How to Segment an Audience in Email Lists

By Raubi Perilli

      Apr 12, 2022     Solutions    

When you talk to everybody, you talk to nobody.

In marketing, sending vague messaging out to the masses is far less effective than crafting specific content and presenting it to people most likely to be interested in what you have to share. This is why it’s so important to know how to segment an audience in email lists.

What Does It Mean to Segment an Audience in Email?

Segmenting an audience in an email list means you select certain recipients to receive an email campaign. You choose the group of people because they meet criteria that makes them more likely to be interested in your email content.  

Audience segmentation divides your audience into categories and creates messaging that best connects with them based on those categories. As you learn how to segment an audience in an email, ask yourself:  

  • How can I divide my audience into categories based on what they want, need, and like?
  • How can I make my emails more relevant to the audience?
  • How can I avoid sending irrelevant content to my audience?

Why Should You Segment Audiences in Email Marketing?

Segmenting your audience helps you avoid the problem of talking to everybody and ending up talking to nobody. When you give audiences content that is highly aligned with their interests and desires, they will be more likely to take action. Segmenting your audience in email marketing can:  

  • Increase engagement
  • Build customer loyalty
  • Reduce marketing costs
  • Drive more conversions
  • Increase sales

Related: 45 Email Marketing Ideas to Inspire Your Next Campaign  

6 Ways to Segment an Audience in Email

There are many ways to segment an audience in email marketing. Here are a few categories and ideas for how you can split up your audience and create more defined subgroups. 

Demographics: Categorize audiences based on who they are.  

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Income
  • Job title
  • Education

Psychographics: Categorize audiences based on how they think and live.  

  • Beliefs
  • Motivations
  • Lifestyles
  • Attitudes
  • Influences
  • Interests

Behaviors: Categorize audiences by how they act and engage with your marketing campaigns and business.  

  • Past purchases
  • Content engaged with
  • Linked clicked
  • Website pages visited

Location: Categorize audiences by where they live and go.  

  • Zip code or city
  • Physical business they visit
  • Proximity to a specific business or place
  • Climate of area they live

Stage in Buyer’s Funnel: Categorize audiences by their stage in the buyer’s funnel with your brand.  

  • Lead
  • Prospect
  • Buyer
  • Returning customer
  • Brand evangelist

Timing: Categorize customers based on timelines of activity with your brand.  

  • Last visit to your business
  • Time passed since last purchase
  • Time since last visit to your website

How to Segment an Audience in Email

Knowing how to segment an audience requires both the knowledge of how to divide your audience into useful categories and how to easily identify people on your list who fit into those categories.  

To set up a system that allows you to segment audiences for emails, follow these steps.

1. Set up a customer data platform.

If you want to maximize your efforts at segmenting audiences through email, build a full customer data platform. A customer data platform is a centralized system that creates profiles for your customers. It pulls data from multiple sources to build out a well-rounded profile that helps you get to know your customers and reach them easily based on their segments.

2. Collect data to learn about your audience.

Once you have a system for building customer profiles, start collecting data that can help you get to know your audience. Use the following tools and tactics to gain insights about your customers and add data to their profiles. 

  • Point-of-sale systems: Pull data about purchase behaviors and how customers buy from your brand.
  • Customer loyalty programs: Encourage customers to share information with your brand while getting rewards by setting up a customer loyalty program.
  • Surveys: Use surveys and polls to gain insight into what customers want and need and also how they think and feel. Surveys are a good way to gain insights into customer psychographics.
  • Website and social media pixels: Using tracking codes and pixels on your website and digital platforms can help you learn about how customers interact with your brand online.

3. Segment your list when sending email campaigns.

Once you have a customer data platform and data about your audience, you should have robust profiles that allow you to segment your list into smaller subsets. Split your audiences into categories and create email marketing campaigns that will share information and call-to-actions that are most relevant to those segments.  

Consider what you have to promote and which audiences will be most interested in those offers and messages. Then, use your customer data and email marketing software to create email campaigns that go to that audience only. For example:  

  • Send an email to customers who recently made a purchase with links to other products they may like based on their purchase.
  • Promote winter clothes in an email you send to only audiences who live in places where it is cold and snowy.
  • Share an email with FAQs to audiences who added an item to their virtual cart but didn’t make a purchase.
  • Send an email with a coupon to customers who haven’t visited or bought from your business in a few months.

Related: How to Create a Restaurant Email Marketing Strategy

Start Using Segmentation In Your Email Marketing

Now that you know the ins and outs of how to segment an audience in email lists, put a plan into action. Start to collect data about your audience, categorize them based on what you learn, and start sending more targeted emails to the people most likely to react to your messaging.  

And, if you need help with any of the steps of the process, talk to MyArea Network.  

Our team specializes in using data to make informed decisions about local marketing. We can help you collect and analyze data to create better segments and more effective email campaigns. See how we can help your brand use data to drive more engagement and sales. Schedule a call with our team today.