How can I further segment my e-mail list to increase relevance?

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Answer: Maybe you’ve given list segmentation a thought or have done it on a very general level. But have you considered looking beyond the typical segmentation fields, such as geography and type of user? After all, we know that delivering a user-centric experience, even in e-mail, will provide the best results.

Let’s take the example of a list of people who are interested in your products or services. You have no idea what stage of the buying process they may be in (something very valuable to know), what specific product or service they might buy, or what products or services you offer that may complement others they have bought from you. One first and very simple approach might be to group the recipients on your list by their job titles. You know that the CEO is going to have a different need for buying your product or service than an office manager; one is more concerned with overall cost and the other with how you can make his or her job easier.

For example, a rental car company that is segmenting by job title may deliver one message focused on reliability and convenience to the people that actually pick up and drive the rental car and a different message focused on customer service, ease of booking or cost to that person’s assistant.

You could then take this a step further and look at how those people have interacted with your e-mail campaigns in the past. Did they click on a link in the e-mail that offered a new product? Did they buy something that will require an accessory or complementary product in the future? By looking at the behavior of your users and how they interact with your e-mail campaigns, you can continue to make your e-mails more relevant, which is what we’re all striving for.

By looking at your recipients as small groups of people with like preferences, needs and buying patterns, you will be able to take a more advanced approach to segmentation. It isn’t just about the state they are headquartered in or their annual revenue; it is about taking all the data you have and considering the many different ways you could use them to make your e-mail message more appealing on an individual basis.

Last, don’t forget to consider the data you haven’t collected about your recipients and how you might start to gather that information for more advanced segmentation. Most companies don’t approach the information-gathering process strategically—they ask for the same data that the competitors ask their customers for. Think about your business goals, what you have to offer and what information would best serve both your recipients and your business.

Ryan Tuttle is VP-client services for Spunlogic (, an interactive marketing agency.

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