If you’re using direct mail to drive sales in your business, then you know that half the battle is either won or lost when you select your list to mail.

If you don’t choose the best prospects for your product or service, then it doesn’t matter how great your sales message and offer is because you’re mailing the wrong people!

Well the same is true when you’re using email marketing.  If you try to email the same generic message to EVERYONE on your customer or prospect list then you’re not going to get a very good response.

Different messages will resonate with different people so the same email will not be as effective for everyone on your email list.

The key is to segment your list and then customize your email message to match the unique needs of each segment.


How to Segment Your Email Lists

There are endless ways to segment email lists.  At the most basic level, every business should have these two segments:

  1. Customers/clients/patients
  2. Prospects


This will allow you to email your prospects special offers to move them over to the customer segment.  But not all customers or all prospects are the same so you really should take this a few steps further.  Here are some other possible segments you may want to use:

  • New customer (within 1 month)
  • Repeat customer (2+ purchases or visits)
  • Inactive customer (no purchase within the past 6 months)
  • Male or Female prospect
  • Young or Old prospect
  • Free consultation prospect (someone who attended the free consult but did not buy)
  • Referral partner prospect (someone who was referred but did not buy)
  • Prospect who responded from a Print ad (this gives you insight into demographics and psychographics)


And the list goes on and on depending on your type of business and the level of detail you want to use to improve your email campaigns.


Customize Your Email Messages

Segmenting alone will do nothing unless you take the time to customize your email messages to match each segment.

For example, if you’re a dentist and you can segment the 60+ yr old male prospects, then you can write an email tailored specifically to 60+ men with pictures of attractive older men smiling so the email is 100% relevant.

Now if you sent that same email to the 20 – 35 yr old women on your list, then you would certainly not get a great response.  Even worse, you may turn off this particular segment so they opt out from receiving any more emails from you.

So not only will segmentation and customization improve your sales conversions, it’ll also reduce opt outs from people who don’t think your business is relevant to their current situation.


Next Steps

Review your current email list and make sure you’re at least segmenting customers vs. prospects.  Then make a list of all the other criteria you could use to customize your email messages so you get the biggest bang for your email marketing buck.

Finally, you need to implement a system to ensure your email list is updated on a frequent basis.  Many email list management programs and CRM systems can do this automatically.  If you need help setting this up then post a comment below and I’ll point you in the right direction.