5 Techniques to Segment Your Newsletter Base


It’s never too soon to start segmenting your newsletter base. According to MailChimp, segmented emails earn more clicks (100,95%). They also have better numbers when it comes to abuse reports and unsubscriptions.

Segmenting allows you to reach people with information that is most relevant to them. Even if your base is small, this increases the likelihood that your content will be consumed, and that it will result in more conversions.

Your subscribers may be at various points in the sales funnel. They have various needs and concerns. You can’t reach all of them by broadcasting the same information to everyone. Here are just a few categories in which your customers might fall:

  • Interested in your brand, but not ready to make a purchase.
  • Interested in your product but have some questions or concerned.
  • Purchased your product in the past, but are hesitant to do so again.
  • Watch your videos or entered your giveaways.
  • Signed up for a trial or demo.

Your challenge is to figure out exactly how to approach this. To get started, check out these five techniques.

1. Look at Your Current Customer Data

The first place to look is at the data you’ve already collected on your subscribers. Obviously, you have a name and email address. Hopefully, you’ve gathered other information as well. Even age, sex, and location can be useful for creating segments. With this information you can:

  • Inform subscribers of events and special offers in their area
  • Change the tone of your content according to age demographic
  • If your products are gender-specific you can tailor your lists

This is a good place to start if you are in the early stages. As you gather more information, you can create more segments accordingly.

2. Consider Purchasing History

Once customers make a purchase, you have even more data to work with. Then, you can start segmenting customers based on that information. For example, you can:

  • Segment customers by product category. You can offer content that is relevant to each product category such as tutorials, and send relevant discounts and other offers.
  • Segment customers who purchase higher-end products and those who are more interested in bargain products.
  • Reach out to customers who haven’t made a purchase in a while.
  • Send relevant information to customers who have used free trials or downloaded product-specific content.
  • Contacting customers who have abandoned items in their shopping carts.

3. Use Polls Quizzes And Reviews to Learn More

There’s a good chance that you have audience segments you haven’t considered yet. One way to find specialized interests or concerns that you have yet to identify is to use polls and quizzes. Simply put, asking your audience directly is an excellent way to get a read on their interests and concerns.

Polls are an excellent tool for asking audience members to give you direct feedback on your products and services, their thoughts about your brand, and their interests. However, you have to be careful that polls aren’t too long or invasive. Otherwise, you risk your audience members not bothering to answer.

On the other hand, social media quizzes are an excellent way to gather much of the same insights in a way that customers may actually find enjoyable. The key is to make the quizzes fun and engaging. You’ll gain information you can use in a way that is painless to customers.

Some customers really do enjoy giving their feedback. Consider having a place on your site for customers to leave reviews like writing services companies do. It can help you to identify potential brand ambassadors.

4. Segment by Type of Engagement

Another thing to consider is how your customers are engaging with you. Customers who are participating in your community forums and downloading your white papers are likely interested in different content than those who have entered a giveaway you’re holding. The same is true for audience members who have only recently started following you on social media versus those who regularly comment on and share your posts.

When you know how your customers are already engaging with your brand, you can send newsletter content that addresses your audience members’ needs, interests, and concerns. At the same time, you can nudge them further down the funnel without overwhelming early funnel customers with too much sales oriented content.

5. Use Opt-ins Always

Like polls and quizzes, opt-ins are an easy way to identify customer segments, and to identify which customers would like to be placed in some of your existing segments. Even better, when customers opt-in, you know that they’re interested in receiving further communication from you about your products and services. Here are a few places where opt-in boxes work nicely:

  • When customers first subscribe to emails
  • On feedback forms
  • On online order forms
  • On product pages

Customers will appreciate the opportunity to select the information they’re interested in receiving. On a related note, make it easy for recipients to opt out of newsletter content as well.

Bonus: It’s Time to Get GDPR Compliant!

Speaking of opt-ins, it’s time to take further steps to ensure that your emails comply with new regulations. This includes using a double opt-in process, keeping an audit trail of the information you capture, and being prepared to disclose how you have obtained the customer data you have collected. Use clear language in your email to explain unsubscribe and opt-out procedures. It is also imperative that customers know who emails come from.

Remember that these regulations aren’t only for companies in the EU. If you collect customer data from email recipients in the EU, GDPR applies to your company.


Branded emails will always be hit and miss with customers. The best approach is to do everything possible to avoid recipients swiping your emails into the trash or marking your content as spam. You won’t succeed at that if you’re sending the same email content to everyone on your subscription list. Instead, by segmenting customers according to their interests, concerns, and their place in the customer journey, you can ensure that more audience members open your emails than before.

About Luisa Brenton

Luisa Brenton is a brand developer in the past; mom, educational blogger in the present. She writes in a variety of venues – academic, business, and online marketing content.