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The Importance Of Email Segmentation For Your Campaigns

Email segmentation helps you sort your subscribers into different categories. Learn why email list segmentation is important for your email campaigns.

Email marketing is a must-have in any digital marketing strategy. Email marketing offers a higher return on investment (ROI) than many other digital and traditional marketing strategies. However, many small businesses don't know how to take their email marketing campaigns to the next level.

If you're sending e-blasts to email subscribers, you may increase sales and boost engagement, but you're not doing everything you can to bring loyal customers back to your site. Email segmentation allows you to create more targeted email campaigns to increase your email ROI, but what is email segmentation, and how does it work?

With email marketing segmentation, you can separate your audience into distinct categories to send them emails with content tailored to their needs. The more tailored your campaigns, the higher the chances of converting subscribers into customers.

What is email segmentation?

Email segmentation is the process of dividing and separating email subscribers into groups or segments based on criteria using tags and segments in your email marketing platform.

Email subscribers can end up in multiple segments, depending on factors like age, location, and behavior. Segmentation is a type of personalization, but they're not the same concept. While using segmentation and personalization are a few of many of the top email marketing tips, there are several key differences.

For example, personalization customizes the content of emails to make it more personal, which may include adding elements like a subscriber's first name or recent purchases they've made. Email segmentation, on the other hand, is more focused on grouping similar audience members together to send them a better-targeted email campaign.

Email marketing segmentation aims to create content that's more relevant to your audience based on the criteria you set. For example, if you sell pet products, you might create two segments—cat and dog parents. Email segmentation relies on your ability to create different content for each category of customers to help you build an email list.

Unfortunately, some businesses still send the same email with the same content to everyone on their list, providing a less personal experience for all their email subscribers. Most of those emails go unread with no action taken because they're too general to speak to any single group of audience members.

The smaller your segments, the more catered they can be to an individual customer segment to help you attract more customers to your website. The effects of list segmentation mean you can build more targeted email campaigns based on several factors, which you can determine by collecting data about your audience.

Email segmentation benefits include: Better campaign performance, deliverability, targeted promotions, improved customer experience & increased ROI

The benefits of email segmentation

Email marketing segmentation allows you to tailor your content for a specific group of people instead of using the same message and content to target everyone in a more shotgun approach.

With this email marketing strategy, your audience can receive personalized experiences even though you're using automation. The benefits of using email marketing segmentation include the following:

Better campaign performance

Sending the same email to everyone on your audience list may attract customers, but if you truly want to maximize your investment, email segmentation can provide better campaign results because the content you share will be more relevant to these targeted groups. Better campaign performance means increased:

  • Open rates: When the subject line of your email campaign is more tailored to particular demographics or individuals, they're more likely to open it.
  • Clicks: With more opens come more opportunities for clicks on your content. Since the body of the email segmentation campaign will be more targeted to a certain individual, they'll be more likely to take action.
  • Conversions: The main goal of your email marketing campaigns is to convert subscribers into customers. When you target specific audiences by segmenting them and sharing more relevant content with email segmentation, they're more likely to convert into customers because you're providing them with the content they need to see to spark action.

Generic emails are boring, and they don't capture anyone's attention. In most cases, they can result in more unsubscribes because they don't tailor to a certain individual or their needs. Meanwhile, a more relevant email through email segmentation can attract more customers.


Have you heard of your sender's reputation? Ultimately, an ISP can assign a score to any organization that sends emails. These scores determine whether your email ends up in someone's inbox or spam folder, never to be seen again. Sender reputation is determined by various factors ranging from engagement levels to the quality of your contact list. However, your email content also plays a role.

Ultimately, if you create low-quality content and have low engagement rates, this signals to email service providers that your organization might be sending spam emails or emails with content that its customers don't want to see. This is why you should never buy email lists; if recipients have never shown an interest in your brand, they're unlikely to open your emails.

Unfortunately, a poor sender reputation means your emails will likely end up in the spam folder. However, email segmentation can improve your sender's reputation with each email marketing campaign.

