August 18, 2017

The Importance of Email Marketing Segmentation


If you pay attention to the hype, you’ve probably noticed that some people in the content marketing industry are saying that email lists are a thing of the past.

With the increased popularity of social media marketing, email lists are slowly becoming obsolete, right?

Not even close. Building an email list is just as important today as it’s ever been. Frankly, comparing email to social media is the marketing equivalent of comparing apples and oranges.

When it comes to engaging your audience every day, social media wins by design (you’re tapped into your clients daily news feed, after all). When it comes to conversion, email still does a better job.

Forget About ‘One Size Fits All’

When it comes to email marketing, it’s important to keep your audience in mind constantly. Now, your business (like most in the world) is probably going to have a few potential types of ideal customers.

There really is no such thing as an effective all-encompassing message that interests everyone. This is where email really has a chance to shine. After all, posting on social media, while incredibly valuable, sends out a single general message.

When it comes to email, you have the ability to split your audience into separate groups and speak to them based on each group’s needs. If you’re looking to convert every potential customer that comes your way, it’s essential that you identify these buyer personas and appeal to these different groups.



That’s the whole point of email marketing segmentation – having the ability to give people exactly what they want.

Separating ‘Right Now’ from ‘Maybe Later’

Speaking of giving the people what they want, let’s talk about the sales cycle. Yes, building up a sizable email list is something you should be focused on. If you don’t have one, start working on it immediately. That being said, if you don’t understand your email list, you won’t be able to effectively target and convert your audience.

Now, some of your contacts are just browsing and extremely unlikely to be converted anytime soon. Why? Because they don’t need you right now. Those are the ‘maybe later’ contacts that sign up for your email list because they’re curious.

Being overly aggressive with them might actually end up doing more harm than good (the last thing you want to be seen as is a spammer).

The other group is contacts that need your product/service right now and are actively looking for a solution to their problem. By differentiating between these two kinds of contacts and using email marketing segmentation, you’ll be able to determine the appropriate kinds of emails to send them.

The first contact? They’ll just get a general email, nothing too aggressive. But that ‘right now’ contact? They’re getting targeted content that was designed for someone in their stage of the sales cycle.

The Real Reason You Should Use Email Marketing Segmentation

Frankly, you should be using email marketing segmentation – because it works.

According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report (PDF), 39 percent of businesses that segmented their email lists had increased open rates. Whatever your personal opinion is on the relevancy of email in today’s social media age, there’s no denying that if you’re trying to make the most out of your email list, segmentation is your best bet.

Of course, no one said that any of this would be easy. Creating accurate buyer personas can be pretty challenging, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing.

As if that wasn’t enough, knowing what to do with each group you’ve created requires tons of planning and talent (if you’re not sure how to get started, you’re in luck! Hubspot has a free buyer persona generator to help you get started).

Remember: email marketing segmentation is about more than just converting. It’s about understanding your audience better and (ideally) learning how to better serve them in the process.

So, what do you think? Do you think email segmentation is really worth doing?

Computer User Photo via Shutterstock

16 Comments ▼
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Michael Peggs


Michael Peggs Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a content marketing agency based in New York City. Michael helps small business owners and large companies plan, produce and promote content that drives traffic, generates more qualified leads and increases business for your brand.

16 Reactions

  1. Aira Bongco

    Segmentation is essential because it makes email marketing look less robotic and more in touch with the readers. Sure, you still have to automate it. but you have to talk to real people. Thus, you must segment your messages.

    • Michael Peggs

      You’re 100% right Aira, it’s much more personal. Instead of speaking to the whole, you’re getting to know your audience in a more intimate way (despite the automation).

  2. Kind of agree with you that Email marketing is becoming more important these days. Also the segmentation of email surely help you bring some new customer or more slaes. Thank you for pumping my email marketing journey 🙂

  3. Of course it’s worth doing! It improves any email marketing effort in pretty much every way – more opens, more conversions, less subscriber loss, etc. Anything worth doing is worth doing right 🙂

  4. Obviously, I agree. I wonder why some marketers are not using segmentation. Eventually because it is too hard to do? No easy-to-use, integrated analytics at hand when you actually need it (and that would be when you define the target group for your campaign)?

  5. I think that segmentation is important as you become somehow closer to your customers. As email marketing is popular nowadays such feature as segmenation is worth using.

    • Michael Peggs

      You’re right Elizabeth, email marketing is not only popular but effective too! When it comes to building a relationship with your customers, email is second the nothing/

  6. Agree 100%…though if you are a smaller outfit with limited resource don’t overwhelm yourself with too much segmentation. For my smaller clients I use the RFM model (recency, frequency, monetary value) as a good starting point. And obviously segmentation in itself is not enough if you are not paying close attention to the messaging (design / copy etc) of your communication so that it is in line with the particular segment you are targeting (read “testing”).

  7. Thank goodness there are people out there that still think the way I do. I work a great deal in the B2B specific niche area and you need email marketing in order to reach the right audience. I have gone to 2 marketing tradeshows lately and email marketing is hardly mentioned. Thank you for writing this article!

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