Email Segmentation Lifts Sales Over $31,000

Segmentation PathsOver the past week or so, we’ve talked about email segmentation a few times.

While the three posts did show you how to segment your subscribers, they didn’t talk much about why you should do so, or what to say to different groups. Some of you asked about this.

Well, just the other day, AWeber user Yaro Starak talked about those very things on his blog, sharing how they helped him raise sales over $31,000.

A couple thoughts on his experience and results:

(If you haven’t done so already, go read Yaro’s post before continuing – it’ll put my comments below in much better context!)

  1. He started by communicating with all subscribers evenly – in other words, not segmenting.

    While it might seem counterintuitive, often sending a few emails without segmenting is the start of a good segmentation campaign.

    If you’re going to segment based on what different people are responding to… you have to give them a chance to respond first!

  2. Rather than just re-email the same message to non-openers, he tried different message content.

    In reading/listening to some marketers, I get the impression some people think the only or “best” segmenting tactic is to resend the same message to people who didn’t open it the first time.

    I’m all for exposing potential customers to a product multiple times, but this isn’t the only way to use segmentation (it’s one possible way, but you need to test it against different original content too!).

    Good on ya for testing, Yaro.

  3. He merged previously segmented groups back together, based on later actions.

    Segmentation doesn’t have to be complicated (though you can make it that way if you like… ;) ).

    Yaro sent the third message to people who clicked through on either of the first 2 messages.

    While this won’t always apply to your campaigns, if 2 different groups that you previously segmented start to show similarities, it may make sense to again treat them as one more uniform group.

Your Thoughts On Email Segmentation?

My notes certainly aren’t the only ideas you might take away from Yaro’s experience.

What approaches to email segmentation do you think you can take for your business?

Are there other ways you might have segmented in his example?

Share your thoughts below!


Note: segmenting based on opens and clicks is a feature of our Email Web Analytics tools.

If you signed up for AWeber on or after May 20, 2008 these tools are automatically included in your account; if you signed up before then, you can upgrade here.

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Justin Premick is the former Director of Educational Products at AWeber.

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14 Comments

  1. Susan Miller

    I am finding my reports about subscribers who opened or did not open messages inaccurate. After the last couple of issues of my broadcast newsletter, I have had people email me commenting on its content. These people have shown in my reports on the list of those who supposedly did not open the message. If I used this method of segmentation, I would be in real trouble! Please explain what is going wrong here.

    11/4/2008 3:59 pm
  2. Wow, I missed Yaro’s article, thanks for putting me back on track.

    I’ve read his post, and now I’m more inclined to get AWEBER’s analytics, sincerely… it is not "IF" anymore, it’s "when?"…

    Hint — I think next month as I have to finish some projects for now…

    11/4/2008 4:32 pm
  3. Susan,

    HTML email opens are tracked using a small (invisible) image.

    When the image loads (presumably by someone opening the email) an open is recorded.

    What you’re seeing is what happens when people don’t turn on images for your email, but still open it.

    A couple things you might do to address this:

    - Encourage readers to turn on images for your emails (it is possible to nudge them to do this by including relevant images in some of your emails, and then pointing out that if they can’t see the image, they should enable images in their email program).

    - Also encourage them to add you to their address book (in some email programs this will cause images to be turned on automatically).

    - Select your message content, and choose your words, appropriately so that they would not be offputting or offensive to someone who did open your email, but for whom an open could not be recorded.

    In other words, don’t say things like "since you didn’t open my last email…" – such blunt phrasing may be offputting, and it doesn’t allow for the possibility of people who have images turned off.

    If you notice, the subject lines on the emails Yaro sent are far more subtle (you can see them in a screenshot on his post).

    - Encourage clickthroughs on your emails.

    Whenever someone clicks on a link in your email, we will "infer" an open – in other words, even if they have images turned off, if they clicked on a link in your email, we know they must have opened it, and will record an open for them.

    Hope these tips help – thanks for asking!

    11/5/2008 9:42 am | Follow me on Twitter
  4. As always, great advice Justin.

    I’d like to offer a "how-to" article on segmenting and re-sending:

    http://www.yourezinecoach.com/2007/email-delivery-resending-an-email-to-non-openers.html

    11/5/2008 5:35 pm
  5. Jade

    It’s odd that when I read Yaro’s post, I gather from it that email segmentation and the emails he sent using segmentation contributed to $3,000 in sales from the examples given – not $31,000.

