Email List Segmentation: 21 Tips To Engage Subscribers

Updated February 3, 2023

Businesses often use email lists to send content directly to customers, which can help them market products and increase sales. If you have a growing email list, you can customize content for your subscribers by dividing them into categories based on their interests or demographics. Knowing how to use email list segmentation effectively can help you engage with your subscribers and ensure they receive relevant, personalized information about your business.

In this article, we explain what email list segmentation is and discuss 21 methods you can use to segment your email list and enhance your marketing campaigns.

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What is email list segmentation?

Email list segmentation is a technique that divides email subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria. For example, segmentation may separate subscribers into groups based on their interests, demographics or purchase histories. Marketers use this technique to offer more personalized email experiences for their customers or subscribers. Email segments allow marketing professionals to develop different content for each group to align with their specific preferences or needs.

Email list segmentation is important because it enables you to improve user engagement by creating more relevant content for your subscribers. When you segment users based on various criteria, it can help you send personalized content that makes them more likely to engage with your business. As a result, this technique can help boost your email open and click rates.

Related: How To Create an Email List in 4 Steps

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21 email list segmentation methods

Here are 21 methods you can use to segment your email list:

1. Age

If you collect demographic data from your email subscribers, you can create segments based on age. You may develop customized email content that aligns with the habits, needs or interests of different age groups. This method can help you better relate to your subscribers and may encourage them to interact with your business.

Related: How To Identify Your Target Demographics

2. Gender

Gender is another type of demographic data to collect about subscribers. You can use this information to highlight different offerings based on these segments' interests or shopping habits. When users sign up, you may offer them a choice about the types of products they prefer. For example, a clothing retailer may ask users if they want to receive emails for either men's or women's clothing or both.

Related: What Is Demographic Segmentation? With 6 Examples

3. Location

Event-based businesses, such as ticket sale companies, may benefit from segmenting subscribers based on location. Users can provide their ZIP code and receive information about events happening near them rather than events outside their area. Other businesses may also use location segments to develop content related to local trends or news.

Related: Comprehensive Guide to Location-Based Marketing

4. Birthdays

If users give you information about their birthdate, you may create segments to offer free products or discounts around that date. These offers can provide a personal touch and help you build connections with your subscribers. You can also use this technique to show you appreciate their loyalty or support.

5. Date of last purchase

You can separate subscribers based on when they last purchased something from your business. For example, you may create a segment of users who haven’t bought something in at least six months. Then you can send this group an email reminding them of what you sell and why they signed up, potentially offering a discount to encourage them to shop. You can also create a segment of users who have made recent purchases and send them an email with a coupon to thank them for their continued business.

Related:12 Common Types of Discounts

6. B2B specialization

If your company operates in business-to-business (B2B) sales, you may provide goods and services to numerous organizations. Consider developing segments based on the specific professionals receiving your emails. For example, you may segment recipients based on their roles, such as vendors, marketing team members and sales managers. Then you can develop email messages to align with those professionals' varying interests and needs.

7. New subscribers

You can create a segment of new subscribers and send them welcome emails. Consider developing a pre-made set of emails to send to new users throughout the first month to encourage their support. For example, these emails may offer free samples and discounts or highlight some of your most popular products.

8. Email frequency preferences

Some subscribers prefer getting fewer emails and may be more likely to open emails if they receive them less frequently. Other users enjoy weekly emails to remain updated on business practices or new products. Consider allowing subscribers to choose their desired email frequency when signing up to ensure you address those preferences.

Related: ​​A Definitive Guide to Email Cadence: Tips and Examples

9. Open rate

Your marketing team can analyze the open rate of subscribers and segment users based on how often they open emails. People who regularly engage with your messages may receive occasional emails with extra offers or discounts. This type of segmentation can show your appreciation for their interest and support.

