Things have changed since Henry Ford said customers can have their car painted any color they want so long as it's black. Customers are a lot more in control now. You cannot sell the same product with the same messaging to everyone.

If you are an email marketer who is doing traditional "batch and blast" email marketing, now's a good time to start segmenting and sending triggered emails. Doing so allows you to send more relevant emails and achieves better response from your subscribers.

Most email service providers (ESPs) have tools that make it easy to segment your list and schedule triggered emails based on specific criteria. In addition, email reports generate specific subscribers who performed specific actions (e.g., clicked on a link) and other data useful in targeting your emails.

Although segmenting will help you target your emails and get you far better outcomes, many people hesitate to start because they are busy and think it will take a lot of time and effort. The reality is that you can start with some basic segmenting, and extend it later on.

Getting Started

Let's say you are in the wine business and you have a field in your database that delineates general palate preference: "dry," "sweet," and "both." In addition, you have another field that delineates wine color preference: "red," "white," and "both."

For those likely to respond to special sales on dry Cabernet, you would use the filtering feature provided by your ESP to choose those who have "dry" selected in the palate field and "red" selected in the color field. You could also expand your reach by selecting subscribers who have selected "both" in the palate and color fields. Accordingly, your sweet, white wine lovers are excluded from getting an email that is not directly relevant to them.

Use Your Reports

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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.