In our recent blog post we talked about testing and the difference it can make to your email marketing performance. Segmentation can do the same. In this post, we’ll talk a little about a recent client project, their segmentation strategy and the difference it has made to their results.
With email marketing, we often see small businesses emailing their entire database because they believe it will increase the chance of someone responding. It’s a common mistake, and in fact this strategy yields very poor returns.
The key to your email campaign’s success is to know your audience and send relevant, timely and targeted communications to them. This means adapting your content based on how engaged each individual is with your brand.
What segmentation makes sense?
Segmentation doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Here are some ideas to help your planning process:
1. Draw a line in the sand. Agree what your simple segments will look like. We suggest four groups that correspond to the individual’s level of engagement with your brand: unaware, aware, engaged and committed.
2. Divide and conquer. Contacts you’ve had no response from — whether they opened the email or not — belong to your ‘unaware’ segment. Typically, this is the largest of all your segments, but don’t let that worry you. It’s best not to promote a contact to the next group too soon.
3. Reinforce the front line. If you’ve got registrations from events, webinars and white paper downloads, but those contacts haven’t yet moved to opportunity stage, put them into the ‘aware’ segment.
4. Stand and deliver. If you have contacts that have interacted with you several times (you can decided how many), they are ‘engaged’. Your sales team should be aware of them at this point and engaging with them, too. You can still email them, but with content that is relevant to where they are in the buying cycle.
5. Maintain your position. Once a contact becomes a customer, your marketing communications are still relevant. But now you know more about these individuals, you can personalise your content with more accuracy and provide value that will help your working relationship to flourish in the long term.
By introducing marketing segmentation to your email strategy, you can expect your open rates to change. You will engage with people who are genuinely interested in your company, who want to download content and listen to what you have to say.
Don’t be intimidated by the process. We recommend you start segmenting your audience based on the simple grouping outlined above as a first step, and then adapt it as and when you need to. But above all, remember that each record you hold in your database represents an individual — so it’s best to speak to them that way, too.