Segmentation will save your lists. Too many organizations e-mail to the same list over and over rather than segmenting it into specific groups to serve relevant content. Why work to build an e-mail list if it is abused with irrelevant message overuse, causing the recipients to opt out? When a single list is slammed with non-targeted messages, unsubscribe rates increase. Do your e-mail marketing a favor and customize messages to different groups.
Lists can be segmented by location, demographics, psycho-graphics buying behavior, sales funnel buckets, and more. Online marketing success comes from listening to and understanding the audience. The more you can define lists based on interest, behavior, and patterns, the more relevant your message will be. When it comes to e-mail lists, quality is more important than quantity.
Target the people most interested in the service or product, and track their behavior. Find out not just who opened the e-mail, but how many clicked through to the website, how many converted, and which products or services they looked at.
Ways to Segment Your List
You can segment with information provided when users opt in or, if you have a robust CRM software package, using the information they provide when they interact with your site.
Here are a few basics:
- Preferences stated at opt-in (See the earlier section about customer questioning.)
- Information self-selected (date of upcoming birth, cars liked, etc.)
- Actions taken in e-mail
- User behavior on the website
- Previous buying history
- Geographic location
- Personal demographics (gender, age, income, etc.)
- Collecting information from online surveys
- Segment with Landing Pages
The best way to track user behavior is to link the e-mail to a specific landing page that mirrors the language and the offer in the e-mail. Landing pages are defined as pages that communicate a specific product or service or funnel a particular purpose. Landing pages can be part of a website, or can be specifically designed to support a campaign. Landing pages can be used for:
- Keeping track of results from a specific online ad or special offer code for off-line ads
- Building search visibility using a key phrase–rich URL and great content for search engine optimization
- Supporting a new product/service as a communication tool that sales reps send (It lives on a website, and has ads directed to it.)
The landing page can be as simple or as complex as you desire. Those who click on a link to a landing page are already telling you something about themselves. Because the landing page has a narrower focus than the rest of your site, users may self-select to give you more information to narrow their search even more. For example, suppose your client sells men’s sportswear. In your e-mail marketing you have a link for a big-and-tall sale. Clicking on that link tells you that the user is or shops for someone who is big and/or tall. The landing page for that sale then displays content choices for different sizes and different kinds of sportswear (jogging versus basketball). Based on that user’s behavior you can then target him or her with more information about tall basketball sportswear. If you are doing any split testing, where you are trying out different copy, offers, layouts, and so forth in your e-mails, then each variable should have separate landing pages (they may look identical visually to the casual user, but are coded with web analytics to track the results of each variable tested). This sounds like a lot of work, but the process gets easier and pays off once you decide which variables and goals you want to test.