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There are hundreds of different ways to sort and segment your email lists. But the best way to organize your email list will always come back to your foundations and a few key factors.
Learning how to segment your email list is absolutely crucial to your bottom line. 77% of email marketing ROI came from segmented campaigns in 2015.
Remember: sorting and segmentation always comes back to data. You need to be sure you have the right information about your contacts before you can segment your email list successfully.
Once you have your data, sorting your list becomes much easier. Segmentation will depend on your specific marketing goals, but there are a few guidelines that can help you sort your list to align with what you’re trying to achieve.
At a basic level, sorting your list based on your buyer personas will help ensure that the communications you send go out to the members of your audience who most need and care about the information you send.
Once you’ve sorted your list based on your personas, you can further segment your list according to the individual contact’s preferences such as email frequency of email topics.
Don’t forget that your buyer personas are “living” guidelines. The information you use to indicate your personas could change quarter to quarter. You may need to add or remove data points, or you may need to change a whole buyer persona.
Regardless of what you do, there are certain times of the year that are the most important and relevant to your business and your audience. After you sort your list based on buyer personas and the preferences of contacts in your list, the next step is sorting your listed based on events.
For example, you may want to target a campaign to contacts who attended your last conference, or expressed an interest in an event you’re planning in the future. Holidays also have great potential – 64% of Americans purchased online, picked up in store, and then made an additional in-store purchase for Thanksgiving/Black Friday!
Think outside the box! You can also sort your email list based on time triggers rather than just static dates. For example, send a countdown email to emphasize how little time is left in a limited time sale. Triggered reminder messages are essential to keeping an audience updated on your company and promotions.
Always look to combine different data streams to get the most specific and targeted strategy possible! If your team is hosting an event, cross reference the contacts who are attending your event with the contacts who have joined your list and match your buyer personas. You can even specify the messaging in your campaigns to be even more targeted for these separate persona groups.
When a site visitor converted is an important piece of information. If you know what piece of content or offer led to a conversion, that will give you important clues on what kind of information they will want from you in the future.
Previous campaign data can also help you sort your email lists — if a recipient is subscribed but hasn’t opened an email from you for more than a year, it’s safe to say they may not be interested in additional campaigns. Removing recipients is just as important as sorting recipients. Regular list cleansing does wonders for deliverability. (And it’s a quick and easy way to bump up your KPIs!)
Take a long hard look at where you are with your current email marketing efforts. If you haven’t segmented your list based on personas and individual data fields, it’s time to start. If you haven’t segmented your list based on individual actions, start!
Look at your marketing calendar and consider any recent or upcoming events that are important to you and your audience.
Consider who is active on your list. Distinguish between your customers who are still engaged and those who simply ignore you. Send the unengaged one last reactivation campaign before removing them.
Always continue testing and refining! Try comparing the results of this sorting with how you’ve already segmented your list. Are there more ways you can segment your list? Or maybe there are some members of your list who you can build a better relationship with?