How to segment your email marketing list

How to Segment Email Marketing Lists

If you want to increase the engagement of your email campaigns then you need to think about segmenting your list.

In the not too distant past, you would send the same email to everyone on your list, but in today’s environment of highly personalised web experiences, your customers are expecting more from you.

Relevancy is key here, your customers expect content that’s tailored to them. If you were a retailer selling toys for example then there would be no point in sending an email with toys for older children to people with babies or toddlers. Emails like this over time will cause your customers to stop engaging with the communication that you send to them.

Email campaigns sent to targeted lists will see better engagement (more opens and clicks), which, as well as increasing sales, can also lead to better inbox placement with services like Gmail and Outlook.

What type of segments should you create?

The types of segments that you can create will very much depend on the data you hold about your customers and so may limit the amount of segmentation that you can do.

However, even with fairly limited data, you can still create campaigns that are more targeted. Here are some examples.

First purchase offer

These campaigns are sent to prospects that have signed up to your email list but haven’t yet made a purchase.

You might not know much about them at this point so try general offers and content or encourage them to tell you more about them via a preference centre. This is a good way to understand why they signed up in the first place.

You can test different offers and content and see what works.

New Customer

So your hard work is paying off and you’ve made a sale. That’s awesome, now that you have a customer and they are feeling all warm and fuzzy about your brand let’s get them to feel even better by offering them products based on what they have just purchased.

See now you have some more data – purchase history and you can use that data to upsell or cross sell other products – cool eh?

The key here is being able to automate this. These emails need to be as personalised as possible so work on automatically pulling in product recommendations into your emails

Product replenishment – reorder your last order

If you sell consumable products then this is a great way to get customers to order from you on a regular basis.

Here’s an example from training supplement company MyProtein using the subject line Is your Essential Zinc & Magnesium, Pouch, 120 Capsule running out?

re-order email example

You need to work out when you customer will need to reorder. You may have this data based on previous customer orders.

Again automation is key here. These campaigns need to be triggered around specific dates and with the correct product in the email.


Pretty obvious what data you might need here right? If you’ve got this on file then this is another way to get customers engaged.

These sorts of campaigns work well for reminding customers of important upcoming dates. Consider starting to send these several days in advance to allow time for your customers to make a purchase in time.

Campaigns like this are often linked with offers.

“It’s your birthday so we’re giving you a 10% discount”

Normally tied in with a minimum spend. Test what works to your customers

Other segments you can try include;

  • Gender/age – clothing., footwear, other fashion, toys
  • Win-back – customers who have not ordered in a specific time frame
  • Warranty renewal
  • Newsletter reactivation – Those not opened an email for several months, remind them why they signed up, what the benefits are of a subscription and ask them to confirm that they would like to continue to receive your email.

These are just some of the segments that you could create using your email marketing data. The list goes on. As always don’t forget to test what works. And test segmented lists against non segmented ones and see what the numbers look like.

Phil Monk

View posts by Phil Monk
Email Marketing Consultant with over 14 years experience within the email marketing industry.

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