What is Email Segmentation?

July 17, 2013 Becky Schroeder

Once upon a time, back when email was first around, marketers would send email to their whole list. This was called an email blast or batch-and-blast. And it was very effective.

As the Internet has grown, consumers' inboxes have become saturated with marketing emails as more and more companies use email marketing to get their messages in front of consumers who have become increasingly skeptical of advertising. To keep email marketing campaigns effective at getting opens and converting customers, companies have adopted a practice called segmentation. What is email segmentation? Sending specific emails to specific parts of your email list.

Think of your emails as golf clubs. In the game of golf, each club has a certain job; a specific kind of shot it performs best. A putter is not used to drive the ball at the tee. Well, email marketing can be used in much the same manner.

For example, a generic email on life insurance sent to your entire list might generate some interest. But if you create two emails with different messaging, one geared towards the younger generation and the other towards the older generation, you would have much better success with your email.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to segment a list (click here to see other ways to segment your list):

By line of business
Sending an email about how your agency can save them money on auto insurance to your whole list will either cause confusion or create annoyance with your auto insurance customers. Neither of which you want. But by segmenting, you can identify which part of your list does not have auto insurance with your agency and send only them that email. Better yet, you can use it to cross sell. For example, identify who of your current customers don't have a home policy then send them an email with home insurance information.

By birthday or age
You can segment your lists to send targeted emails like my life insurance example above. Or use it to send a birthday card or email.

By location
Segment your contacts by ZIP code and send emails on local events and community news or information needed after a disaster like a flood has affected a certain area.

Agency marketing systems that automate segmentation will make your life easier as all you have to do is choose the fields by which to filter your list, e.g., customers who live in certain town, and the system will automatically send your mailing to only customers who live in that town. You don't have to manually make the list and then import it. The system handles it all.

The more relevant your mailings are to your audience the better your email marketing will perform which will result in a better close ratio and better retention.

Read more...

About the Author

Becky Schroeder

As vice president of marketing, Becky Schroeder oversees ITC’s growth through marketing and drives the overall marketing strategy for the company and its products. Her specialties include advertising, social media, email marketing, content marketing and public relations. Becky has a master’s degree in integrated marketing communication from Emerson College in Boston and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Texas A&M University. Becky is a big Texas A&M football fan and enjoys cooking, reading and spending time with her husband and their three daughters.

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