7 Helpful Email Segmentation Tips (Plus Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated July 19, 2022 | Published May 17, 2021

Updated July 19, 2022

Published May 17, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Successful email marketing can significantly boost sales and increase brand awareness. One way to build an effective email marketing process is by implementing segmentation strategies. Understanding how to accomplish this may allow you to experience an increase in open rates of emails because you're providing relevant messaging and personalized communication to an audience.  

In this article, we discuss email segmentation, including its definition, the benefits of implementing it and a list of seven different segmentation strategies to use for an effective email marketing plan. 

What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation is a marketing technique that entails dividing email subscribers into smaller groups to enhance personalized messaging to the target audience. A marketing team can create groups based on demographic values, such as subscribers' ages, geographical locations, gender identifications, interests, website interaction patterns and purchase histories.

Email personalization differs from a traditional email marketing approach in which organizations share generic messages to all their subscribers simultaneously. Instead, email segmentation involves precisely tailoring marketing campaign contents to suit particular groups. While a more traditional email process may help you reach your marketing goals, you may find email segmentation can further inspire your audience's attention, trust and action, such as persuading them to open your links.

Related: Q&A: What Is Email Marketing?

Benefits of segmenting emails 

Email segmentation has several benefits to both marketers and the target audience, including:

Generates more relevant marketing content

Classifying the email subscribers based on specific characteristics can help you create and send personalized marketing content that resonates with the audience. You may have a higher chance of an audience member opening the email, and continuing to open subsequent messages, if they find the content to be relevant and timely to their needs, interests and behaviors. For example, a subscriber may open links to specific product pages on the website more than others. You can then add them to an email list, alongside others with the same behavior pattern, and send them more links to that page.

Once your audience member has bought the product, move them to a list where you send emails of products that complement what they've purchased. Following steps like these ensure you're sending your audience relevant emails. Sometimes the results are immediate, while other times it may take several emails for the audience member to take action, but either way, you're proving to them there’s value in interacting with the content.

Related: What Is Email Automation?

Lowers the audience unsubscribe rate

It’s beneficial to send fewer emails to subscribers with a more personalized message relevant to the reader because it maintains their interest in the brand and its products. Segmentation and personalization can keep subscribers interested in the email content, motivating them to continue to open the emails and interact with what's inside. Additionally, they may look forward to the brand’s emails. Once the brand shows the value to the audience, you may realize a reduction in how often recipients are unsubscribing to the emails.

Another way to lower your unsubscribe rate is by categorizing subscribers based on engagement levels and placing them in a segment resulting in more sent emails than the average audience member. To do this, identify the active subscribers within every segment and enlist them in one group, sending them marketing content more frequently. Alternatively, sort and organize less active subscribers into a group with a lower sending frequency. For those who interact less, consider developing a campaign to re-engage them with the brand’s content so they become more active instead of unsubscribing.

Read more: 13 Abandoned Cart Email Examples To Win Back Customers

Improves your customer retention rate

Retention rate is the percentage of loyal customers a company can keep within an established time frame. An email segmentation effort can provide a business with an enhanced brand image, as current and potential customers are more likely to understand the organization's values. This can lead to improved connections, return customers and increased sales.

Related: 15 Email Marketing Services To Connect to Your Audience

7 segmentation strategies for email

Whether you're a first-time email marketer or more experienced, the following strategies may help you segment emails more effectively:

1. Get subscribers interested immediately 

Most times, if you can effectively engage subscribers from the moment they subscribe to the email list, it's easier to persuade them to open future emails. Many individuals carefully consider joining an email list, so it's essential to start sending content that resonates with new subscribers immediately.

Consider sending a welcome email to recent subscribers emphasizing how much the brand values them. Additionally, include links to educational content they may find interesting and can click on right away. You can segment new subscribers so they receive a series of emails they may benefit from and motivate them to remain subscribed.

Related: How To Write a New Employee Welcome Email (With Templates and Examples)

2. Allow users to select their preferences

Typically, subscribers understand the type of content they prefer to interact with via email.  During unsubscribing processes, consider allowing subscribers to choose the type of emails they receive so they feel the brand values them and send them helpful content.

You can offer this once you've established a rapport with the audience and they’re more familiar with the content they receive from your business. You can also allow them to choose to receive emails based on varying topics, including regular updates, discounts, new products, blog posts and essential changes.

Related: How To Write an Email Subject Line That Gets Responses

3. Leverage open rates

 Encourage subscribers to read the emails by rewarding those who open emails frequently. Explore the option of creating a separate list for those who engage with the content more frequently and give them incentives, like privileged access to new products before it becomes available to others.

Related: Professional Email Salutations: Tips and Examples

4. Segment users based on purchase history

Segment users based on their purchase histories and send them more relevant emails. For instance, you may send emails sharing the benefits of a company's children's sunscreen to individuals who have purchased the brand’s kid's lotion before or other related products. You can segment further by the average purchase amount and overall purchase history.

5. Group active buyers based on satisfaction

It's common for some buyers to feel satisfied with their brand experience, while other buyers may not share a similar experience. Not only is understanding a customer's satisfaction level with a business important for general customer service, but you can also segment an email list based on the same criteria.

For instance, add satisfied customers to the list of more engaged users who frequently send updates on new products and discounts to, as they may take advantage of these offerings. For unsatisfied customers, add them to a list where you send blog updates so they familiarize themselves with the business first.

Related: How To Ask for Feedback from Customers

6. Use local weather patterns

Weather plays a significant role in determining your subscriber's purchase patterns. Leverage the weather information in your users' localities to persuade them into taking the brand’s preferred actions. If it's cold and flu season in a certain area, for example, send emails to customers in that locality informing them of your new discount on hand gloves.

7. Categorize customers based on age groups

Every generation is different, so you may achieve email marketing success by segmenting your list by age demographics. Not only can you offer age-based products to the right audience, but you also include other content or change the tone of your email based on age, further appealing to the individual reading your message. Segmenting by age also allows a brand to send emails about relevant products and services to its consumers. For example, a grocery store may send its younger audience weekly deals on sweets and may send its older audience weekly deals on fresh produce items or vitamins.

Explore more articles