Yesterday we discussed a number of traits that make up a terrible marketing email, and provided guidance on how you should tackle these.

Today, I’m actually going to talk about email marketing again, but this time with a focus on email segmentation.

Why? Because last week I received this email from LinkedIn:


Now I use LinkedIn on a daily basis, and therefore yes, I agree I’m a loyal member so a free upgrade to the Sales Navigator tool is definitely something I’d be interested in.

So, what am I complaining about? I’m complaining because a mere 24 hours before receiving this email, I actually upgraded to the Sales Navigator account, at a price of £40.53 per month.

Now LinkedIn have a huge number of users (over 200 million the last I heard), and therefore their database size and the number of people they are emailing is also huge. It was therefore a bit of a surprise to me that they cannot even segment their database to the point of removing paying customers from an email that is promoting a free trial of the exact thing these customers (me included) are currently paying for!

Now there are plenty more examples of this; I’ve seen travel companies sending emails offering free insurance or discounts to those who have already purchased a holiday with them, insurance firms offering discounts to new customers only, but sending the email to pre-existing customers…the list goes on.

Blast Approach

This comes back to something I spoke about before Christmas with regards to taking a blast approach to marketing; in this case, send enough emails and you’re going to get some return.

But what about the people you’re irritating as a result? Okay you’re blagging yourself a few new customers but you’re upsetting some of your pre-existing ones in the process!

Now I’m basing a lot of what I say upon the fact someone messed up, however, segmentation can take many forms. At the end of the day, your buyers are not all the same. You should be determining various segments of target customers and tailoring your communications appropriately based upon their requirements. This may be as simple as a male/female split, as shown in the below example from All Saints. It’s so easy to do yet it makes a lot of difference.

Dynamic Example 2

So, take a closer look at your email database and the emails you are sending out, and see where you can improve. Are you dealing with customers in different stages of the sale cycle? Would it not be more appropriate to send them the kind of content they’re likely to be interested in rather than sending propsects and customers exactly the same thing? Are you selling male and female oriented products and therefore should be segmenting appropriately by gender?

Nobody is asking you to suddently start carry out the level of segmentation and targeting executed by the likes of Amazon, but you’re going to have a far happier batch of recipients if they feel that your communications are suited to them.

Not to mention, ISP’s are heavily into monitoring interaction levels. Send more targeted emails and you’re likely to see an increase in opens and clicks and a decrease in lapsed subscribers and unsubscribes, which in turn will result in better email delivery. Everyone wins.