    The $31,000 mentioned does not appear to be a revenue lift resulting from the use of the new segmentation capabilities, but is instead simply a portion of his October 08 sales that was earned from 3 different products using his entire marketing strategy, not just email segmentation.

    Have I misread his posting and misconstrued the numbers? Or have you?

    11/6/2008 10:59 am
  6. this is all wonderful, and out of curiosity roughly how many subscribers does Yaro have in his mailing list?

    11/6/2008 9:59 pm
  7. would be interesting to have seen Yaro do a split test on this.

    11/7/2008 7:42 am
  8. Yaro states that segmenting basically allows him to *not annoy* the members of his list who don’t want a particular message.

    I certainly see the value of that, but the clear implication, in my mind, is that he is $31,000 richer than he would have been had he not segmented.

    Unless all the people that he did NOT market to (because he segmented his list) donated money to him for sparing them the inconvenience, I don’t see how that is remotely possible. Maybe I’m missing something.

    11/12/2008 8:27 pm
  9. One thing I’d really like to be able to do is exclude a segment when sending a Broadcast, in the same way that you can include or exclude other lists. For example; I’ve sent out a broadcast about a particular deal and a number of people have responded saying they would like further info. I’ve then put a market against each lead in the Ad Catagory field so I can email them more info in one shot. I’d then like to email the whole database again a few days later to remind them of the deal, but obviously exclude the segment that have already requested further info. Hope that makes sense!
    If there’s a way of doing this already that I’ve missed please let me know.

    11/26/2008 3:27 pm
  10. Andy,

    If you’re segmenting and sending to certain people based on a search like:

    Ad Category – IS – (whatever you chose)

    You can exclude those same people by segmenting so that:

    Ad Category – IS NOT – (whatever you chose)

    Basically, you create a segment that’s the opposite of the previous one you used.

    If you’re not sure what I mean by this, drop in with another comment and I’ll get in touch with some more specifics.

    11/26/2008 4:03 pm | Follow me on Twitter
  11. Hi Justin

    Many thanks for the suggestion, that’s exactly what I wanted to do. I actually realised that I’d be able to do it the way you suggested about 2 mins after I posted!, once I’d been back into the search leads screen and seen the "does not contain" option!

    As a suggestion though, for instances like this, it would be pretty cool if you could add a quick tick list field, like the stop field, and then use this to segment. What I mean is; You’d be able to go into the search leads screen and just click a tick against each lead you wanted to add to the segment. It would make it much quicker and easier to manage segmented responses.

    Thanks again

    11/26/2008 4:26 pm
  12. As a budding email entrepeneur, I also have to say I’ve read marketing in college-old school stuff. The marketing today is so much more dynamic, it’s hard to know where to start.
    Forget the fact that it used to be simpler, in today’s marketing, if you want to set your self aside from the others, you must be honest.
    If you can’t establish trust today, it’s all over.
    Segmentation only makes sense.
    Why should we (as marketers) try to sell someone something they have no interest in (hey, buddy, wanna buy a watch, psst, hey, over here…good stuff cheap….) when OUR JOB is to provide to a need?
    Or something someone WANTS.
    To do otherwise gives us a bad name similar to unwarranted views of car salesmen (in many many many cases).
    If you think of credibility and service, and see yourself as a productive member of society, good things will happen.

    7/9/2009 1:34 pm
  13. Hi William,

    Great points. . .

    I certainly believe that integrity flaws cannot be sustained long term- and people can only be fooled for a short period of time- and the cost of building a bad name is way more expensive than living out of integrity – in any business field-

    I wanted to post a quick note about something you said-

    yes – marketing is very dynamic in mediums and technology -

    however- principles don’t really change-

    some great classic books that have really helped us boost our response are-

    Claude Hopkins on Scientific Advertising

    and

    How I raised myself from failure to success in selling: from Frank Bettger

    these are turn of the century pioneer books in selling and marketing and will grow any serious student of the game in his or her effectiveness-

    Many Blessings- and good marketing!

    1/1/2010 10:18 am
  14. Dennis M

    I can’t really tell if this has been properly addressed yet, but I would also like to see (OR know) how to exclude certain subscriber segments from a list.

    For example: I’m sending out a survey to improve my product, but it’s near useless (and could potentially be annoying) to send it to people who subscribed to the after sales newsletter in the last 7 days.

    I would love to know how to exclude segments!

    Thanks for the other (awesome) tips AWeber and other commenters!

    7/21/2010 4:14 pm

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