Whether if you’re just getting started with email marketing, or have been rocking emails for a while now, email segmentation is key for driving real growth AND revenue from your list.
In this episode we breakdown 3 simple ways for getting started with email segmentation and how to do it correctly.
Ross: So let me take you back into time. It was probably the year 2014, maybe 2015. I started a blog and I was writing about entrepreneurship, and I happen to have an email list at the same time. And when I press publish on these pieces of content, a bunch of people signed up. They wanted to hear from me, and that was great. It felt amazing, but you fast forward a few weeks later, I started to write content about marketing. New people wanted to hear from me about marketing and they started to subscribe to my blog. They started to subscribe to my email list.
Amazing, you would think. But unfortunately, the people who signed up for email related to entrepreneurship weren’t the same as the people who wanted information about marketing. So when I started to create more content about entrepreneurship, the people who were marketers were thinking, “What in the world type of content is this guy delivering me?” And the unsubscribes went through the roof.
Fast forward a few years later and I have figured it out. Email segmentation is key. If you do not use email segmentation, it is very difficult to ensure that the people who are on your list are going to stick around because you might send them irrelevant content. Nobody who subscribes to a blog or a site dedicated to gardening is going to be interested when you start to send them content and information about how to barbecue a great steak, especially if it’s a vegan garden site or something of that nature.
So this is why email segmentation is key, and I think that there’s a lot of things that in this episode we can share with folks that are going to help them figure why email segmentation is so important. Let’s start with 101. If you were to describe email segmentation to my mom. Shout out to mom if she’s listening, that is no shade. I’m just saying, mom, you might not know what email segmentation is.
Talia, How would you describe it to Mrs. Simmonds?
Talia: Hey, Mrs. Simmonds. So what is email segmentation? The basic of it is that you are able to group different individuals within your email list and know exactly what kind of content they want to hear about. So I’m going to give you some examples. You would know if someone is in SAS or in ecommerce. You would know if someone is into buying a house or someone is into selling a house. So you would be able to essentially segment people, put people into different groups and know what content you’re going to send to them and what they care about.
Ross: I love it. So that’s very straightforward. I think any listener, whether you have 20 years experience with email marketing, yeah email has been around for a long time, or you’ve just been using email for a couple of weeks. That will be a very clear crystal picture of what it’s all about. So let’s dive in.
Why is this actually important and why should people be thinking about email segmentation even when they just are getting started with the list? I’m not talking about somebody who has a 500,000 person list or 50,000 person list or 20,000 list, even if you’re just getting started, why is email segmentation so important?
Talia: Well, to be honest, I really am so upset that I didn’t start doing email segmentation way back when I just had 400 people on my list. So here are three reasons you really want to segment your list.
3 reasons to segment your email list
#1 Ensure you’re sending content people actually want
Number one, you want to make sure that you are delivering the right content to your list. The content that they care about, and you want to give them the right offers. So that means that when they see your email show up in their inbox, they’re going to click.
#2 Learn what content your readers want from you
The second reason you want to segment is because you want to learn what they care about. For example, if you are now trying to think out, “Hey, what blog posts should I write? What videos should I record?” If you would go into your segmentation, into your groups, you would know, “Oh, these people want to hear about how to grow tomatoes. These people want to know about how to keep the shelf life of their vegetables in their fridge.” You would know because you would have segmented them into the appropriate lists.
#3 Increase your conversions
And finally, this leads into the third reason, is after you have been able to deliver the right content to them and you know what content they want so you know what to create, you can increase your conversions. Because you’ll be getting more open rates, you’ll be getting more click through rates. You’ll be able to sell more because you’ll be sending the right relevant offers to them. So when you show up in their inbox, they’re not just going to open the email, they’re going to click through and they’re going to buy. So email segmentation is super, super important and crucial, especially when you’re just getting started.
Ross: And is email segmentation something you can do across any platform, whether you’re on MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, ConvertKit, does it really matter or are you pretty much able to do email segmentation in some ways pretty much across all the major, the platforms?
Talia: Yeah. You should be able to do it with any of the major platforms. In MailChimp, it’s called tagging. In Drip, it’s called tagging and groups. So there’s old different ways, but most of the platforms that I know about today do allow that. By the way, some of the platforms actually price you according to that.
So one of the reasons I moved away from MailChimp is because I had people on different types of lists. So some people would be on the entrepreneurial list, but also on SAS or entrepreneur and ecommerce and they would charge me twice.
Ross: Oh wow.
Talia: So you want to look into the pricing and understand how that works. I use Drip today, and I’m very happy with that software because it’s very good with helping me segment people and putting them on multiple lists. Because these days, some people will download a landing page guide and they want to know about SAS and they want to know about ecommerce. So for me, it’s key being able to segment.
Ross: I love it.
