10 Email Marketing Segmentation Strategies (With Examples)

Effective email marketing goes far beyond sending generic messages to your entire database. Email marketing segmentation is a must to personalize your outreach and maximize your engagement.

What is Email Marketing Segmentation?

Email marketing segmentation divides an email database into smaller, more targeted groups based on specific criteria or characteristics. These criteria include demographics, behaviors, purchase history, engagement levels, and more.

Why is Email Marketing Segmentation Important?

Segmentation enables you to deliver more personalized and relevant content to each group, increasing engagement, conversions, and customer loyalty.

This customization can lead to higher open rates, click-through rates, and ultimately, better ROI on your email marketing efforts.

Email Marketing Segmentation Strategies + Examples

Here are 10 essential email marketing segmentation strategies to enhance your campaigns and increase ROI.

1. Demographic Segmentation

Demographic segmentation divides your audience based on characteristics like age, gender, location, occupation, or income level. This type of segmentation helps personalize content to specific demographics’ preferences and needs.

Example: A furniture retailer wants to target consumers ages 25-34, living in urban areas. The retailer creates email campaigns that promote modern and space-saving furniture solutions for smaller apartments or condos. They highlight versatile and multifunctional furniture pieces, trendy designs, and tips on maximizing small living spaces.

2. Geographic Segmentation

Geographic segmentation allows you to target subscribers based on their location. This enables you to customize emails with localized offers, event invitations, or location-specific news.

Example: A clothing retailer creates email campaigns to match the specific weather patterns or seasonal trends in New York City. During the summer, they send emails promoting breathable clothing and during the colder seasons, they showcase cozy sweaters and jackets.

3. Psychographic Segmentation

Psychographic segmentation hones in on personalities, interests, lifestyles, values, and attitudes. Using this type of segmentation helps your message resonate with your audience’s specific motivations and preferences.

Example: A home improvement retailer wants to target DIY home improvement enthusiasts. The retailer creates email campaigns that share DIY project ideas, step-by-step tutorials, and expert tips. They also showcase tools, materials, and products that help make DIY projects easier.

4. Behavioral Segmentation

Behavioral segmentation categorizes subscribers based on their interactions and behaviors. It includes factors such as purchase history, browsing activity, email engagement, or past interactions with your website. This allows you to deliver tailored messages based on specific actions or behaviors.

Example: An automotive repair chain wants to target consumers with a history of bringing their vehicles for routine maintenance (oil changes, tire rotations, or inspections). The shop creates targeted email campaigns aimed at promoting routine maintenance services. The content includes reminders for upcoming service intervals, educational content on the importance of regular maintenance, and the potential consequences of neglecting it. They also promote exclusive discounts or package deals for routine maintenance services to drive more vehicles into their locations.

5. Purchase History Segmentation

Segmenting based on purchase history targets consumers who have made specific purchases or have shown preferences for certain products or categories. Using this type of segmentation allows you to send personalized product recommendations that your audience will engage with.

Example: A pet retailer targets consumers who have previously purchased cat food. The retailer sends campaigns personalized to cat owners, promoting cat food brands and special dietary options suitable for different cat breeds/health conditions. They share tips on cat nutrition, feeding schedules, and transitioning to new diets. The retailer also sends automated email reminders when it’s time to restock cat food. These reminders are personalized to the customer’s purchase behavior, making it convenient for them to reorder.

PGM Email Marketing Best Practices Guide CTA

6. Engagement Segmentation

Engagement segmentation classifies subscribers based on their level of engagement with your emails or website. This includes metrics like open rates, click-through rates, or time spent on-site. By targeting highly engaged subscribers, you can nurture relationships, deliver exclusive content, or reward their loyalty.

Example: An online e-commerce retailer targets highly engaged subscribers to promote exclusive product previews, early access to sales or promotions, and personalized recommendations based on their purchase history. They provide insider tips, behind-the-scenes content, or stories that make subscribers feel valued.

7. New Subscribers vs. Established Customers

Segmenting based on the customer lifecycle stage allows you to meet customers where they are in their journey. New customers may benefit from onboarding sequences or introductory offers, while established customers can receive special promotions, VIP perks, or loyalty rewards.

Example: New Customers

  • Welcome Series: Implement a welcome series of emails that introduces new customers to your brand, shares your brand story, and provides information about your products or services. This helps to familiarize them with your offerings and build a strong foundation for future engagement.
  • Onboarding Offers: Offer exclusive discounts or promotions to new subscribers as a gesture of appreciation for joining your email list. This incentivizes their first purchase and encourages them to explore more of your products or services.
  • Educational Content: Share helpful tips, guides, or tutorials related to your industry to provide value to your new audience and establish your brand as a thought leader.

Example: Established Customers

  • Loyalty Programs: Create a loyalty program for established customers to reward their continued support. Offer exclusive perks such as early access to new products, special discounts, or freebies to show your appreciation for their loyalty.
  • Upsell/Cross-sell Opportunities: Identify opportunities to upsell or cross-sell complementary products or services to your established customers. Use their purchase history and preferences to make targeted recommendations that align with their previous purchases, enhancing their overall experience and increasing their average order value.
  • Personalized Recommendations: Personalize product recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases, browsing behavior, or wishlists. Showcase products that align with their preferences to encourage repeat purchases and strengthen their connection with your brand.

8. Content Preferences Segmentation

Segmenting based on content preferences involves categorizing customers who have expressed interest in specific topics, product lines, or content types. This enables you to send content that aligns with their specific interests, increasing engagement and relevancy.

Example: A landscaping company targets consumers interested in gardening, landscaping, and outdoor green spaces. They deploy email campaigns focused on garden-related content, sharing information on plant care, seasonal gardening, landscape design ideas, and DIY projects. They use visually appealing images of stunning gardens, outdoor living spaces, and before-and-after transformations to inspire and engage garden enthusiasts.

9. Upsell and Cross-Sell Segmentation

Upsell and cross-sell segments target customers who have purchased specific products or product categories. Identify complementary or upgraded offerings to create personalized recommendations to encourage additional purchases and increase average order value.

Example: A fitness center targets gym members interested in personal training or consumers who have previously engaged with personal training content. The fitness center creates email campaigns to promote personalized training programs, additional one-on-one coaching sessions, or specialized group fitness classes. Their campaigns highlight the benefits of personal training and showcase gym member success stories.

10. Inactive Subscribers Segmentation

Segmenting based on inactivity allows you to re-engage subscribers who haven’t interacted with your emails or website for a specific period. Implement re-engagement campaigns with tailored content or exclusive offers to entice them back into the fold.

Example: An online book subscription service targets subscribers who have been inactive for six months or more. The bookstore deploys a series of re-engagement emails to reconnect with dormant subscribers and reignite their interest in reading. They create emails with personalized content to remind them of the joy of reading and offer a discount on their next book purchase.

If you enjoyed this content, check out our podcast: Email Excellence: 5 Insider Hacks for Maximum Impact with Jay Schwedelson, Founder of SubjectLine.com

Email Marketing Segmentation Solutions

Don’t even know where to start with email marketing segmentation? That’s okay! We help you identify and create custom segments based on the targeting criteria that matter most to your brand.

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