How To Segment Your Subscribers for Nurturing & Conversion

Once you’ve generated a new lead, what happens next?

The best email marketing newsletters leave subscribers feel like “Wow, this was written just for me!” That’s the level of personalization and outcome that you’re looking for.

Successfully optimizing for conversions requires a thorough understanding of your subscriber and how he/she moves down your sales funnel.

What messages resonate with them? What sales messages and CTA’s convert?

Again, a good salesperson knows how to listen and how to personalize their sales pitch to the person sitting in front of them. In order to do this effectively online, we need to a.) clearly define our personas, and b.) segment our lists properly so that we’re sending personalized marketing messages to the appropriate segment groups.

The goal here isn’t to generate more leads, it’s to turn the leads you already have into customers.

But first, what are segments?

Once you’ve clearly defined your target personas, it’s time to begin segmenting your list. The easiest way to do this is to think of your segments as folders. And each new persona that you’ve created goes into a separate folder (i.e. a segment). Segmentation is simply the act of taking your contact list and breaking it up into smaller lists - these are your new segments.

So if you have a single product to sell to your email list for example, your two subscriber segments would be:

  1. Non-Customers
  2. New Customers

You would send non-customers educational and trust-building emails, case-studies, and a sales sequence. Essentially, emails designed to drive sales.

And you would send new customers follow up thank you emails, customer surveys, future up-sells, etc.

At first, you’ll what to keep things simple. But as your product or service grows in complexity, so will your segments. You’ll soon have:

  • Non-Customers
  • Customers
  • Repeat Customers
  • Upsell & Cross-Sell Customers
  • Upcoming Subscription Renewals
  • Evangelists

At this point, segments will become increasingly important and powerful as you begin to group subscribers based on interest. Some subscribers will move down your sales funnel and convert. These are likely characterized by your core personas. Other subscribers will never become customers - these are likely characterized by your negative personas (i.e. the opposite of who your target market represents).

Rather than marketing to everyone with the same message all at once, you’re going to segment your lists using your personas in order to create valuable relevant offers for each of your target audiences.

Why are segmented lists important?

You probably spend a lot of time optimizing your website and landing pages for conversion. Redesigning your pages, A/B testing, rewriting copy, using pop-up forms, etc.

If you’re not turning those subscribers into customers however, you either have a bad product/marketing fit or your message simply isn’t resonating with people. That’s the trouble with traditional broadcast emails - you’re marketing to everyone with the same message all at once.

You can keep generating more subscribers and widening your funnel, but if you aren’t effectively nurturing them down the funnel (to conversion), you’re wasting your time and energy. This is where segmenting your list(s) becomes powerful … you can create marketing campaigns unique to each group and send them to their own dedicated landing page so that you can create a highly relevant and targeted offer. From there, you can determine which segments are performing best and continue to optimize them for higher conversions.

How to segment your lists?

You can easily start to segment your lists based on data that you’ve already collected from opt-in forms as well as any specific interactions they’ve had with your website and content.

For example, if a lead visits your website and downloads your lead magnet, then registers for a demo or webinar, that’s an indication that they’re likely evaluating your software in order to make a purchasing decision. So you can now trigger your lead-nurturing email sequence to move them down your sales funnel to conversion.

Depending on your ESP, you can drill down as much as you want to create a list of leads that includes the following criteria:

  • Leads that downloaded my lead magnet
  • Leads who have viewed 5+ pieces of content
  • Leads that registered (and attended) a webinar

Now you can send a targeted email to engage these leads and nudge them towards a purchase.

Your ESP is going to offer some form of segmenting called “Groups” or “Tags.” Depending on how a subscriber interacts with your website or fills out a form, their subscriber information in your database should get updated. 

As they continue to interact with our website and our content, we’ll update their subscriber preferences and send them personalized email marketing messages (including sequences) specific to running an ecommerce store.

Remember, the whole point of segmentation is to allow you to send subscribers the right message at the right time. So the more you segment, the more relevant and effective your marketing messages are going to be. The goal is to turn more subscribers into customers.

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