Two Keys To Email Success: Relevance And Segmenting

Email’s an effective way to market. But what makes an actual campaign effective? Here’s a hint: it’s not how big your list is or what time of day you send your emails.

Two research firms surveyed small, medium and large businesses about their email marketing to determine the most effective tactics for a good email campaign. The two most important components they found? Relevant and compelling content and segmenting lists to target that content.

Compelling Content = Big Challenge

All the businesses surveyed agreed that compelling, relevant content is the most effective email technique for keeping customers interested and engaged. No one wants to stay subscribed to boring emails. And if your newsletter isn’t related to what they signed up for, your readers are going to feel spammed.



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Your email content matters, especially with so many online distractions vying for your customers’ attention. The average online consumer spends about 51 seconds scanning over your newsletter. The actual content of your email matters for keeping their attention.

Despite naming content creation as the most effective email tactic, business marketers feel it’s also the most challenging. If you’re stuck for fresh email content, you’re not alone.

In fact, we wrote an entire guide just for you with some of the techniques we use ourselves to amp up our own emails. Download it to the right.

Key #2: Segmenting

It’s not surprising that segmenting an email audience came in as the second most effective tactic, since segmenting is part of offering relevant content.

Instead of sending one generic newsletter to your entire list, break your readers into smaller segments and send emails based on their interests.

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Here’s a perfect example: you own a local shop and you also sell goods online. You get email signups in your store and online. If you create two segments – one for local customers and one for out-of-town online ones – you can send in-store sale announcements to your local customers and online sale alerts to your online customers.

You’re also keeping your emails relevant – your online customers can’t visit your store to take advantage of in-store sales, after all.

You can use more than just location for segmenting. Check out our free guide to the right for ideas on targeting your own groups of customers.

Do you agree with the survey? What are your top keys to email success? Share your own story in the comments!

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6 Comments

  1. I agree. If you can entertain your subscribers while giving value you’re golden. And segmenting is like targeting inside your “already targeted” list… if that makes sense..lol Great post.

    7/15/2013 10:43 am
  2. Some people make their email newsletter all about selling. I find that alot of people unsubscribe from emails like this. So I make compelling and great content a focal point of my emails. This, and testing and tracking is pivotal to any online business owner’s success.

    7/16/2013 1:16 am
  3. Well hello Rebekah, definitely agree with the findings. By monitoring what your subscribers open and click upon you can start to understand what you should be sharing with them which will lead to higher conversions.

    Of course as you point out if we start from a logical segmentation point then we can find these sweet spots all the quicker.

    7/16/2013 6:34 am
  4. Dan

    Very good tips! I just finished reading through your “Brainstorm Content” guide and I must say that it really contained a lot of great tips. Content is paramount – especially in email marketing – so having different methods to stimulate our creative juices is always a big help.

    One thing I really connected with in the guide was when it says something to the effect of just writing even if it’s scribble. Sounds like a funny and simple statement, but this is what I’ve done to generate content ideas for years and it has been a big help for me! I think people try to ‘edit’ themselves too early on in the writing process. They stop & go trying to figure out if they have chosen the right words – or “oh what will people think about this, or what will people think about that?” instead of just writing and not interrupting the creative flow.

    Time & time again, I have found that my best content that people really connected with and really appreciated the most is the content that just flowed from my mind in a conversational manner and probably didn’t even take me but about 10 minutes to write. So obviously what works for me is just to write first and think (edit) later! (if any editing is needed at all).

    Basically just try writing like you do a forum post or a blog comment and I’ll bet you’d be surprised at the amount of content you can come up with! Well let me stop writing now coz this is turning into a article. See:)

    7/16/2013 4:30 pm
  5. Kim

    I read the instructions and watched the video on how to segment a list. Is the segment dynamic? If I create a segment for those who did not open my third follow up email, is this segment automatically updated with the newest subscribers who did not open the third follow up email when they received it?

    8/1/2013 9:19 pm
  6. Good article Rebekah! Segmentation is surely a challenge given the wide range of parameters to be considered while taking segmentation into account. One more solution to increase the relevancy of the message is by adapting to multi channel list segmentation developing customer intelligence and behavioral profiling! This as well might increase the email success rate!

    9/5/2013 1:12 am

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