Email segmentation can turn ho-hum email lists into money printing machines, letting you tailor your emails according to varying customer characteristics.
“How many emails should I send my list, now that I know how to build one?”
If you were to ask me that question, I would reply: “At least 10, and if you have a big list, 25-30.”
Shocked? Think I am talking trash?
You are not going to make your subscribers hit the spam button in righteous fury or get a shellacking in social media.
If you follow my advice in totality, an individual subscriber on your list might get one email every week, or fortnight.
That’s the magic of email segmentation.
Instead of blasting multiple groups of people with the same email, you are having one-to-few interactions with smaller but similar groups of people, all at the same time
Another segmentation bonus is better email performance: this GetResponse study found that list performance degrades as they get bigger (CTR is 4.78% for a list size of 1000-2499 vs 1.7% for a list sized 100,000+).
That’s not all. Segmented lists make more money, according to this benchmark report by Klaviyo.
Getting started with email segmentation
Many brands either get overwhelmed or don’t know where to start with email segmentation.
Want my advice? KISS- keep it sweet and simple.
Start with three segments- non-customers, one time buyers, and repeat customers.
Email marketing’s job is to move people from the first segment to the third segment, to turn digital window shoppers to repeat buyers.
People who are on your list but never bought from you are aware and maybe interested in your product.
They don’t desire it enough to complete the checkout.
To motivate this cohort, you need to make your product more desirable, using The Desire Framework.
THE DESIRE FRAMEWORK
Harnessing desire doesn’t just make for high-performing ads. It can also lead to high converting email forms or pop-ups. Here are the different ways in which you can persuade people to offer up their email:
- Simply present your product’s claims
- Show the claim in action
- Include the audience
- Show your claim being tested
- Display the benefits over time
- Bolster your claims with third party proof
- Use expert approval
- Compare and contrast with the competition
- Show your product in a better light
- Highlight the convenience of your product
- Use imagery, metaphors, anything to gut the boredom
- Lead with your guarantee
The Desire Framework is a mental model used by the ace direct response copywriter and advertising great Eugene Schwartz and documented in his classic “Breakthrough Advertising”.
Here’s how you can leverage this framework to craft different types of emails which:
- Show the product in action.
- Highlight the claims (with social proof, mostly in the form of user-generated content).
- Demonstrate how the claims stack up, compared to the competition.
- Answer questions that might prevent them from buying.
- Offer discounts.
These emails must make your segment feel like buying the product is a no brainer.
2. One time buyers
This cohort requires messaging that:
- Reinforce their buying decision
- Nip any kind of buyer’s remorse
- Deliver a great product experience so that they can confidently buy again.
Some of the emails you can send to this segment:
- Educational content sent between order confirmation and out for shipping emails
- A welcome-to-the-family note from the founder.
- A survey immediate after order confirmation that asks open ended questions about the buying decision
- A review request email after an appropriate time. coupled with a reward
- A promotional email offering related/similar product with a special discount or offer
You can finesse the messaging appropriately, and rejig the sequence of the messages so that you walk the fine line between being too needy and too aloof.
Also, don’t put the cart before the horse with these sequences.
For example, if a customer files a return request, it’s counterproductive to hit them with the review request email.
This cohort is going to be your smallest, yet the most valuable group.
They have shown confidence in the product, and with a bit of nudge can easily become your ambassadors and be the core of your community.
Some of the emails that you can send include:
- Review the product requests.
- Promotional emails featuring cross-sells, upsells, and bulk packs.
- Offers to join loyalty or VIP programs.
- Bring a friend emails
- Emails asking for beta testers.
- Special invites to live events.
- Anniversary offers
- Name the product and other co-creation opportunities.
Sharpening the email segmentation saw using RFM metrics
Once these three segments are humming along, sending you sales and increasing sign up rates, it’s time to analyze the data and go deeper.
Here, the RFM (recency frequency monetary) framework comes in handy.
The recency, frequency, and monetary framework works on the assumption that people who spend more, often and right now are your best customers
You can use the RFM metrics to further segment your list, based on multiple tiers.
Klaviyo recommends that you should have these customer segments in your tool:
- High rollers: Your most valuable customers, they buy often, recently, and spend the most with you.
- Brand enthusiasts: They buy often and recently, but their average order value is low.
- Potential high rollers: They bought recently and spend a lot, but don’t buy as often as the high rollers.
- Potential brand enthusiasts: They are recent customers, but they don’t spend much, and they don’t buy frequently.
- Nearly theres: They open and click through your emails, but they have never bought and are waiting for a nudge.
- Waiting for wows: They have never bought from you, but have recently started opening your emails.
- Lapsed high rollers: They used to be high rollers but of late have not bought recently from you.
- Lapsed brand enthusiasts: They used to be brand enthusiasts, but have not bought recently from you.
- One-hit wonders: They spent a lot once, but haven’t bought recently or often.
- Just passing throughs: They purchased once or twice in the last 6-12 months and spent very little.
- False starts: They used to open and click on your emails frequently, but have lately ignored your emails.
- Deadweight: They have not opened your emails or bought from you, and need to be removed from your list.
In Klaviyo, these segments are dynamic and the number of emails will keep on changing based on individual customer behavior, in near real time.
Advanced email segmentation ideas and best practices
Once you have segmented your list based on customer engagement and prepped custom messaging for each segment you can slice and dice your list in other ways.
For instance, you can have segments based on:
- Time zones
- Average order value
- Customer lifetime value
- Category and brand segments
- And more.
If you want to know more about advanced segmentation in Klaviyo, check out this article.
As you get proficient with segmentation, it is very easy to go nuts, slicing and dicing your list into increasingly specific segments until the whole thing becomes an unmanageable mess.
Here are some rules that should guide you as you go about building segments:
- Design segments based on user action in the following order of importance: purchase decisions, email activity, and website activity
- Focus on recent actions first, then on frequency.
- Weed out people who take no action.
- Analyze your audience’s characteristics and the messages that will excite them.
- Build, review and tweak your goals and your strategy on a monthly basis.
A simple search on Twitter will throw up results highlighting the value of email segmentation.
For instance, check out a subscription game’s segmentation strategy and its results:
Another important benefit with well-defined email segments is higher ROAS on your paid social.
Conversion rates of Facebook audiences built on the basis of email lists are way higher than audiences based on cold traffic.
Every day that you run email marketing without segmentation is a potential loss of thousands of dollars in lost sales and even more in brand equity.
Don’t wait to get perfect, just get going.