“I don’t want to share with my sister. I don’t like her baby toys!”

This is a statement I often hear in my house. I have two girls ages 3 and 7. The eldest hates having to share with her younger sister. She’s likely right in her feelings.

While it is convenient for my wife and me to buy one toy and have the two kids share it, a toy that is age appropriate for the three year old is often too simple for the eldest. And an excellent toy for the seven year old is too complex for the three year old to use. So we have to have two unique toys appropriate to each age group to keep both kids engaged and happy.

This solution is applicable to your email marketing plans as well.

To produce stellar results that not only produce higher response rates but also translate into more spending, donations, attendees or volunteers, you need to segment your lists so they receive messages appropriate to specific groups of contacts.

What is list segmentation?                   

List segmentation is taking your full database of email contacts and cutting it down by category. Let’s say I’m a pet store, “Matt’s Pet Supply Emporium,” and I want to send out my monthly email containing pet tips and sale items. I could send my email to everyone on my list and sit back and hopefully see some results. Or if I really wanted to take engagement to the next level, I could send three emails.

I’d start by creating three lists: a dog lovers list, a cat lovers list, and a bird lovers list.

I would then start asking my new subscribers what kind of pets they owned or were most interested in. Each answer would tell me what list to apply them into. I might also try to get information about existing subscribers, using an online survey. Even if my subscribers were dog lovers AND cat lovers I could add them to each list. Constant Contact only charges by the email address, so I can have the same contact in as many lists as I want and only pay for one contact.

Now I’m ready to get some results!

I would create a master email template with my branding, links, contact information, and other essentials. I would then make three copies of that master template so I could fill each email with different content and promotions.

My dog list would get the tips and tricks that would be useful for dog owners; they would also get my upcoming deal on doggy toys. I would do the same thing for my bird and cat lovers, creating unique email for each group. Each list would get their corresponding email, tailored to their interests, each with the most engaging content I could provide.

Before you send, figure out your segments

As you can see, it can be beneficial to have different emails for various segments of your contacts. Perhaps it’s customers and non-customers. Maybe it’s member and non-members. Possibly, it’s broken up by product category. In the end, you’ll have a much more engaged audience—that feels more connected to you and your business—ready to take whatever action you want them to take.

Now I have to go and figure out what toys to get the kids for the holidays. If only engaging two kids under age 7 were as easy as doing my email marketing—I’m sure it will get easier when they are teenagers! Happy Holidays and I hope to see you in one of our email marketing workshops!

Do you learn by doing? Come to one of our “Successful Email Marketing” hands-on workshops. We’ll show you how to create effective email marketing campaigns that get results. See when our workshops are in your area.