Related: Average Email Open Rate Benchmarks (And How To Improve Yours)

10. Inactive users

If you identify and segment inactive subscribers, you can use several methods to engage them. For example, you might send an email letting them know how many subscribers your business has gained since their last visit to encourage them to visit your website. If users haven’t engaged with your business in a while, you may send them an email asking if they'd like to receive fewer emails or unsubscribe altogether. Reducing the number of inactive users on your list may also help your open rate.

11. Lead magnet type

A lead magnet is a free item businesses give away when attempting to gain subscribers, such as trial subscriptions, free consultations or samples. Based on what type of lead magnet led a subscriber to sign up, you can send more emails with similar content. For example, users might sign up for your email list to receive a free trial subscription. You can segment these users into a group that gets emails about trial subscriptions or offers for similar products.

Related:How To Create Lead Magnets (Plus Tips and Examples)

12. Abandoned shopping cart

Shoppers sometimes put items they intend to buy in their online shopping cart but don’t complete the purchase. You can re-engage these interested users by sending an email to ask if they're still interested in purchasing the product or service. Consider using timely language to encourage a purchase, such as telling subscribers an item may sell out soon.

Related: 13 Abandoned Cart Email Examples To Win Back Customers

13. Purchase history

Consider segmenting users based on their purchase history to send emails highlighting items similar to their prior purchases. Appealing to their tastes or interests may help encourage them to return and buy more. You can include images and links to similar offerings to urge users to take action.

14. Stage in the sales funnel

As your email list grows, you likely have customers in different stages of the sales funnel. You can segment these users to ensure the email content aligns with their needs. For example, someone in the decision phase may require a gentle nudge reminding them of your company’s offerings and benefits. Meanwhile, someone who recently became aware of your business may appreciate links to learn more about it, such as blog posts or lists of your best-selling products.

Related: What Is a Sales Funnel?

15. Device types

Your subscribers may use various methods to access their emails, including mobile devices or desktop computers. Consider formatting emails for both platforms and then segment users into categories based on their device habits. This technique ensures subscribers see the optimized version that looks best on their preferred device.

16. Affiliates

You can use email list segmentation for your affiliate websites. One strategy to enhance your sales through email marketing is to send occasional emails to your affiliates offering a prize to the website that generates the most sales over a specific period. Throughout that period, you may send regular emails with a leaderboard displaying the top sellers. This technique can help encourage enthusiasm and provide incentives to sell more of your content.

Related: Complete Guide to Affiliate Marketing

17. Referrals

Some subscribers may refer your business to other people, helping generate traffic to your website and possibly more email subscribers. You can segment these subscribers to send them a special thank-you email for their referrals. This message could include a free product or discount, along with your gratitude for their support.

18. Customer reviews

Customer reviews are an effective word-of-mouth marketing technique in which customers leave honest reviews of your products. Potential consumers often use reviews to support their purchasing decisions, so you may benefit from having reviews consistently added to your website. Consider adding an email list segmentation for customers who have purchased your products but have yet to leave a review. The email can gently remind them you'd appreciate their opinions and provide a direct link to the review form or relevant section on your website.

Related: How To Ask For a Review From Customers: The Complete Guide

19. Types of shoppers

Some customers prefer shopping in a physical store, while others like to shop from home using their computer or mobile device. You can segment these customers based on their shopping preferences and develop email content for them. For example, you can devise promotional emails that highlight in-store deals for one group and online-only discounts for the other.

20. Skill level

If your business offers technical products or services, you may have subscribers of varying skill levels. When possible, you can use this knowledge to segment your users. For example, a business that offers courses on a topic may create different emails for beginner, intermediate and advanced user groups. Depending on the user group, you can adjust the email language based on their skill set and knowledge.

21. Membership expiration

Many subscribers sign up for a free trial of a service or product. You can segment these subscribers and send them an email reminder when they're nearing the end of the trial period. For example, this email may encourage them to continue using the product or service by purchasing a subscription. You can highlight all the benefits included in the paid subscription and provide a link that takes them directly to a sign-up or payment webpage.

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