Let’s face it: marketing is filled with mumbo-jumbo. Projections this, regression analysis that. All of these larger than life terms and little substance. We get it - we’ve been there too - what does all of this mean? Is there really anything to it? Well, yes. Sometimes.

Segmentation - to divide a whole into parts, which are definable, actionable, and profitable and have potential.


Today we’ll be talking about one fundamental term that really, truly matters in any marketing effort, but is especially important and customizable in email. Enter segmentation.

By BronHiggs - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 By BronHiggs - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

Ergh?! What is 'segmentation' again?

Segmentation, as Dictionary.com puts it, is the “division of segments”. Well, that didn’t help - what really is segmentation, and how does it apply to my business? Let me explain with a little analogy:

Suppose your audience spans the entire continental United States. Let’s also suppose that your business line is comprised of over 100 snacks with everything ranging from savory cheese puffs to spicy nuts to sweet chocolate candies. With segmentation, you can make sure that you’re sending emails to people who are most interested in a certain product rather than shooting a message off to everyone, hoping to catch a percentage of the total. This isn’t advised.

Okay, I get it - but why use it?

With proper segmentation, we can:

  • Provide interested customers information and promotions on what they are interested in, and not what they aren’t. If you’re lactose-intolerant, would you be excited to try our new milk product? No, and neither would your customer. If you’re the type to flavor your Sriracha with food (see what I did there?), then you’ll not just open that email focusing on the new Ultra Spicy Nut Mix, you’ll spend your entire paycheck on it.
  • Keep deliverability up! While not as exciting as the prospect of having a customer who spends their entire paycheck on your latest offering, on a grander scale, some might say this is just as, if not more important than a mega-happy customer. Deliverability, put simply, is your ability to reach your audience. With improper segmentation comes not just little customer engagement, but the dreaded Spam folder. The more that you give your customers what they’re interested in, the more of your contacts you can successfully connect with via your email program.
  • Learn what your customers are interested in! One of the most important aspects of a good marketing program is learning what your customers like. Marketing is equal parts promoting your products and getting to know them better. As you begin testing with segmentation, you start to see trends emerge. Where trends emerge, we begin to see customer personas, and where we see customer personas, we see potential for new products, lines, and ways of getting them what they want before they even know they want it. Proper segmentation can not only improve the customer experience, but can give real, in-depth insight on the direction your business can move and grow.
  • Learn your customers' favorite way of being contacted. We're all so different in our day to day lives and - you got it - we interact differently with the brands we frequent too. While somebody would appreciate being emailed, the next guy might feel overwhelmed by that. Whether it be SMS, email, or in-app notifications, we each have our own preference of learning about what a brand has to say, so why not give your customers what they need?

Although this is just the tip of the iceberg, segmentation can go much, much deeper. In the world of email, we’re fortunate in that we have the ability to track (and learn from) key KPIs in real-time on just about anything we’re interested in knowing or segmenting off of. Do you care what device your customers use most frequently? No problem. Do customers who spend between $166-204 per year make up your most crucial customer-base for a particular product line that you want to upsell them on? Easy. Interested in only promoting your hot snacks to people living in the northern states during winter? Piece of (hot) cake.

With proper segmentation, we gain the ability to personalize messages to a group of like customers who are most likely to be interested in, and thus purchase, any particular item. We have the ability to segment off of just about anything - as long as you can think of splitting up a group of customers in a certain way, you’ll more likely than not be able to.

Just listen to us and do it!

In the end, your creativity is the limit on how you can group your customers. Anything is possible in the world of email, and segmentation is a powerful tool that not just keeps your customers happy hearing from you, but is a strong revenue driver and intel tool to boot.

Don’t be a stranger. Just do it!