How to get started with segmentation

Now that we have a foundation and a better understanding of what segmentation is and its goal, we’ll go into how to get started.

You might asking yourself why this modules was structured a little different. It’s simple, the key of getting positive results from segmentation is in having a good strategy.

For this lesson, you’ll need to wear 3 different hats: Your analytical hat, your planning hat and your creative hat.

Let’s get started with 4 steps. Ready?

1) Goal

Let’s take a step back. I love doing this because it gets people to get the marketing, tools, technology, and all those things out of their heads and go back to the fundamentals of your business.

What is your business goal?

  • I make cupcakes
  • I provide sales training for companies
  • I have a clothing line

2) Data

How is data going to help you achieve your goal?

Before you start segmenting:

  1. Determine what data will help you sell more
  2. How is that data going to be organized
  3. How you’re going to acquire that data

Here are some examples:

  • If you sell and deliver cupcakes, the most important piece of data could be be geolocation
  • If you provide sales training for companies, maybe you’ll need to know the position your subscriber holds in the company, is he/she a decision maker?
  • If you sell clothes, is your subscribers male or female or group age, past purchases

Collecting data

To plan how you are going to acquire and use data, answer these three questions:

  • What data are we already collecting? – What you already have in place
  • What data can we start collecting? – You have the ability to track this but you are not segmenting with it
  • What data do we need to ask for? – You need this data and you will have to acquire it somehow

Some data you already have and maybe already use it to segment, then you have other data that is available for you but you’re not yet using. And then there is the data you don’t have, most like, you are going to have to ask for it.

Don’t worry, we’ll cover all this in the following lessons.

3) Design segments

You have your data in place, or you have managed to start collecting it. At this point you should have a clear idea of what you’re trying to achieve and how.

Now it’s easier to design a segmentation strategy, in other words, how you’re going to use that data to get yourself closer to your goal.

Let’s go with the cupcakes business for this example:

Data you already have

Geolocation. The ESP gets this info based on the user’s IP address and you can create segments based on that.

Data you can organize and use

Past purchases. Some of your subscribers already made purchases from you. You can use data from past orders to promote related products or offer discounts on a re-order.

Data you need to acquire

You want to know if they are ordering cupcakes for business (meetings and stuff like that), or they’re simply to take home. You can obviously have a whole different approach if they are for business use. But, you have no way of knowing this, so you’ll have to ask.

4) Tools

The use of technology is funny because for many of us, this is the scary part. It’s not, tools are supposed to make the whole thing painless. Nowadays, if you’re having trouble understanding how a tools works is probably because you’re using the wrong tool.

The goal here is to find the tools to help you gather the data you need. Let’s continue with our cupcake example (I’m getting hungry already):

4.1) Data you have

You already have the Geolocation data in place. Must ESPs will give you this.

Geolocation by IP address

4.2) Get and organize data you already collect

To get purchasing history, you could use an integration or a plugin to connect your store with your ESP. For example, you can connect Mailchimp and Shopify with a couple of clicks.

And just like that, there are plenty of available options for different systems.

Mailchimp + Shopify integration

4.3) Get the data you don’t have

Now, in order to figure out if your cupcakes are being ordered by a company, you need to ask.

You can send out a campaign with a quick survey. Since you’re trying to get that data inside your ESP, a Google form is out of the question.

You could use Survey Monkey integration to run the survey and get the data back to Mailchimp.


To motivate people to participate, and even make extra sales, you can reward participants with a discount coupon for the next order.


You understand that I’m not promoting any of these tools or suggesting this is what you have to do. It’s just easier to learn this stuff with an example like this.

Now, it’s time to apply all this stuff in your own business. To make it easier, I created a worksheet you can get here.

  • To target my list better, I need to know …

    a) What books they purchased before
    b) What target group (working from 9-5, working at home …) they belong to or what particular topics they are interested in.

    The data in the second point can be collected by adding an additional field to the sign-up form or by asking them. However, I don’t know how to get the first piece of data (point a) – I’m selling all my books on Amazon.