Segment by behavior to crush your email marketing goals

Jeff Slutz


At this point, segmenting your email list is Marketing 101 – every successful marketer does it. But smart audience segmentation goes beyond simple demographics like age, gender, or location. Segmenting by behavior is the key to getting the email marketing results you’re looking for.

That means segmenting by what they clicked on, what they bought, how they joined your list, which show they just binge-watched…whatever you like. If you’re collecting the data, you can segment by it. Here are five ways segmenting by behavior can take your email program to the next level.



1. Send your most relevant content ever.

With so many emails flooding your audience’s inbox, relevant, useful content is the name of the game. Remember, you’re not just competing with other brands in the inbox. You’re also competing with co-workers, friends, moms, and overzealous pet-owner friends who send emails from the dog (just me?).

So if it’s not relevant, your email is getting ignored or outright deleted. But when you segment by behavior, you can hone in on your audience’s actual habits and tailor your content accordingly. And when done right, that personalized content leads to some serious results – like 73% higher click rates (Avari) and 18 times more revenue (Juniper Research)!



2. Add some shiny new tools to your email marketing toolbox.

Segmenting by behavior not only allows you to send more relevant content, but it also helps you take full advantage of the powerful tools that make email the most effective marketing channel (according to DMA, the ROI of email marketing is an astounding 4300%!).

Take dynamic content. It lets you send different content to each of your segments from a single mailing, which helps you send more personalized content and saves you a ton of time. And the better your segments, the more targeted you can get. For example, University of South Carolina set up segments for season ticket holders and for those who haven’t purchased yet, and they use dynamic content to send different CTAs to each. The result? Average open rates over 45% and click rates near 25%.


Here's what the different segments saw based on their ticket purchase history.



3. Nurture new leads more effectively.

One of our favorite ways to segment is based on how new subscribers joined your email list. Then, you can tailor an automated nurturing series to fit how they found you. For example, if they gave you their email address to access a particular piece of content, you can then serve them more just like it since you know what they’re interested in.

Or if they found you at a conference, reference the free swag they snagged at your booth or an especially funny quote from one of the keynote speakers. That little personal touch is likely to pay off in the long run. Nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured ones (The Annuitas Group).


Here’s an example of one of our own post-conference nurturing emails packed with highlights from the event.



4. Build a healthier email list.

Take a look at your response metrics to create a segment of folks who haven’t engaged with your email in awhile. Then, you can create a re-engagement or win-back campaign to bring them back into the fold. 45% of recipients who receive win-back emails read subsequent messages (Return Path).


This creative re-engagement email was a perfect fit for Urban Outfitters' young audience.


And if it doesn’t work, then don’t be afraid to say goodbye and take them off your list. Your email list (and your results) will be stronger for it.



5. Identify your brand’s biggest fans

On the other hand, you can also use your response metrics to create a segment of your most engaged subscribers. These are most likely to be your loyal brand fans who will sing your praises – if you give them a reason to do so.

A little social proof goes a long way, so reward these fans with special offers, exclusive content, or exciting news before sharing with your larger audience. They’ll appreciate the insider perks, and you’ll appreciate all the good cheer they spread on your behalf.


About the Author

Jeff Slutz

Jeff is a senior content writer at Emma. When he’s not geeking out over email marketing, he enjoys jogging short distances, chowing down on Mom’s cooking, appreciating a beautiful jump shot, and telling anyone who listens how underrated Ohio is. Usually not at the same time.

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