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Email Marketing

Building Email Lists by Quality: introduction, list segmenting

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In the previous chapter, we discussed the ways through which you could build up an email list by increasing the number of
subscribers. We will now turn the focus to making an email list that has the quality of members high in customer loyalty.

Building Email Lists by Quality

The fortunate thing about marketing, and email marketing in particular, is that you do not necessarily have to have a large
list of email addresses to be considered a success. Successful lists contain the email addresses of loyal and repeat customers.
These email lists may also contain referral sources or interested prospects from those who know your organization.
Obtaining new customer is very good for your business, but repeat customers are the ones that continue to drive sales.
Not to mention, this is the type of customer you want to turn new customers into.

We will focus this chapter on how to tailor your email marketing strategy towards current customers. The strategies of
Chapter 3 will still apply, especially when it comes to gaining permission from users.

List Segmenting/Categorization

When you send out an email to your customers, are they all going to have the same reaction and take the same course of
action that it calls for? If you send out the same email, then the answer is no.

List Segmenting/Categorization

No two customers are alike. The email marketing strategy of your organization should focus on tailoring emails and offers
to customers based on their preferences and what is relevant to each of them. This customization can occur in varying
degrees based on the type of business running the marketing strategy. Still, ideally your emails should be more tailored
to each individual rather than one standardized letter.

Segmenting your list and categorizing your email addresses is the best way to perform this customization. When you install
email marketing software from an ESP, it should have a feature to allow you to categorize and segment email addresses.
Here are a few features to look for when considering a piece of software to use for this purpose

  • Easy viewing
  • Simple organization
  • List sorting into categories that allow targeted emails
  • Database for unsubscribed email addresses
  • List query for finding information

Most ESP email marketing software offers these features, so when it comes to deciding, you can get whatever is easiest to
use while offering the best incentive. Best of all, ESPs keep it simple, and simplicity is sometimes the best course of action
when targeting certain demographics.


There are, however, pieces of email marketing software with more advanced features that let you target demographics with
even greater specificity. These are more expensive, and if you consider getting software with these features, ask yourself
if it would provide enough ROI to justify the amount you spend on it.

Some businesses use a different database for storing their email lists, but you should have an ESP that contains a database
of your email lists. This will keep things much simpler by having your lists and your tools all in one place.

Above all, do not be afraid to shop around for an ESP with the features you need. As we stated in Chapter 2, most ESPs
offer a free trial and you can switch at any time if there is no long term agreement.

Categorizing with Customer Information

As we have stated many times before, sending an email to customers requires their permission. Of course, getting their
permission also means that you are gaining permission from them to gather their information. This starts out small in
the beginning, at the time of subscription sign-up. Over time, though, you can gain more information about them, which
will help you in the long run to build a quality email list and build better customer relationships.

Categorizing with Customer Information

For new customers, you want to keep the amount of information you ask for to a minimum. This is usually just an email
address and the all important grant of permission to receive emails. Potential customers are wary of receiving emails from
someone new, so keeping this amount of information down to a minimum is the initial first step to gaining a customer's

After this initial sign-up and perhaps a few emails, you

can gather even more information about the customer. Gathering this information is valuable in that it helps you build
a quality list to help personalize it. This is beneficial for you as well as the customer. It helps you have more specific and
categorized lists, and the customer reaps the benefits of sharing his information. Some of the different types of information
you can ask for are listed here:

  • The Essentials – This is the information a potential customer already expects you to know, such as an email
    address and first name. You may also be able to ask for a ZIP code if it truly applies to your customers. This
    information is usually asked for up-front, but can be reserved for later.
  • Personal Information – This is the more detailed information about a customer that you may not
    automatically know online. This information can be used to send more specific and relevant offers, and it
    includes things like gender, age, preferences, or marital status.
  • Behavioral Information – This information refers to the actions a customer takes. This could include how a
    customer uses coupons, partakes in special offers, or the types of purchases the customer makes. This is very
    useful for personalizing a customer's shopping experience.

Now that we have discussed the types of information available, the question turns to how we can gather this information.
As we said before, asking for a bare minimum at sign-up is essential because a customer is wary of a new business to deal
with. The customer must be comfortable before he gives away more information, so this should be kept in mind when
deciding on when to ask him.

After the customer becomes used to the bare essentials of your emails, you can ask him for more information through
the following means

  • Sending a survey
  • Asking for information through your normal emails
  • Providing links on your website to gather information
  • Asking for information through other marketing means, such as mail or social media

Asking for Information

Remember how we said that no two customers are alike? Getting information from your customers requires that you ask
them questions. There are a few ways to go about out as we described in the previous section, but we will focus on what
kinds of questions to ask and how to incentivize the customer to share their information.

Asking for Information

There are two types of questions to ask when gathering customer information: open-ended questions and categoryspecific
questions. The latter are better to ask because you already have predetermined categories to help segment your
customers. Additionally, the question is much easier to answer than an open-ended question. Open-ended questions leave
the possibility of an infinite amount of answers that you simply cannot sift through.

One type of question you could ask is

"Why do you shop with us?"

This is the type of question you might see for a retail grocery store. Below it, you should have multiple answers that cover
any general, possible answer. The answers could include

  • To save money
  • The variety of products
  • The excellent customer service
  • Cleanliness
  • Easy to find products

.Each organization will have to come up with questions and answers specific to the type of business they run. Asking
questions like these help the business prioritize their special qualities, and by helping them improve, the customers are
also helping themselves. This information also helps the company know what interests specific customers so they know
what kind of offers or coupons to send them.

Of course, you are going to want to offer some kind of incentive for taking part in a survey that asks questions like
these. After all, your customer's time is valuable and you want to reward him for sharing his information. Some ideas for
incentives include

  • Offering priority deals and offers
  • Coupons
  • Exclusive members-only content
  • Information on upcoming events or promotions

This list is not all inclusive, and you can get very creative with the types of incentives you offer. Remember, though, that
what you do offer must be relevant to the user. If the user shops at your store because of the money-saving advantage,
you should give him coupons and information on special deals.

  1. Introduction to Email Marketing: what is email marketing?
  2. Using Email Marketing Software: email service provider, introduction
  3. Building Email Lists by Quantity: electronic communication, privacy
  4. Building Email Lists by Quality: introduction, list segmenting
  5. Crafting an Email: introduction, getting unread email noticed
  6. Analyzing and Tracking Your Email Marketing Strategy: introduction
  7. Resources: