Marketing
Jun 8, 2022

Divide & Conquer: Using Audience Segmentation To Boost Email Conversions

Understanding key segments of your audience will make your marketing efforts more efficient and your campaigns more successful. Here’s what you need to know.

Shanif Dhanani

There’s a reason email addresses are treated like gold by marketers: email marketing campaigns are one of the most effective ecommerce tools today. 

Emails allow you to connect directly with your customers, and the data you can gather simply from their clicks is invaluable in shaping your marketing strategy. But to go from clicks to conversions, you need a strategy that understands your customers on a deeper level.

Why segmenting your audience is a powerful marketing move

Understanding your audience and tapping into the power of personalized marketing makes for effective ecommerce campaigns. When you can separate your audience into groups, you can craft campaigns specifically designed to appeal to each group’s needs. 

Launching an ecommerce campaign focused on segmented audiences can help you…

  • Form a more practical and complete definition of your target audience.
  • Generate new leads and increase your company’s growth and sales potential.
  • Create marketing with tailored messages that resonate with your audiences.
  • Build better relationships with your customers, encouraging brand loyalty and repeat purchases.
  • Recapture at-risk audiences and turn them into paying customers again.
  • Drive up conversion rates to meet (and exceed) sales goals.

Sounds like good news for your marketing plan, right? 

Ways to segment audiences

Now that you know what audience segmentation can do, let’s get into the how. There are many different ways to divide your audience up into segments. Here are some of the most important approaches to segmentation:

Demographics - Audiences can be segmented based on demographics like age, gender, location, income level, job type, and more.

Psychographics - Audiences can be segmented not just by who they are, but what they want, how they feel, and what they believe.

Purchasing Behavior - Going even further, audiences can be segmented by their behavior. What do they buy and why? How often do they purchase? Do they shop around, research competitors, wait for a deal? The differences in these behaviors can be defined as audience segments.

Buyer’s Journey - Similar to purchasing behavior, audiences can be segmented based on where they are in their buyer’s journey: product awareness, product consideration, or product purchase.

Engagement Level - Finally, audiences can be segmented by their engagement level with a brand. Are customers your #1 fan, opening every email and liking every post? Have they been leaving you on read? Or do they fall somewhere in between? Tracking engagement levels is another way to segment audiences.

Understanding each of these audience segments on their own and how they relate to one another is key to launching effective marketing campaigns. However, you won’t necessarily need to utilize every method of segmentation for every type of campaign. 

Some approaches to segmentation naturally lend themselves more to specific marketing ventures. For instance, understanding your target audience’s demographics allows you to create Facebook ad campaigns aimed towards potential new customers. However, demographics may be less useful in running sales emails to customers already on your email list. 

With that in mind, let’s examine some of the best ways to segment audiences specifically for high-converting email campaigns.

Turning audience segments into campaigns that convert

To craft high-converting email campaigns, we recommend starting with the purchasing behavior and engagement level segments of your audience. These are two of the most important ways of segmenting your audience with specific conversion goals in mind, and can help you drive significant sales.

To show you how these segments can be used to craft effective email sales campaigns, let’s examine a few ways to segment your audience based on their purchasing behavior and engagement level.

Big spenders

Who belongs in this segment?

This audience segment is made up of customers who have previously made significant purchases from your brand. They have a proven track record of investing financially in your offer.

How can I use this segment to drive conversions?

Since this segment’s behavior indicates they are willing to spend more, create a targeted email campaign that encourages them to do just that. For example, you can offer free shipping for purchases over a certain amount, or throw in a free or heavily-discounted add-on item if they spend enough. These simple deals work to incentivize the customers to purchase, while at the same time encouraging them to spend more when they do so.

Discount seekers

Who belongs in this segment?

This audience segment loves a deal. Their previous purchasing behavior and engagement with your brand indicates they are most likely to buy when you offer a sale or discount.

How can I use this segment to drive conversions?

As you can probably guess, the best way to drive conversions from a deal-loving audience is to make them an offer they can’t refuse! A targeted email campaign with a flash sale is a great option here: entice them with a discount, and convince them to purchase now by making it a limited-time offer. Another highly successful option for a discount seeking segment is to offer a small discount upfront (say 10% off), in exchange for a higher percentage discount off a future item, delivered after initial purchase.

At-risk customers

Who belongs in this segment?

At-risk customers are those whose level of engagement has dropped off since they first made a purchase with your brand. They’re a crucial segment to target so you can recapture their attention (and purchasing power) before they disengage from your brand completely.

How can I use this segment to drive conversions?

Once you’ve identified your at-risk customers, you can use a targeted email campaign to win them back. We’ve seen a lot of success in re-converting this segment by offering a series of progressively increasing discounts. 

Why not offer everyone the same deal?

You may be thinking, Creating a different campaign for each audience segment sounds like a lot of work. Can’t I just do a sales blast to my entire list? 

Well, you could do that. But the point of segmenting your audience is acknowledging that they make purchases for different reasons. When you understand these reasons, you can employ a marketing strategy that optimizes your sales potential.

For example, you could run an email campaign to your entire audience offering a 30% discount. It’s a good enough sale that you might pick up conversions across the high spenders, discount seekers, and at-risk customers segments. But the high spenders may have been willing to pay more, which means you’ve lost out on a bigger sale. The at-risk customers might have been enticed enough by a lower discount to come back, and the discount seekers may have been equally swayed to purchase by the promise of 10% off. By creating just one generic sales push for all of these audiences, you’ve lost out on a lot of sales potential.

When you segment your audiences, you can create targeted campaigns that result in more conversions, more sales, and higher revenue for your business.

Using data to effectively segment your audiences

When segmenting your audiences, it’s important to take a data-driven approach. See what segmentation options are offered by your marketing automation platform or CRM service. You will want to set up systems that enable you to gather key data about your audience that allows you to build comprehensive, targetable segments and personalized marketing campaigns.

Not sure where to start? (Or just worried that sounds like a lot of work?) We’ve got you covered! Apteo analyzes your customer data automatically with A.I. to generate key audience segments based on their purchasing behavior, engagement level, buyer's journey, and more. 

We also offer predictive analytics for each segment, such as average time between purchases and average order value, to help you understand your customer's behavior, anticipate their needs, and craft more appealing campaigns. See the power of personalized email campaigns created by data-driven audience segmentation for your brand today with a free trial of Apteo.

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About the author
Shanif Dhanani
Co-Founder and CEO, Apteo

Shanif Dhanani is the co-founder & CEO of Apteo. Prior to Apteo, Shanif was a data scientist and software engineer at Twitter, and prior to that he was the lead engineer and head of analytics at TapCommerce, a NYC-based ad tech startup acquired by Twitter. He has a passion for all things data and analytics, loves adventure traveling, and generally loves living in New York City.