With multiple organizations competing for customers’ attention these days, personalization isn’t just smart – it is absolutely necessary. After all, there is nothing more off-putting than being on the receiving end of a marketing email that shows no knowledge of your interests or who you are. True, creating different email messages for different groups is more work, but it’s worth the extra effort when your email messages resonate with your customers.
Every small business can segment their customer base to improve the relevance of their emails. For example:
* A restaurant can email a “˜Kids Eat Free on Tuesdays’ promotion to families who have visited in the past six months
* A sporting goods store can send one email to customers who have recently purchased a bike to let them know of a sale on bike racks and another message to customers who have purchased skis or snowboard equipment to tell them about an “˜End of the Season Winter Clothing Sale’
* A garden center can send out a “˜Planting for Spring’ promotion to home gardeners and another “˜Bulbs Available in Bulk’ promotion to professional landscapers.
Segmentation – Getting Started
In order to be successful with your segmentation, here are some simple tips you can follow:
1) Start at the Beginning: You can create segmented lists by offering options with checkboxes right on your sign-up form. For example, a restaurant might leave cards on its tables to rate the service and gather customer information, such as email addresses or personal interests. An online retailer might request that new subscribers identify the products of most interest to them when they sign up.
2) Get Personal: Ask for information such as location and personal preferences to determine what is most relevant to the individuals joining your list. For example, the sporting goods store owner might ask whether someone prefers to shop online or in the store. That way, he or she can create two separate lists and send email coupons that contain an online promotion to one list and an in-store promotion to the other list.
3) Use Online Surveys: In your email newsletters, include a link to a short survey and ask for non-critical information that helps you add your subscribers to the appropriate segmented lists. Based on the survey results, you can create new lists or add to existing ones depending upon how respondents answered questions.
4) Take a Step Back: Remember that there is a real person on the other end of each email address. Every time you create an email, ask yourself whether your email content is addressing the specific needs of your audience or whether you’re only addressing the needs of your business.
5) Don’t Forget to Hit the Send Button: If you ask for information, you have to take action. Simply creating the list is not good enough. For proper and effective communications, you should be reaching out to your segmented lists at a minimum of once a quarter.
Email marketing list segmentation doesn’t need to be laborious, and the exercise can pay off with far better returns than general, non-segmented communications. With the right lists, everyone is a winner.
About The Guest Author: Kelly Flint, the regional development director for Constant Contact, is a marketing expert with over ten years of experience developing and implementing marketing strategies for small businesses and organizations. Kelly uses her expertise to teach small businesses and organizations effective email marketing strategies and how technology can be used to develop strategic partnerships that maximize the power of relationship building.
Love the last tips. List are useless without actions! We must act! 😉
Very small businesses don’t do much segmentation — but probably should, given the benefits.
I think some of us don’t realize that it can be easier to segment than we think. These “getting started” pointers help.
Your point regarding the need to collect info out of the starting gate is well-taken. It seems that’s a point of opportunity that most small businesses miss.
Great ideas here!
These are great suggestions. I would also suggest that any small business, should focus on continuous list building and segmentation. There are many, simple and cost-effective ways to integrate capturing your information and managing your data. It’s worth to go through a planning an exercise before you begin to 1)anticipate what segments your list might be organized in 2) where are the potential places for capturing this information and 3) how will you integrate all of these in some relatively organized way (such as a small business CRM) so that you can focus on the strategy and the communications instead of the administration. For many small businesses, this is where problems start.
I like the point, get personal.