7 Smart Ways to Segment Your Email Lists

Nov 12, 2015 | 3  min
author Pyxl Development
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Email marketing can be a powerful tool that enhances your inbound marketing efforts, but it can also drive away your leads if executed incorrectly. 25 percent of users unsubscribe from emails because the content isn’t relevant to them. Enter: email lists. Using a marketing automation platform like HubSpot, you can power your email marketing through list segmentation.

Why Segment?

One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to email marketing, so you shouldn’t be sending every contact the same email with the same content. Many of your contacts likely entered your database by filling out a form on your website or one of your landing pages. As long as you’re asking valuable questions in these forms, you probably know quite a bit about your contacts, such as their industry, role within their company, location, etc. You can segment lists of people within your database based on what you know about them and by doing so, there are several things you will accomplish.

First, you’ll be sure you’re sending the right email to the right user at the right time. Let’s say, for example, that your technology company has created a new case study that showcases your project management software. This email might not be relevant to every single one of your contacts. You would only want to send this email to people who’d be interested in project management – people who’ve filled out their job title as “project manager” or similar.

Second, you won’t send the same contacts too many emails and will consequently lessen the likelihood of them unsubscribing due to receiving too much mail. (Did you know that 54 percent of people said they unsubscribed because they received too many emails?)

And, most importantly, you’ll start to see better results. A recent study showed that emails sent to segmented lists received 13 percent more opens, 52 percent more clicks, 2 percent less bounces and 8 percent less unsubscribes compared to email campaigns that used un-segmented lists.

There are many different factors you can use to segment your email lists, and here are 7 ideas to get you started.

1. Lifecycle Stage

Your contact database is probably full of people at different lifecycle stages – from leads to customers. In keeping with the inbound marketing methodology and the buyer’s journey, you should be speaking to these people differently. A lead who has just entered your system probably isn’t ready to schedule a consultation or read a sales-y product comparison case study. Similarly, a sales qualified lead, who’s close to making a decision might be turned off or offended by really basic content. Segment your lists by lifecycle stage in order to send relevant emails to your contacts. 

2. Location

Let’s say your business serves communities in five different cities – you don’t want to send offers to people in an area that your business doesn’t serve! On that same note, you do want to send offers to people in the areas you do serve. It’s important to know where your contacts are located so you can send them relevant information. Try segmenting your lists by region, state, city or zip code.

3. Industry

If you’re a marketing agency, it’s critical to know the many different industries your contacts are part of. Your e-commerce contacts won’t be interested in a case study about the great new healthcare website you just designed. Send the right content to the right people by segmenting your email lists by industry – you can do this by simply asking, “What is your industry?” in your forms and creating a list for each industry.

4. Page View

Have you noticed a lot of contacts visiting a specific page on your website? This gives you the opportunity to send them tailored content based on a page they’ve spent time viewing or visited repeatedly. If you notice your blog post about marketing on LinkedIn is receiving a lot of views, you can set up a list of people who viewed it and email them a free copy of your LinkedIn marketing eBook.

5. Form Fill-Out

If a contact has already downloaded a white paper on inbound marketing for healthcare, they will probably be interested in a webinar about healthcare marketing strategy. Segmenting your contacts by form fill-out is a powerful way to deliver relevant content to your leads to generate more interest in your company and services.

6. Persona

Each persona has their own unique goals, needs and pain points, which means your content should be tailored towards each of your unique target persona groups. In HubSpot, you can include a form field that asks a persona-identifying question, from which you can create lists of different personas. When thinking about personas, a college or university has many represented in their student body, such as drama buffs, athletes and honors students. The same content that interests someone in the drama department may not interest a student athlete. Send relevant content to each persona group to keep them engaged.

7. Multiple Factors

When segmenting your contact database, it might be beneficial to include two different factors in the same list. For example, with HubSpot’s smart list tool, you can create a list that includes all your leads in a specific industry who also live in a specific location. The possibilities are limitless!

Interested in learning more about email marketing? Download our free eBook, Your Go-To Email Marketing Guide.

Updated: Nov 06, 2020

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