How to Segment an Email Marketing List of Value

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    How to segment an email marketing list of value

    How to Segment an Email Marketing List of Value

    Posted by Jessica Ward on December 03, 2015

    Your database of contacts is the lifeblood of your marketing strategy. If you don’t have anyone to market to, what’s the point? Since we’ve already established that email marketing is not dead (and is, in fact, very much alive), sorting your contacts into lists for email marketing strategies is vital. But what factors into how you segment your contacts into valuable lists?

    Reaching Out to the Right People with the Right Content

    You want to segment lists based on properties that correspond with your marketing goals. This will help you to send the right messages to the right people at the right time. When you do this, your click-thru rates will skyrocket because your message will be specific and relevant to the person receiving it. Determining what those critical properties are will help you to craft wildly successful email campaigns.

    Important Properties to Consider for Email Lists

    There are a million and one ways that you can segment your contact list, but what lists will give you the most value? Every company is different, along with their overall marketing strategy, but there are a few key ways that you can start segmenting your list today.

    • Lists Based on the Sales Cycle: Contacts that are newly added leads aren’t as familiar with your company as, say, contacts that are long-time customers. You need to speak to them differently in order to engage their interest. Knowing what area of the sales cycle a lead is in will determine what your message should say and how you’ll say it.


      Let’s say that you’re planning on developing an email newsletter explaining all the great benefits of your rewards program. For this example, long-time customers who are already using your rewards program don’t want to see emails explaining it. At the same time, newbies that have never purchased anything might want to get more familiar with your product line first, before they even think about signing up for a rewards program. So, they might not be the best fit either. Therefore, this email might be best to target people who have purchased a few times before, but aren’t a part of the rewards program yet. Segmenting your list based on where the person is in the sales cycle helps to create newsletters that address what they need to hear in order to move onto the next phase.

      Properties to help segment in this list might include: start date as a contact, purchase history, and enrollment status in your promotional offerings.

    • Lists Based on Key Target Audience(s): You also want to be spending most of your focus on your key target audiences. Yes, you may have 500 contacts that are considered leads right now, but maybe only 100 of them fall under your key target audience or persona. When you established your marketing plan, you should have identified who these key personas are in your business. Yes, they will be different for every business in terms of properties that describe them, but they have been identified by your company as the ideal customer. Therefore, you want to create lists based around this key group ... so you spend most of your efforts nurturing them over the other leads.

      Properties to help segment in this list might include: industry, job title, and organization name.
    • Event or Special Promotion: It’s important to setup separate lists whenever you do a special promotion offer or event. Knowing who signed up during this special time will be needed if you’re doing a giveaway or announcement to this set group. You can dump them into a more generic list after everything is completed.

    • Upkeep and Maintenance: Along with keeping your lists organized, you should also do some house cleaning every 1-2 months. Depending on your email provider, there should be an area where you can review “bad” email accounts. These include emails that bounced, were invalid, or marked you as spam. Delete them out and move on to keep your list up-to-date and healthy.

    Keeping your email list clean and actively marketing to your segmented lists is imperative to promoting a solid message to the right people at the right time.

    Now that you know how to segment your lists properly, learn more about what makes for stellar content in an email newsletter in our free whitepaper, The Anatomy of a Great Email Newsletter.

    Download Whitepaper