***Today’s post is brought to you by our partner, XVerify. You can read more about the guest author, Alyssa West, below.

A wise person once said, “You can’t please everybody.” This is a great saying and something I was told over and over again growing up. Perhaps I’m a bad listener or maybe I just like to remind my mom that I’ll never grow up enough to take her advice, but somehow, despite this very wise instruction, I landed in the field of marketing for my career. A field that inevitably tries to do the impossible and please everybody. The success of our campaigns lay in the hands of our users. Which means our job is to not only please them, but to draw them in and make them want to engage.

This is an especially daunting task for email marketers. As an email marketer, you have to connect with a user in a way that impacts them enough to not only open your message, but also click on it and drive them to your site. Even though I didn’t necessarily take my mom’s advice to heart, I recognize that it is valuable advice. You can’t please everybody…at the same time. This is where segmenting comes in handy.

Segmenting is a way of breaking up your email list to create campaigns that pack a punch. Today’s age of inbound marketing is all about appealing to the user on a personal level. And since it’s unlikely your entire email list falls into the exact same category, segmenting can help you send out emails that still feel personal without going to the tedious effort of creating an individualized campaign for each customer. There are plenty of ways you can segment your email list, but to make things simply, I’ve put together my top 5 favorite ways of segmenting your audience. I love these customer segments because they’re simple to implement, but they also work.

1. Geotargeting

Geotargeting is a segmenting tool that uses a person’s location to better inform your marketing campaign. You can learn a lot about an individual from where they live. Each city has a different income level, cultural make up and median age of residents. There are plenty of marketing campaigns you can run using geotargeting, but even if you use this campaign to simply segment out in-town and out of town customers for your brick and mortar store, it can have a great effect your campaign.

2. Age

Not long ago internet access and cell phones weren’t something you’d even think about until at least high school. But that is no longer the case. Today, everyone has access to the internet, to email and, in turn, to your email list. Setting up a customer segment based off age is a great way to make sure you’re staying relevant to your customers, especially if you have a broad range of products. The items and content you’d send to a 15 year old are significantly different than something you’d send out to a 60 year old. This important information helps you easily segment out audiences in a way that makes an impact without much effort on your end.

3. Organization Type and Industry

If you deal with B2B marketing, this segment will be extremely helpful to you. Each type of industry and organization is going to have vastly different priorities. A non-profit is going to be more interested in articles related to crowd funding, grants and donations meanwhile, a small business is going to have more interest in free tools, quick tips and easy marketing plans. The same can be said for different industries. A clothing store will have completely different interests than a car dealership. Crafting your campaigns around the priorities of different companies and industries, you’ll be able to simply adjust campaigns to have the most impact with your users.

4. Past Purchases

Another great way to segment your audience is by their past purchases. Group products into different categories and then send out emails based off these groups. For example, if you’re an eCommerce outdoor store, segment your products into hiking, fishing, camping and motor sports. When a user makes a purchase from one of these categories, they automatically get segmented into their group. You can then design newsletters, buying suggestions and product update emails that are relevant to that group. You’re using a user’s past activities to make a connection with them.

5. Buying Patterns

Similar to past purchases, this customer segment is built off user behavior. This will work well for stores that have a smaller range of products. The two best groups to look for when it comes to buying patterns is frequency of purchases or amount of average purchase. For big spenders, you can feel comfortable sending them higher priced product suggestions and articles related to luxury purchases. Similarly, if a user makes a purchase once a month, you can add them to an email list that is more actively engaged and trust that they won’t send you to spam.

Inbound marketing is all about using data to better fund a campaign that’s going to feel personal to your users. Though creating customer segments may seem daunting, these five simple customer segments will help get your marketing campaign off on the right foot, without you wanting to pull your hair out.

— Alyssa West

Alyssa West XVerify

Alyssa’s passion for learning about people led her to a career in marketing and social media, with an emphasis on content creation. She currently works for VCN Media where she focuses on their email verification software, XVerify. Connect with Alyssa on LinkedIn and be sure to follow XVerify on Twitter to stay up to date with all of Alyssa’s posts.

 

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ListPruningReputation_041715For developers sending email from their web and mobile applications, inbox placement is directly related to the quality of sending reputation.

Curating your email lists on a regular basis is an essential key to maintaining a quality sender reputation. What happens if you neglect your subscriber and customer lists?

  • Poor customer experiences caused by low inbox placement
  • Wasting money by sending email to people who are not engaged with your messages
  • Most importantly, lowered email inbox placement and sending impacts your reputation with SparkPost, ESPs, and your customers and subscribers.

