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Advice on Email Segmentation

Social Share Segmentation Advice Post

The Sheep and the Goats are separated at the Last Judgement, by Fra Angelico, 1432-1435.

"How should I segment my email marketing?"

Segmentation is where you slice up your email list and send different emails to different parts, or maybe no emails to some parts. Here's a good article on the subject, but segmentation allows a lot more than is discussed there. So here's our advice.


  1. You need a large list. If you only have a few thousand addresses, then don't bother with segmentation because marketing to tiny segments has poor ROI.
  2. You need the data. If you are using Fresh Relevance analytics, then you know your recent visitors and top buyers, so you can segment on this. If you just have standard ESP data, with clicks opens and profile fields alone, you're more limited.
  3. You need the content budget. Unless you can create different content to send to your segments, there's little real point in creating them.


  1. Keep product segmentation simple. For example, Winter vs Summer Holidays, or Male vs Female clothes. Unless your budget is colossal, you don't have time to try complex segmentation strategies.
  2. Work backwards from your data. Don't start with preconceived ideas and then try to collect the data because this will be slower and more expensive.
  3. Always test. Segmentation may make sense - but you can't be sure. Maybe some buyers like all your marketing. Send the "wrong" content to some of your subscribers and see how it performs.
  4. Segment by customer journey, e.g: new visitors, first buyers, regular shoppers, frequent visitors, top shoppers, lapsed shoppers. You can get this data from Fresh Relevance analytics. Send different content to some of these, e.g. send greeting emails to new visitors and re-engagement emails to lapsed shoppers.
  5. Vary the emailing rate to match each shopper's engagement (using a combination of real-time emails such as browse abandonment and more frequent bulk emails), to avoid under-marketing to your most valuable customers.
  6. Segmentation is especially useful in real-time marketing, for example you might choose a multi-step program just for valuable products.
  7. Segmentation can sometimed be replaced by personalization. For example, if you want segment on content and send rate, then you could use personalization to deliver the appropriate content and segmentation to vary the send rate.

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