There’s a lot learn about email marketing segmentation, but it would be remiss of me if we didn’t start with the 101 of segmentation!

So picture this, you’re a savvy online boutique owner who has taken the time to grow their email list. Tick! Your list includes, existing customers, newbie subscribers, lapsed customers, inactive subscribers and VIPs… yet, you send them all the same emails?

Or, you’re an expert coach about to launch a brand new high-level program and your subscribers range from ‘Help, I’m new to this!’ to the perfect candidates for your program… yet, your launch emails go to everyone?!

It might be time to delve into the wonderful world of email marketing segmentation!

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been steadily building your list for years or it’s day one, learning to segment your list is going to help you create highly targeted campaigns and automations that boost engagement, increase conversions, and build stronger customer loyalty.


First things first, what is the difference between a List and a Segment?

A list is a static group of contacts who have opted in to receive your emails, while a segment is a dynamic subset within that list based on specific criteria.

Lists are binary – you’re either in or out, while segments can change as people meet or stop meeting qualifying criteria. Lists represent your overall audience, while segments allow you to target smaller groups with personalised content.


What is an email segment?

Segments are personalised pockets of data within your email list, that share common characteristics or traits, for example: demographics, interests, behaviours, or order history. Knowing this information means that you can send more relevant content to people based on their specific needs, preferences or where people are at in the customer journey.

So much more powerful than constantly sending to all!


3 key reasons to segment your email list

Here’s three very important reasons why you should segment your email list…

Segmented emails give you 2x higher click-through rates

Segmenting your list gives people more relevant content that aligns with their interests and needs which translates into stronger engagement with your subscribers.

Segmented emails reduce your unsubscribes by half

When you send emails to the right people, more of them open and engage with your messages over time improving your deliverability, AND also reducing the number of unsubscribers.

Segmented emails generate 3x higher revenue

Ultimately, segmentation leads to a better return on investment (ROI), with segmented emails generating three times higher revenue than non-segmented emails.


Common ways to use segmentation for your email marketing list

Segmenting your list can take many forms, the most commonly used methods are:

For Targeted Campaigns

By dividing your audience into smaller segments you can send customised content and offers that better resonate with your subscribers.

To Trigger Flows/Automations

Using segments to trigger automations delivers a powerful and timely experience throughout the customer journey, enhancing engagement and nurturing relationships in real time.

To Use in Branching Logic within a Flow/Automation

In some email marketing platforms, you can create ‘decision points’ within your flows, directing subscribers to different paths based on their demographics, characteristics or actions.

For Results Analysis

You can gain insights into the growth and engagement of specific segments to measure the effectiveness of your emails, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven decisions to optimise your strategy.


What are types of email marketing segmentation?

By understanding different segment types, you can deliver more targeted and personalised experiences…

Relationship Segments

These segments are based on the type of relationship subscribers have with your brand. Definitions include, “Subscribers only”, “Customers”, “Wholesalers”, “Leads”, “Prospects”, “Affiliates”, and more.

While these groups tend to be defined by the most recent interaction, they can also be prioritised by how lucrative they are to your business – for example, a one-time customer who is also an affiliate, may have bought from you in the past, but actually drives more revenue to your business using their influence. In this case, you might choose to nurture them as an affiliate over a customer.

Recency segments

These segments focus on the timing of customer actions, such as engaging with your email or purchasing history.

The most common examples are “Recent Customers” or “Recent Subscribers” within the last 30, 60, 90, 120 days. This lets you to target people based on how high or low their engagement is.

Specific Interest segments

These segments group subscribers with aligned behaviours or interests. An easy example is to create a segment of people who have bought Product A but are yet to buy Product B. You can choose to send more educational-style content about why they should consider using Product B, or even Cross-sell or Up-sell using an automation.

Custom Field segments

These segments focus on specific attributes that are unique to your business or audience. For example, you can include additional data fields in your sign up forms or surveys to understand more about your subscribers.

These are ideal when you have two or more audiences that may use the same sign up channel, for example, Male/Female, Beginners/Experienced, Local/Overseas.

Demographic segments

These segments group people by their demographic information which may include: age, gender, location, occupation or anything else that is relevant to your business. A great example would be if you run an online store and choose to do a pop up market, you can segment people located close to the area you’re going to be in to let them know without making others feel left out.


Can you mix different criteria to create one segment?

Yes, absolutely. The more you understand how segments work in your email marketing platform the more accurate you’ll be at finding the right people for your message and offer.

Most platforms will let you join segment types together using AND / OR connectors.

An AND connector usually means a subscriber needs to meet ALL of the conditions before they qualify for the segment, and an OR connector means that a subscriber only has to meet one (or more) condition to be included in a segment.

Most platforms will let you join segment types together using AND / OR connectors. An AND connector usually means a subscriber needs to meet ALL of the conditions before they qualify for the segment, and an OR connector means that a subscriber can meet one or more conditions to be included in a segment.

And/Or Connectors help you join multiple criteria together to form a segment.

Always check the conditions your email platform provides and read their How To guides as every platform is built differently.


How can you gather more data to help segment your email list quicker?

The quickest way to gather data about your audience is by sending a survey to your existing list and segment people based on their responses. This let’s you to collect valuable insights and create segments that align with their preferences and needs.

Also, you can optimize your sign-up form on your website by including optional custom fields to capture additional information like demographics, interests or status.


Optimize your sign-up form on your website by including optional custom fields to capture additional information like demographics or interests.

Segment your audience on sign up, especially if you have two more more distinct audiences.


And don’t forget that your email marketing platform can track how subscribers interact with your emails AND your website using site tracking. All you need to do is get it up!


You can track subscriber behaviour on the platform AND your website, for example, who is opening your emails or visiting your website.

Track subscriber behaviour on your website to gain a better understanding of overall audience engagement.


Email marketing segmentation drives engagement, customer loyalty and ROI

Ultimately, segmentation helps you move away from a one-size-fits-all approach and instead focus on delivering the right message to the right people at the right time. It allows you to establish stronger connections with your subscribers, increase engagement rates, improve deliverability, and ultimately drive better results for your email marketing campaigns.

Interested in how to segment your email marketing list to drive consistent, predictable revenue? Book a FREE chat with us to find out how you can make your list work harder for your business! Get started here >