How to Segment Your Email List [Complete Guide]

How to Segment Your Email List [Complete Guide]

July 20, 2020

If you are just beginning your email marketing journey, you might not be aware of the significance of segmenting your email lists. The truth is, it matters a lot.

The majority of organizations (84%) are able to segment their email audience, with a correlation between those not segmenting and those having a low competence or no active email testing with the business.

DMA National Client Email Report

Moreover, according to a report by Litmus,

By 2020, platforms will automate creation of target segments based on profile, behavior, and value propositions available from a brand.


Email segmentation can be a lot more interesting if you know your way around it. If you segment your email list, you can create many effective campaigns that can benefit you in the long run. Meaning, you will get more leads and your customers will enjoy a unique journey through your content.

But if you want to get the best out of your email segmentation process, you need to collect as much information as you can about your email subscribers to provide them with well-tailored content that resonates with their interests.

Let us go through each touchpoint to gain in-depth knowledge about segmenting your email list.

Understanding List Segmentation in Simple Words

Cinthia is a class teacher who teaches in an elementary school. She has to look after different kids, their interests, class performance, and behavior. Each child has a unique personality. Every child is unique in their own way. Some are interested in painting, others in dancing, and a few in sports.

It would be so wonderful for Cinthia if she knew which kids are good at dancing, singing, academics, and more. To provide a holistic and positive experience to all the kids, she made different lists according to the interests of the children and put them up on the notice board.

If any child is interested in any of the fields, they can just write their name on the list, may it be single or multiple. Now, if any co-curricular activity happens, Cinthia’s class is the number one to have themselves registered.

In email marketing, segmenting your email lists is somewhat similar to the above-mentioned experience. If you divide your email subscribers into clusters that resonate with their interests and preferences, personalizing your customer’s journey can become much easier for you.

The ultimate purpose of list segmentation is to provide your email subscribers with personalized information. You can segment your email lists on the basis of geography, interests, age, gender, occupation, industry, or more. Segmenting your email lists and personalizing your emails accordingly can help you generate more leads and increase your conversion rate.

What do you Require for Segmenting Your Email List?

Segmenting your email lists is an ever-evolving process. List segmentation refines and builds upon itself, as your email base keeps expanding. If you want to start with email list segmentation, you don’t need much but your efforts and three basic requirements:

Collecting Email Address and Relevant Data

When someone visits your website and signs up for an email subscription, what do you ask them? In order to generate potential leads, you can ask them for some specific information along with their email address like age, occupation, or industry.

An Email Service Provider

It is basically an email marketing software that helps a great deal in segmenting your email lists, sending bulk email blasts, or optimizing email send-time to achieve maximum email deliverability. Some of the effective tools are SendX, Campaign Monitor, Constant Contact, etc.

Criteria to Segment Your Lists

You need to decide the base of your segmenting process. Meaning, you should segment your email lists according to your industry and business goals. Your email lists should align with your needs, therefore, you need a basic plan or idea to get started with your email list segmentation process.

How to Get Started with Segmenting Your Email Lists?

Email list segmentation may sound a little daunting at the beginning, but once you get your hands into it, it can prove to be a major win for you. If you need a single-headed direction, these steps can help you make a flow to segment your email lists:

Leveraging the Data

Data points are the foundational ground for building your segment lists. It is essential to keep in mind your product while collecting your email subscribers’ data. For instance, if you are into clothing and apparel business, gender and age will be the top defining factors of your email list segmentation. But if you are a SaaS product or marketing software, you might want to know the industry and occupation of your subscriber.

Therefore, before you sit down to segment your email lists, you must decide which data set can help you know your customers well, and develop a strategy to organize it. And where to put the leads about whom you don’t have enough information.

Your main goal in using email marketing is to convert your leads into customers. Email list segmentation is the initial trigger to activate your sales funnel. Keep in mind these touchpoints to optimize your data collection process:

  • Ask for the information directly from the users.
  • Never buy an email list.
  • Collect only the necessary and actionable information. If you don’t need the last name of your subscriber, don’t ask for it.
  • It’s never late to begin. Even if you have a small email base, start segmenting your email lists right away.
Adobe Subscription Page

Creating Buyer’s Personas

Every business is aware of the customers who fit instantly into their sales funnel. For instance, an online retailer fits perfectly into your funnel if you are trying to sell supply chain software. But if a college student signs up and becomes your subscriber, the chances of your sale decrease at many levels.

Therefore, the next process into segmenting your email lists is defining your buyer’s persona. In other words, creating the personality of your ideal customer.

Identifying your customer’s persona serves as the baseline for it helps you to define your key messaging. Follow the checklist mentioned below to define your buyer’s persona:

  • Check the demographics of your customer.
  • Explore the interests of your customers, their behavior, the products they are interested in, and the date of signing up.
  • Identify the main problems faced by your customers.
  • How can you solve those problems?

Create Your Segments and Write the Content

When you have collected enough data and attained in-depth knowledge about your audience, you may create your email lists. For example, if you are into clothing and apparel business that sells globally, start creating your email lists on the basis of age, gender, and location.

Segmenting your email list is a necessary step but do not go way too deep into every tiny detail as it will all turn into a mess. Create email lists that make the most sense to your business. Buying from the above-mentioned example, if you are taking location as a factor, do not go for cities in the first attempt. Don’t add more to your plate than you can handle.

After you create your first set of email lists, it’s time to write your email. You need to create well-tailored and personalized content that resonates with your segmented email lists. You don’t have to create an entirely new copy for each segmented list but tweak the information in your email copy according to the target groups.

Most businesses carry out several rounds of experiments to nail their email lists. Aiming for hyper-segmentation is another domain of segmenting your email lists. It’s quite simple. You send a few email campaigns to your initial email lists in order to observe their behavior. With this exercise, you may find loopholes in your segmentation process.

But don’t take this exercise lightly. You need to create emails that actually align with your target groups. Don’t send too many emails as they can land in your receiver’s spam folder.

Todoist Welcome

Analyzing, Measuring, and Rearranging your Email Lists 

You have successfully sent your well-tailored content to your segmented lists. But are you sure that it is the ultimate and final list that doesn’t need any change? Probably not.

As it was mentioned earlier, segmenting your lists is a constant and ever-evolving process, you need to measure your email’s success in order to find the potential anomalies. You must track the performance of your emails and ensure that your emails were delivered successfully.

Keep a tab on the engagement metrics. This can help you a great deal in targeting the right audience. For instance, see which of your emails have got the maximum open-rates, which part of your email got the most clicks, how did the users interact with your email as a whole, how many emails got bounced, the best email send time, and more.

The work is not over yet. You have to rearrange your first set of segmented email lists depending upon your email metrics. This is because many of the emails might be fake or wrong and these end up in increasing your bounce rates. So, go for a second round and refine your email lists.

Once you have specific results and a refined set of email lists, you may leverage the understanding to plan your next email campaigns. You can even use an email marketing tool and send out A/B test campaigns. This type of campaign is used more for experimenting with subject lines but you may go for a little change in the email body as well.

In a Nutshell

Email list segmentation is a constant learning experience for all the email marketers out there. There is not a definite answer to what is a perfect email list. It all depends on your product and your customers’ interests.

The key to effective email marketing is the personalization of your emails according to your target audience. And for that, segmenting your email lists is an essential step. With the right strategy and a smart tool, you are all set to go.


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