Nov 28

Going for the masses or for segmentation in emailmarketing

Posted by Tim Bertens on 28/11/2008

It is almost a philosophical question looking at it from a different angle: do you want to go for quality or for volume? It is certainly an aspect that is often forgotten when using a very powerful medium like the internet and especially email.  But it is so easy to mail half the globe, sir… Well you really shouldn’t, so reconsider and read on!

Every advantage comes with a drawback

Of course emailmarketing campaigns are a god sent. It is one of the most effective ways to distribute your message in easy, cheap and fast way, to trigger actions from that message and measure the effectiveness of it. But as a famous Dutch soccer player/trainer said "every advantage comes with a drawback" (actually he reversed the statement "elk nadeel heb z'n voordeel" but that doesn't fit in my explanation). What I'm trying to say is that it is very tempting to abuse the power of emailmarketing and end up with bad results and a bad reputation.

Segmentation, what is it exactly?

"A market segment is a subgroup of people or organizations sharing one or more characteristics that cause them to have similar product and/or service needs." Thank you wikipedia, that gets us somewhere. Characteristics can really be anything: Simple ones like:

  • Sex: male or female
  • Language: Dutch, French or English
  • Age: between 19 and 23
  • Origin country: Belgium, UK or The Netherlands
  • Brown hair

or a bit more complex ones:

  • Turnover last year between €150k and €300k
  • Churned last month
  • Bought product X more than twice in the last 6 months
  • Has kids younger than 3

and any combination of the above and more... The overall goal is to be able to target your (potential) customers more effectively

Know your customers or prospects, collect data that you can use to segment

One of the most scary, but certainly very rich data marts are the ones that are built upon that data that comes from the so-called customer-loyalty-cards at your local supermarket. Truly, I hate them, I can never find them when the cashier asks for it, my wallet has an indigestion from them and I really don't want to reveal all my private stuff in exchange for 0,05% reduction.

Although you probably don't own a supermarket (or least not all of you do), to be able to segment your customers and prospects you need to know them and you need to have data that can be used as a parameter for segmentation. You would often be surprised how much you actually know about (especially) your customer. You know exactly what you have billed to your customer over the last years, you might keep a records of a the phone calls you had with them, you know his birthday, you know his son is going to high school next year. Although it can be in a structured or unstructured format, you know more than you think you do. Use that information!

You don't want to be targeted as a spammer or have people unsubcribed from your mailing list

After all when sending out your mail campaign you want to have some results, positive ones like people calling you, people ordering a specific good or service, people downloading a white-paper from your website, etc. What you don't want is that people loose interest in your emails or even worse in your company. And even if mail campaigns are very cheap it always comes with a cost, keeping the volume down will keep the cost down. Ask yourself the question: would you write to them if you were to sent a very expensive brochure? And more important a bad company reputation is even more costly and is very hard to correct! Think about it before you press the send button...

Creative Market