Email Segmentation: Elevate Your Marketing Strategy 

Boost your email marketing strategy with segmentation: Increase open rates and conversions while building loyalty by tailoring messages to specific audience groups. Learn how now.
Morgan Hugoboom
8 February 2024
Email Segmentation: Elevate Your Marketing Strategy

Email marketing is a powerful tool – for every $1 spent, it can earn $32 to $45. Most email users check their email every day, giving brands instant access to their audiences. 

But there’s a catch. 

Email marketing is effective when done right. This means not sending the same email to everyone on your list. 

Instead, the most successful email strategies use email segmentation.  

Email segmentation helps a brand deliver more impactful, data-driven messaging. Instead of sending the same message to everyone, a brand sends tailored messages to specific groups of people. This targeted messaging can increase open rates, improve conversions, establish stronger customer loyalty, and more. 

This article explains email segmentation: what it is, its importance for businesses, and how to divide a subscriber list. 

What is email segmentation strategy? 

Email segmentation is dividing an email list into smaller groups based on specific characteristics. Segmenting emails allows a brand to send targeted, personalized messaging that is more likely to resonate with that group. This targeted delivery enhances campaign performance, improves customer experience, and increases digital marketing ROI. 

Benefits of email marketing segmentation  

Using email segmentation helps businesses target their digital marketing better for specific audiences. 

Benefits of email marketing segmentation include: 

  • Targeted campaigns or promotions 

Email segmentation provides endless possibilities to target promotions for maximum impact. Brands can give rewards to loyal customers, inform nearby customers about new stores, and sell more to past buyers. Targeted campaigns delivered to specific audiences are more likely to convert. (We include more detailed email segmentation ideas later in the article, along with examples.) 

  • Improved campaign performance 

People won’t open emails that don’t appeal to them. Segmenting emails – and targeting the message to better appeal to an audience – improves open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Additionally, segmenting your email list based on email engagement can further refine your email marketing campaign. To make readers open emails and click links, it’s important to use targeted messages with email segmentation. 

  • More reliable delivery (without hitting junk folders) 

We know that sending the same emails to everyone can lead to fewer people opening them. These low open rates can hurt the actual deliverability of emails. An email service provider (ESP) can block an email as spam if the sender has a low open rate. Segmenting emails and improving open rates helps maintain a positive reputation, ensuring emails don’t wind up in junk folders. 

  • Personalized, better customer experience 

Email segmentation allows businesses to improve the customer experience by addressing the needs of each distinct audience. This personal approach helps brands guide customers forward, build loyalty and trust, and offer valuable content. 

  • Higher return on investment (ROI) 

All these points mean achieving more with less: sending messages to fewer people but creating better, more effective content that really connects with that specific audience and their needs. This helps a brand use its digital marketing resources where they will deliver the most ROI. 

10 email segmentation strategies (with examples) 

There are countless ways to segment an email, but we have listed the most common criteria below. Strategies for email segmentation marketing include segmenting emails based on: 

  1. Demographics 
  2. Geographic location 
  3. Customer persona 
  4. Email activity 
  5. Type of customer or organization 
  6. Stage of the funnel 
  7. Where a customer shopped 
  8. What a customer clicked on 
  9. What is in a customer’s cart, wish list, or ‘saved for later’ 
  10. Results from survey or feedback form 


The most basic type of email segmentation strategy includes segmenting based on demographics: age, gender, income, family status, and job title, to name a few. Demographic segmentation, including age, gender, and income, provides foundational information about customers based on key personal characteristics. For example: customers in romantic relationships would have different needs than single customers around Valentine’s Day. Segmenting emails based on relationship status allows a brand to market effectively based on the unique needs of each audience during February.   

Geographical location 

Another basic criterion, this is sometimes grouped with demographics when discussing how to segment an email. Customizing a brand’s messages for each recipient’s location is useful for local events, special offers in certain areas, or selling products in specific regions. For example, Groupon will send emails advertising deals available in a recipient’s zip code. Home improvement companies might market snow shovels to customers in colder climates while promoting pool supplies to customers in warmer climates. 

