The Technical Work of Email Marketing

- Subscriber Segmentation with Email Marketing

Subscriber segmentation, or customer segmentation, can enable marketers to communicate with each client more effectively. But, how can you successfully do this?

In this article, we will learn about:

  • How can email marketing segmentation help your business
  • How to do segmentation effectively
  • What are the different tags and fields and how to use them

Let’s get started! 

What is Email Marketing Segmentation?

Email Marketing Segmentation

Not all subscribers are the same. Each of your subscribers will have a unique perspective on your brand. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” technique that is effective in business. 

Similarly to how you target distinct personalities, different customer groups subscribe to your marketing for various reasons.

So, how do you stop sending emails that don’t have anything to do with them? Or maybe, are too general? How do you know which email to send to a customer?

The answer? Email marketing segmentation.

Email segmentation is the process of breaking up email marketing subscribers into smaller groups based on specific criteria. It’s a simple way to personalise your emails to send subscribers relevant content.

Now, imagine this: is it relevant to send the same sales email to a new subscriber and an engaged subscriber who has opened most of your emails?

Bet you would also disagree.

This is because your subscribers are at varying points in your sales funnel. Subscribers who engage with your emails consistently will be more “sales-ready” than new or casual consumers.

So, how do you target each customer?

You may concentrate on sending emails that establish trust and rapport by categorising your email list and identifying your new subscribers. For your most engaged readers, you may send emails to convert them into paying clients.

How To Do Segmentation Effectively?

Lyris conducted a survey on email marketing segmentation. The results showed 39% of businesses who did email marketing segmentation had greater open rates, 28% had lower unsubscribes, and 24% had increased revenues.

Segmentation Effectively

Source: Lyris

And how do you do this? 

You can read about the factors you need to segment your subscribers strategies here. But, let’s discuss the in-depth details you need to consider especially when you use segmenting for your email lists.

Here are the questionsyou need to consider to segment your lists:

  • What’s your subscribers’ place in the sales funnel?
  • How often do your subscribers use your product?
  • What content do they download?

Let’s talk about them one by one.

What’s your subscribers’ place in the sales funnel?

Your sales funnel is a certain journey you plan your prospects to follow towards conversion.

Here’s a general idea of what a sales funnels is.

pasted image

People can be segmented by where they are in the sales funnel, and this is one of the best ways to personalise your message.

There should be different emails sent to people at the top of the funnel than to people at the bottom.

For example, if you have a group of people who just signed up, their emails should be more general, like a series of welcome emails showing what your company does.

If they’ve been on your list for a while and have done things like click on a link in an email, you can use this information to figure out what they’re interested in and send them more emails about that product or service.

You can tell that a subscriber is approaching near to the end of the funnel when he or she exhibits cart abandonment. 

In 2015, 69.57% showed that people left their shopping carts when they were done shopping. They intended to buy, but something stopped them from doing so.

This is an opportunity. When you encounter this kind of issue, you can send them a follow-up email to remind them that their cart is still open or show them the products they were about to buy.

Here’s an example from J. Crew:


Source: J. Crew

How often do your subscribers use your product?

This is another great way to ensure that more people become customers after they try your product. To do this, send personalised emails based on how often your subscribers use them.

Here’s an example: Groove was having a hard time getting people to become customers after completing theirtrial periods. They would send the same email sequence to all of their users. People who used their product a lot would get the same email as people who never logged in after signing up for the service.

Groove wanted to improve their trial-to-customer conversion rate, so they sent highly targeted emails to their subscribers based on their activity.

Here’s an example of an email to be sent to people who signed up for Groove but didn’t use their service:


Source: Groove

On the other hand, users who didn’t use their product would get an email that looked like this one:


See the difference? 

In the emails sent to people who haven’t used the service in a while, the call-to-action is to get them to set up their accounts. Whereas the emails sent to active users are all about customer development and support. 

They invite the user to a “demo” to show the active users how they can get the most out of Groove’s product, which is what they do.

