17 Ways to Segment Email Lists for More Opens | DMA

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17 Ways to Segment Email Lists for More Opens


Email is almost 40% more effective than Facebook and Twitter for acquiring new customers. You might wonder: what makes email marketing so powerful? Many argue that the very thing that differentiates it from social media, that is the ability to segment email lists. It enables you to dive your email list into groups based on various traits such as age or interests.

With a good newsletter software you can create any desired trait and as many characteristic as you deem fit. The more you collect about your subscribers, the higher the chance that you can tailor your email campaigns and enjoy a higher open rate. Since figuring out the best way to segment email lists can be a huge undertaking, this blog post aims to help you to make the most of the feature.


“It’s all about location, location, location.” Once you know where your contacts live, you can create target newsletters to specific geographic locations. Think of it this way: if you run a chain of stores in the US, why would you offer special deals to people located in London, United Kingdom? Same principle applies to email marketing.


Again, if your target group are professionals in their 30s, you shouldn’t be using your email credits to email college students. However, if you think that students could be interested in your products as well, you should create a separate group anyway. After all, students aren’t likely to be smitten with a campaign that is designed for working professionals.


You probably take gender into account when creating a new email campaign. However, if all you need to do is to add different images for both groups (i.e. stilettos vs mens shoes) you might want to use the personalized design blocks feature, which enables you to customize blocks depending on a target group you want to send the newsletter to.

4.Organization Type

Who do you sell to? Are these businesses franchises? Small businesses? Ecommerce companies? Non-profits? Enterprise organizations? Each business has different needs, and therefore you should segment email lists.


If your company is selling to other businesses, you are likely to encounter contacts and leads across various industries. Once you learn about your lead’s industry, you will have another level of personalization in place in your email marketing.

6.Job Function

Your list probably contains a whole range of different job functions, i.e. office personnel and developers … These contacts shouldn’t sit on the same list.

7.Seniority Level

Job roles vary, just like levels of seniority. Your subscribers are likely to differ in salary level, years of experience, as well as decision-making capacity. Consequently, a VP sales would like to see more in-depth information in the newsletter than a sales trainee.

8.Education Level

This segmentation strategy makes sense especially if you work in the education industry. Moreover, you could also segment your list according to how educated a contact is regarding your brand. Then, you can send newsletters based on the level of understanding they have on the topics you happen to write about.

9.Past Purchases

Job roles vary, just like levels of seniority. Your subscribers are likely to differ in salary level, years of experience, as well as decision-making capacity. Consequently, a VP sales would like to see more in-depth information in the newsletter than a sales trainee.

10.Purchase Interests

If you’re just starting out, you might not have enough data regarding someone’s past purchases. However, you can send out a quick survey where you ask your subscribers about their purchase interests.

11.Buying Frequency

If you’d like to achieve even better results in email marketing, you might want to segment email lists based on the buying frequency. Here’s how you can leverage that knowledge: in certain cases you might increase shopping frequency and you could also reward frequent shoppers with a voucher or an invitation to your loyalty program to make sure that these contacts feel appreciated and incentivized to buy even more.

12.Purchase Cycle

Some subscribers might make purchases at a certain time of year. Others might come to you more frequently, let’s say, on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis, just in time to get a special seasonal deal. Therefore, you should also segment email lists based on customers’ purchase cycle so that you send out the campaign at the right time.

13.Change in Buying Behavior

Your readers are prone to a change in their buying behavior. That can serve as an indication whether a lead is becoming more or less interested in your products. If you notice that some of your contacts have stopped making purchases, you might want to give them an extra nudge by sending extra vouchers. If they don’t take the bait, it’s time to launch a re-engagement campaign.

14.Shopping Cart Abandonment

Cart abandonment rates averaged 75.6% across all sectors in the first quarter of 2015. Therefore, if you run an ecommerce webstore, you should segment your contacts based on this behavior. Here you can learn how to craft a winning abandoned cart email.

15.Form Abandonment

If you’re not an ecommerce company, you might want to put another kind of abandonment program in place – form abandonment. Chances are that there are a few people who come across your website, starts filling out a form and then either get busy, lose interest, or have a slow internet connection. Therefore, it’s only prudent to bring them back to your website so that they could complete your form.

16.Referring Customers

If you’d like your business to grow even faster, you should identify your brand advocates. Do you already know who keeps on referring your business? Make sure you spoilt these subscribers every once in a while to reward their referring efforts. You could pamper them with discounts on their favorite programs, product sneak peek or inviting them to a special event.

17.In-Store vs. Webstore Visitors

If you run both an offline and online store, it is advisable to segment email lists based on where people like to shop. It is reasonable to create in-store events for people shop in your brick and mortar store and create online vouchers for online shoppers.

You have a few ideas as to how you could segment email lists. The question is how do you draw conclusions after a few campaigns? The answer is easy: use multivariate newsletter clustering. This feature enables you to segment reports according to specific traits (for example women versus men. Therefore, you can learn which group reads your newsletters more frequently and plan better email campaign.

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