segment email marketing for better sales

If you’re following along with our blog, you’ve recently learned five easy ways to build your email marketing list. Now it’s time to segment those emails for improved performance. Why? Because segmenting your email distribution lists for improved target marketing will help your ecommerce business across the board.

According to an eMarketer statistic we found on Hubspot, segmenting your email list will results in 39% better open rates, 28% lower opt-outs or unsubscribes, and 24% better email deliverability, increased sales and greater revenue. Three cheers for those of us who already love to make lists. Our neuroticism is about to pay off, big time.

Unfortunately, no one size fits all when it comes to segmenting your email marketing lists. The best set of segments will depend on your individual business, your audience and your goals. You’ll have to try out different lists and see which combination works best for you, but we recommend checking out a few of the example segments below. Try a couple of these on for size to learn more about your buyer behavior, and eventually increase your sales.


Segment email marketing based on customer type.


New customers?

Welcome them! Some businesses offer a small discount on a second purchase as a thanks to customers who make their first purchase. This is a great way to start building a relationship with customers, and encourage repeat shoppers.


Long term customers?

Same notion applies to this segment of shoppers – thank them, and offer them entrance into some type of loyalty program. If you can get customers on board as brand ambassadors, they can help grow your brand and strengthen your reputation.


Left a review? Thank them!

Wouldn’t hurt to consider tossing in a small discount on their next purchase as a thanks. Email marketing in ecommerce is about driving more sales. If you give a little (like 10% off), you can get a lot (like a lifelong customer).


No review? Ask for one.

Revolve, an online clothing boutique for women, is great at formatting this in an easy going, non-pushy way. The tone and look matches their brand voice – young, fun, and catered to millennials. Come up with copy that reflects your brand standards, and encourages reviews without feeling overbearing. It can be as simple as, “Hey Tom, did you like your shoes? We’d love to know what you think!”


segment email marketing

Revolve email requesting review. Not pushy, and in line with brand voice.


Segment email marketing based on what they bought.


Divide email lists based on past purchases.

If you’re a pet supplies vendor and have a customer who bought a dog leash, what else might they be interested in? Send them an email with similar purchases, like dog toys, collars, etc.


Segment based on recurring purchases.

If you sell items that often need to be refilled or replaced (like soil, dog food, skin care products, etc.), send emails reminding the customer that it may be time to reorder.


Track opens and clicks within your newsletter.

You may send out a monthly marketing newsletter letting customers know what products are new, back in stock, top sellers, etc. Use your email marketing software to determine where customers are clicking within your newsletter. Segment based on what your customers seem interested in (you determine this by reviewing where they are clicking within the email content). In the Revolve emails I often receive, I have clicked on some of the dresses they marketed…which is why I later received the following email –


segment email marketing

I’m not actually in the market for a bridesmaid dress, but it was a smart assumption based on my activity within Revolve’s newsletters. Regardless, I do like these dresses. I may still buy one and wear it while I’m watching TLC.


Monitor subscriber activity.

Check the open rate of your emails, and see which subscribers are letting your messages collect cobwebs in their inbox. Send a follow-up email to subscribers with the greatest inactivity. This is often a “We Miss You” email (haven’t we all received those?) and may offer a small discount to encourage purchase and reengagement with your brand. Alternatively, you can create a segment for customers with the highest conversions through email. Invite them into a loyalty program, or ask them if they’d like to be a brand ambassador. Brand ambassadors are excellent opportunities for free press for your business, and solidify the relationship with what is likely a lifelong customer.


Don’t forget to reach out to customers who disappeared before completing purchase.

A reported 68% of buyers will leave a website before completing checkout. There are a variety of reasons for abandoning a cart and respective solutions (which we recommend you taking a look at, to be safe). It never hurts to send Houdini an email reminding them that they have items waiting in their shopping cart. Make sure these emails are friendly and non-invasive. The last thing you want to do is pressure a buyer, or make them feel guilty.

No matter how you segment, remember that email marketing is a highly effective tool for increasing sales and building your online presence. There is a happy medium between inundating a buyer’s inbox and being too shy with your emails. The more a buyer opens, clicks and buys, the more comfortable you should feel emailing them. Look at how many emails Revolve sent me.


segment email marketing

My (many) emails from Revolve. I will shop from them again.


I may have only purchased one item (so far), but believe me, I’m not going anywhere. Gauge your audience – do they typically participate online and in social media? If yes, you can get away with a few more emails than a company whose average buyer is a little older and a little less engaged online. Test things out, and see what fits for your business.



Editor’s Note: This blog post was written in July 2015 and updated in August 2018 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This