Talia: When you’re thinking about where to start with segmentation, the first thing you want to do is think about how do I segment them? What do I want to segment them into? For example, do you want to do it by industry? Do you want to do it by their position, by their job title? Maybe it’s by the things that they are interested in. I mentioned this before, buying, selling houses, maybe it’s jewelry, maybe it’s fashion. What are the things that they are interested in so that you can later send more relevant emails to them? Ross, how do you segment your list these days? What are the different groups that you have?
Ross: Yeah, it’s very similar. So we have, I’d say probably five key, major lists. There’s one list that is dedicated to pure play newsletter content. We have people on a list who download various assets and then they go into Drip sequences. So if somebody downloads an asset related to distribution, they’re going to get a sequence of emails that are related to distribution. While somebody who downloads an asset that might be a little bit more general is going to get more general marketing content delivered to them. Similarly, if somebody signs up to get access to our newsletter, they’re going to get a sequence that is tailored around the newsletter and just get that content.
So we have segmented it up as well in various cases, and then on the flip side of that, we have the newsletter for rosssimmonds.com, which is dedicated to entrepreneurship. And I will say that list is not as well segmented because it is a blend of all things marketing, entrepreneurship, business, et cetera. So it’s a little bit more of a catch all.
So that’s a bit of a high level look at what we currently run and we use ActiveCampaign for ours. Do I love it? It’s okay. It’s great. I’m not 100% sure one way or the other, but it does the job.
Talia: You know what I do, by the way, love that you just mentioned? Is that you have taken it a step further, and I do the same with my lists. It’s not just about segmenting them and putting them into those buckets, but you have different sequences set up for them. So for us, if people who sign up through an email marketing lead magnet, they will get that sequence about email marketing. If people sign up for a landing page, they’ll get content about landing pages. I love that.
So maybe you’re just starting out, guys, and you don’t have that content yet. But being able to put people in these buckets will allow you to latter create content specifically for them and create welcome sequences, which is in a different episode that we spoke about how to actually send a welcome sequence with the content that people care about. So I love that.
Ross: I like it. So let’s take people back to the beginning a little bit. Let’s say they are about to start with segmentation, where do they start with this and where do they end up at the end of the segmentation game? If they said, “I want to invest in this, I want to make this work.” Where do you start and where do you finish?
How to get started with email segmentation
Talia: So I think the most important question is how do you actually segment people? Because it’s good enough for us to say, “Oh, segment people and put them into buckets.” But how do you actually do that? There are three ways that I like to get people in different segmentations in groups.
#1 – Get people to self-segment
Number one is actually asking people in the welcome sequence to segment themselves. So almost all the platforms today have these links you can use. So you could say, “Are you in SAS? Are you in ecommerce? Are you an entrepreneur? Are you working at an agency?” And each one of those could be a link that when they click on, it would just add that tag. I know Drip does it. I know MailChimp does it. I know ActiveCampaign does that. I know many other platforms do it. So I highly recommend doing that. It’s super easy, simply reaching out and saying, “Hey, I would love to send you relevant content. Please let me know what type of content you’re interested in. Would you like to know about landing pages or about emails?” If you’re going into the interest lane or if you’re going to the industry lane, you can have people do that.
#2 Leverage lead magnets
The other way to do it is by actually creating different lead magnets. Ross, you spoke about this a little before. You create the content first, and then when people download it, you tag them according to that. So if someone downloaded a guide about how to-
Ross: How to segment their email list.
Talia: Oh, that’s very meta.
Ross: It is meta. Let’s say that’s what they’ve downloaded lead gen on.
Talia: Okay. So if someone downloaded a lead magnet about how to segment their list, then you would be able to type them as people who are interested in email marketing, automation, and segmentation. And if someone downloaded a guide about how to run a good quiz on your website, then you know that they are interested in leads. They’re interested in engagement. They’re interested in quizzes. So you can tag them that way.
#3 Survey people on thank you pages
And the last thing that I like to do is actually send out a survey. Now you can do this in two ways. You can either just send out a survey to your email list as a one-off email, telling them that you want to send more relevant content to them and can we please tell you more about themselves. Or after they sign up to your email list in any way, on the thank you page, you place a survey and then you’re able to know what they are interested in and what group to put them in. So those are three ways that I use in order to segment people.
Ross: I love it. That’s amazing. I think those are great insights for folks to take and run with when it comes to figuring out how they should segment their lists and how to ensure that they’re doing it correctly. And I think the initial description of segmenting your list will help folks even understand why it’s so important. So this is one of our action packed episodes that are really meant to deliver some quick wins, quick insights for folks that they can run with and they can use.
So folks, that’s it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. We would love to connect with you further in our Facebook group. Don’t forget to join if you are not there, Facebook.com/group/actiondrivenpodcast. We’d love to connect with you further in there. And as always, don’t forget to leave us five star reviews on all of your favorite platforms where reviews are possible. Thank you for listening.