List segmentation in email marketing is absolutely vital if you want to make best use of your contact database. Not everyone wants or needs the same email, so it’s important you break down your list into clearly defined groups and send relevant, targeted information to each one.

There’s no such thing as equality in email marketing – selecting the right audience for the content of your emails is absolutely key in achieving a successful campaign.

Not all markets and industries are the same, but the truth is, we can all define three top-level categories into which we can place our subscribers:

The average bunch

A harsh title, maybe, but one which accurately describes those subscribers who can be considered active for the very fact that they can be relied upon to read and engage with your content every so often. They’re unlikely to disappear any time soon. They’re not really average – they’re the majority of your subscribers.

The cling-ons

Nope, not alien beings or anything else which might spring to mind – these subscribers are the ones who aren’t yet completely inactive (those that are will have already been removed, if you have a good automated list hygiene regime in place) and do – on a very rare occasion – engage with your email.


These are your elite subscribers. How they qualify as superstars depends entirely on what you judge to be elite performance on their part. Has their net spend breached a certain level? Maybe they shared your email a specific number of times, or signed up to a certain number of web forms. Whatever it is, these are the people you can truly rely on, 99% of the time, to engage with and act upon your email.

Once you’ve defined the three top-level lists above, it’s time to decide what to do with them. Maybe you want to send a thank you email to your superstars, signed by your chairman or MD. Perhaps those cling-ons need a bit of a nudge to get them re-engaged – a special offer or two, might do the trick. What you do with each of these groups of subscribers is entirely up to you, but it may also be the case that you can further segment them.

Once you start treating your subscribers based on their activity, you’ll realise that equality, for once, isn’t the best word when it comes to email marketing. Remember, segregation is key to a successful campaign.


Mark is one of mailingmanager's email experts. His contributions to this blog openly share the tricks, tips and best practices he's learned while running multiple e-marketing campaigns.

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