9 Easy Email Segmentation Strategies That Increase Conversions

Updated: June 30, 2021

It’s no secret that the more personal and tailored you can get in your conversation with a customer, the more likely you are to build a relationship, and the more likely they are to buy your product. That’s how the best brands create meaningful relationships. But how do you do that at scale? The answer: dynamic email segments.

Customer segmentation is without a doubt one of the most powerful tools you can use as an ecommerce marketer, no matter what size business you’re running. Even if you only have a few thousand customers, it’s important to get started with segmentation early and then adjust as you acquire more.

Shopify defines customer segmentation as “the process of dividing customers into groups based on common characteristics so companies can market to each group effectively and appropriately.” Our goal here, especially when it comes to segmenting for email marketing, is to talk to our customers more specifically according to their characteristics or interests. When this happens, your email communication becomes much more effective and valuable to the customer.

In this guide, we’re going to outline 9 email segments that should be utilized in any ecommerce email strategy with suggestions for relevant ways to speak to each of these audience types.

A note on execution: These days, most ecommerce store platforms and email platforms allow for data to flow back and forth easily between the two. This makes it fairly simple to create audience segments based on customer actions on your site. Our number one recommendation for a data-driven, ecommerce-oriented email platform is Klaviyo because of its ease of use and ability to quickly drive revenue. If you’re looking for more information on Klaviyo and how we have used it to grow ecommerce brands’ revenue, check the bottom of this guide for some additional resources.

What are the benefits of email segmentation?

When done correctly, customer segmentation can help with:

  1. Personalizing your message to your audience’s interests and needs
  2. Rewarding high-value audiences
  3. Winning back inactive customers
  4. Avoiding those who don’t want to receive emails from you
  5. Delivering useful content about specific products purchased in order to drive more customer success
  6. Cross-selling and up-selling, based on what a customer has already purchased

9 Customer Segments You Can Email Right Now

Whether a person on your email list has purchased 5 times or has yet to become a customer, there is a way to segment them and communicate accordingly.

Post Purchase Segments

1. Winback

Create a segment of customers that have not purchased recently (usually 1 year or more) with the goal of reactivating them. Then, use a drip sequence to send interesting content that helps educate them on your brand, inform them about new products and keep your business top of mind. Every now and then, throw in an amazing offer for them or for a friend. Always give them the opportunity to unsubscribe if they’d rather not hear from you again; this is better than them marking you as “spam”.

2. Raving Fans and VIPs

This is your core, most valuable segment. How you define this might be different depending on your business, but it is generally customers that have purchased from you multiple times and are die-hard fans of your brand. Whatever you do, protect and nurture this audience! By segmenting them, you can grant them exclusive access to purchase or try out new products or give them early access to discounts. They’ll be more likely than others to provide feedback on new products as well as share with their friends and family.

3. Unsubscribes

Simply put, these are names that don’t want to hear from you anymore… and that’s okay! Be sure you respect their request and don’t bombard their inbox ever again. Some email platforms will automatically exclude unsubscribed customers, and others you need to exclude from your campaigns manually.

4. Product or Category X: Upsell or Cross-Sell

The goal with this segment is to speak specifically to customers who have bought a certain product or bought from a particular category. If your product line is small, you can build a segment around each product. If you have a large product line, one segment for each category works just as well. For each segment, create an email sequence that drips content related to the product or category. Drive revenue by upselling or cross-selling related items that these customers might also be interested in.

5. Product or Category X: Educate

Communication should not end when a customer makes a purchase; it’s actually just the beginning! Segment customers based on a product or category they’ve purchased, and then set up a drip campaign that sends content and tips to help educate them. If you can help your customers be as successful as possible at using your product, they will be happier customers. While this may not be met with a sale right away, it’s a long-term strategy to encourage customers to return or share with their friends.

6. Influencers

Influencers are similar to your VIP fans, but they bring influence to the table because they have an audience of their own. This one may involve some manual work or additional data being fed into your email platform, but if you can identify these types of customers, they are a very valuable segment when it comes to product launches and other important brand news.

7. Interests & Demographics

Interests and demographic information represent a goldmine for email segmentation. We strongly recommend surveying your customers to get to know them better. The information you’ll want to gather depends on your brand and products, but think about their profession, hobbies, interests, age, marital status, kids, and more. The more you can update their customer profile in your email platform, the more you can segment them based on what they care about. This means you can send content and products that will be as relevant as possible to each type of customer.

Pre-Purchase Segments

8. Newsletter List

If someone has not purchased but did sign up for your newsletter, this is the perfect opportunity to send content and education around your products. Once in awhile, it’s smart to send a great offer their way to incentivize their first purchase. To keep this valuable, we recommend a 2:1 or 3:1 ratio of content to offers. You can also survey your newsletter list to solicit feedback on their experience with your brand so far. Find out what is keeping them from purchasing and if they have any objections that others may share.

9. Abandoned Cart

Last and certainly not least, be sure to utilize the abandoned cart segment. This is a group who initiated checkout by adding a product to their cart, submitted their email, but did not complete payment. Recapture those almost-customers by following up with them right away while your name is top of mind. Check out our post here for a full breakdown of what to include in this important sequence.

Once you have your email segments established, be sure to look through our other posts on email marketing for more ideas and inspiration!

What ecommerce email platform should you use to create segments and drive revenue? Here’s some additional information to help you make that decision:


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