According to them, onboarding emails should show that two people who use your product can have very different needs, reflecting that in their emails.

What content do they download?

It’s a good idea to give away valuable freebies that go with your paid product to figure out which subscribers might be interested in your paid product.

Bryan Harris asked for pre-payments before he even started making his online course. To do this, he split up his email list into groups based on the people who had downloaded content upgrades from his paid course.

In this way, he could then send very specific emails to people who already have an interest in his course.

Here’s an example of the email: 

Original message

Source: VideoFruit

Of the emails he sent, 72% of them replied

Because he knew what his subscribers wanted, he was able to get such high engagement rates. When he sent the first email, he asked people to fill out a feedback form:


Source: VideoFruit

This form asks the responsive subscribers two things:

  1.  To read his new product idea.
  1. To take a short survey to tell him what do they think about the course.

For people who filled out his feedback form and said they were interested, he would send them a link to pre-order his course.

He repeated this process and reached very productive results.

Of the 225 people he emailed, 17% of them bought his course before it was even available. This was enough to show that his online course was worth taking.

The key for this is to make sure you know what your customers want by looking at the content upgrades they download from your site. This should give you a sense of what kind of content or products you can offer them to help them learn.

Tags and Fields

To better understand email segmentation, we also need to know how to effectively use tags and fields.

What Are Tags?

You can group subscribers into different groups by giving each one a unique name, like a tag. You can set up a system where tags are automatically added based on what people do.

They also come in handy when you want to see what customers have done at a quick glance. 

Under a subscriber’s email, you can see what tags they have. This can help you figure out what that subscriber likes and what they need.

Let’s take a look at Drip. These people were tagged as subscribers when they did things like download a lead magnet and buy their courses.


Source: Drip

Looking at these tags, we can figure out that this person is probably a photographer who wants to start a business. They can then use this information to target them when they are marketing a photography business course to people who want to start their own business.

People who subscribe to your site can also be tagged so that:

  • you can see what they are doing on a bigger level
    • Your tag report can show you which tags are most popular, which could show you which of your content upgrades are most popular
    • Can also show how many people get your newsletter weekly or monthly
  • You can also see how many people have unsubscribed
    • This information can help you figure out which campaigns aren’t working well with your target audiences
    • Can help you to lead them to unsubscribe from your emails

What Are Fields?

People on your list can have custom fields that do many things like tags, but instead of just labelling them, they have an identifier and value pair that shows data that is unique to each one. 

Here’s an example:


The identifier here is first_name, and the value is Darcy.

A custom field functions like a name tag. When you edit a custom field, the field’s name remains the same, but the content varies for each subscriber. 

Unlike tags, when custom fields are modified, they overwrite existing data. For example, if a lead changes their business name, the system will delete the previous company name from that custom field.

Custom fields are ideal for dynamically inserting data into emails and personalising their content. 

Also, custom fields enable you to group your users based on the data they enter rather than the activities they conduct. 

For instance, if you deal with other businesses, you may find it beneficial to gather information on their size. Include a custom field for business size in your intake survey. Later, you may email businesses with less than 100 workers.

Try Email Segmentation Now

Segmentation improves your overall marketing.

As soon as you start using segmentation tactics, you’ll see a big rise in customer engagement. That, in turn, will have a big impact on how customers feel. 

Customers will see your marketing as content that adds value to them. If your email isn’t there, they’ll find it and look forward to the next personalised message from your company.

Because of this, when they choose between you and your competitor, they will always choose you. This is because you’ve taken the effort and time to build their trust and meet their needs.

Picture of Kas Andz

Kas Andz


Kas Andz is a multi-award-winning marketing leader, and the founder of KAMG. He is one of the top digital marketing experts in the UK and has helped companies and brands across Europe, North America and Asia to achieve greater revenue and expand sustainably. He also tries to play football when he can but doesn’t succeed as well as he would like.

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Last updated: June 08, 2022

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