The SparkPost Suppression List service automatically prevents delivery of transmissions to members of your various recipient lists when they unsubscribe, hard bounce, or claim that an email you sent is SPAM. It provides a programmatic method of introspecting your recipient’s delivery permissions prior to attempting to deliver email to them. The rationale behind this service is to increase your email inbox placement percentages while also maximizing your customer’s engagement levels with your messaging.

Suppression lists are able to be used as an invalidation tool while sending non-transactional messages. Why would a service such as the Suppression Lists be useful to organizations (ranging from small businesses to enterprise organizations)? Because you want to respect the permission customers give you for delivering bulk / marketing messaging, but they definitely want a receipt for their purchase or a password reset and other transactional messages they have initiated in your systems. This example highlights the value of SparkPost’s Suppression Lists to organizations of all sizes; it’s a simple interface to differentiate between email that “should” be sent (marketing, newsletters and one-to-many messages) compared to email that “is expected” to be sent (transactional email).

Now that we’ve identified how tightly bound the relationship of your sending domain’s delivery reputation is to your SparkPost Suppression Lists, you may be wondering how you can leverage the data-driven power of SparkPost to increase your transmission’s email inbox placement.

SparkPost strengthens your distribution lists by automatically adding recipients to your Suppression List who have flagged your transmissions as SPAM or unsubscribed (using either the unsubscribe link or list-unsubscribe features). This automated management will improve your inbox placements since you will not be attempting to transmit email to recipients who have explicitly revoked your sending permission…but what are some other ways to leverage your Suppression Lists that can prove beneficial to your organization’s email engagement?

  • In-app permission revocations: When a recipient who has previously granted you permission to send them non-transactional email clearly defines during a transactional process that they no longer wish to receive non-transactional email
  • By providing your customers a clear and easy-to-use profile center where they’re able to manage their non-transactional subscriptions
  • Implementing in-app (web/mobile) re-engagement or evaluation user experiences focused on driving heightened engagement volumes for your transmissions with SparkPost.

SparkPost is here to help, but your subscription and non-transactional list management curation are critical in establishing and maintaining your delivery reputation and inbox placements. The better your lists are pruned, honed, and focused on engagement, the better your reputation for all of your email and transmission deliveries (both transactional and non-transactional).

To learn more:

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

On this week’s edition of the email marketing news digest we’re looking at what the experts have to say on the do’s and don’ts of email segmentation. We present the views, so you can do your own testing to see what works best for your business! And for the email segmentation experts out there, we’ve kept it diversified with tips from mobile marketing and study results on the industry performance of email marketing.

7 simple and effective ways to use email segmentation

Targeting increases relevance, which in turn boosts customer engagement leading to increased email clicks and open rates. Targeting is achieved through segmentation and here are 7 ways to segment an email list:

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  • Gender
  • Geotargeting
  • Age
  • Automated triggers
  • Purchase data
  • Activity
  • Customer Preferences

Break These Email Segmentation Best Practices

While the previous article gives a good overview of basic email segmentation practices, Jordie van Rijn provides examples where it’s okay to make an exception, or to go one step further in ensuring your email is both relevant and targeted.

  • Early segmentation – Sometimes it’s best to put off collecting customer preferences to make email sign-up less painful. Instead, go for a customer preference center.
  • Age & behavior – Don’t make assumptions about age group. For example, just because you are targeting baby boomers doesn’t mean you don’t need an email that is optimized for mobile.
  • Gender segmentation – Remember that during the season of giving, people might purchase something on your site for the opposite gender as a gift.
  • Geographic location – Rethink the way you present content to a national audience if you segment by geography. Be creative!

Using Mobile Marketing Tactics to Add Email Subscribers

Couple of weeks back we featured an article on how you can improve email deliverability through SEO tactics. Now we’re letting mobile marketing teach us a few new tricks. Get users to opt in to receiving email through text by:

  • Asking them
  • Offering incentives
  • Opt-ins within mobile apps
  • Point-of-Sale
  • Customer review
  • Captive audiences
  • Short codes
  • QR codes

We’re all about multi-channel these days so we might as well apply that to our marketing tactics as well!

5 Ways to Personalize Emails and Enhance Open Rates

Our client Eloqua has gathered data revealing that personalized subject lines are key to open rates. Email subject lines that contain the name and one other personal detail perform the best.

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Here are 5 other tips to boost your open rates.

  • Segment your list separately by social data
  • Craft templates that enable you to trigger personalized emails
  • Exclamation points don’t necessarily drive opens
  • Test and track the effectiveness of calls to action (CTAs)
  • Align your email and social language for consistent communication

61% of marketers rate their email campaigns as poor or average: infographic

Think you’re good at email marketing? Here’s an infographic to give you some insight on how you compare in the industry (or in UK at least).

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Looking for a digital messaging software with built-in functionality to segment lists for behavioral marketing? Read more about Momentum.