We have recently covered simple segmentation of email marketing lists based on age, gender, location, etc. Although it is quite basic it gives excellent improvement in returns, especially when the limited investment is taken into consideration. We can do more with segmentation though.
Your returns should show you what you are doing right and what needs work. Overall figures are all very well and an increase in, say, unsubscribes of a little over 1% over six months might not be of particular worry. However, if viewed through the more precise lens of a segmented list things might seem a little different.
Look for common features in those who have unsubscribed. Perhaps you find that there are a couple of statistically significant criteria. If you segment your list of unsubscribes according to their, let's say age range and location, you might well find that the increase is nearer 10%, something that will, no doubt, be of concern.
Segmentation has highlighted a problem and it can also help with the solution. If we initially consider the location, what we have to do is try and work out the possible causes.
If those in a certain town or city are unsubscribing then there are a number of possible reasons. For instance, if you have retail outlets in other areas, but in the problem one there are none, it suggests that a lack of familiarity with your company might be the problem.
The next step could be to identify those in the same area who have not unsubscribed and send them a marketing email which mentions previous experience, your feedback or another way of increasing your presence, perhaps via social media. If the unsubscribe rate drops then this shows a useful tactic or supports the idea of opening a shop in the area.
If we look at age, then a similar plan can be used. If, for instance, the range is from 55 upwards, you might consider a less, shall we say, exuberant style of email, something more subtle and refined, with fewer images of rappers. Now you are aware of the group likely to unsubscribe, you can segment the list according to those you consider at risk and then segment it again. Send your normal style of email to one group and a modified one to the other. The future unsubscribe rates will tell you if you have discovered an answer.
The most important consideration in extending the use of segmentation is to have a plan, possibly a target if that management model suits you. Look beyond the obvious. You might send out an offer to those who haven’t responded to a campaign for three months. Would it give greater returns if, instead of cutting profits to the bone for a one-off attempt, you sent out a series of three or more over a short period?
Obviously I don’t know the answer, but then neither do you. But you have a simple way of finding out.
Segmented email marketing lists can be used to identify a problem, to isolate individual causes and to provide the solution. Becoming familiar with the methods is an essential if you are serious about profits.