Customer persona 

Segmenting email marketing based on customer persona creates more personalized experiences for customers. This enhances a brand’s relationship marketing strategy, customer experience, and branding. For example, businesses can target promotions and campaigns based on whether someone is a dog lover, reads a specific genre of book, or supports a certain cause.  

Email activity 

There is a big difference between customers who regularly interact with a brand’s emails and those who do not. Email marketing segmentation allows a business to lean more heavily into customers who are already actively engaged with brand emails. Brands can create re-engagement campaigns for customers who were previously engaged and have since lost touch. Segmentation allows businesses to identify opportunities to invest in customers who are active participants while re-engaging those who showed potential and might only need a reminder to re-enter the funnel. 

Type of customer or organization 

A business might sell to large companies or small businesses, international markets or local stores, individual people or professional organizations. Many brands do business with a combination of the above – meaning they need to tailor the messaging to cover multiple facets of their diverse audiences. 

For example: a project management SaaS company might sell its products to freelance professionals who work alone. It might also sell a similar service to small businesses with a team of ten people. Finally, it might sell its services to large corporations with multiple teams in offices across the country. Email marketing segmentation targets each distinct audience when a single campaign cannot meet the needs of wildly different customer groups. 

Stage of the funnel 

Is a customer brand-aware or problem-aware? Are they a new or returning customer? Are they ready to purchase, or still comparing different options to see which is the best fit? Determining the answers to these questions – and segmenting emails accordingly – helps a brand meet the customer where they are in the funnel. 

For example, customers who are still comparing multiple brands would need email messaging that shows the value of a brand over its competitors. If someone else is towards the bottom of the funnel, they might need an abandoned cart email or a notification when the product they had been eyeing goes on sale.  

Where a customer shopped 

Was a customer interacting with a brand online, in person, or through other channels like social media? A customer who is primarily online will have different priorities than a customer who shops in a brick-and-mortar store. 

For example: online customers in the United States might be more interested in Cyber Monday messaging, whereas in-person shoppers might prioritize Black Friday promotions. Brands can also use email segmentation strategy to direct their flow of traffic. A brand that opens a physical storefront can send promotional messaging to its e-commerce customers in that area. 

What a customer clicked on 

This is especially helpful for customers who have not made an initial purchase with a brand and therefore don’t have a strong customer relationship management (CRM) presence. By observing email engagement, brands can segment emails based on what customers have shown interest in, making the content more relevant and targeted. 

What is in the customer’s cart, wish list, or ‘saved for later’ 

Has a customer already saved something in their cart or completed a task to show genuine interest? Creating emails specifically for abandoned carts or ‘saved for later’ lists capitalizes on customers who have already expressed interest and might only need a reminder – or a sale – to finally complete that purchase. Brands can segment based on specific items and create emails to notify customers when an item goes on sale, is back in stock, or has limited availability. 

Results from a survey or feedback form 

Surveys and quizzes help a brand understand nuances about a customer it might not see on a traditional CRM. When customers complete a survey, quiz, or feedback form, businesses gain details like preferences, values, product/service likes and dislikes, and more. For example: a business can segment emails based on customers who expressed dissatisfaction on a feedback form. The businesses can email this audience to announce new upgrades made to the product/brand/service, hopefully bringing those customers back to the brand. 

Maximizing digital marketing with email segmentation strategy 

Email marketing remains a powerful tool for any digital marketing strategy. Over 98% of subscribers check their email daily, providing businesses with invaluable access to their customers. 

Email marketing segmentation harnesses subscriber and customer data to maximize the efficacy of any digital marketing strategy. Through intentional messaging and targeted campaigns, companies reach the right customer at the right time – ensuring higher conversions and ROI. 

Find out how your business can benefit from Dialog Insight.

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