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Email segmentation is the secret to successful email marketing

The secret to successful email marketing

You send regular marketing emails to your database. Some people open your emails. Some people click on them. But how can you improve these numbers? We’ll just spit it out: send people exactly what they want to see with email segmentation.

What are email segments?

Segments are subgroups of your contact list, and they’re about to become your new best friends. Each segment of your list contains contacts that share similar characteristics or behaviors. Organizing your data by segment allows you to send more accurately targeted messages. With 70% of millennials frustrated with brands sending irrelevant emails, creating segments based on the data you’ve collected is the key to effective email marketing.

Without segmentationWith segmentation
Everyone gets the same emailsYou send each contact what they want to see
Some people click; others wonder why you’re emailing themPeople engage with your emails because you give them relevant information
You put a lot of work into email marketing, for limited rewardYour marketing feels more personal and yields better results

Why is email segmentation important?

The equation is simple: Segmentation = higher open and click rates = a better chance at achieving business objectives.

It’s also important to remember that engagement and deliverability have a reciprocal relationship, so the higher your engagement, the more likely your emails are to make it to your audience’s inboxes. Segmentation allows you to send relevant messages to your contacts, thus improving your engagement (opens and clicks) and deliverability.

On the other hand, sending mass messages that aren’t tailored to a contact’s specific interests and behaviors results in low engagement and hurts your deliverability. Even worse, it can lead to people hitting the dreaded unsubscribe button if they deem your content irrelevant.

If that’s not enough to convince you, this stat should: marketers report a 760% increase in email revenue from personalized and segmented campaigns.

How to do email marketing segmentation

Different groups of people care about different things, so you should speak to them differently. The way you segment your audience depends on your business objectives and communication goals, but you can find some email segmentation ides below.

What are some email list segmentation ideas?


  • Visits to your website
  • Opens of your emails
  • Clicks on your emails
  • Contacts to your sales team
  • Date subscribed
  • Content downloaded
  • Products purchased
  • Time since last purchase

Demographics and firmographics:

  • Age, sex, home location, etc.
  • Industry
  • Personal interests
  • Customer lifetime value
  • Job function
  • Quiz results
  • Information in custom fields
  • Organization type
  • Geographic location

How to segment an existing audience in 5 steps

Perhaps you already have an established email list, but you haven’t yet segmented it in any way. Where does one begin?

  1. Import your list into an email marketing platform: If you haven’t already, choose an email marketing platform (like ActiveCampaign) and import your email list.
  2. Clean and validate your list: Before you start segmenting, it’s important to clean your list. Remove duplicates, invalid email addresses, and any addresses that have previously opted out.
  3. Analyze your list: Look for commonalities or criteria that will be useful for segmentation. This could include factors like:
    • Demographics
    • Behavioral data
    • Engagement Level
    • Source of Acquisition
  4. Create segmentation criteria: Based on your analysis, determine the criteria you’ll use to segment your list. For example, you might want to create segments like “Recent Customers,” “Inactive Subscribers,” “Location-Based Segments,” etc.
  5. Use automation and tags: Many email marketing platforms offer automation tools and tagging systems. Use these to apply the segmentation criteria you’ve established. For instance, you can set up automated rules to tag subscribers based on their behavior.

Use your segments to send personalized communications

Staying out of the dreaded spam folder relies on sending relevant messages that solve a customer’s unique problems, offer value, and address real needs. You can achieve this by using data to segment your email lists to create tailored, customized messages, schedule email sending, and track people’s responses. To help you put the right emails in front of the right people, we recommend using automation software with features for email marketing, such as ActiveCampaign.

Note that the link above is an affiliate link; if you happen to sign up for ActiveCampaign after clicking it, we will receive a small commission. But that’s not why we promote this platform over all of its competitors. We truly believe it’s the best.

ActiveCampaign’s tool for segmentation is the segment builder. We use ActiveCampaign’s segment builder because it allows you to choose from a range of segmentation criteria, which means that your messaging can be extremely targeted.

The system of tags is also very easy to use—it’s like attaching a sticky note to your contacts. For example, you can use tags to identify visitors to your website, people who clicked on links in your emails, customers of certain products, or whatever information would be helpful to you. Tags show you what your audience cares about, allowing you to send them relevant content based on their interests. You can also use tags to send one email that shows different sections of text or images depending on the contact segment.

Along with tags, ActiveCampaign allows you to segment your list according to custom fields, which are the permanent, unique, actionable data points your contacts choose to submit using external-facing forms. You can collect a range of diverse and personal data, limited only by what you want to know and the data your users are willing to submit. ActiveCampaign also allows you to create and edit forms to gain custom field data.

The more data you collect, the more you can segment your audience. And the more you segment, the more relevant your messages become. Armed with your forms, lists, tags, and custom fields, you’ll be able to gain an accurate picture of each contact and segment your database to provide them with the appropriate communication.

You may also be interested in: Top 10 Benefits of Email Marketing for Small Businesses

Need segmentation support?

Getting to know your customers and helping them solve their problems is key to effective marketing. At Brighter Messaging, we can help you use email segmentation to get the right messages in front of the right people to amplify your email marketing success. Get in touch with the team to learn more.

You may also be interested in: Gmail & Yahoo have New Email Authentication Requirements: What senders need to know

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