Segmenting your subscribers: the how and the why

‘Segmenting’ your subscriber lists is best-practice email marketing 101. In fact, a study conducted by MailChimp found that segmented campaigns have a 100.95% higher click rate than non-segmented ones. If you’re not already segmenting your customers – you’re going to want to read on.

The idea behind segmentation is simple. Rather than blasting all your emails out to everyone in your database, why not divvy up your customers into specific groups? That way, you can send each email only to the people you know want to read them. A campaign sent only to women with the subject line ‘Latest shoes for ladies’ would do a lot better than just ‘The latest shoes’ to your whole database.

Segmenting can become even more fine grained with new technologies. You don’t just have to cut your database down the middle into ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ leads anymore. Targeting can be far more refined. Imagine being able to send a tailored campaign out to ‘Male customers in Melbourne who haven’t purchased in the last three months’?

Guess what? It’s already possible. And your ecommerce business can, and should, be tapping into that power.  

Most email platforms make segmenting your customers easy. Plus, integrating your ecommerce store or CRM to your email platform means you can get even more fine-grained with your groupings. Take a look at your email platforms help documentation, or get in touch with their support team for more information on how to create lists in the software you use.

For now, let’s take a look at some grouping ideas.


Generally, the more demographic information you can get about your customers, the better. Depending on your product, things such as gender, age or interests can be incredibly useful.

For example, if you sold perfume and cologne, it would be beneficial to know the gender of each subscriber. That way, the men wouldn’t be sent anything in a fuschia bottle, and the women wouldn’t be asked if they’d like to smell like wood shavings.

You’ll often need to ask for demographic data. It’s not generally something that you can find out for yourself. We’d recommend asking for this information slowly over time so you don’t frighten subscribers from signing up with a big scary form. Try sending a welcome email thanking the customer for subscribing, then wait a few days and offer to make your service better for their unique interests by asking for a little more information.

Alternatively, you can assume a customer’s demographical data based on other factors such as their purchase history. (A customer that has purchased ‘Lumberjack Eau De Toilette’ is likely to be a man, for example). Although this is an imperfect method, so should be used with caution.  


Many platforms allow you to track this kind of information based on IP. This is great – you’ll already have all the data you need without having to do any more customer profiling.

Location data is incredibly useful for a few reasons.

For a start, you can ensure your emails are going out at the most effective time for each particular time zone. If your emails perform better based on the working hours of your audience – it’s important you make sure everyone is getting them at the same time of day, relative to their location.

Secondly, let’s say you have a few brick-and-mortar locations around, and one of your shops has an excess of stock you need to clear out. With the right location data, you can target only those within driving distance of that particular store. This means you’re not bothering other members of your database with emails that are irrelevant to them.

Location data is also fantastic for businesses that specialise in events, performances, real estate, or other boots-on-the-ground services. Use your imagination, and make the most of it!  


Your marketing strategies should strive towards making all your customers a brand advocate. But in reality, not everyone will be as engaged as your biggest fan.

Engagement metrics – such as open, click through, and conversion rates – can be leveraged very effectively. Sending different topics or content to people of different interest levels can help boost the engagement of your lackluster followers. Plus, it also allows you to follow up on people you know were engaged in a previous campaign, by sending them more with similar products or content.

Here’s an example. Let’s say you send an email out to your entire database promoting your new range of Dark Roasted Coffee Beans. You receive a solid 30% open rate on your campaign, and a week later, you’d like to do a follow up.

By segmenting your database into those who did and did not open the previous campaign – then sending two follow-up emails: one for each group – you can better target your messaging to improve the relevance and performance of your campaign for each subscriber.

The 30% who opened the email but didn’t purchase might receive a reminder. The 70% who didn’t open the campaign at all could receive the previous campaign, but with a more engaging subject line or at a different time of time.

Average spend

Syncing your ecommerce and email marketing platforms is incredibly beneficial.

Not only does it make conversion reporting infinitely better, but it also gives you plenty of data you can use to refine your targeting further. And one of the best ways to use this data for targeting is to calculate your customers’ average spends.

Many ecommerce stores have a huge variety of products – and these come with a huge variety of price tags. Customers, too, have wallets in all shapes and sizes. So knowing what budget each customer is likely to have means you recommend them products they’re more likely to purchase.

Not only does this help boost your conversion rate, but clever marketers will be able to use this data to know when upsells will and won’t be successful.

Last Purchase

Another great piece of data from your ecommerce platform you can easily put to use in your email marketing is a customer’s last purchase date.

We’ve discussed replenishment marketing in other posts (reminders to ‘stock up’ on products a customer will run out of and need again, automated to send a week or so before they’re likely to need to repurchase). But how about another great use?

Winback campaigns. If your customer has gone cold, you can train your email platform to send them laddered incentives to (hopefully) win them back.

Let’s say a customer’s last purchase was three months ago. That doesn’t have to mean you’ve lost them for good. Set up an automation to re-engage these cold clients with a 5% discount offer. Still no re-purchase? Try a 10% offer a month later.

Winback campaigns can be tailored to suit your business and customer base. Have them fire off exactly when your customer’s are at danger of being lost forever, and you’ll be surprised how effective they can be.  

Hi, I’m Jackson; Andzen's Digital Content Producer. I write copy for our client businesses - whether it be email campaigns, blog posts, social media posts or something new. It's my job to write stuff that converts, boosts engagement and pushes brands to new heights. In my spare time, I enjoy piano, reading books, and writing short stories.

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