The Secret To Being A B2B Email Marketing Wizard: List Segmentation

Posted by Douglas Burdett

If you pull back the curtain on the wizardry of awe-inspiring B2B email marketing, this secret will be revealed: list segmentation. 

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Most people are familiar with that scene in the Wizard of Oz when Toto pulls back the curtain, revealing the secret to what exactly is behind the all-powerful Oz.

Email is one of the most powerful marketing tactics. According to the Direct Marketing Association, the average ROI is 40:1. And according to a study by Message Systems, 63% of marketers cite email as the channel that offers the best ROI.

And if Toto were to pull back the curtain behind the Wizard of B2B Email Marketing, it would reveal …wait for it… list segmentation.

Your email list is one of the most important, valuable assets your business has. But it is perishable.

Studies show that email lists deteriorate by about 25% per year. That deterioration is primarily because people change jobs (and email addresses) and unsubscribe for various reasons.

So, the way to keep your email list working hard (and on a net growth trajectory) is to segment it. In other words, don’t send the same message to everyone on your list.

The people on your list are at widely varying stages of the customer lifecycle. Are the people on your list researching how to solve a problem? Researching solutions providers like your company? Are they a customer?

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Consideration should also be given to your different buyer personas. For a software company for instance, are you talking to the CFO who is concerned about initial purchase and recurring costs? The IT person who is giving more consideration to implementing the software? Or perhaps to the end user who will need to learn and use the software on the job?

Each of those buyer personas has different interests and concerns that can be addresses via segmented emails that are highly targeted.

Segmentation works. According to research by Lyris, Inc., email list segmentation helps drive results. When marketers were asked to indicate their top three results of using segmented email lists, 39% experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and increased sales leads.

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Here are additional examples of segmentation you can do to improve your email marketing results:

  • Geography – This is effective if the location of your recipient has an effect on the sale. For instance, does your business have geographic limitations? Is there an event within a certain geographic area that pertains to the recipients?
  • Industry – If your customers or prospect are in different industries (and have indicated such), targeted emails about their specific industry will have greater relevance.
  • Job Title (or Role) – Just like with your buyer personas, an email that speaks to the issues or concerns of a business owner might be different from a non-management employee.
  • Content – One of the best segmentation approaches is to send email based on what someone has already downloaded from your site. This can really boost the relevance.

A word of caution about email list segmentation: keep it simple. With marketing automation software, the segmentation possibilities are seemingly endless. Don’t go too far in that direction, at least not at first.

Instead, focus on the results of your segmentation so that you can reflect and analyze what’s working and not working. Then, do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working.

What do you think? Please join the conversation below. And if you found this helpful, please share it with your network.

photo credit: twm1340 via photopin cc

Charts and graphs courtesy of HubSpot 
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