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Segmenting your data

November 6, 2013

I'm lucky enough to have a lovely independent book shop in my neighbourhood. They host readings from visiting authors, have a book club circle and hold a regular Saturday morning children's club… And they've just made their first foray in to email marketing.

Through some hard work and good business practice, they've built up a great database of both store and online customers. They know where their customers are based, when they last visited or purchased and where possible, what they purchased, and they can safely assume that their customers are interested in reading and the books they sell.

They pride themselves on having good relationships with their customers and the temptation would be to send out a blanket email campaign with all their exciting updates. But would a military historian be thrilled by the news of the latest release from Julia Donaldson? Similarly, a mother of two pre-school children may not be rushing to their eagerly anticipated presentation by Saul David. Most importantly, by bombarding their readers with ill-informed messages, would they damage the good relationship with their customers that they value so much?

Today's buyers are far more digitally-savvy. Information is abundant and buyers are using that easy access to tune out unwanted marketing messages. To keep up with today's consumers, we need to know what makes email truly trusted and engaging and how to talk to customers individually rather than as a group.

We are our choices, and consumers want personalised, relevant communications.

The process may at first appear daunting but it's a truth universally acknowledged that segmenting your database and sending targeted messages will lead to better results. 76% of all email marketing revenue came from more advanced practices than generic broadcast email - DMA UK's National Client Email Report (2013).

To move away from “batch and blast” style email campaigns there are some simple ways you can segment your data and start reaching the right people, at the right time, with the right message:

  • Purchase and search history may be used to encourage upsell of similar products or services, and you can also predict what new products a customer may be interested in based upon their purchase or search history
  • Know what is interesting- surveys and questionnaires may be used during the opt-in process to find out what topics your subscribers are most interested in and email them only the relevant content
  • Content consumption- look at how your subscribers consume the content of your emails and on your web site eg. If they show interest in a particular subject then send related articles, promotions or invitations to events
  • Business category- many of us provide products and services that are valuable to small businesses, large corporates and not for profit organisations so by grouping companies in to how they operate we can target the message we send to meet their needs

Email campaigns have the power to create stronger customer relationships, establish deeper brand loyalty and with a little hard work you'll soon reap the benefits of truly engaging with your customers.

And I apologise to all historians out there who read with their children, and to all parents who tuned in to Saul’s excellent 3 part series on Radio 4, "Bullets, Boots and Bandages." A truth is all the truer if it is sometimes false!

Posted by Rebecca McCormick

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