Old Trafford has been the home of Lancashire County Cricket Club since it was formed in 1864.
Build in 1857; it has seen plenty of changes, but none greater than what has taken place in the last five years.
“Not long ago, I remember we had a brick wall built around the stadium and people weren’t even sure it was open to the public,” explains Ken Grime, who communicates with fans daily as the manager of the club’s website, social media, and email marketing.
“We’ve undergone a major re-development project and today, we’ve finally started to succeed at breaking down those barriers and making it a destination for everyone.”
Today, the historic grounds feature a 25,000 seat stadium, a newly-built hotel, and the largest conference center in Northwest England. It is one of the premier cricket grounds in the world and the stage for some of the year’s biggest international cricket matches.
What’s this have to do with email marketing?
The Club began using Email Marketing from Constant Contact in 2008 as a way to stay connected with its local and international fanbase.
But as Old Trafford has became open to everyone—from Cricket fans, to concertgoers, to conference attendees—Ken realized he needed a way to make sure he was speaking to all of his audiences.
“We were no longer just speaking to cricket fans, in fact, we were speaking to people who had very little interest in cricket at all,” Ken explains. “We’ve been able to use email marketing to target each of our audiences, which has been central to a lot of our success.”
That success can be attributed to one strategy that all businesses—no matter how big or small—can use to improve their results: segmenting your content list.
How segmenting your list can help you score in the inbox
The fact is, not all customers are alike. What appeals to one may not interest another. It’s important that the messages you send each of your customers reflect their individual interests and needs.
The differences in your customers’ interests may not be as dramatic as corporate events and cricket matches—as is the case for the Lancashire County Cricket Club—but they can differ based on the type of products they buy, services they sign up for, or location they live in.
Segmenting your contact list and delivering targeted messages allows you to speak to all of those audiences individually without running the risk of turning any readers off with irrelevant content.
That will mean more opens in the inbox, more activity in your emails, and more traffic to your website or place of business.
Let’s take a look at how the Lancashire County Cricket Club did it:
1. Create specific goals for each of your lists
The goal for sending weekly emails to cricket fans is inescapably different than the goal of sending emails to corporate partners or event organizers.
Understanding that allows Ken to make better decisions about the type of segmentation he needs to use, the kind of content he needs to develop, and the standards for which he’ll use to judge his success (ticket sales, events booked, hotel vacancies).
Before you do anything, make sure you understand the goals for each of your lists. You may even find that segmenting your list isn’t a necessary strategy for your organization.
2. Segment your list right from the sign-up
If you do decide to segment your list, you want to make sure you’re making it easy to do so.
For Ken, that means making sure his readers are ending up on the correct list—right from the sign-up.
“When someone signs up online they are given different choices for the type of news they want to receive,” Ken explains. “Our website isn’t just about cricket anymore, and our newsletter sign-up reflects that.”
With Constant Contact, Ken is able to customize his sign-up form so that people can choose the type of news they want to read about (they can choose one or all of the options). Those contacts are then automatically placed into whichever list they have selected.
3. Change the message without starting from scratch
A lot of organizations—maybe even yours—will be reluctant to start segmenting their list because it requires creating another email.
But creating another email doesn’t mean you have to start from scratch. A lot of the content you’re creating for one list will still be relevant to another.
While a certain group of your customers may be interested in product emails, another group might be interested in your services, but both groups have an interest in your upcoming events or changes in store hours.
You can change the message your reader receives, without having to create brand new content.
Here’s an example of how Ken is able to change his messaging, without starting from scratch.
4. Control the frequency
Your reader’s won’t only differ based on the type of content they want to read, they will also have different preferences on the frequency at which they want to receive it.
“During the season, we’re sending weekly updates and breaking news to all of our fans,” Ken explains. “We typically won’t need to send emails to other lists as frequently, and we don’t want to be sending them rubbish.”
It’s unlikely that you’ll have readers who will want up-to-the-minute updates like a sports fan would, but you may have certain people who don’t mind hearing from you on more than just a once-a-month basis.
Open-rates are a good indication of whether or not your readers will be open to receiving more frequent emails. You can also ask for customer feedback with an online survey.
5. Keep score by tracking your results
You’ve determined a goal, segmented your audiences, and chosen the right messaging and frequency for your emails—now it’s time to see how you did.
As a business, you’re interested in two types of results: results in the inbox and results at the register.
At the inbox, Ken and the Lancashire County Cricket Club have a winning record—with open rates consistently over 30%.
“We’re seeing an immediate response from our emails, so we know its working.”
Last season, that response came in the form of 20,000 tickets being sold in a single day from one email to season ticket holders. It has also shown up in the growing popularity of the clubs brand new hotel and events center.
Divide and prosper
Your business doesn’t need to undergo a $38 million redevelopment project, to rethink the way you’re sending emails to your customers.
If you’re still not seeing the results you’re looking for in your customer’s inbox or at your business, try segmenting your list and tracking the results.
Who knows? Someone may still be talking about your email newsletter 150 years from now.
Does your organization use segmentation to drive big results? Tell us in the comments.