Targeted promotions

Email segmentation allows you to send different segments different promotions based on their interests, behaviors, or other sets of criteria. Email list segmentation will enable you to define your customer personas and create content guaranteed to convert them into paying customers.

Email segmentation also helps identify your most loyal customers and send them special offers to promote customer loyalty and increase revenue.

Improves customer experience

The customer experience is crucial to your business. With a poor experience, you're likely to lose customers for good, while a good experience can keep them returning for more.

Email list segmentation can improve the customer experience by helping subscribers progress through the customer journey. For example, if you're a B2B business and you've segmented individuals who have downloaded your e-guide, you'll know about the types of information they're looking for.

As a result, your following email could be more likely to convert them to paid customers by asking for more information or sending them more guides to demonstrate your knowledge about a certain topic.

Increases ROI

All these benefits of email list segmentation lead to one significant benefit to your business—increased ROI.

Email segmentation allows you to target customers more effectively and provide them with interesting content, leading to a higher ROI. While the ROI of email marketing is already fairly high, your success depends on your ability to effectively target your audience and find the right ways to speak to them that make them want to take action by clicking on the email and going back to your site.

Your audience doesn't consist of the same types of people. So even if they're from the same age group, or you primarily cater to one gender over another, general emails aren't as effective because different types of customers have different needs or motivations.

9 ways to segment your email lists: demographics, geographical location, customer personas, behavior, email activity, organization type, stage of the funnel, where they shopped & type of customer.

Ways to segment your email list

As we've already touched on, there are many ways to segment your email list. Some segmenting options include:


Demographic data, including age, gender, income, and family status, is often the first place businesses start when segmenting their audience.

However, you can target several different types of demographics, which will depend on your products and services. For example, if you sell medical devices directly to senior citizens, your target audience would likely be above the age of 65. Meanwhile, you may need to adjust your messaging based on gender, especially if you have a product that benefits everyone.

Geographical location

Geographic segmentation allows you to segment audiences by where they live, including language, country, zip code, city, or time zone.

For example, you may have products more popular with individuals in the midwest versus those in the south. In addition, many B2B businesses have salespeople for different regions. By segmenting the lists, these salespeople can easily identify and communicate with their prospective customers by creating unique emails.

Customer personas

One of the first things many businesses do before developing or marketing those products and services is to identify customer personas. Customer personas are fictional profiles to help keep your target customer in mind. If you already have customer personas, you can use their information to segment your audience.

For example, your customer persona may list that your target audience is female, in her 20s, with interests including pets, beauty, and reading. If you're a makeup company, you may use this information to do everything from creating products to brand building. In addition, you can use it in your email marketing by segmenting this particular customer to send them the most relevant offers.


Behavioral segmentation is slightly more complicated than geographic and demographic segmentation because it requires you to know about user actions on your website by collecting behavioral data.

A robust CRM can help you learn this information about your customers, allowing you to send them more targeted campaigns based on past actions. For example, you can segment customers by which products they've recently purchased and send offers for similar products. Meanwhile, you can also use cart abandonment emails to target a segment that has left items in their cart without finishing the checkout process.

Behavioral segmentation allows you to target individuals based on the information you have about what they've done on your site, including purchase history. Of course, not all of your subscribers may make a purchase, but you can target them based on specific pages they've visited and shown an interest in. For example, if you sell loose-leaf tea and a customer logs into their account and continues to view a certain category of teas you offer, you can send them promotions for that tea category to help bring them back to your site.

Email activity

Another way to segment your email list is by email activity, such as subscriber engagement. You can look at your email metrics, including open and click-through rates, to help you understand more about your customers and their level of interest in your brand. Then, you can segment your audience based on these engagement rates by tailoring your email messages to them to avoid unsubscribes and lost customers.

Your unengaged or inactive users may need more attention than one that's more engaged, so you'll have to brainstorm ways to reel them back in, such as by using promotions or asking them about their preferences.

Organization type

If you're a B2B business, some segmentations won't work for you because you have a different type of customer. However, if you sell products or services to other businesses, consider targeting them based on the type of organization.

This may include small businesses or industries. For example, if you run a marketing agency, you can segment your audience by company size and industry to help create content targeting specific niches. In this example, you'd have different content for businesses in the manufacturing industry compared to those in the e-commerce industry.

