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E-mail list segmentation

So you have a mailing list with thousands of e-mail addresses. You send out messages and sales trickle in. You are happy. Hey, you could probably double, even triple sales with the same e-mail list, only if you did list segmentation. What the heck is list segmentation? Very simple. If you look at the list you'll see Bob@somedomain.com, jenny@mysite.net, etc. Do you know what age Bob is? Is Jenny single or married? Having this information is the key to improving your sales. Don't believe me? Then consider the latest research done by Nielsen/Net Ratings.

The top 5 items purchased by singles are:
1. Student loans
2. Credit cards
3. Video games
4. Computer software and games
5. Music

The top 5 items purchased by couples are:
1. Prescription drugs
2. Home improvement
3. Educational computer software
4. Gardening tools and supplies
5. Toys and non-computer games

These are quite different lists, aren't they? And this research shows no gender or age preferences. If you do segmentation by age and gender, your findings will be even more startling. So, now you need to market to different segments differently. Here are the guidelines Paul Soltoff suggests for running e-mail campaigns for these two different segments (Single and Couples)

Singles
Product selection: Entertainment, self-indulgence, Price point: The lower, the better, Key driver: Instant gratification, Fulfillment: Comfortable with electronic fulfillment, such as music downloads, Copy: Hip, edgy, cool, Offer: Discounted price, Graphics: Bright, bold

Couples
Product selection: Children, home, garden, Price point: Higher price points should be supported by value, payment plans to make them more affordable, Key driver: Value, affordability and utility, Fulfillment: Most likely physical due to product types; provide option of physical or electronic download, Copy: Straightforward, Offer: Free or low-cost trial, Graphics: No need to shout; state the offer clearly.

What steps should to take to start your list segmentation? Start collecting personal data, like age, marital status, and gender or buy/rent mailing lists with this information available. Then identify the most appropriate segments (these vary from business to business) - young single males, married women over 30, etc. See what products and services various segment members purchase at your site. When you notice the differences, start running multiple e-mail campaigns, each targeting a specific segment of your audience, selling products and services these particular segment members are interested in. What if you have an e-mail list with e-mail addresses only? Well, you may not have much choice. You can browse through them manually, separating men from women and placing unidentifiable addresses to a third list. Even this simple segmentation should help you improve sales.


Next week: Conversion rate concepts
Prev week:
Dissecting a successful direct marketing e-mail


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