Quick ways to segment an email list
How is your email marketing open rate?
Statistics vary, but HubSpot’s email study found that emails related to travel had a 28% open rate. If that seems low, remember that people are flooded with information these days; it is hard to get their attention.
It is worth your time and effort to improve your email marketing, since it is one of the few tools that YOU control, along with your website and blog. No matter what happens with social media, you can still reach visitors and customers very effectively with email.
How can you make sure that your emails are “click-worthy,” beyond building an opt-in list of subscribers who actually want to hear from you, sending at the right times for your audience, crafting compelling subject lines, and delivering real value every single time?
Send your emails to just the right people and give them a more personalized experience, by segmenting your list.
Quick Ways to Segment an Email List
Segmenting is simply sorting your email subscribers into various groups based on what you know about their interests and preferences.
You can segment a list in so many ways, including:
- Geographic location
- Demographics, like age or sex
- How people signed up for your list (website form, on Facebook, etc.)
- People who stayed at your hotel or lodging during a certain time.
- People who clicked certain links in previous emails.
- When they subscribed/sign-up date.
For example, when we send out emails announcing webinars with our clients the National Scenic Byway Foundation, we send to a U.S.-only geolocation segment of our list because NSBF is not a worldwide organization, so our subscribers in South Africa or New Zealand are not going to be interested in that information.
Email Tip – we recommend sending a welcome series of emails to new subscribers. Our series for Tourism Currents includes links to some of our most popular and helpful blog posts, then where to find us on social media, and finally ways to work with us. You can set this up to go out automatically, with whatever timing/spacing you think won’t be overwhelming for a new subscriber.
The Quickest Way to Start with Email Segmentation
When you really start digging into segmentation, the many options available can seem overwhelming.
Here is a way to get started when you already have a list but it isn’t segmented in any way….
Find out if your email service provider has pre-built segments, like the U.S.-only geolocation segment we mentioned above.
** Here is info on Mailchimp pre-built segments. This is the email service we use, so it’s the one that is most familiar to us.
** Here is Constant Contact info on segmentation; it looks like they also have some pre-built segments.
** Here is Emma info on segmentation; we can’t easily tell if they do pre-built, but there may be some basic ones.
One easy way to send your first segmented email is to see if your provider has a pre-built segment of your most engaged subscribers; the ones who open most of your emails and often click within them, too.
Send that segment an appreciation email. Thank them for being so interested and engaged, and include a special deal or offer just for them.
Segmenting the List You Already Have
1) After you’ve decided on a few segments that make sense for your organization, review your email signup forms across your website, Facebook, and anywhere else, and edit them to allow new subscribers to tick a box for what they’re most interested in hearing about from you.
For example…. just events, or just deals/offers, or just destination/attraction/hotel/partner business news, or all three. You could try some “how often do you want to hear from us?” frequency selections, too.
You’ll need to set up segments based on those preferences; research the procedures for this, and for editing signup forms, with your particular service provider.
Now your future subscribers can self-sort as they sign up.
2) Start getting your existing list to sort itself.
After researching how your provider suggests setting up segments from an existing list, send a series of emails that ask subscribers to pick their preferred types and/or frequency of emails. As they click, they’ll self-sort into those segments.
Send more than one email asking this, because of course, people don’t open every single thing that you send to them.
In a perfect world, we would have done all of this way back when we first set up our email list, but the second-best time to start segmenting is now!
Share your favorite ways to communicate with different segments of your email list in the comments below; we’d love to hear from you.
PS. A related blog post from our archives – how to combine email and social media marketing.
PPS. Tourism Currents shows you and/or your partners how to use digital destination marketing to bring more visitors to your town. We are a training and education resource no matter where you are in your career, or your knowledge level.
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