I grew up on a farm.
In a Christian family.
So segmenting or separating sheep from goats and wheat from chaff was an easy concept for me to understand.
So when I began working with a small creative training company back in the late 2000’s the first thing I did was set up an entry strategy that allowed website visitors to receive content most relevant to them via email.
My client at the time sold a range of products suitable for professionals, home users, hobbyists and creative types. If we sent the same email message to all 4 categories of customer our message would be generic and watered down.
It would appeal to some, but not all of the audience on the list.
Segmenting allowed us to send specific email campaigns and messaging that resonated with each type of reader or interest group.
Segmentation also meant we could run more promotions, more often.
While our competitors focused on launching one product at a time to their whole list, we could launch 4 products simultaneously because we had 4 sub-categories of the market.
With this client, segmentation was probably an obvious move.
But what if you don’t see a definite distinction between types of people on your email list? Or haven’t taken the time to segment your list properly? Is it okay to send generic messages to your whole list?
I believe you can.
It’s not the most effective strategy.
But until you’re ready to get more serious about email marketing and segmentation this insight may help:
I have another client, let’s call him Tom. Right now we send emails to his whole list.
Everyone gets the same email message regardless of their interests or reasons for subscribing. Buyers and non-buyers alike.
You could say our only form of segmentation is to write emails that resonate with some subscribers but not all.
As a result, those who don’t feel our messages are relevant will eventually segment themselves by unsubscribing or tuning us out.
Again, not the best approach. But, not necessarily bad either. After all, you only want people on your list who resonate with the specific types of messages you want to send.
So here’s what we do instead of segmenting the list:
Before writing an email I think generally about the list as a whole and ask:
“What is everyone on the list interested in?”
From a universal standpoint, everyone on the list is a human being and therefore interested in themselves.
Humans also love stories.
So a safe bet when writing an email is to tell stories with a human-interest element, that benefit the reader in some way.
So I ask:
“What stories are both universally interesting and relevant to the work my client does?”
This question elicits a lot of answers.
For starters, I can write about what’s happening in my client’s life. After all, it’s his list … and people subscribed to get more information from him.
Second, I can write about industry related topics that may affect his subscribers – keeping my emails focused on what’s happening in the subscriber’s “world” is a sure-fire way to get and hold their attention.
Finally, I can write about people who are getting the kind of results my client delivers. People are always interested in the success stories of others.
So you see, even without segmenting the list, I can keep the emails general but specific enough to reach everyone in some way.
You can do the same.
Then, when the time is right, you can use segmentation strategies to build sub-lists based on more refined segmentation or interest criteria.
Hope this helps.
If you like what you’re reading …
Subscribe to my email newsletter for 2 or 3 hot tips each week you can use to get better results with email marketing.