Santa’s holiday guide to list segmentation

He's making a list
An' checkin' it twice
He's gonna find out who's naughty and nice...

Who knew all these years later as marketers, we'd circle back around to the gleeful lyrics of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" and identify a little gem that might suggest Santa too was a marketer. In the song, they say Santa made his list and he checked it twice to find out who was naughty and who was nice. 

That's right... Santa segmented his list and he kept them clean (checked them twice), both strategies vital to the success of an email nurture and user experience.  Well Santa, this one's for you! 

Santa's holiday guide to list segmentation

As we head into the holiday season, opt-ins are going to ramp up because your send will ramp up. More subscribers, more conversions right? Aht aht... not that easy. It takes understanding your lists and audience to send content that really matters to them, which leads to awareness, then to interest, then you get action! This is where segmentation comes in. 

Segmenting your audience helps you direct valuable content to the specific individuals it was created for. Rather than sending one email to your entire email list, separate your audience into particular groups and fill their inboxes with content they want to read. 

Each one of your subscribers has a different relationship with your brand, and it’s important you allow your content to cater to those specific dynamics.

In this article, we’re giving you a practical guide to audience segmentation which you can use to best divvy up your new subscribers this holiday season according to your particular business, whether they've been naughty or nice. 

Ways to segment your audience

There isn’t a set way to segment your audience when it comes to email marketing.

In fact, it’s completely up to you on how you wish to do so.

The best way to segment an audience depends on the brand, and it’s important you take the time to decide which way will optimize your email success.

There are popular ways to segment your audience, and these strategies would be a great place for you to start if you’re unfamiliar with audience segmentation.

As you become more comfortable with segmenting your audience, you can then adjust your strategies to fit your business structure best.

Here are some great ways to start segmenting your email list:

Demographic data

This will probably be your first go-to strategy when you begin to segment your audience. From gender to location to age, this information could be a great way to segment your email audience.

But before you do, ask yourself if it will provide value to the content your audience receives.

For instance, maybe you’re marketing a clothing store. Knowing your audience’s specific age can help you send out the proper inventory to their inbox. 

However, if you are marketing a general contracting company, demographic segmentation may be the best way to divvy up your audience. You’ll want to look more into the type of project they want to achieve and target your audience that way.

Although this is a simple strategy, be sure it’s going to benefit your marketing efforts.

Position in the sales funnel

When you are marketing a company that relies on the sales funnel to reach conversions, you could use each subscriber’s position to create individualized content. Each user is looking for something different from your business depending on where they are in the funnel.

Let’s review the groundwork of the sales funnel to understand how you can target your email audience better through audience segmentation.

  • Stage 1:  Awareness -This is where your prospect first becomes aware of your brand.
  • Stage 2:  Interest - Here, you want to encourage a user’s interest in your product/service and lead them to a purchase.
  • Stage 3: Decision - Your marketing efforts should help these users complete a purchase. 
  • Stage 4: Action - This is when your subscriber completes the goal that you were directing them to do (buy a product, read a blog, etc.). 

It’s important to recognize that each one of these stages will bring on new concerns to your users, and your content should address these concerns to maintain their descent down the funnel.

For example, someone who is located in the Interest stage may need more information on your product/service before descending down into the decision stage. On the other hand, someone who resides in the decision stage is most likely looking for special offers and encouragement to buy now, which means they've progressed into the action stage.

Don’t neglect your user’s position in the funnel because it could be a great resource to use when creating targeted content.

Email engagement

When it comes to your email list, you have the group of people that are interactive with your email content, and those who may send you straight to the trash. Segmenting your audience into groups based on their email engagement helps turn those inactive users into active users.

You can create content that points out their inactivity, which is basically calling them out. Using humorous tactics like this draws in those who you’ve struggled to attract.

As for your active users, you can create targeted content that encourages them to buy/interact with your brand again and again.

Image: Really Good Emails

Include a survey/quiz in your opt-in

When your new users subscribe to your email list, you can have them take a quick survey or quiz that can help you learn more about who they are and what they want. Their answers can help you segment them into specific groups and ensure they receive targeted content. 

For example, if you offer a wide range of apparel that includes men, women, and children’s apparel, ask what type of apparel they are interested in. As a result, your email content for that specific user will include the type of inventory they are on the hunt for. 

There are many ways to spin this strategy to cater to what it is your company has to offer.

Whether you’re a new blog, or you’re looking for additional conversions, there are questions to ask your users to increase your marketing efforts.

Let’s take a look into how you should formulate your opt-in questions to benefit your email marketing strategy.

What to ask at opt-in

There are many things you can ask when subscribers opt-in to your email list. Rather than just acquiring their email, be sure to ask an easy question that says a lot about your new user.

Here are some things to consider asking when your new subscribers opt-in to your email list:

  • What are they specifically interested in?
  • What kinds of emails do they want to receive? (i.e. special offers, what’s new, newsletters)
  • How often would they like to hear from you?

It may be a good idea to ask how frequently users would like to find you in their inbox. One of the top reasons users unsubscribe or report emails as spam is that they receive way too many emails. I think we can all relate to this annoyance.

Asking them this question earns trust from your new user because they’ll appreciate that you care. You will be confident in your email frequency knowing that they are expecting your next piece of content after a certain amount of time has passed.

Research your audience, then do it again

Staying on top of your evolving audience by understanding what it is they want from your company is a great way to create the best email content. But it can also help you segment your audience for email marketing success. 

Each business is different, and the way you should segment your audience will be different from the next.

Your audience may need to be segmented based on their specific interest in your inventory, where other companies will focus their segmentation on demographics.

While you may have a great understanding of your audience, you shouldn’t stop there.

Your online audience is always evolving as technology influences our digital world each and every day. You should make an effort to reevaluate your audience often, including their wants and needs in order to segment them properly.

Most likely, use Google Analytics to obtain user information and data. Taking advantage of software just like this and utilizing your ESP will help you segment your email audience and achieve the email goals you’re striving to accomplish.

Segmenting your audience for email success

Email marketing is sometimes difficult to master, but you can start to optimize your efforts if you take advantage of the benefits audience segmentation has to offer.

Not everyone on your email list wants the same thing, and it’s up to you to cater to each user.

Whether you divvy them up according to who they are or what they want, taking the time to understand what each group wants from your brand will increase your email success.

Email marketing is still a great way to reach your digital audience – yes, above Facebook and Instagram. However, you have to be sure you’re utilizing every strategy in the book to experience the benefits.

Audience segmentation continues to be a resourceful tactic to use when you want to target your audience more directly and efficiently. It is detrimental to your marketing efforts to group all of your users into one group. Each subscriber has their own relationship with your brand and it’s up to you to cater to their needs.

Wrap up

While audience segmentation requires more dedication and hard work to group your audience into smaller sections, you’ll notice the difference it will have on your upcoming campaigns. Just ask Santa!

As your new subscribers pour in, make them feel valued by sending carefully chosen content that inspires trust in your brand. If users feel like they are just another fish in a large email-list-pond, they’ll be the first to do away with what your company has to offer. 

Following this guide to audience segmentation will make your users feel like an individual that you care about specifically, rather than just another number.

If you cater to their needs and answer their specific questions, your email marketing campaigns will bring in much more success than you would’ve ever expected before. 

Happy Holidays!

About the Author

Brianna Glenn is a Content Manager on Emma's marketing team. The only thing she loves more than writing is food, which she often experiments with in her spare time. She has a pretty well-known sidekick (her toddler, Miguel) who dances his way into virtual meetings and is famous for making funny faces on camera.

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