15 Email Segmentation Methods

When it comes to preparing your email marketing campaigns and then analyzing all of the traffic that you receive from them, it can quickly become an overwhelming task that is devoid of all of the regular charm of email marketing.

Somewhere along the line, an ingenious email marketing team decided to start segmenting their subscriber list into various smaller groups, so that they could then send each person more targeted content that will be of particular interest to them.


There are a number of different ways that marketers can go about segmenting their email lists to tailor unique campaigns to specific groups of consumers. The secret to success, however, comes from knowing your audience and testing different lists to see which ones work best for your brand and provides the highest open and click-through rates.

Below are 15 of the most common and proven ways to segment an email list, but in the end, it should be all about what works best for your brand.



Not that we're encouraging stereotyping here, but there may be occasions when you'll have messages that are better suited for people who identify as a specific gender, particularly if you offer a wide variety of products that may be aimed at members of different genders, or by using this information to add to other demographic or psychographic details.



Similarly, companies with many different products will likely have some that are geared more toward people of different ages (e.g. retirees, teenagers, parents, children, etc.). This will help you narrow down and target your email's audience by defining the age group that you want to send it to.



Perhaps the most important segment, for both small, local businesses and large companies with customers from all over the world, is the geographical location of each customer. Segmenting customers by state, city or even zip code allows you to reach out to local consumers, send special deals to customers in specific locations or just ensure that you don't send emails to people in a location that you don't service, yet.



Different types of organizations or businesses are going to have different reasons for signing up for your email list, so it would be useful for you to segment small businesses form enterprises, non-profits from ecommerce companies and individual customers from companies. They each want something different from you, so make sure you segment them correctly to offer them products or services they can actually use.


Job Title

Marketers, and especially business-to-business marketers, will notice that their email lists will contain people with various job functions, each of which will have different roles within their companies, and thus different needs in terms of the types of products or services you may have to offer them. Keep that in mind as you segment individuals by their job titles.



If you've compiled a wide ranging list of different individuals or organizations, there's a good chance that they could all come from a variety of unique industries. Being aware of the industry your subscriber works in, and thus, what they will need from your company, will allow you to add a bit of a personal touch and send them emails that are more relevant.


Past Purchases

For merchants, you should consider segmenting parts of your email list by those customers who have already purchased products from you, so that you can offer them complementary products or services or update them about new deals for similar purchases.


Purchase Cycle

Depending on the kind of business you operate, you may find that certain customers only come to you at specific times of the year. Or, you may have customers that regularly visit you on a weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly, etc. basis. If you have the ability to extract this information about your customers, you can use it to send them emails at the appropriate (and relevant) time, just when they need you most.


Place in the Conversion Funnel

Analytics solutions are powerful enough these days that most merchants are able to track where each of their leads is at in the conversion funnel (or sales cycle, if you prefer that terminology), and this should be one of the first ways in which they go about segmenting their email lists. This way, if they haven't completed the process yet, you can hit them up with a reminder email.


Abandoned Shopping Carts

However, some customers will give up on the sales cycle after they've already gone through the work of putting items in their shopping carts. This is known as shopping cart abandonment, and it's probably the single most annoying metric out there for ecommerce merchants. If it's possible through your shopping cart solution, come up with a way to get a customer's email early on in the checkout process, and then create an abandoned shopping cart email program, so you can send targeted emails to customers that have left their shopping carts behind before making a purchase.


Online vs. Brick-and-Mortar Customers

Of course, this approach is geared solely toward businesses that have both a brick-and-mortar retail store and an ecommerce store. However, if you're going about the work of collecting email addresses at both locations (and you should be), you can use that information to segment your customers between those who have visited your on-site location and those who visited your website. This allows you to send them targeted and relevant emails, such as deals that can only be redeemed in-stores or online.


Topics of Interest

If you find that some of your email leads are more interested in certain content topics than others, you can segment your email lists to only send information about those topics to interested consumers. This will allow you to provide them only with the topics they want and, hopefully, interest them in continuing to check out your site to find similar material.


Type of Content

Just as many people have a specific topic that they prefer, most also have a certain method through which they like to consume it, such as videos, images, blog posts, e-books, webinars and more. Thus, another great way to segment your email list is by putting people who prefer to ingest a specific type of content into a group together, so that you can send them emails that include content in that format.


Form Abandonment

As with shopping cart abandonment, targeting visitors that were in the middle of filling out a form of some sort on your website is a great way to get them back in your virtual doors to complete it.


Event Attendees

One of best ways to get contact information from event attendees, such as trade shows or events that your own company hosts, is simply to ask people to write down their email addresses. With this information, you can create a whole new email segment of just event attendees that lets you send follow-up emails or promote future events that may interest them.