Email Marketing Segmentation – Sharing my 2018 best practices

By Lucas Chevillard

That’s the one thing you should get right in email marketing. Email Segmentation.

In my main email marketing strategy, segmentation plays a big role. Without it, you could not send the right campaign to the right user.

Let’s look at it under the hood.

This post is a short summary of the 30 minutes video course content in my email marketing course.

What is email marketing segmentation?

Email segmentation is the division of your email subscribers into smaller segments based on set criteria.

To achieve better content personalization you are sending them.
Because we know that more relevant content sent to a user means for sales.

Segmentation is enabled by data. The more data you get from a user, the better it will be.

A really good example that makes a big difference: Pinterest asks for a gender when signing-up.

Different types of data used for segmentation

Your audience can be segmented in many ways. With explicit and implicit data.
The data that a user is giving you upfront and the data you collect about the user.
This is the best way to start segmenting your list and avoid sending the same email to everyone.

  • Explicit data
  • Implicit data
  • Engagement
  • Personas

Let’s review them in details.

Explicit data

Data that is intentionally shared.
Everything that a user is entering in a form, survey, contact information.

This is the most intentional data that is shared with you.

Implicit data

Data that is (sometimes creepily) gathered from user behavior and other sources.
Purchase history, pages visited, links clicked…

As you are collecting this data from other sources, it might not always be 100% true. Just keep it in mind when you want to use it.

Engagement

How did a user engage with your product or emails in a certain timeframe?
For example:

  • Emails opened in the last 90 days
  • Emails clicked in the last 30 days
  • Received 5 emails in the last 7 days

Personas

The buyer personas you defined to represent your ideal customers.
People will enter a persona segment based on multiple data points like their interactions on your website, their explicit and implicit data.

For example, a travel company could segment based on

  • The user’s age [explicit]
  • The user’s location [explicit]
  • The destination a user has searched [implicit]
  • The dates of the trip [implicit]
  • The length of the trip [implicit]

Some can be an assumption based on signals in your data. For example, the location can be explicit or implicit deducted from.

I won’t go too much into details but if you want to learn more about it, I cover segmentation with more than 30 minutes of video content in my email marketing course. Including a walkthrough in Mailchimp and Drip.

How do you actually create the segment?

Regardless of the ESP, you are currently using, they should all have a function to segment your subscribers. If not you should change now!

For this example, I will take Drip as this is the ESP I am currently using to send you this course.

The first step is to define the segment you want to create based on the data point we defined above.

Let’s say that we run an e-commerce shop for sneakers.
I want to know and segment all my customers whose favorite color is red. 

Note that to know their favorite color we can either ask (explicit) for this when they sign up. Or guess (implicit) their favorite color by the product they are looking at most often.

In the ESP, it translates in going to Subscribers and selecting Custom fields: favorite_color = Red 


Drip Email marketing segmentation

Hit refresh and you’ll have your segment.
With this, you can create a newsletter for Red sneakers or use this segment in an automation.

I hope this was helpful, in my email marketing course I go over with a step-by-step video in Mailchimp and Drip.

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About the Author

Growth Marketing Manager at Airbnb. Chief Editor at EmailTech.co. Learn email marketing with my free email marketing course