What is email segmentation?

If you're wondering what’s the deal with email segmentation, why it matters for you and how to do it... then this guide is exactly what you need. In this blogpost, you will learn what is email segmentation, what are the most used segments and how to segment your email lists.
Catalina Mihai
Catalina Mihai
Email marketing specialist
Published:
September 18, 2019

Email marketing still remains one of the primary channels to spread the word about your products and services. Also, when it comes to converting customers, well-executed email marketing offers some of the highest returns on ad spend.

What is email segmentation?

Unfortunately, businesses fail to take advantage of email list segmentation and customizing their messaging to their audience – leading to high unsubscribe rates and low engagement, despite high interest. Many emails end up in spam folders because companies don’t take the time to treat their list of email addresses as a list of people.

Email segmentation is the process of dividing the email list into groups so as to facilitate the implementation of personalization in emails.

The right kind of segmentation can have tremendous positive implications on the campaign’s revenue generation.

Why you should segment your email list

Chances are, not everyone interacts with your business the same way. Understanding who they are and what they need from you will help you create a more targeted email campaign.
According to Mailchimp’s latest user, segmented email campaigns get 14.37% more opens and 64.78% more clicks than non-segmented campaigns.

Email segmentation is your superpower!

The WHO and WHAT of your audience

Finding out who is part of your audience and what they need/expect from you will be the very first step of your email segmentation.
Depending on your business type, a few ideas on how you can segment based on who someone is:

  • Job role
  • Industry
  • Company size
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Location

There is no point in selecting data you will never use, so before starting, make sure that you have a plan and you already know how to use that data in a meaningful way.
For example, if you run an online store you will need to segment based on the gender and location of your subscribers.

Finding out what made someone signup for your newsletter or become your client might be a little tricky. You will have to collect data and group it into 4-5 major segments. Those segments will help you create a better approach based on their needs.

Now, to find out the who and what, you might want to run a survey or, the more straightforward option would be to send them an email similar to:

“Hey! We’re in the process of reworking our upcoming content schedule and product lineup, and we want to be 100% positive that we’re giving you exactly what you need from us.

If you have a minute or two to spare, could you reply to this email with 1-2 sentences that describe who you are / what kind of business you run, and what’s the #1 thing you’re hoping to get help with from us?”

This type of email can be sent to your entire email list and it can also be part of the onboarding email sequences.

Another type of segments might be done based on their actions.

  • Recent buyers
    • Here you can also make micro-segments based on their subscription
  • Non-buyers and non-openers
    • Contacts who neither have both not opened an email in a given time (e.g. more than 3 months) and have also never purchased. This behavior indicates a lack of interest in your brand or products.

Most used types of segmentation

Based on engagement
Even if it’s a basic segmentation, it will have a huge impact on overall email campaign results.

The main metrics to start with are email open rate and email click rate. Based on that, you can segment active users vs. inactive users (people who haven’t opened your email for a while).
For active users who have engaged in the past, you can create a more targeted email campaign. An example would be to send them an email with a promotion taking place soon.
For inactive users, you can create an email series to make then re-engage. A survey should also do the trick and you will find out what they hope to receive from you (remember the “WHAT” I was talking at the beginning of the article).

Based on past purchases
You can also use your client's past purchases to optimize email targeting. The easiest way is to send them recommendations of similar items or services that will go well with their previous purchases.
Another suggestion would be, if their services/subscription expired, to send them a targeted email campaign based on their needs.

Based on their position in the sales funnel
This is a great way to increase revenue, and I would suggest focusing on two groups of people:

  1. People who looked at a product/service multiple times and didn’t add the product/service to the cart.
  2. People who have added the product to the cart and didn’t purchase.

You can take advantage of the opportunity and send them a follow-up email saying that their cart is still available for a limited period of time or send them an email featuring the products/items they were interested in and present them the advantages/features of those products.

Email segmentation shouldn’t be “the boo-boo” of your email strategy, instead, it should be the base of your strategy. By using an email marketing service and a bit of imagination, you can be able to start segmenting your email list even today. :)

Don’t be afraid of segmenting your email lists! Use the data you have in your advantage and get ready to improve your KPI’s!

Written by
Catalina Mihai
Email marketing specialist

Passionate about many things, but mostly about Online Marketing. I am a Digital Marketing Specialist and also the Co-founder of CodeMix.

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