Does list segmentation really help email marketing?

Many people make the mistake to see their email list as a group of lined up Stormtroopers.


But your list is far from looking like that (and you’re not Darth Vader).

In fact, your list looks a little more like this:

Your list

And if you listen closely, you can hear them talk…

Your list, segmented

What is list segmentation?

Segmentation is a method used to categorize customers into groups with similarities. Segments are created based on information you have about your subscribers. For example:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geolocation
  • Behavior
  • Campaign activity
  • Purchases and more.

What’s the goal of segmentation?


Yes, as simple as that. Segmentation enables you to target a section of your list to send a more relevant campaign.

Segmentation puts specific content in front of unique prospects, and this means you have better chances of getting your campaign opened, clicked and maybe even converting to sales.

Segmentation can also prevent you from sending a campaign promoting your new special in meat to a vegetarian subscriber, or your new line of hoodies to an area in the middle of summer.

As you can imagine, all this stuff has really become more important over the recent years, consumers are a lot more savvy about what is marketed to them, how and when. People expect a more personalized experience with brands and companies they do business with.

What’s the impact of segmentation?

Email segmentation can dramatically improve your performance in different areas:

  • Increase in open rates
  • Increase in clicks
  • Increase in sales
  • Higher retention
  • Lower unsubscribe rates
  • Lower spam complaints

With this kind of performance, you are improving the health of your list. Here is what the research from Mailchimp had to say about the impact of segmentation:


These are the results of 11,000 segmented campaigns sent to almost 9 million recipient:

  • Opens: 14.91% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Unique Opens: 11.27% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Clicks: 55.49% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Bounces: 0.14% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Abuse Reports: 6.44% lower than non-segmented campaigns
  • Unsubs: 6.20% lower than non-segmented campaigns

But, the goal of segmentation is not really the health of your list.

The study conducted by Lyris also saw increments in these areas:

  • Sales leads: 24% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Revenue: 24% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Customer retention: 21% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • No. of transactions: 18% higher than non-segmented campaigns
  • Customer acquisition: 15% higher than non-segmented campaigns

List segmentation results

My results

Enough of studies, I promised you to share my own experience, and for that nothing better than a couple of screenshots from the results of 2 different campaigns.

The first one is an unsegmented campaign, this was sent to the entire list.

Unsegmented campaign

And this is segmented campaign, in fact, very targeted.

Segmented campaign

The segmented campaign, as you can see, outperforms the unsegmented one on every aspect:

  • Open rate: 84.6% against 21.7%
  • Clicks: 51.3% against 4.6%
  • Bounces: No bounces against 0.4%
  • Complaints: None versus 0.02%

Key Takeaway

What is the main benefit here? We’ve mentioned before that getting your email opened or getting clicks is never the end goal.

The reason you should absolutely start segmenting your list TODAY is because getting in front of the right audience with a relevant message will result in more sales, whatever it is you sell.

No homework yet. In the next lesson we’ll cover how to get started with segmentation.