Email Applied: How to Use Segmentation to Increase Email Relevance
You've likely heard the statistic before, but it's worth repeating: The average American consumer is bombarded with over 5,000 marketing and advertising messages per day. Email is still a workhorse channel, with estimates having the average consumer receiving more than 30 emails per day and business people over 40 per day. (I bet anyone reading this column receives much more!)
Marketers have to cut through the clutter with their emails. Yes, you can batch and blast at times, but you'll see higher returns from relevant, targeted emails. A segmentation strategy is vitally important to building long-term relationships with customers and prospects.
How Many Segments?
This depends on your business cycles and needs. There's no reason to go overboard. Some marketers may have 50 or more segments, but realize it takes a lot of time to develop and manage specific content for each group, not to mention making sure everything works right for each permutation. Start with three to five meaningful segments. At the outset, messaging to these targets need not be overly complicated. A marketer might send a standard campaign with only the subject line and the first content clip different for each segment.
How to Develop Segments
Marketers have a virtual palette to work with. If you've been paying attention to data collection and work with an email service provider (ESP) that offers integrated web analytics, you know sign-up and/or preference center information, those who have opened an email, those who have clicked on a specific link in your email, those who spent time browsing product categories, those who haven't opened your emails in months, and more.
Practical Ideas for Segmentation
Every business is different; let's look at how some email marketers have approached segmentation:
• Demographics: Brooks Brothers often sends gender-specific products and offers to males and females. Not surprisingly, females purchase more from products and accessories that appeal to them.