create wider categories like business contacts and customer contacts or segments based on contact data like age, gender, and location. 

5 Best practices for email segmentation

Email marketing is a powerful tool for marketers, but if they don’t follow the right steps, they could waste their time and money on it. With segmentation, you can make the most of email marketing. But even in segmentation, you should keep a few things in mind. 

Infographic: 5 Best practices for email segmentation

1. Understand your recipients

Most people clean their email list or unsubscribe from the email list because their inbox is flooded with unnecessary emails or too many promotional emails. Treating your recipients with kindness and providing them with value is essential. So, instead of spamming them with generic emails, only send them content that could benefit them. 

Set a specific frequency of how often you would love to send emails. It could be sending an email Thursday morning, which is value driven. People wait to receive an email, provided it has some value. Alternatively, even if you send too many emails to a frequent buyer, keep it to the point instead of wasting their time. 

2. Ask for only relevant information

It is true that you will need information about your recipients to create audience segments, but you should only ask for what’s needed for your email marketing campaign. A few examples of this could be asking for your audience's age, gender, and location. If you ask for irrelevant information, you will drive your audience away. 

3. Create precise segments with multiple conditions

Don’t create segments that cover multiple categories. Instead, create precise segments and then add multiple conditions to them. This way, it will be easier for the marketing tool you are using to automate your emails. 

For example, if you have baby products, you could choose to target mothers with newborns in specific zip codes with a specific income level. This is because not every mother would be able to afford some expensive baby products. Some might look for budget-friendly products.

4. Utilize Dynamic Content

Everything from announcements about a new product line to a welcome email for a new customer and invitations for early access to a sale to special discounts for frequent buyers should be easy to customize. This way, you can create dynamic email content based on your customers' preferences. For instance, if you find out that a new subscriber’s primary language isn’t English, you should be able to change the welcome email easily. 

5. Monitor Performance

Track, analyze, and repeat. Dig deeper into the data because numbers never lie. Although list segmentation can be highly beneficial to email marketing, it may not sometimes bring the desired results. So, if you want to make sure that you created the right list segmentation, monitor the performance of your email marketing campaign. One way to monitor performance is to add a blog post link in emails and then count the number of clicks you got. 

Start creating segments with Mailmunch!

It’s time to start launching your new email marketing campaign with Mailmuch. Mailmuch allows you to leverage advanced segmentation features to target your audience and make your email marketing campaign effective and efficient. 

With Mailmuch, you can improve the conversations using various features, including tag segmentation, and add personalization to them. You can create tailored campaigns with hyper-segmentation.

It’s 2023 when email segmentation is on the rise. Are you already incorporating email segmentation into your marketing strategy? 

Author Bio

Ammar Mazhar

A voracious reader and a music lover, Ammar has been writing engaging and informative content for over 2 years for B2B and B2C markets. With a knack for writing SEO-optimized content, Ammar makes sure that the results speak for themselves.

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