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Topics: Inbound Marketing

Of all the metrics that can measure the success of your email campaign, the click-through rate is by far the most telling. But how does one achieve a decent click through-rate? The answer is: segmentation.

The execution of email campaigns has evolved. Not too long ago, it was good enough to have a large database of subscribers and simply fire off emails, in the hope of reaching a certain percentage. And it worked, because the whole idea of reaching an audience electronically was new. Then came spam, and now, unless your email speaks to the individual on the receiving end, expecting to see good opening and, or click through rates is unrealistic. And this is where applying segmentation to email campaigns becomes critical for success.

Segmentation, in it’s simplest definition, means to sub-divide your email list into various categories that make sense to your audience. In this way each subscriber will receive an email that is specifically targeted to them and their interests. Companies who apply segmentation as best practice see a dramatic increase in results. According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimizer Report, those increases are:

  • 39% higher open rates;
  • 28% saw lower opt-out/unsubscribe rates;
  • 24% generated higher revenues; and
  • 24% increased sales leads.

Segmentation categories

There are many different approaches to segmentation, and in the end, you as the marketer will have to test groups and emails in order to determine how to subdivide your email list. Three of the most effective group creations are:

  • level of engagement;
  • persona; and
  • website activity.

Segment 1: Level of engagement

Segmentation based on subscriber engagement is one of the most basic and effective methods that can deliver positive results. The first step is to split your list into active and inactive (someone who hasn’t clicked on your emails in the last six months or longer). The second step is to try and re-engage the audience that seem to have lost interest with a specific email campaign aimed at that group.

Looking at the active vs inactive users will also identify your most active customers and afford you the opportunity to market special promotions to them specifically.

Segment 2: Persona

The importance of buyer personas in your marketing strategy is all about having a thorough understanding of your market (i.e. the personas) and will enable you to create segments for each type of persona and help you to create content that is relevant to them. This, in turn, will increase open and click through rates.

Segment 3: Website activity

Products and services. Software tools available on Hubspot will easily be able to highlight which of your content (web pages, social media posts, emails) have attracted attention. Armed with this information, you can direct very specific email content and special offers to each group accordingly.

Interrupted actions on the website. Create a group for individuals who were active on the site but did not complete their actions. For example, those who started shopping but did not complete the transaction or those who did not finish filling in the form. Whatever their reason for not seeing the activity through, they were at some point interested enough to start the process and that action should be followed up. Create email content that is geared at motivating them to return to your site and do business with you.

Getting the email content just right

The most important thing to remember is that inbound marketing is a strategy that is successful because it is ongoing. It’s not a one off implementation strategy. It is a continuous stream of content that will draw customers to you. For this reason marketing automation is a must. No email campaign can succeed if it is simply set up and executed as a one off event. Every action is a learning curve in getting to know your audience better.

So why did email A perform better than email B? That is very important question to marketer, and the only way to get the answer is to perform A/B split tests. Test two versions of your email among a small group of your subscribers. Which version gets the best results? Use the winning version for the rest of your subscribers. To start the process, first choose what you want to test, for example: which subject lines work, or which day of the week or time of day gets a better response. The next step is to decide how you will measure the winner of the test i.e. click-through rates, open rates, read rates or revenue. Then test just one variable at a time.

Performing A/B split tests will definitely help you tailor content for your segmented lists and increase click through rates on your email campaigns. Using proper A/B split testing makes sense for larger e-mail lists. If your list is still small look at each e-mail send and compare the results while trying to guess what the differences are.

Over time, as you analyse the numbers, you will get a very good feeling about what works and what not, and will then be better able to adjust the content of your campaigns.

Properly set up lead nurturing e-mail campaigns achieve high conversion rates because they talk specifically to a specific person with a specific interest. It will be more effective to send 100 highly targeted emails to a list of warm leads vs. blasting a mail out to 1,000 unknown email addresses.

Don’t believe us? Let’s try it out!

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