You already know how email marketing improves your sales by keeping you in front of your customers.

But, if you’re still only using email blasts to your whole list, you’re missing out on an opportunity. You can increase your sales even more by taking time to target your audience with a technique called segmenting. Segmenting breaks your list into special groups of customers who you can email separately with hyper-relevant content. Some businesses have seen huge spikes in sales by targeting their customers this way.

Here are three ways you can target your existing customers for a richer email campaign.

Targeting By Location

If you have both a physical store location and make online sales, you’ll want to section out your local customers for special in-store promotions. You don’t want to send a coupon for store-use-only to a customer who lives thousands of miles away and only buys from you online.

Most email service providers log the IP addresses of where people sign up to your list. Those IP addresses are based on location; so, when you specify a geographic location to send your email to, only people with related IP addresses should be included.

Targeting By Interests

A few weeks ago, I got an email from Netflix telling me that they added a new season of one of my favorite TV shows to their streaming library. It was exciting to open my inbox and see such a well-targeted message about something I’d been waiting to watch for months now.

Netflix targeted their email to me based on my activity on their site — television series I’d watched and rated highly. They’ve sent me a few of these emails to announce new content, and I’ve opened every one as they’re so relevant to what I’m interested in.

You can do this with your own customers, too, to increase the relevance of your own campaign:

  • Ask for special preferences on your signup form. Start with favorite kinds of products, gender, or how often they prefer emails from you.
  • Track what customers buy from you or the links they click on in your emails. If you integrate your email campaign with an online shopping cart service, you can add customers to a specific list based on what they buy. Then recommend similar products they’d enjoy based on their purchase history.
  • You can segment after signup, too. Send short surveys in your newsletters and segment subscribers based on their answers. You’ll have the added benefit of making your emails fun and interactive, too.

Target Inactive Customers

Sometimes your readers stop being responsive to your messages. Sometimes it’s because their lives get too busy. But sometimes, it’s because they’re less interested in your campaign than they were when they first signed up. Targeting these inactive subscribers can help you separate the too busy from the uninterested, giving you a more profitable list.

The Indianapolis Symphony took this approach when their ticket sales started declining. They sent a targeted offer to email subscribers who hadn’t opened their messages for a while, presenting them with a free ticket for opting into a new and improved newsletter. They removed everyone from their list who didn’t bother opening the email.

The Indianapolis Symphony lost over 95% of their subscribers. It sounds terrible. But here’s the cool part: their ticket sales actually doubled with the smaller but more highly-targeted list.

If you’re not reaching the sales goals you hoped for, targeting your inactive subscribers can give your campaign a similar lift by leaving you with a list of highly-interested, highly-engaged customers.

Targeting your emails makes them more relevant and interesting to the customers you’re trying to reach. And interested customers means more profitable relationships for your business.

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Email Marketing | Email Marketing | Email Marketing Column

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About The Author: is Education Marketing Associate at AWeber, the leading email marketing service provider for small businesses. Specializing in niche industries, Rebekah draws from her content creation background to provide targeted advice on how small business owners can better connect with customers through email marketing.



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  • Christine Brady

    Hi Rebekah,

    The example of the Indianapolis Symphony is a great instance of something that can help with segmenting as well –

    Sending something for free. Whenever I get questions about how to re-ignite an unresponsive list, this is one of the first things I recommend. Send a new free offer and segment all the people who opened it – viola! new, responsive list.

    Targeting by interests is a strategy I’m looking at right now – takes some work, but I can see where the payoff would be huge.

    Thanks for the insights – have a great day!

    ~Christine

  • http://www.altaresources.com/ Cory Grassell

    I was just talking with a coworker this morning about how I value email marketing as a sales tool. Much more relevant and less invasive than telesales, and it gives recipients the option to review materials at their leisure.

 

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