So your subscriber page is up and running and you’ve gotten a decent collection of visitors’ email addresses. The next step was taking that list and actively marketing your products to them via email. To start off, you sent a couple of email messages to your list but found that your open and click rates are pretty weak.

What could be wrong? If you haven’t been practicing list segmentation, you haven’t been marketing your email messages correctly. Sound complicated? Just read on…

List Segmentation, Who?

When you have a list of subscribers, the last thing you want to do is annoy them by sending them a bunch of messages that aren’t tailored to their needs. The principles of marketing teach that understanding who your potential customers are and where they come from are important details for closing the deal. So let’s say you have a company that specializes in designing business cards, and you already have 50 email subscribers. Now you need to find out your subscribers’ key characteristics so you can market to them appropriately.

The purpose of list segmentation is to:

  • Prioritize specific groups of people within your subscriber base
  • Identify those who have characteristics in common
  • Target those groups based on their behavior patterns
  • Tailor your message to fit those targeted groups’ specific needs

In other words, you want to divide your email list up into distinct groups of buyers and then send different messages to different people in order to maximize conversions. For example, if you know that a portion of your business card customers are middle class, sending that group emails about your priciest stationery products isn’t such a smart idea. It would make more sense to target them with more budget-conscious products and special offers that they can afford and would be interested in.

Understanding the income level of your customers (among other factors) and then segmenting your list and message accordingly, will cause those particular subscribers to not only open your emails but click on your products and, hopefully, fulfill the sale.

So How Do I Do It?

Before segmenting and optimizing your list, there are some considerations you should think about:

  • Potential Customers or Current Customers: For obvious reasons, you don’t want to send the same message that you would send to current customers to potential customers. By segmenting your list into these two groups, you can make sure you hit the right tone by being more aggressive with your current customers and being more persuasive and informative with your potential customers.
  • New Subscribers: Segmenting your list by identifying who your new customers are can mean the difference between making them repeat lovers or one-night stands. Since these customers are new, you want to take extra care in communicating with them. Segment your list so that any new subscribers receive “Welcome” correspondences as well as coupons or discounts that celebrate and encourage their membership.
  • Buying Habits: You are going to want to segment your list by those who have bought heavily and those who have bought only a few items. For example, drafting a message to those who are already familiar with your brand and products can be more direct and personal. When writing to those who have purchased sporadically, you may want to take more time explaining what your brand represents and how you plan on fulfilling his or her needs.
  • Demographic: Where are the bulk of your subscribers coming from? What is their age group? What is their sex? What is their education level? These details will allow you to customize your marketing message in an effective way. Dividing your groups according to their demographic is an easy way to segment your list.

While brainstorming, you could start thinking of categories, or segments, to place customers in. These could include “New,” “Potential,” “Returning,” “From the South,” – anything that would have an impact on the emails they should receive from your business. Once you’ve thought of the best segments in which to place your email recipients, you can use Aweber to help you actually segment. You can do this by:

  • Clicking on the “Subscriber” category at the top of the page
  • Clicking “Search” on the drop-down menu
  • Selecting the subscribers to place in a certain category
  • Clicking “Search”
  • Giving your subscriber results a name (this will be your new segment)
  • Clicking “Save Segment”

You have just segmented a portion of your list of subscribers, which you can always find when you go to Aweber’s “View Segment” dropdown.

List segmentation can do wonders for your email open and click rates. Still not convinced? Check out the stats that MailChimp, another email tracking and design service, uncovered when they tracked the success of their clients’ email efforts: those who used list segmentation for their email campaigns saw a 14.4 percent increase in their open rates and a 14.9 percent increase in their click rate. So, get out there and try list segmentation for yourself.

Guest Post By: Sara Pierpoint is an internet marketer who likes to build websites and write content. When she isn’t busy she likes to hang out on the lake and have BBQs with her family.