How To Create Better Marketing Strategies Using Email Segmentation And Personalization


Consumers demand and expect relevant and personalized experience content, both online and offline.

To meet those demands, marketers are striving to leverage email personalization to move toward 1:1 experiences that not only meet, but exceed consumer expectations and set them apart from the competition. That’s why it’s not surprising that, when asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, 33% of marketers answered: “personalization.” Furthermore, 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, and they see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

Learn how to personalize an email subject line, as well as more sophisticated techniques like using dynamic content or behavioral data based on how consumers are engaging with your brand. Marketers at every level and ability can reap the benefits of sending more relevant and personalized messages that get results.

What is email segmentation?

On a basic level, we define segmentation as the dividing of something into separate groups or sections.

Within email marketing, this means dividing your audience into several groups instead of working with one mass audience for every email send.

Here are some common approaches marketers might use to segment their audience:

  • Demographics, e.g. age, gender, location, occupation, income
  • Their position in the sales funnel–awareness, evaluation, purchase, loyalty
  • Their level of email engagement, e.g. opened the last 5 emails or hasn’t engaged for 4 months
  • Personas—this motivates your subscriber, e.g. do they only engage with discounts and sales or do they make regular purchases?

Why is email segmentation important?

Marketing to one giant segment means it’s practically impossible to create an email that applies to everyone. Think of how many times a brand has emailed you with information on something totally irrelevant to you. It’s likely that they’re sending one email to their entire database.

Segmentation allows you to create much more focused, and therefore relevant content for smaller groups of people. It is the segment that defines what your message is going to be. This makes it so successful.

According to the DMA, marketers have seen a 720% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. So the effort it takes to consider your segments and tailor your content accordingly could bring a huge return to your brand.

What is email personalization?

True personalization, in email marketing, is the act of targeting an email campaign to a specific subscriber by leveraging the data and information you have about them. It could be information like their first name, the last product they bought, where they live, how many times they log into your app, or several other data points.

Personalization is a broad term, and it can vary in sophistication. Basic email personalization includes tactics like using a subscriber’s name in the subject line, while more advanced tactics can include changing the content of the email based on a subscriber’s gender, location, or other things you know about them.

Personalizing your email campaigns is a proven way to increase your open and click-through rates and can have a measurable impact on your ROI and revenue. Studies have shown emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened than those without, and Rich Relevance found that revenue is 5.7 times higher in emails that employ personalization.

These results stem from the fact that personalized emails are more relevant to subscribers. Instead of receiving a campaign with generic offers and messaging, your subscribers will receive an email that is targeted directly at them, includes their name, and provides offers (products, promotions, etc.) that apply to their interests.

What is a personalized email?

One of the most commonly used personalization marketing strategies is using the recipient’s first name. However, personalization in an email goes further than simply using your subscriber’s first name.

So what exactly is a personalized email?

The following are 3 fundamental elements that make up a personalized email:

1. Relevant

The main cornerstone of a personalized email is relevance. People’s inboxes are crowded, with the average worker receiving at least 121 emails per day, and, often, those emails will address the recipient by name.

Take email personalization further and grab your subscriber’s attention , offer relevant content. If your content doesn’t directly affect your reader, your email has high chance of being relegated to the trash box.

2. Timely

Another hallmark of a personalized email is that it has to be timely.

By gathering enough data about your subscriber, you can know what kind of content they need at a particular stage of their customer journey with you.

For example, if they search for a particular topic or solution on your website, you gain insight into what they need at that point in time and can then craft and send them a timely email.

3. Comes from a person

People are more likely to trust and relate to an email that comes from another person, as opposed to a business. You need to use a person’s name in the “from” field and use a face instead of a logo.

Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways for businesses to connect with a potential customer. The key is being creative about how you approach your message.

What can be personalized?

Using professional-grade email marketing tools like, Mailchimp, or Campaign Monitor, almost every part of your email marketing campaigns can be personalized, using tactics that range from the simple to the more advanced. We’ll cover each of these tactics so you can understand the realm of possibilities.

It’s entirely possible to start simple and then work your way toward more advanced tactics as you go along. The key is to use personalized content in big and small ways to add value to your customers’ experiences.

Why is email personalization important?

Personalization allows brands to deliver emails that apply to just one recipient, giving the impression that brands are talking with subscribers on a one-to-one basis.

