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Five Ways to Segment Your Next Email Campaign

One of the biggest keys to successful email campaigns is segmentation.

Email segmentation involves the division of mail subscribers into smaller groups based on set criteria. Typically, segmentation is used to personalize and deliver more relevant content to customers based on their geographic location, interests, purchase history, and more.

This strategy offers a lot of room to be creative in how you communicate with clients and other types of people who interact with your brand.

According to MailChimp, segmented campaigns earn a 14.31% higher overall open rate than their non-segmented counterparts. When lists are segmented by subscription date, they’ve seen open rate soar to a whopping 29.56% higher than general email campaigns.

Read Also: How Personalized Email Campaigns Will Double Your Conversions

Keep in mind that certain types of segmentation will work better for you than others, depending on what you’re trying to communicate. Here are a few universal places to start when building your next segmentation strategy.

1. Location

Customizing your email to your audience’s hometown is a wonderful way to relate to customers on a personal level.

Are you a brick and mortar store opening up a new location? Send a personalized invitation to people who live nearby.

If your company sells seasonal items, consider directing your marketing campaigns to audiences in areas that would benefit from your products.

Additionally, if you’re promoting sales that are only relevant to subscribers in certain locations, it’s a good idea to segment. Hosting country-, region-, or state-specific promotions can boost overall sales, but they’ll be ineffective and potentially alienating to customers from outside your target location. Be sure to target the correct location with your emails and you will reap the benefits of an engaged local community.

In the example below, Spotify personalized an email to the recipient’s workplace. The subject line and email promote an upcoming concert near his area, allowing Spotify to demonstrate that they’re looking out for Thomas and can offer up-to-date, localized event information.

example of an email segmented by location


2. Age

Your customers may belong to one age demographic, or you may have customers of all ages. Either way, you would benefit from tailoring communications that speak directly to these age groups. Do you have a large student fan base? Do your subscribers skew older? Adjust your content accordingly to appeal to consumers of all different ages.

Effective marketing includes targeting sub-demographics rather than the group as a whole. This could include targeting new homeowners or music lovers among a customer base of Millennials By dividing the age group by categories like these, companies can get to the core of their user base and provide better value to their subscribers.

One marketer analyzed Baby Boomers in detail and discovered that they were distinctly concerned with respect, a strong work ethic, morals and values. They were more receptive to traditional and direct marketing pitches (as opposed to social ads, which they were likely to report as spam), and were incredibly loyal to brands, making it easier to upsell them via email.

graph by wordstream showing the probability of  selling to baby boomers
Source: WordStream

As the above graph shows, the probability of selling to a new prospect ranges from 5-20%. You have a much better chance of selling products to an existing client, for whom the probability hovers around 60-70%.

3. Gender

Segment your communications by what generally appeals to your male shoppers versus female shoppers. Even if you’re selling the same product to both demographics, consider what unique value props, keywords, or influencers may appeal to each group and leverage them.

A study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that men and women use email differently. According to Pew, “More women than men send and receive email, and they use it in a richer and more engaging way. Women are more likely than men to use email to write to friends and family about a variety of topics, from sharing news and worries to planning events to forward jokes and funny stories. Men and women both appreciate email for its efficiencies and convenience, but women are more likely to feel satisfied with the role of email in their lives, especially when it comes to nurturing their relationships.”

Since men and women vary in how they value email, these segments should be approached differently by brands when they’re looking to build a lasting relationship. The two genders also have distinct online habits, including different days of the week when they’re more likely to subscribe or make a purchase.

By implementing gender-based segmentation, your business can take advantage of these particular habits and quirks of each gender.

4. Customers vs Non-Customers

Have subscribers purchased from you before? Have they browsed your website? Do they even know who you are?

It is important to speak to customers, non-customers, and potential customers differently. Offering VIP discounts to past clients is a great way to make them feel like part of a special community. Furthemore, creating ‘abandon cart’ emails for those who’ve browsed but have yet to complete a purchase keeps you on their radar.

One company, GrooveHQ, discovered this technique in 2014, when it sought to address a low trial-to-conversion rate of just over 8%. They only had one email drip that was the same across all users, regardless of how recently users had engaged with Groove’s services.

Once realizing that different users had different needs from the company, Groove began segmenting their lists and creating different email formats. For example, users who had already signed up for and were using Groove would get an email like this:

groove hq welcome email to people who engaged with services


Alternatively, users who had signed up but not yet interacted with the platform might receive a message like this:

groove hq welcome email to people who did not engage with services


By recognizing that different clients had different needs, end-of-trial conversions increased, on average, by 10% or more.

5. Past Purchases

If you sell a variety of products, take note of the kind of purchases people have made before and offer them similar products that they would be interested in. Amazon is one retailer that does this very well.

Once you make a purchase on Amazon, the company gains valuable information about you. They use this data to send personalized product recommendations based on your behavior. As the image below shows, Amazon sent an email suggesting books that the user may like. This is a great way to entice users to visit your site again and expose them to products they may not have found on their own.

segmented email by amazon


Netflix is another company that does a great job recommending products to their users. They suggest programming based on movies and shows that you’ve seen or added to your watch list. This is another great way to expose clients to things they may not have considered in the past.

The email below is an example of Netflix’s recommendations to a user during their trial period. By including a section of programming that’s coming soon, it serves to convince the customer to continue paying for the service.


personalized drip email by netflix
Source: EmailDrips


Many companies have found great success through email marketing and there’s no reason that you shouldn’t be able to, either. Segmenting your campaign is one of the most successful strategies. When done right, it can boost sales, engage customers, and foster a sense of loyalty among customers.

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