How to Segment Email Messages for More Opens, Clicks, and Sales

In this tutorial, we talk about re-purposing and segmenting email messages for higher return on investment (ROI). By end of this video, you’ll have four different ways to tailor the exact same email message to different groups in your list and garner a higher return, whether that be through more appointments booked, a fatter list, or increased revenue.

Often times when we break up an email list, we do so for two different benefits:

1) We can present different segments with specific material only for them and exclude other segments. For example, in the fitness and health arena, companies often want to segment by male or female, whether it be a specific program or product or a new blog post that’s explicitly for one gender. If you send the same product out to both segments, you’re potentially weakening your relationship with half of the list while strengthening the other half.

2) The other (often overlooked) benefit is that marketers can send the same email message – slightly modified – to multiple segments in order to garner a higher response rate. If I split-test an email, I might send one to my entire list and get an open rate of 10%. The second, more customized email gets sent to three different sub-groupings, with (for example) the first group opening at 12%, the second at 20%, and the third at 15%, resulting in an aggregate open rate of 16%.

How do we use the same email message to garner more engagement? I’ll use our own company – CLVboost – as a business case study. We generally break up new customers into three separate buckets – those interested in more leads (traffic and list building), more eCommerce sales, and those focused on in-person sales (services). I might write a single blog post that sometimes only appeals to one group, but I can generally appeal to all three just by using the following four simple tailoring strategies.

4 Basic Criteria for Tailoring Email Messages

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1 – Subject Line

One of the easiest ways to tailor an email is to change the subject line. Say I’ve written a blog post about how to get people reading a blog to take the next step in the sales process and make a purchase; whether that entails getting on the phone and purchasing a service or buying something on the Internet, I want to show you how to use an article and video content to get that prospect to make a first purchase with you. This topic can easily be related to by all of my subgroups – eCommerce, list building, and service-based.

I’ll first show you the “lazy man’s strategy” for tailoring subjects lines, what I call flagging. If the original subject line was “how to turn blog readers into new customers”, then my flagging strategy would be to add the segment name right before i.e. “eCommerce Marketers: how to turn blog readers into new customers” or “Service Providers: how to turn blog readers into sales appointments”. Notice how I also slightly changed the latter half of the subject line to appeal to each audience’s primary interests.

Embedding a term is another way to pull this off – “How eCommerce marketers can…”  or “How Email List Builders can…” Basically, I’m just using the segment term somewhere in the subject line. This direct reference is simple but much more likely to garner engagement. You can certainly be more creative here, but it’s an easy way to get 50% more people to open an email.

2 – Lead-in

The lead-in is a simple concept, and it applies to the first two sentences in your email. I might send out a lead-in that says something along the lines of, “Today I wanted to share a blogging strategy that I have used with many of my eCommerce clients to generate more sales simply by writing blogs and creating YouTube content.” That first sentence grabs the reader’s attention. In journalism, it’s best practice to give people an early notion about why they should keep reading. A similar principle applies to emails, especially when tailored to a specific audience.

3 – Anchor textScreen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.17.24 PM

Anchor text are the words linked to where we’re trying to get people to click. If I want people to go to my blog, I can insert a simple flag into my anchor text. For example, with the anchor text “check out this new article on driving sales with blogs posts”, I might add “eCommerce marketers: check out this new article….” in my anchor text. I can also use an embedded term in my anchor text i.e. “check out this new article on driving more eCommerce sales with blogs posts”. This is a simple integration that will almost certainly get you more clicks.

 

4 – Pre-Anchor textScreen Shot 2015-12-10 at 1.19.29 PM

You can also add another line of pre-anchor text (the grey streak is in this image) instead of changing the  anchor text of an email. For example, I might add “half a dozen of our eCommerce marketers have used this with success: <anchor text>”. This gives the reader a preview and volleys up the relevance of the anchor text.

The Wrap Up

If you’re going to use any of the tailoring strategies, go for the subject line, but I suggest tinkering with all four to see what you like best and what seems to appeal to your email segments. Not only will your list thank you for giving them relevant information, but (almost) guaranteed you’ll get plenty of more opens.

Again, you it’s not necessary to write entirely new emails for each segment of your list; just a little creativity with an original message can yield a lot more firepower from your email in no time.

-Daniel Faggella
CLVboost Founder

 

 

About The Author

Daniel Faggella

I grow businesses with marketing automation, email marketing, and conversion-rate optimization. I've spoken on business and emerging technologies internationally and at some of America's finest schools (Yale, Stanford, Cornell, etc...). My marketing strategies have been featured in the Boston Business Journal, MarketingProfs, Direct Marketing News, and much more. CLVboost is where I share marketing strategies, TechEmergence.com is my major pursuit.