First things first: why segmentation is good for you?

Why should you bother breaking down a perfectly good list of thousands of addresses? Well, because it is far from “perfectly good”.

You want to send out email that gets opened, links get clicked on – and in order to be able to do that, you have to send something that interests people. But if you have thousands of addresses a great portion of them won’t be interested in generalist offers.

email lsit segmentation tipsIs it difficult? Maybe. Worth it? Absolutely yes. (GetResponse)

Really this is no brain surgery: if you see a young man entering a jewelry shop, clearly there for the first time, you will assume he is there to buy an engagement ring. If it’s holiday season, you will assume he is looking for a gift. His clothing, his car parked outside will give you a general direction of the price range he will be interested in. This is what sales people do for centuries: read the signs. Acquire data and act accordingly to give the best proposal.

But of course you can hardly see behind an email address. You don’t actually see or hear the recipient, you will most likely never meet them, so you will have to get data another way.

Surveys are great tools for this,

If you ask too many questions when someone wants to subscribe you can scare them off easily. People are not eager to give out detailed and personal information – and the more you ask for the more suspicious you will be in their eyes.

So ask for minimal information at opt-in, and gather the rest later. Sit down with your email editor and create a new kind of email: a survey campaign. Then send that out to your entire list.

People are much more likely to participate in surveys, but there is an even better option. Call it a quiz – design it in a way that they won’t feel like they are being questioned. Also it helps if you offer something. Now this may be a small prize, like some gadget that one of the people who answer your questions will win or maybe something that everyone gets for free. The point is giving: you have to give something to get something back from your audience.

What should you ask for?

This is also a tricky part. By the time you are sending the survey out you should be in possession of some minimal information – at least addresses, maybe even their names, age and gender as well. The latter two are data that you should not be asking for at opt-in but at the end of your survey by the way – people will assume that it is necessary for them to give that information, they will be much less reluctant.

Other data you could simply read from tracking your emails. By using suitable systems you will get open and click-through rates, geographical data and so on.

What you should be asking for is what are your recipients interested in.

The whole point of the process is to create groups with certain known interests, because if you send them content that resonates with those interests they will be much more open to your message.

Questions like these can work for you as well: What do you want to read about more? Do you like the topics we deal with? What kinds of content would you like to read? Newsletters, blogposts, ebooks? This information is gold for you.

Also, you can survey satisfaction by asking if you send too many mails, or if they liked the product offers you sent them in the past.

In the mail or on the site?

An important question is: do you direct your audience to a microsite designed for the survey, or do you include it in the mail? Due to limitations of the email technology you should include the actual survey on your website instead of the email itself.

** In your next newsletter include a CTA in a very prominent place**, reminding your readers that they can fill out your survey, and direct them to your site.

Or you may even send a dedicated email campaign to them, with a very personal tone from the CEO and ask the key questions one-by-one. Nowadays more and more email marketers prefer to use personal emails from people, where design is not important at all, so it seems to be coming from a real person, instead of mass email program! You may try both tactics, and see which works for your audience better.

What you do with the collected information is another issue – one we will soon also write about. Stay tuned.

Roland Pokornyik

Roland Pokornyik

CEO / Co-founder @ &

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