What are the technological aspects of segmentation, and how can I apply them?

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Answer: There are two types of segmentation e-mail marketers should employ to increase response and deliverability. The first is marketing-driven segmentation, which segments mailing lists to increase response, reduce mailing expenses and increase customer loyalty. The second is IP segmentation, which uses technology to increase deliverability and help keep your company off spammer lists.

Segmenting by IP address allows you to assign a different IP address to different campaigns or types of mailing. For example, you might have one IP address for transactions, another for promotional campaigns and a third for your monthly newsletter. Going a bit further, you might assign an IP address to campaigns targeted at your business customers and use another address for campaigns sent to consumers.

Spammers send volumes of mail from one IP address quickly. Therefore, if all of your e-mail goes out over the same IP address, it can cause overuse and can indicate to ISPs that you may be a spammer. This will most likely result in your mail being blocked—which means your customers will never see it.

By segmenting your outgoing mail by IP address you decrease the volume of mail going out on each address, reducing the chance that ISPs will misinterpret your intentions. Moreover, if an ISP mistakenly tags one of your IP addresses as a possible spammer, your other mail will keep moving toward the in-boxes.

IP segmentation also aids in diagnosing delivery problems. A combination of real-time reporting and IP segmentation makes it relatively easy to identify which campaign is having deliverability problems, so that corrective action can be taken before the next mailing.

If you use an ESP, request your own IP address. If you share an address with another company and they do something the ISPs don’t like, your next campaign may also be blocked. Ask for your own set of unique IP addresses if you want to segment your mailings by category.

Barry Abel is VP-field operations at Message Systems (, an e-mail software solutions provider for ESPs, ISPs and large enterprises.

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