It sounds incredibly granular. How are you supposed to know about every single subscriber in your database and then use this to write an email for every single one of them? Well, unless you’re a robot, this is of course impossible. But this is exactly why email marketing platforms now offer a range of personalization technology that will do the impossible for you.

For example, ecommerce marketers can send personalized cart abandonment emails , displaying the item(s) the recipient left behind and reminding them to complete their purchase. The system does all the heavy lifting and understands which product needs to be displayed to which person, triggering automatically based on the timings defined by the marketer.

The ability to deliver unique messages like this improves the effectiveness of your marketing and can boost metrics, such as conversion rates, website bounce rates, average order values, cost per acquisition, and customer lifetime value.

eConsultancy says 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, and they see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences. Increased engagement also helps you achieve better email deliverability The other benefit is that personalization works in real-time. In the cart-abandonment example, a marketer doesn’t have any input in the deployment. The technology will run automatically and deliver the email with all the correct content as soon as a visitor abandons their shopping cart.

How to Use Personalization to Increase the Impact of Email Marketing

Did you know that the number of email users worldwide was estimated to be 3.7 billion in 2017? And that number is expected to reach a whopping 4.3 billion by 2022, according to research by Statista.

These numbers certainly show that email isn’t going away anytime soon. And so, it’s no wonder that marketers still use email marketing as one of their key strategies to gain and engage customers. In fact, according to eMarketer, 80% of marketers report that email marketing is the most effective digital strategy for customer acquisition and retention.

The average return on investment for email marketing is over 4,000 percent. The return is $38 for every dollar invested.

Email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind colleague recommendations and industry thought leaders.

Segmented email marketing campaigns get 14.64% more email opens and 59.99% more clicks compared to non-segmented campaigns.

Including video in email can increase your open rate by 19% and increase your click-through rate by 50%.

The biggest takeaway here is that you can increase the effectiveness of your email campaigns even further with one simple tactic: personalization. And this goes way beyond just addressing your customers or prospects by their first name – there’s so much more you can do.

Why personalization is the best way to stand out:

We live in a time when everyone is continually being bombarded with news, commercials, and messages. Meanwhile, people born between 1996 and 2010 (Gen Z), have an 8-second attention span, which is 4 seconds shorter than the generation before them. This group currently makes up about a quarter of the U.S. population and expected to make up about 40 percent of all consumer markets by 2020. As this group continues to grow up, attacking them with more and more messages is a very ineffective way of convincing them to pick one brand over another.

No matter your age, being treated as an individual speaks to the heart unlike anything else. All humans are sensitive beings and, deep inside, we are seeking two basic things—security and significance. In other words, we want to be recognized and valued for who we are and we want to feel protected. This can only result from one-on-one connections.

The job of marketers is to help build these connections authentically, with the instruments available.

So where to start with customer segmentation?

E-commerce personalization depends on the data sources your solution can access and personalize against. There are many types of data and segmentation options available in analytics and personalization that you can use to customize with.

1. Segmentation by referred or traffic source

This means where the place where your visitor was prior to landing on your website. An AI-based personalization system can learn which offers work best for visitors from different sites, whether referral sites, social media, direct or from paid link ads.

2. Customer information

Customer segments can be profile based or behavior based. Behavior-based segments are based on, for example, what users have searched for on current and previous visits or purchase behavior. Profile-based segments are based on what kind of customer they are to the business, for example, VIP, infrequent visitors, first-time visitor. This segmentation allows businesses to upsell, cross-sell, and reward to buy again.

3. Site engagement duration or times

Examples of this are browsing time, or number of pages viewed. In some circumstances, it may be best to deliver personalization to visitors who have engaged with the site for a certain length of time. Audience behavior can also vary based on day or week or time of day, so audiences visiting at different times can be targeted differently.

4. Event or interaction

Common interactions on an e-commerce site are people who click on add to basket, cart or interact with product information. This can be selectors for product variants such as color or size or reviews. The value in the cart can also be referenced.

5. Landing page

This is a slightly unique form of content-based segmentation based on where the visitor first arrived on the site, which suggests their initial intent.

As well as standard segmentation options like those above, review solutions from your provider to create and save custom segments. Most established providers should provide an on top of which you can create your own customized segments.

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