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Using Engagement for Contact List Segmentation

  • On 07/11/2019

In years past, personalization and segmentation may have been optional, but no more. In 2018, marketers have to meet expectations and that means creating relevant, personalized messages that subscribers want to read.

Research shows marketers lean on email marketing to create a personalized experience for customers, compared to other options.

MarketingCharts email personalization chart

There’s no question, there’s a lot of power behind personalization and segmentation. In this post, we’ll look at five ways it’s changing email marketing.

What is engagement in email marketing?

Engagement is one of the most critical metrics in email marketing. By engagement in this context, we mean if our contacts actively open and click the links in our emails. Following engagement as a key metric makes sense. When people open and click the links in your emails, it probably means that they find your emails relevant – interesting and useful.

If you want to find out what’s a good email open or click-through rate or check how your email marketing and automation campaigns stack up against others in your industry, here are our regularly updated Email Marketing Benchmarks.

What drives email marketing engagement?

There are a lot of factors contributing to contact engagement. The more time you have, the more you can dive into details. However, I’d recommend focusing on the following three:

  1. Relevance: do your contacts find your emails valuable? Why should people subscribe to your email marketing communication?
  2. CTA: do your contacts know what you expect them to do? Do you plan each email with a clear call to action in mind?
  3. Frequency: do you aim at sending the right amount of information? Are you in the sweet spot between not too few and not too many?

Different Ways to Segment Your Contacts

create a high-converting email newsletter

There are many different ways to segment your contacts depending on what information you have on them, what information you’d like to have on them at some point, and how you store that information. You can segment your contacts:

  • By Contact Details – If you already have additional information on your contacts, such as their city or state, the easiest way to segment them is to use advanced search.​
  • By Contact Behavior – In addition to contact details, you can also create segments based on a combination of other criteria, such as how they engage with your emails and what contact lists they’re already on.​
  • By Shopify Activity – If you have a Shopify store connected to your account, you can create custom segments of customers based on their purchase activity. For example, you can create a segment of your best customers in a certain city to send them location-specific promotions and help drive more sales.
  • By Click Habits – You can also segment your contacts through your emails. Use click segmentation to have contacts automatically added to specific lists based on what links they click in your email. ​
  • By Email List -sign up forms allow your subscribers to choose the types of content they want to receive and which contact lists they want to be on. You can even have a different sign-up form on every page of your website to automatically add subscribers to contact lists specific to those pages.

Better engagement through self-segmentation

tabellarius segmentation

Customers are embracing the idea of self-segmentation too. Rather than segment email contacts yourself, why not let subscribers do it for you?

Marketers are using email preference centers to give subscribers the power to select their interests. Penguin Random House directs its subscribers to the preference center below. It gives subscribers the power to self-select the book genres they’re most interested in. In return, subscribers receive emails that provide book suggestions they’re excited about.

Marketers are also giving website visitors the ability to join specific newsletters. BuzzFeed, gives visitors the chance to sign up for newsletters that are based on the content they read. For instance, if a visitor reads an article about cats, a form pops up asking the visitor to join a specific cat newsletter.

Stronger relationships built through dynamic content

email marketing mistakes

Marketers have figured out how to create personalized emails without spending a ton of time manually tweaking emails. How? Dynamic content.

Dynamic content allows marketers to create one email, but customize blocks of it for certain subscribers. Let’s say you’re hosting a sale at both of your stores in Fresno and Los Angeles. Through dynamic content, you can localize the images and content. The subscribers in Fresno see a picture of their local store and those in LA see their hometown store.

Dynamic content is personalized. When subscribers open the email they think, “This company gets me.” With every dynamically personalized email, you build a stronger relationship with your customers.

How to segment smart?

CRM data can be segmented in a nearly unlimited variety of ways to support your strategy, but here are some of the most common ways:

  • Email behaviorKnow and track who opens your emails and who doesn’t.
  • Demographic profiling—Know and track details like age, location, gender, interests, etc.
  • Preferences—Know and track how email recipient prefers to be contacted, nature of content they prefer, etc.
  • Purchase behavior—know and track who buys from you, what they buy, when they buy it, and more.
  • Browsing behavior—Know and track who’s looking at your website, what pages interest them, and what actions they take.

The game is about creating smart segments that help you achieve your marketing strategy. So, if you want to be most effective, you need to start with a marketing strategy.

Your list segmentation efforts should work to support your business’ overall marketing strategy. And as the numbers indicate, you’ll be more successful if you document your strategy. When you add in a documented segmentation strategy, you can see how it fits into your overall plan, keeping your efforts on track. This way you’ll be most efficient as you gather data on the people who interact with you in order to target the right people with your campaigns.

This brings up a good question: What’s the difference between segmenting and targeting? The quick answer is this: Segmenting for CRM is chopping up what you already know about your contacts in order to reach the right people on your list, whereas targeting is knowing who you want to reach out to and finding novel ways to reach them. Your targeting strategy is often influenced by what you know about your CRM segments, and your success with targeting often leads to new ways to segment your list.

As you can see, marketers are reaching new heights as they incorporate personalization and segmentation into their strategies. The two tactics have become a necessity for marketers looking to connect with customers in a digital world. In 2018, the trend will continue as customers’ expectations continue to rise.



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