Super Segmentation for Internet Retailers

Any Web-based business with an email list can engage in email list segmentation, but Internet retailers who engage in the practice are those positioned to receive the most significant results including higher open rates, order values, click-through rates and coversions. Still, email marketers are not tapping the full potential of segmentation and list filtering. The reason might be because of the complexity of the task, and rightfully so. Behavior-based segmentation, trigger based segmentation and lifecycle segmentation are all time-consuming and financial and resource intensive projects. Even the mere concepts of these practices can scare away many merchants. But the reward of using even the most basic segmentation is very high. Here are a two ideas to get you started.

Segmenting By Customer & Preference Data

Basic demographic segmentation (gender, age, geography) through customer preference and profile data is the absolute minimum merchants should do to increase the ROI of their email marketing campaigns. Of course, this requires detailed customer data. As most serious merchants require shipping information, geographic segmentation alone is the quickest and easiest way to start testing the waters.

For example, a merchant selling pool supplies has a new product that helps maintain in-ground pools in cold climates. Being able to segment geographically to remove customers in warmer climates, like Florida or Texas, could increase open rates and conversation rates simultaneously. Couple geographic segmentation with preference segmentation (e.g. customer is only interested in new products) and conversion rates will be significantly higher than one-off email blasts alone.

Segmenting By Customer Activity 

The most powerful way to segment an email list is by customer activity, including click-behavior and purchase history. Let's say our pool supply merchant notices some consumers are very interested - as determined by the number of clicks - in a specific section of its email which highlights products from particular vendors. Through email analytics, the merchant is able to then segment a portion of the audience interested in a particular vendor, then send another email announcing that vendor's new product line, or a sale on some merchandise. With a little work, our pool supply merchant just increased the chance of a sale, while providing value to the consumer.

Successful Internet merchants strive to understand their customers. Segmenting customers by those who have purchased products or taken an action on a site enables merchants to effectively, and efficiently target specific profiles for future promotional offers that will convert. Once the possibilities of email segmentation are fully explored, it's hard to imagine sending your promotional messages any other way.