Email marketing is a huge revenue-driver for retailers. In fact, a lot of companies will point to it as their number one digital marketing channel.
Research shows that, for every $1 spent, the average return on email marketing investment is about $44.25.
But for all the power of email, many brands have yet to scratch the surface of targeting and personalization. You could be a thirty-four year-old man and still receive emails from a clothing store about specials on red dresses.
This all comes down to building a list segmentation strategy for your emails.
List segmentation is the art of dividing your subscribers into separate lists based on demographics, preferences, and customer behavior. Segmentation really works – smaller, targeted email lists consistently see higher engagement than larger lists and 23% of email engagement can be attributed to segmentation strategy.
But how should you segment your list? And what kinds of content should you send to those different segments?
Here’s a quick breakdown of six email list segmentations strategies for retailers:
1. Send Gender-Specific Campaigns.
Whether by survey or asking during sign-up, businesses should always try to have different segments for gender.
This way, when you’re personalizing email content for campaigns, you can make sure that you’re offering targeted product offerings and email graphics.
2. Personalize Purchase Recommendations.
Companies like Amazon have thrived by personalizing product recommendations for customers.
By segmenting offers and email campaigns according to the past purchases made by each customer, you can do the same by creating far more targeted email offers in the future.
3. Build a Loyalty Program.
If customers have a steady and consistent purchase history, you should segment based on that data and build a special loyalty program, offering exclusive deals and discounts that make sure that your most loyal customers feel appreciated.
4. Offer Purchase-Based Rewards.
You can also segment by number of purchases. If you have an email list for customers who have bought one item and another for customers who have bought three or more items, for example, you can send special promotions to people who have become part of the latter list and promote free or discounted items as an incentive for purchasing a certain amount.
This rewards program model can be built up for many different tiers and businesses can encourage customers to keep buying by offering specials at certain levels.
4. Get Geo-Specific.
At this time of year, clothing retailers should make sure that customers in the Northeast aren’t getting offers for shorts and tshirts. Likewise, it’s probably safe to assume that customers in Florida are almost never going to be interested in winter jackets or boots.
Also, you don’t want to send an email out to the West Coast if no one has even woken up yet.
Segmenting by geography can help marketers target by time zone and location, ensuring that you can better sync up offers with regional buying patterns, local stores and events.
5. Think Mobile – and Think Desktop.
Our research has found that more than two-thirds of email opens occur on mobile devices. That said, there are still a lot of people who prefer to open emails and shop on their desktop computers.
If you can track mobile and desktop opens – or just send a survey asking how customers prefer to engage with email – you can segment your subscribers and create responsive emails for one list and traditional emails with another.
Knowing customers are mobile can help inform campaigns that you might want to send to customers who are on-the-go and might be passing by the store on a weekday.
6. Track In-Store and Online Purchases.
If your business has retail locations with customers who are signing up or visiting in the store, you should make sure to take that into account. Retail visitors are likely going to be interested in products and specials that are available in their local store, so they should be segmented differently than customers who always buy online.
Segmenting for retail customers can also help store managers drive foot traffic to storefronts.
The Next Step of Segmentation: Context
Segmentation strategies are dependent on customer data. While you might not want to scare customers off by asking for five different fields during sign-up, you can always send out surveys or customize content by tracking click-throughs to help customize and enhance the user experience.
But with the right technology, you don’t even have to segment for variables like location or time of open, because the email automatically detects those variables and customizes the content for the recipient’s current context.
Segmentation strategies allow marketers to get a lot more creative when it comes to personalizing email campaigns. Contextual emails, by allowing marketers to create content that can respond, in real-time, to an individual’s device, location and time-of-open, can bring that personalization to a whole new level.