Divide & Conquer: How to Use Email List Segments

Two-way road to segment vehicles

According to a recent Hubspot survey, email marketing is still the dominant vehicle for ongoing customer communications. As you might imagine, in the last few years, email has outpaced phone calls, physical mail, and in-store promotions by a landslide.

With many businesses converting to online sales and remote work, this trend makes a ton of sense as email is still the easiest and most effective form of direct online communication. However, an interesting find from the study is that out of all their participants surveyed, Hubspot found that companies who used email marketing segmentation realized an almost 760% increase in profits! (Holy moly!)

If you have never tried email segmenting, now is a great time to learn how to utilize this SUPER effective marketing strategy to help increase conversion rates and boost sales.

Why Segment?

Email segmentation provides a wide array of benefits to improve your email marketing. Below are some reasons why you should look into this powerful outreach tactic:

List Health

Landing in the dreaded SPAM folder can be a result of poor email marketing performance (check out our recent explanation of ways to get out of SPAM hell if you have landed there).

Email hosts like Gmail or Yahoo determine SPAM using a variety of measures including your domain’s email engagement rates. If you are sending out an email to 5000 people and getting a 4% open rate, Google is going to decide that your list is unhealthy and may start diverting your emails to the SPAM folder.

To combat this, segmenting your lists and sending it to smaller collections of people targeting their specific needs can increase your open and engagement rates which will keep you out of the SPAM folder.


Not everyone joins your mailing list for the same reasons. A customer may be coming for a specific offer or you might have had a colleague join your list to keep up to date with your business.

Email segmentation allows you to document where and when people joined your mailing list and help you send them relevant content and offers. For instance, let’s say that you are a B2B business that has a new product delivering a new, valuable software service for law firms.

You can create a mailing segment of your list to only deliver this offer to those who represent law firms and lawyers and send them this offer. If later, you see how this same service is of value to financial planners, you can create and send a different, tailored message to this segment of your list. This will guarantee a higher engagement rate with the email and a better conversion rate.


A huge benefit to email segmentation is that you can get even more personalized with your email templates. Some of your customers may prefer a more formal approach, some may prefer a newsletter-style email, some may even enjoy a personal email from you now and again.

An email segment can help you curate content specific to that list’s needs, tone, and even aesthetics. This can help your business stand out from all the other emails sent because your mailing list enjoys your well-curated email rather than the generic newsletter that clearly hasn’t been created to meet their specific needs.


Let’s say that you worked with John Doe over a year ago and have noticed that he hasn’t opened an email in a few months. In fact, you have a few people on your list who haven’t opened an email for quite some time.

This non-engagement is bad for your mailing list health and bad for your profits if people aren’t engaging. Many email marketing platforms will help you create lists of inactive users.

To reengage with them, you can create targeted campaigns or emails designed to simply get them to start opening and responding to your emails again. Try an offer, a gentle reminder for a check-up, or a more “personal” feeling email that will entice them to reconnect.

We are big fans of Dean Jackson’s 9-word email as a great way to get people re-engaged and into a conversation.

Remember, everyone is at a different stage of their buyer’s journey. Someone not engaging on your list might just mean they aren’t ready to buy.

Reengaging people with materials curated to align with where they are in their own buyers’ journey will help make sure that when they are ready to purchase, you are top of mind.

How to Segment

If you are ready to try segmenting, the first thing you need to identify is how you want to define your segments.

Using an email marketing platform and landing pages, you can capture a ton of valuable information that can be used to create mailing list segments. Hidden fields can give you what site a person came from, what landing page they originated on, what offer they wanted, and other pertinent information you need to identify a customer.

Your CRM, when synced with your marketing, can also add contact information giving you locations, phone numbers, notes, and other very specific contact details. Any and all recorded data about your customers can be used to create a segment.

Segments should be specific to your business and usually center around who you are interacting with and why. List segments should be focused on specific details to which your customer will relate and with which they will be more likely to engage.

Segment your customers based on business type, services/products purchased, location, hobbies, or any other common grouping for which you can create specific materials that will be of interest (there’s that word again!). You should also segment for hot leads and potential clients to provide offers that will resonate with those individuals who are in the “buying phase” of your engagement.

For list health, you can set up your email marketing platform to create automatic segments for non-active users and even those who have unsubscribed (but be careful remarketing to these individuals – more personal, “we’d love to have you back” emails might be appropriate here).

This will help you manage and see in real-time your list activity and growth and help you start to identify ongoing strategies or tweaks you need to make to your current email strategy. You can evolve your email content quickly to identify what works and doesn’t work for your audiences.

This of course is just scratching the surface of what email list segmentation can do for your business. Although this process does add extra time and complexity to your email strategy, the benefits are HUGE because it allows you to improve your engagement to increase sales and retention.

Personalization in a sea of newsletters is always the best strategy and this is a built-in tactic to help you succeed.

Never tried email list segmentation or are interested in utilizing better practices? Give us a shout and we can help you learn how to use segmentation like a pro.