10 Simple Ways to Segment Your Email List for More Conversions

An email list that’s built organically and segments for the right audience will drive more conversions.

You can never put a good one down, as the saying goes. In content marketing, the same thing applies to email marketing.

Despite the proliferation of digital marketing strategies – from social media, mobile, SEO, paid ads, and others – email marketing continues to lead the game in key performance areas including conversion rates.

However, it takes a good email list that’s built organically and which targets the right audience to get more conversions, which is what list segmentation is all about.

What is List Segmentation?

List segmentation pertains to the grouping of contacts in your list based on the information you have about them. This information may relate to their demographics, buying history, or familiarity with your company. Basically, anything that will give you more insights about your potential customers.

With these types of information, you then come up with personalized content or messages to target those segments which will increase conversions.

The 10 Ways to Segment for More Conversions

There are many ways you can segment your email list, but here are some of the simplest and easiest ones:

1. Demographics

Demographics are the most basic way to segment your lists. With demographic data, you only focus on any quantifiable characteristic of your email contacts such as their age, gender, job, location, and the like.

Although this information comes from the base level, it’s helpful in identifying your audience’s needs or interests. For instance, you might want to avoid sending promotional emails about your upcoming wedding fair to people who are in their retirement age since their goals or priorities are different from what your campaign is promoting.

These physical or socio-economic attributes are also way easier to determine compared to behavioral data, so this form of segmentation may work for you if you only have a standard package subscription with your email marketing service.

2. Surveys or Quizzes

When you conduct a survey or quiz, you gain valuable customer data that extends beyond basic demographic information. Surveys are very useful in collecting insights about your audience’s preferences, values, and behavior. Look for patterns in the survey responses you get and use them to create another segment in your list. Email recipients who complete the survey should get some form of incentive for their participation such as freebies, a raffle coupon, and the like.

Quizzes are another way of helping you create profiles of your customers. Since people love answering quizzes and looking at the interpretation of results afterwards, you might want to include this type of activity more often in your content marketing strategy.

3. Frequency of Purchase

When you see customers purchasing on a regular basis, you could take it as a sign that they really like your product or service. Notify this group of loyal customers each time there’s a new offering from your company. People in this segment can be given special discounts, too.

You also have the opportunity to cross-sell or up-sell to this customer segment by giving recommendations for similar products in your inventory. If you come across customers who seem to be buying more during the mid-week, for example, you could create a segment for them and send email campaigns following their shopping schedule.

4. Purchase History

Apart from the frequency of purchase, you could use your customers’ purchase history as a basis in segmenting your list. This is applicable especially for customers who purchased something that might require renewal or refilling after a certain period. Use targeted emails to remind these customers that a reorder might be necessary.

You can also segment your list for one-time customers, so they would hopefully make a repeat purchase. Send them a thank you email, give them tips on how to make the most out of their purchase, or offer a gift or reward that they could claim on their next order.

5. Opt-in Frequency

When you use lead magnets – those offers that guarantee your leads to receive free content, items, or service when they opt in and give their personal information – on your sales prospects, you should take note of how they are opting into your offer.

Some of them might be opting in on your website or on your social, while some might be opting in on both platforms. Your aim is to keep track of the latter, as this segment will be your target audience for new lead magnets whether you’re using your website or social feed to notify them about your current offers.

6. Abandoned Shopping Carts or Forms

Consumers who have an abandoned shopping cart or form on your website can be placed in another email list. Take time to figure out why they left your site the first time around. Perhaps they were looking for more information about your product or service but could not find it?

You could then send them an email reminder about their pending order, along with a detailed product description and clear instructions on how they should proceed with the purchase.
Make sure to craft your message in a way that they could see the value why closing the sale at that particular time is important for them.

7. Amount of Purchase

The amount that your customers spend should tell you the type of offer that you should send them. That said, you should segment your lists based on which customers are willing to spend on more expensive items and which ones are buying low-priced merchandise. This will help you determine which product or service to market to a specific group to have more and better chances of converting them into an actual sale.

You could also tie up the amount spent on customer lifetime value (CLV), which is the metric that tells you how much total profit your company can make from any given customer over time. You would definitely want to give personalized marketing services to your customers with the highest CLV to build loyalty to your brand.

8. Email or Website Activity

If you’re getting a low amount of website activity from your email subscribers, it might be due to a lack of follow through or that you’re not engaging them well enough.

Call their attention about what they’re missing out or create a special campaign that will bring them back to your site. It’s important to keep track which of your recipients have been engaging less with your emails and that you to do something to re-engage them.

Meanwhile, you could also keep track of your customers’ email activity to find out who’s opening or clicking through your emails to help you build more customer segments that have shown interest in your email campaigns.

9. Stage in the Sales Funnel

You could also create more personalized marketing messages for your audience based on their position in the sales cycle. Those on top of the sales funnel have only made initial contact with your brand, so you’d do well by sending them content that helps you raise awareness about your brand.

As they move through the sales process, you could focus more on determining what their interests or needs are and promoting products or services that are most relevant to them.
Meanwhile, you could send an after-sales message to your existing customers to keep them engaged and help you gain more sales conversions from them.

10. Mobile vs. Desktop Users

Email list segmentation can also be based on your readers’ device habits. Since there’s a lot of difference between a mobile device and a desktop or laptop computer, you have to know how or where your audience is consuming your content.

If your audience chooses to engage on mobile, you need to optimize your email for smartphones and tablets. You could format your email in HTML or plain-text version so that users can easily view your message, CTA, and opt-in form even on a small screen.

It’s also crucial for your email design to show a responsive user interface and accommodate the average connection speed of mobile users. These considerations can help you provide a pleasant email experience for your audience, which will hopefully pave the way for higher conversion rates for your Campaign.

Meanwhile, customers on your desktop list should receive emails that load fast, are visually attractive, and direct them to your website where they can easily navigate through pages and tabs.


Digital marketing can boost your data collection efforts, but when there’s too much customer data in your hands, it only makes sense to organize them in a way that it makes your email marketing as relevant and as properly targeted as possible.

List segmentation is the starting point of a good email campaign, as it helps you deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time. This is the kind of personalized email marketing that can go a long way for your sales conversion efforts and overall business goals.

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About the Author

Johanna Rivard

Johanna drives the product and data strategies at PureB2B. She's a two-decade veteran of the online publishing, B2B demand generation, and technology media markets. When not in the office, Johanna enjoys her family, fitness routines and reading self-help books.