How to segment your email list

“If you try to talk to everybody, you’ll end up talking to nobody” is a well-known maxim in the marketing world. And yet, so many businesses of all sizes collect a single email marketing list and send all communications to everyone on that list, without considering which messages are most appropriate for which groups of subscribers.

Email segmentation is the key to sending targeted messages that resonate with their recipients – but how do you decide the best way to split up your list?

Let’s take a look at the various criteria for segmenting your email list and discuss how these groupings can support different types of campaigns.


Differentiating your audience by age group, gender or location can help you tailor your email content to better resonate with specific groups – especially if you sell a range of products and you only want to email people about the items most likely to be of interest to them. 

Segmenting by location is logical if your products or services are concentrated in a specific area (or areas). You can send location-specific offers, event invitations, or content that is relevant to subscribers based on their region.

Purchase history

If your business sells products or services, segmenting by purchase history can help you send personalised product recommendations, as well as promote related items. 

Customer journey

Customer journey segmentation is something to consider if your customers require different types of communication at different stages in their journey. For example, if you’re an IT Services provider, not everybody will be ready to buy yet. If you can identify which subscribers are in the pre-purchase stage, you can send them helpful “how to” content, rather than the offers and discounts you might send to someone who’s already made an enquiry. You can also send your paying customers helpful post-purchase content like user guides for the specific products or services they’ve bought.

Behaviour/ engagement

Segmenting based on subscriber behaviour might sound a little stalker-y, but don’t worry, it’s perfectly legal. Assuming you’ve asked for consent, you can collect all sorts of subscriber data such as website visits, product views, purchases, enquiries, and engagement patterns (e.g. how often they open your emails or respond to your social media posts). You can then use these insights to segment your email list. This can be a really effective way to nurture leads, re-engage inactive subscribers, and reward loyal customers with exclusive offers.

Preferences/ interests

How much do you know about your subscribers? Asking them questions about their interests when they sign up, or via a subsequent survey, can help you align your content with these interests. It’s also best practice to ask people what kind of emails they want to receive – and how often they want to receive them – when they sign up. This way, you can avoid annoying them by sending emails too frequently, or sending them your product updates and your newsletter, when really they only want the product updates.

Segmenting your email marketing list is essential for any business wanting to send targeted and personalised messages that subscribers will actually read. Yes, it takes some effort to set up, but the rewards – higher open rates, click-through rates and conversions – are more than worth the time invested in getting started.

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