MailChimp 101: In Depth Segmentation

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I think we should break up

Segmentation means breaking down your contacts into groups. It lets you target different demographics more directly and, essentially, be better at marketing. This MailChimp 101 piece goes over what segmentation does and how to make it happen using MailChimp's business email software.

About Segmentation 

Segments are used to create "target audiences". Basically, you group people together into segments based on something they all share - such as particular interest you know about, an age group, a location or any other "condition". That's why the more you know about your customers, the better. You then use your segments to write different kinds of emails that your customers will find relevant to them.

MailChimp takes segmenting way further than you could do by yourself.

Say you're trying to segment manually, and simply create different lists. You'd probably manage to make decently effective segments based on where people signed up for your mailing list, what age or gender bracket they're in, your most recent shoppers, and maybe even "everybody who bought x product". 

When you connect MailChimp and Shopify together, MailChimp digs deep into your ecommerce data. It lets you create segments like,

  • Subscribers who opened any of your last five email campaigns
  • Subscribers who didn't click in your last campaign
  • Subscribed, unsubscribed, or non-subscribed contacts who recently purchased a product
  • Subscribed, unsubscribed, or non-subscribed contacts who live in a certain geographical location
  • Unsubscribed or non-subscribed contacts who spent more than a certain amount within your e-commerce store

By using these kinds of conditions, you'll be able to write hyper-targeted messages, and take a lot of the guesswork out. For example, if you know you're writing to unsubscribed contacts, your call to action could focus on why they should subscribe to your newsletter - but that's a pretty useless message for people who already do get your weekly emails. If you're writing to people who didn't click on your last email, you'll be using phrases like "Your friends saved $7,000 from our last flash sale. You don't want to miss out again, do you?".

People change

With lists based on demographics, you can do a lot to target your messaging. But with the kinds of segments described above, you can expect the lists to change around quite a bit as your contacts subscribe and unsubscribe, buy things and click through your emails. Using segmentations that are based on actions rather than simply demographics can mean you're getting a broader mix of people in your emails. 

How does segmentation increase traffic?

Segments are an important part of driving traffic to your website (and in the end, conversions) because it helps you do the following.

Know where your traffic is coming from

One of the advantages of integrating MailChimp and Shopify is that you can see exactly which ads and websites you're getting email subscribers from, and which emails you send out actually make sales. Writing email campaigns that are segmented can help you test out what's working, what channels are your most effective, and where you have opportunity for growth.

Write targeted messages

People want to pretend that you're writing directly to them, and not to hundreds or thousands of others like them. The more targeted, the better for driving traffic. If you have time to write a message that uses the language, time frame, photos and products that resonates with a very tiny slice of your audience, segmentation helps you find them. 

Keep long-term customers

We all know that getting repeat customers costs less money per purchase for marketing, and helps you build your brand. Would you treat an old friend like someone you just met? Segmentation helps you write emails differently for your regulars or big spenders than for your fresh-faced customers. 

Save time

Figuring out who to write to can take a lot of time. MailChimp has made it really easy to select a segment, write a campaign template, make small adjustments for other segments, and keep track of it all. 

What are the major types of segments I can make?

1. Demographics segments

Use MailChimp’s Predicted Demographics tool which guesses your subscriber's predict a subscriber’s age, language, and gender. You can then tailor your content to match what they're expected to like. 

2. E-commerce segments

E-commerce segments are based around data that comes from your Shopify store, and include information about purchases, website views, abandoned carts etc. You can segment based on particular items that people have purchased, the date or timeframe they made purchases, how much they've spent and tons more. 

MailChimp has what's called a "pre-built segment" which means it can put together a list for you based on your ecommerce info. These can include: 

  • Potential Customers: Subscribers who haven’t made a purchase from your store.
  • Recent Customers: Customers who have purchased in the past 30 days.
  • First-time Customers: Subscribers who have recently made their first purchase.
  • Repeat Customers: Customers who have placed at least two orders from your store.
  • Lapsed Customers: Customers who haven’t purchased in the past eight months.

3. Email engagement segments

These are based on interactions with email blasts (or "campaigns" in Chimp Lingo), for example who did/n't click on a link from your last email. These kinds of segments can be used to try to re-engage people who have dropped off a bit, help you follow up on a previous email or reward people for staying involved. 

4. Interest group segments

These segments are created based on specific interests people have chosen when signing up for your lists. This is particularly useful for companies that have newsletters that touch on different subjects, in-depth emails and daily digests. Customers can choose which they want to subscribe to, or you can offer a tick list when they sign up to learn more about which subjects they want to hear about. Giving people choices about how often they want to hear from you or what content they want is a good way to stay engaged with more customers -- and avoid bombarding them with too much information they aren't interested in. 

5. List activity segments

Similar to email engagement, list activity segments are based on the time and place people subscribe, such as your website, Facebook, or a host blog. You can, for example, send an email just to people who signed up from a particular site and thank them. 

6. Location segments

These help you target people based on where they are. That means you can target people by location, mention location-specific deals (for example, "free shipping now available to the US"), or use relevant current events or news from that area as part of your hook/content. 

Gotta catch 'em all

Obviously, there are times when you'll want to send an email out to everyone you know - when you make a big change such as a rebrand or url change, when you're expanding to new places or when you won the Nobel prize. But for the most part, offering targeted marketing definitely includes targeted emails. 

Next Up In Our Series

We’re rolling out more tips and tricks on MailChimp, and will be moving on to automation and how it works in the next article.

For more information on Mailchimp and how it works, feel free to contact Elkfox today! 

Images via MailChimp