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Most people talk about different things with different people. With one friend, the conversation might usually focus on relationships; with another, talk turns more naturally to movies, books, sports, or politics.

You would be unlikely to appeal to your relationship-discussing friend if you were to engage in a monologue about your opinion of our current political leaders. However, if you started in with that same screed to your politics-loving friend, he or she would greet it with a smile that says "let the games begin!"

The same theory applies to communicating with your customers and prospects. "One of the most important things to keep in mind when developing your campaign is relevance," says Yael Penn, Principal of Imagine Creative Marketing.

"If you send a message recipients are interested in receiving, you will get their attention and your campaign will be a success," Penn says. "However, if your message is not relevant to their interests or current needs, they will most likely ignore it or, even worse, unsubscribe from your database, and you'll never be able to communicate with them again!"

Segmenting Your Database

So now you may be thinking, "Not all of the people in my database have the same interests, what should I do?" Before you send out a campaign, you should segment your database into several groups of people who share specific traits—age, gender, hobbies, job function, purchase history, etc.

Take whatever information you already have about the people in your database and put it to good use. This exercise will also give you some insight into the type of information you will want to gather to better segment your database in the future.

Then, once you're satisfied with the way you've segmented your database, you can create a message that will be relevant to each of those groups. "A lot of people make the mistake of creating email campaigns that appeal to themselves rather than their target audience," says Penn. "The more you know about your customers, the more you can customize the message, look, and feel to better speak to the people you are marketing to."

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Neil Anuskiewicz is director of business development for the StreamSend Email Marketing service, which also offers a private-label email marketing reseller program.