Better Email Marketing Pt 7. Segmenting Your Mailing List

Jun 13, 2020

Part 1

Is Email Marketing Still Relevent

Part 5

The From Name and Address

Part 2

Putting The Customer First

Part 6

The Style & Body of the Email

Part 3

Writing A Great Email Subject Line

Part 7

Segmenting Your Mailing List

Part 4

The First Line or Preview Line

Part 8

Building Your Email Marketing List

Part 7 of Better Email Marketing is looking at segmenting your mailing list so you send the right type of email to the right person.

Email list segmentation

You have a decent sized list full of people who want to hear from you, now we’re going to carve it up into various sections so we can target these people with even more personal emails.

Different industries and businesses will need different segments and you’ll need to sit down and decide who your customer is and what segment they belong to.

Creating segments may need you to store extra data about your customer.

You may also need to connect your shopping cart or Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software with your Email Service Provider. Most service providers do a good job with offering integrations.

The best way to explain segments is to show a few examples, but remember they are not all useful for all businesses. You should create your own segments based on your own customers and products/services.

Most Email Service Providers like Mailchimp or Zoho Campaigns will let you create segments for each of your lists.


This is one of the most popular segments and can lead to excellent personalisation.

Say you have branches in Manchester, Birmingham and London, you can create separate segments for each branch.

When you send out a marketing email you could have localised templates so people on the Manchester segment get the Manchester address and phone number, the same for Birmingham and London.

Instead of giving people a choice of three addresses and phone numbers you’re giving them the one that’s local to them.

Now take this to the next level, you can email only people in London about a Late Night Xmas Shopping event at the London branch.

Don’t forget the people who don’t fall into any of your segments. Create an “everyone else” segment where they get a generic email with all addresses and phone numbers.

The result of segmenting by location will be that your subscribers get something that’s a bit more meaningful and local.


This is a bit of an obvious segment but many online stores don’t gather this data.

The way it works is simple. You send emails for men’s products to men and women’s products to women!

Even if your products aren’t gender split you can target your design and language around gender. Change colours and calls to action to make them appeal to men or women.


I’m old so I’m really not interested in skinny jeans but my son would be.

If age is important for targeting your products or services then start collecting this data so you can build segments like 18 – 24 or 25 – 34.

Sending targeted emails to certain age groups can really help to increase open rates as the email offers more value, but don’t just stop there. Let’s segment an age group by gender and send out really personalised emails.

Let’s go one step further and segment your customers kids by age and gender.

Look at the buying data and place anyone who’s bought clothing for a 5 year old girl in a separate segment, then in 2 years automatically move this person to a 7 – 9 year old segment and so on. The last thing you want to be doing is emailing clothing ideas for a 5 year old girl when they are really 11.

Age can be a powerful targeting tool so start gathering the data from your customers. Make sure you collect the data in a GDPR safe way.

Purchase History

Many Email Service Providers like Mailchimp or Zoho Campaigns give you the chance to connect your shopping cart system to your mailing list so you can take advantage of all the data it contains.

How about a segment for people who have spent over £100 in the last 6 months or who have only ever bought once. Target the single purchasers with a special discount code to encourage them back and reward the big spenders with an exclusive discount.

Move away from price and look at matching items. If they bought this then they may need this. I worked with a company that sold air conditioning units for cars and they segmented purchases so they could target refills 12 months later.

The fashion industry uses colours well. People who like items in a certain colour may like something else in the same or matching colour.

The possibilities with purchase history are endless. Look at your products or services and decide how to segment your subscribers based on what they’ve bought in the past.

The following screenshot is taken from the MailChimp Ecommerce integration and shows how you can create a segment based on a past purchase.

Those Who Don’t Open

This segment is probably the most important and any business can take advantage of it.

Those who never open your emails are probably not interested in what you do. If a lot of people don’t open your emails then you have a problem, so look at what you’re sending them. Is it what they want?

Most Email Service Providers will give you an easy way to create this segment.

Select everyone who hasn’t opened any of your emails for 6 months or not opened all of the last 50 emails. You can then send them a specific email trying to get them to engage with you. It could be an offer, discount code or simply ask them if they still want to receive emails from you and give them an easy way to unsubscribe.

Getting rid of the non-openers will help to boost your open rate and give you a better idea on how your email marketing is performing.


There are endless ways to segment and personalise your emails and each industry and business will be different.

Look at the products or services you sell, the people who buy from you, and why they buy from you, then create some segments that will help you target what they want a little better.

Even if you don’t directly sell anything, it’s always a good idea to look closely at your subscribers and try to put them in different segments. An example could be a blog which offers something special to long term readers/subscribers.

Always measure your open rates and clicks from the different segments and make sure they are performing well. Remember that email marketing is fluid, you don’t have to stick to the same segments all the time, experiment and mix things up a little.

Move to part 8

In the final part of this blog series we look at ways to build your list.