Stage of the funnel

Your funnel can tell you a lot about your marketing strategies. For example, if you notice many customers drop out of the funnel at a certain stage, you can revisit it to determine what's making them leave without converting. In addition, you can segment your email list based on where customers are in the funnel to create more personalized marketing campaigns.

For example, if a subscriber is still in the brand awareness stage, you might email them about the types of products and services you offer and more information about your brand to help them learn why they should choose you.

Meanwhile, customers in the decision stage should be given more concrete reasons to choose your products and services, such as testimonials about a particular product they're interested in.

Where they shopped

If you have a brick-and-mortar business alongside your e-commerce business, you can segment your customers into these two groups. The odds are that you create specific offers and deals for each store, so you'll need to find a way to market to each specific type of customer and where they shop. By segmenting customers between brick-and-mortar customers and e-commerce customers, you can effectively share the right information about each aspect of your business with the right people.

In addition, if you'd like to send more traffic to one place—either your physical or online store—you can cross-market both types of your business. This can be especially beneficial if you want to close your physical location to focus solely on e-commerce, allowing you to notify your brick-and-mortar customers beforehand.

Type of customer

Many businesses have a few different target markets because they offer several different types of products and services. For example, if you're a B2B marketing agency and target brick-and-mortar stores and e-commerce businesses, you can segment your audience based on the type of business or customer they run. In addition, depending on the type of business you operate, you may work with consumers and businesses. In this case, you'll need to segment them to offer different content that will resonate with them.

For example, if you sell accounting software for accountants and individuals, you have two distinct audiences: regular everyday consumers and business owners like accountants. If you send a newsletter, you don't want to send technical accounting tips to consumers who might be confused.

Create segments in 4 steps: 1. Determine criteria 2. Collect data & set up workflows 3. Create content & start sending 4. Measure & test

How to create segments

To create email segments, you need email marketing software to effectively group customers based on set criteria. In addition, your CRM should allow you to set up workflows to segment customers automatically based on triggers. For example, you can set it up to group customers based on past purchases or geographic location. Here are a few steps for getting started with segments:

Determine criteria

How do you plan on grouping your audience? The first step to creating segments is to determine the criteria for them but to do this, you need customer data. Therefore, you should collect as much data as possible on your subscribers, including geographic information and website behavior.

Once you're sure you have the right data, you can create your criteria for segments. Of course, the criteria you choose may depend on your business type; e-commerce businesses may have different segments and criteria than B2B businesses.

Collect data & set up workflows

After determining which criteria to use to segment your audience, you must ensure your website and email marketing software can collect that information. CRMs integrate with your website to collect just about every piece of data about your customers, so you should have enough data to get started with at least a few different segments.

Then, once you have the data, you can start setting up your workflows to automate the process. Since you don't want to sift through a spreadsheet with contact information and customer data every time you get a new subscriber, you should create automated workflows with your CRM software to do this for you. For example, any time someone takes a certain action on your website, it can automatically add them to a list.

Create content & start sending

Now that you know which segments you're using, you can begin creating content for each unique group of customers. It's important to keep your segments in mind when designing and writing your emails to ensure you're tailoring them to a specific audience. For example, if you've segmented your list by age, you'll likely use different language and messaging when talking to younger customers than their parents.

Measure & test

After sending out your first email, you can start measuring its impact. Remember to measure everything from open rates to conversions to ensure your segmentation performs well. In addition, you should continue to test your messaging, campaigns, and segments to ensure you're effectively targeting the right people by using the right set of criteria.

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Email segmentation allows you to effectively target the right audience at the right time. However, your segmentation is only as strong as your criteria and setup. Still, with the right messaging to the right customers, you can increase your ROI by creating a more personalized customer experience.

Take your email marketing to the next level with Mailchimp's segmentation tools. Mailchimp makes creating and sending a segmented email campaign easy by setting up workflows to automatically segment your audience with data from your website and email campaigns. From there, you can start measuring the results and experimenting to improve your marketing campaigns and connect with more customers.

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