I think it’s fair to assume that customers opt in to receiving emails from a business or organization because they’re interested in staying in touch and being kept apprised of news, specials, or promotions.

Seeing as how most people check their email every day, it’s no surprise that 95% of business we surveyed find email marketing to be their most effective marketing tactic.

However, with email inboxes becoming more and more cluttered, business owners like you need to focus more on targeting your emails to a specific audience so they can better engage potential customers. If not, you run the risk of alienating your base and certainly limiting the number of emails that may be forwarded on to friends, which in turn would create new customers.

Increasing open rates and decreasing the number of unsubscribes are key indicators of how much customers care about your campaign, and if they’re even listening. Studies have shown that businesses that segment their email list have seen higher open rates. Just think of your own user behavior and how you pay more attention to some emails versus others. Now apply that same thinking to how you treat your customers, clients, members, supporters, and subscribers.

For many businesses and organizations, capturing an email address is a big step, and asking for more information beyond that can be a cumbersome exercise. Most business owners don’t have time to make notes on each customer, such as their age and gender. To help with that, Constant Contact has partnered with Rapleaf, a technology company that helps you learn more about your customers. The Rapleaf InstantData integration for Constant Contact is a free tool that enables customers to easily segment their contacts by demographic data, such as age and gender, so you can instantly learn more about your customers and target them in a more effective manner.

Whether you’re a jewelry store looking to target those guys who are clueless on what to get their special someone for Valentine’s Day (it’ll be here before you know it), or a retailer who’s running specials on women’s party dresses (think New Year’s Eve), InstantData can help add a more personal touch to those campaigns. Even if you’re selling a product that’s for men and women, little things like changing the messaging can make a huge impact.

I believe this is just a first step for small businesses as it relates to list segmentation and giving your customers a more personal experience. As more information is made available, soon you’ll be able to know if these people are married or single, if they have kids, if they own a pet, etc. Creating campaigns that fulfill your customers needs will keep them from unsubscribing, and even more important, keep them shopping at your business.

Don’t just take my word for it, give it a shot and let us know how it goes.