Email marketing is the backbone of any strong marketing strategy. In order to get it right, organizations need to constantly be thinking of ways to increase the size and deepen the engagement of their email audiences, adding unique value and cultivating a relationship with them. 

In order to more effectively engage your email list, you may consider dividing your overall list into subgroups that can be targeted with unique messages. This is called email segmentation, and it is a more effective strategy than many marketers realize. 

Why Segmentation Matters

A more personalized experience is always a better experience. The more your email feels to your audience as though you are speaking directly to them, the more likely they are to engage with you and feel like your organization understands their particular needs and interests and is invested in helping them achieve their goals. 

When you’re successful at making your email lists feel this way through segmentation, your marketing team will enjoy the following benefits.

Email Segmentation Will Increase Open, Click-Through, and Conversion Rates.

When users are sent emails that speak to their specific needs and interests, they are far more likely to open emails from your organization in general, click through to links, and ultimately convert on whatever your organization is offering, whether that is a product or service for for-profit companies or donations and signing up to volunteer or attend an event for churches and charitable organizations.

Email Segmentation Will Decrease Unsubscribes.

Email unsubscribes aren’t always a bad thing. If someone found their way onto your list, but after receiving a number of your emails discovered that your content, products, or services aren’t a great fit for them, an unsubscribe is healthy and natural. In fact, it helps to sharpen the engagement of the list that you do have, increasing overall open and click through rates. 

However, if you have failed to personalize your email list into different segments, an email subscriber may feel that they’re receiving too many different email messages from you, only some of which are relevant or helpful to them. So they unsubscribe. Nevertheless, they very well could have been a good fit for your organization’s content and offerings, if only you presented them exclusively with emails that were relevant to them, cutting away anything that did not pertain to their needs and interests. This is what email segmentation allows you to do.

Ways To Segment Email Lists

When thinking about how to take your sizable contact list and break it down into meaningful segments for which you can craft specific content in emails, it can be difficult to know where to start. 

Here are a few things to consider when diving into email segmentation. 

Utilize Lead Magnets.

One easy way to define an audience within your email list is to consider how particular contacts made their way onto your list. If it was because they were interested in a particular resource or downloadable document, then it would make sense to send them more messages with content centered on the constellation of topics covered in that lead magnet. 

This includes, but isn’t limited to, a set sequence of emails a user will receive after downloading that lead magnet that is aimed at guiding them toward a particular call-to-action. Beyond that initial email sequence, these new contacts should be placed into a specific audience with which you can cultivate an ongoing relationship through nurture campaigns. 

More than one lead magnet may funnel into the same audience, or each lead magnet may become its own unique audience, depending on the scope and topics of each. 

Leverage Data You Have About Your Contacts.

Depending on how much information you have about your current audience, you may also be able to divide them into small segments based on various data points. 

These data points could include demographic information such as age, gender, or job title. If your company is business-to-business, you may segment lists based on where an organization is in their customer journey with you. You can also use data such as users’ buying patterns: what they buy and how often. Further, you may segment lists based on relative level of engagement, crafting more or different messages for your most loyal audience members and finding unique messaging to re-engage those who interact with you less often. 

Allow Users To Adjust Their Preferences When Signing up for Your Email List.

Another way to segment your audience is to simply ask users what audience they want to be placed into. This can be accomplished through surveys for your current audience and by making it easy for them to fine tune their email preferences. 

You can also gather this information when new audience members sign up for your list. For example, for a content site like, content is divided up into various channels with target personas such as lead pastors, worship leaders, and children’s ministry leaders. A lead pastor is likely not interested in receiving constant emails about the best crafts for Sunday school lessons, and the children’s ministry leaders are likely not as interested in a deluge of content about church planting. 

Therefore, when audience members sign up for a list, they can check the boxes that apply to their interests to be added to those audience segments. This type of practice sets you up for success as you seek to connect with your audiences on a deeper level. 

Treating People Like People is a Win in Marketing (And Life)

At the core of a successful marketing strategy is your ability to treat individuals who may benefit from what your organization offers as unique individuals—and to do so at scale. 

Segmenting your audience allows you to personalize your messages, make your audience feel like you’re listening to them and understand them, and that you have the answer to the problems they’re seeking to solve.