25 Different Strategies for Segmenting Your Email Contact List

Roberto Mejia
by Roberto Mejia on June 3, 2013 in Strategy
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Segmenting your email list to target different people with different messages is a proven way to improve the effectiveness of email marketing campaignssegmented email contacts

There are multiple ways you can segment an email list, and many possibilities often go overlooked. Depending on your needs and the information you have, you can target customers based on their characteristics, preferences or activities.


Customer characteristics can include the demographics of the recipients or descriptions of the companies they represent. Some such factors you can use for targeting include:

  1. Location. If you have multiple locations or carry some products that appeal only to certain parts of the country, it makes sense to set up different lists based on geography. 
  2. Age. Differences in age can affect both the products that people are interested in and the type of communication that works best for them. 
  3. Gender. Useful if you have gender-specific items or promotions. 
  4. Expertise. If someone is unfamiliar with your business or industry, you will want to explain things to them and avoid using technical terms. Your experts, though, would not want to waste time on the basics. 
  5. Job title. Is this an admin buying office supplies or an IT director comparing network solutions?
  6. Children. Do they have kids, and how old are they?
  7. Pets. Having pets in the home produces some specific needs that your company may be able to fulfill.
  8. Persona. Different types of buyer personas will have different interests and communication styles.  
  9. Email client.  You can customize your emails to work best on the platform they use.
  10. Business type. For business-to-business transactions, segmenting based on the type of business is a good idea.
  11. Business size. A billion-dollar company won't have the same needs as the corner mom-and-pop shop, and vice versa. 
  12. Industry. If you service multiple industries, you can create an email list for each one.


Email targeting allows you to reach people the way they prefer to be reached.

  1. Online or in-store shopping. Your call to action will be different depending on whether they prefer to shop online or visit you in person.
  2. Content format. Do they prefer to read what you have to say or watch a video of you saying it?
  3. Interests. What topics do they want to hear from you about?
  4. Frequency of contact. How often do they want to hear from you?
  5. Use of coupons or promotions. Some people may only respond to special deals; for others, it may be a wasted discount.


Even if you know nothing else about your email contacts, you can keep track of their interactions with your company.

  1. Purchase history. The types of products purchased, along with frequency or seasonality, can be used to target the right people with the right offers at the right times. 
  2. Customer size. A small number of customers will be responsible for a large percentage of your business, and they should be targeted separately.
  3. Step of the sales cycle. This determines whether you should be providing initial information or asking for the sale.
  4. Abandoned forms or shopping carts. Offer them an incentive to complete the order or get feedback on why they did not do so. 
  5. Provided referrals or recommendations. Let them know that you appreciate their help.
  6. Event attendees. If they attend one event or promotion, they may be interested in others.
  7. Satisfaction level. You can craft your message based on whether they are satisfied with your company. 
  8. Activity level. For those who engage more, create a list that provides more ways to engage.

Though you probably won't use all 25 ideas, you can determine which ones make the most sense for your needs and segment your email contacts accordingly.

* Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Roberto Mejia

Roberto Mejia

While specializing in web development and inbound marketing, Roberto Mejia prides himself in always learning and improving as much as possible.