The Segmentation Saga in Email Marketing – Dividends from “Divide and Conquer” Explained

August 9, 2016


The stress on carrying out intelligent segmentation activity pertaining to email marketing has gone across all bounds and became one standalone process that could entitle you to be the best among the rest, whichever industry you might be from. Email marketing has come out of age and offers you sophisticated avenues to make use of data obtained from any data point pertaining to your users.

Here we share you important ideations concerning the segmentation saga in email marketing explaining the huge dividends it pays off backed up with actual marketing data comparisons brought about through cMercury’s vast email marketing experience.

Why Segmentation?

Segmentation is most recommended simply because not all your customers are the same. Multiple age groups, locations, interests, income, browsing behaviour etc. are factors that are associated with each individual. Email segmentation can be implemented on a bare basic note like gender or location, or it can take to sophisticated realms by introducing more parameters to lay out one-one communication that would enhance your ROI. Extending across n number of attributes and behaviour, segmentation could be the one activity that brings about hyper-personalised targeting guaranteeing maximum ROI.

Segmentation or the divide and conquer method constantly improves the responses from your promotional activities. Some benefits of following this process are:

  • Higher open rates and hence more web hits
  • Higher conversions (i.e. ROI)
  • Better email deliverability
  • Offers avenues for detailed email analytics
  • Highly personalised targeting

Simple and effective ways to use email segmentation

A database with quality data offers many possibilities. Personalisation brings in more potency to you email campaigns where one could deliver content that fits individual likings and preferences and help them choose based on their interests.

  1. Based on gender

As the old saying, men are from mars and women are from Venus, the interests always differ (Eg: apparel & accessories). Analysis on A/B testing for subject line for men & women category has always shown that not the same subject line performs for both categories. When the women responds to words like ‘off!’ and ‘sales’, men are attracted to brand names in subject.

  1. Based on geolocation

The rise of mobile marketing makes it more critical to segment your email campaigns based on address and geolocation. Not only does it enable you to send them targeted and relevant offers for them to enjoy in their surroundings, but when you combine online shopping with offline stores, you can set up email (or mobile) campaigns highlighting interesting offers in stores close to your customers’ homes.

One of our brands who targeted worldwide, attained more performance by segregating the user base into eastern and western countries and targeting based on time. The average open responses were 13% and segregation based on geolocation helped in achieving up to 16% open responses.

  1. Based on age group

The products consumed by young population will not be same as older population. Age based segmentation always help in email relevancy across all age groups and you could be looking forth to market the products that would match a corresponding age groups’ interests and likings.

  1. Based on website activity

From the first visit to the website till the point of purchase, customer throws in all important insights. For example, targeting customers who placed products in a shopping cart but did not complete the purchase.  It has already been proven that such email campaigns generate better results. This is found to improve brand loyalty and brand recognition.

When the promotional mailers performed with 8% open responses for regular users, the triggered mails for transacted base shows open rates of 13% and, the order confirmation mails gained up to 20% open rates for a well reputed brand.

  1. Base on purchase history

If you store the purchase data from your customers, then the information on past purchases could be used to serve them relevant offers or even target the customers who had purchased the products within a given price range.

Previous buyers responded with 23% open rate and non-buyers with 6% for a tier 1 e-commerce brand working with cMercury stressing on the importance of segmentation of data based on purchase history.

  1. Based on interests and needs

Adding a ‘my-profile’-section to your website, where a customer can share his brand preferences, interests and store other relevant data, you gather more knowledge about your customers’ preferences and you could create smart segments based on this data.

For example, you own a fashion web shop and in your ‘my-profile’-section your customers can indicate brand preferences for brands such as Nike, Adidas, McGregor, etc.

A well know store that markets luxury fashion brands captured customer favourites and based on it further promotional campaigns were tried. The initial average responses for mailers were 13% and when brand specific campaigns were tried, Armani performed with 14% and Paul Smith with 20% user responses.

7. Based on email activity

There are two types of subscribers you will probably always have: those who are new to your list (the new subscribers) and those who have shown decreased activity (the inactive subscribers).

For new subscribers it is advised to think of something bigger instead of just sending a single welcome mailer. Sending a drip campaign (a welcome mailer series) to slowly introduce the subscribers to your brand. After a certain point, they might have become part of a different segment, but you would have learned some characteristics about them by paying attention to what they responded to while receiving the on-boarding emails. You can even entice them to divulge more information. That means you can segment them right from the start rather than waiting to discover that information later.

For a well reputed online shopping brand who is in the market for 6+ years, new users who were targeted with a special brand induction mailer for which the responses reach up to 15% open rate whereas the same set when tried with usual promotional campaigns, the open rates reached only 2%.

Defining and dealing with the “inactive” subscribers has to be done with care. For example, some would not have opened your emails for more than 6 months. You’ll probably always have inactive subscribers and it is simply human nature to lose interest over time. Always not include the inactive with the actives and segment them out and market to them differently.

A leading accessories brand had 5% open rate and 10% click through rate prior to any segmentation which improved to 9.5% open rate for clickers (active subscribers). A frequency capping was done for inactive subscriber (non-openers) who received 3% open rate.

Based on the above observations, segmentation activity forms the core of data optimisation in email marketing. In an industry where there is neck-to-neck competition, having a well assorted email program backed with explainable data forms the core of make or break scenarios. Experienced email marketing companies in India are geared up to assist you on your email marketing needs and come up with the best strategies in the ground. For more details drop in an email to or contact your account manager.



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