How to segment your email subscriber base

Many companies collect a huge base of subscribers for mailing lists, and then send out the same offer to everyone in a row. This is obviously a bad move, since the audience tends to be different and, as a rule, it is divided into different groups.

To succeed in an advertising campaign, it is necessary to segment the subscriber base for further distribution. We will talk about how to do this in today’s article.

What is segmentation and why is it needed

Segmentation is one of the ways to make an email campaign. It allows you to divide subscribers into certain groups with similar characteristics in order to study their reaction to a particular product / service.

In terms of importance, segmentation is in 3rd place  among successful email campaigns , second only to personalization and calls to action.

The essence of segmentation is to send unique messages to a specific group. For example, letters about special offers can be sent to those who use the services recently, and various loyalty programs can be sent to VIP clients.

At the same time, indicators such as relevance are also improving, the number of unsubscribes is decreasing, email deliverability is increasing, and at the same time, profits are growing due to qualified leads.

Segmentation can be carried out according to various criteria, which we will discuss below.

Segmentation criteria

There are many ways to segment the audience – both by geography, and by activity, and by preferences. Let’s take a look at each method and see how they differ.

By activity

In this case, you can divide subscribers into those who open emails and those who ignore them. Two groups appear:

  • For such customers, you should make a newsletter with promotions, special offers or new products in order to strengthen interest in the product and increase its sales.
  • These customers should be asked why they stopped using the product. If among them there are those who are ready to buy, then we transfer this group to active, we delete all the rest.

Additionally, we can separate subscribers depending on the stage of the sales funnel:

Funnel stages

What to do

Recent Followers

For such customers, you should send a welcome letter with information about goods or services

Subscribers who have been following you for a long time and are interested in the product

Such customers should be sent
letters with promotional and special offers.

Regular customers

Such customers are ready to buy, so they should send a newsletter with products of interest or a sale

After that, you should increase the mailing activity, and here everything depends on the subscriber himself. For example, if a client looked at a hotel on certain dates, but for some reason changed his mind, then you should remind him of these dates in a letter.

How to collect data: use special filters in email services to separate active and inactive users.

By location

Dividing customers by geographic criteria will allow you to send personalized emails. For example, large companies operating throughout the country can send messages that talk about discounts in the city of the selected group.

How to collect data: you can add an item to the order form with the ability to select a city and country.

By preference

One of the most popular segmentation methods is by preference. Each person is unique and everyone has their own interests – this is worth considering.

Segmentation by interests will help determine:

  • what content needs to be prepared for mailing: these are new items, gift ideas, promotions, or articles and podcasts;
  • information about which product or service should be sent;
  • how often the subscriber wants to receive your newsletter.

For example, a dog goods website segmented its subscriber base based on the size of their pets. They send out 4 types of emails with products that match the size of dogs:

Such an experiment was conducted by the marketing company MarketingSherpa . She found that these emails received 120% more open, 410% more click-through rates, and a whopping 13% higher profits as a result.

How to collect data: use special online tools such as  Webvisor . You can also do this through a survey in the mailing list: ask what your customers like, what they are most interested in in your product.

By actions in the mailing list and on the site

As I briefly mentioned above, we can learn something about users through actions on the site, for example, during the submission of a form. This is far from the only way – you can also use opens and clicks, pages viewed, purchase history. How it all works – let’s look at the examples below.

Opens and clicks

Through the analysis of the letter and clicks in it, you can understand what is interesting to the client. For example, you send an email with the subject “Webinar: How to choose an interior for your apartment.” The user clicks on the link and watches the webinar. After that, for such a segment, you can send offers with similar interiors or tell them in writing how to choose an interior.

How to collect data: You can use an email service with a filter, which will indicate the actions for mailings.

Pages viewed

A potential client views hundreds of pages with products if he is really interested in the resource. For example, a user wants to buy sneakers for himself – he finds a suitable site and begins to study it. He saves the goods of interest to bookmarks, and after a while returns to the most suitable options.

It can be understood that a similar group of subscribers like sneakers of this type, another group likes such and such things. After conducting the analysis, you can start sending out unique or promotional offers to different segments.

How to collect data: track interest in your website pages through Google Analytics or Yandex.Metrica. Based on the data received, you can send email campaigns that will return users to the site.

Purchase History

Purchase history is a tidbit for marketers. It’s easier to persuade existing customers to buy than to work with those who have not yet bought from. For example, a user bought a product, and in return you send him a thank you letter with a promotional code for the next purchase.

You can also predict when the client will need your services again. As soon as that time comes, you can send a special offer. Let’s say you’re selling disposable items that only last 3 weeks. It would be logical to assume that after this time the client will return to you if there is a need for this. However, you should not wait 3 weeks, as he may go to a competitor. It is better to immediately send an offer with a unique bonus.

How to collect data: You can use a CRM system that stores the purchase history of all users.

By age and gender

Distributing customers by age and gender only makes sense if your products imply such a division. For example, if you sell clothes for women and men, then this approach will be more than ever useful.

How to collect data: add additional items to the application form on the site, in which the user will be able to indicate their age and gender.

By customer lifecycle

This option is best suited if your company has been operating for several years and has regular customers. The very essence lies in the definition of the life cycle – this is the path that a person goes through as a client of a company.

For example, when a person registers on a site, their goal might look like “purchase goods.” If a person has been interacting with a company for a long time, then he may be interested not only in goods, but also in a bonus program or discounts. Thus, in different periods of time there are different needs, so the mailings may differ.

Here’s what it might look like:

How long ago did the client start
interacting with the company?

What to send

1-2 months

Welcome letter

3 months

For example, if you want to increase the number of clients, then you can send a letter with a certificate for 3000 rubles, which the client will receive if he brings a friend

3 to 12 months

Tell us about the bonus program to involve the client in the service

1 to 2 years

Tell us about seasonal promotions that will help you increase your average check

2 to 3 years

In this case, we are talking about the average check again, which can be increased with the help of long-term promotions or a bonus system.

from 3 years

For example, you are engaged in the sale and repair of cars. Such customers can be encouraged to buy a new car with additional discounts, spare parts, and so on.

How to collect data: use Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica – these services have all the necessary data for calculating the life cycle and segmentation.

Based on RFM analysis

This is an approach that takes into account 3 important indicators: when the last purchase was made, how often it is made and how much the client spends on it.

As a result, customers can be divided into segments:

  • active users who regularly buy products on the site;
  • those who are interested in goods, but rarely buy;
  • inactive users who used to buy, but now forgot about your product;
  • users constantly visit the site, but rarely buy anything on it.

There can be many such options, for each of them you can make a newsletter. For example, promotional emails are sent for active clients, and reactivation emails for those who have lost interest.

How to collect data: this is an integrated approach that collects data from virtual user profiles, information from Google Analytics and Yandex.Metrica.


Subscriber base segmentation allows you to divide customers into groups in order to achieve the most effective email distribution. You can connect the mailing list using special services, such as  CheapSender . It will be enough to import the customer base, and your segmentation will start to give results.

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