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How to Segment Your Email Marketing Campaigns

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Fun Fact: Email Marketing is not dead. Despite being the oldest form of digital marketing and numerous dubious headlines proclaiming its death, email marketing is alive and well. A recent forecasting report by E Marketer projects that in 2021, more than four in five individuals in the US will use email at least once per month. The study also predicts that the total number of email users in the U.S. will reach 277.7 million by 2024. That would account for 81% of the domestic population. Furthermore, 60% of millennials say that email is their preferred channel to receive communications directly from brands. Hardly dead, right?

So, now that we’ve established that email marketing is a thriving, viable marketing channel for insurance brokers, let’s discuss some ways you can take your email marketing to the next level. In this article, we will discuss the importance of segmenting your audience by their current relationship with your business, and segmenting your content by the nature of the communication. Enacting these two steps can be crucial for optimizing your campaigns and receiving valid, actionable metrics that will allow you to optimize your email marketing campaigns.

Tips for Segmenting Your Email Audience
Let’s keep it real, most businesses, whether B2B or B2C, don't cater to just one type of customer. Even if they only sell one product or offer one type of service, there are still unique attributes that make segments of that customer base unique. As a broker, you might have a sizeable portion of your existing client base from a similar industry or even the same office building, but that still does not make them all the same. The #1 key to effective email marketing strategy is sending the right message to the right audience at the right time. Everything else is gravy. In order to receive high email engagement, you need to predict what content your audience wants to receive. By using the data you have about your audience, you can make this prediction more accurate than just a wild guess.

For instance, using your existing customers, you can build segments of your audience based on carrier or product type preferences. If you know there are particular groups who are fond of certain carriers, you can create segments of those groups using specific carrier affinity audiences. Now, the next time you have an update on carrier specific plans or there is a bonus from a carrier, you can send targeted messaging directly to the groups you have already identified as having that carrier preference. Segmenting your audience in this way allows your messaging to be more direct, personalized, and specific, which are all key drivers for email engagement. In this example, you would still be more than justified to send an email message to the rest of your audience. You just would not be able to leverage the knowledge that they prefer that particular carrier.

For Example:
Carrier Affinity Audience:
“Your Favorite Carrier Just Announced 2 New Plans!”
Remaining Audience:
“Now Quoting 2 New Plans from XYZ Carrier
 
You don’t have to be a subject line optimizing wizard to tell which of these two emails sounds more inviting to open. The carrier affinity audience message just screams, “oh yea you know me, you know what I like. Let me see what this is about.” Personalization is one the biggest drivers of email engagement; however personalization goes beyond just mentioning someone’s first name in the subject line. By reaffirming you know what your audience likes and needs, you can personalize messages without ever using their first name. Just like you would speak to a close friend. This familiarity makes high engagement much more likely. Once you have these audience segments in place, you can then measure open and click rate to see which of your audience segments is performing best. That will then allow you to customize and plan to send more messages (when applicable) to the best-performing segments.

Segment Your Audience to Nurture Clients and Grow Sales
Another great way to segment your email audience is by premium or revenue amount. This would allow you to isolate your top revenue-generating clients into specific segments, where you offer client rewards or thank them for their business more frequently. Alternatively, you could segment your clients producing lower revenue streams into a separate category, where your messages focus more on ways you can help them grow in their partnership with you along with the additional product lines you offer that may be of interest or can help them solve problems. By properly segmenting your audience, you can effectively nurture existing clients and drive increased sales to segments of your customers.

Think of the two messages below for instance:

For Top-Revenue Clients:
“Exclusive Invite for You: Virtual Sip & Paint Mixer”
Low-Revenue Clients:
“See a Live Demo of Our New HR & Payroll Services”

By segmenting your audience and messaging this way, you can establish campaigns with very unique calls to action and messaging strategy. One message is meant to encourage growth and extended partnership, while the other is being sent to nurture an existing strong partnership. You are also well within your right to remind your top revenue-generating clients about new HR services at the end of the Paint & Sip.

Segmenting Emails by Message Type
The second way to segment effectively your email campaigns is by message type. While this may be the more obvious of the two, campaign segmentation is sometimes overlooked. In the example above, you would categorize each message within a unique campaign or messaging segment. So the “Paint & Sip” email could be classified as an “Event” message, whereas the “Live Demo” message could be within a “Product Update” category.
 
By segmenting your messages into campaigns this way you will have a better understanding of which type of messaging is performing best for you. This will allow you to optimize your time and send more of the content that performs best. As marketers, we tend to want to share everything we possibly can with both exiting customers and prospects. We rightfully get fired up about the work we do, and the products we offer. It’s only natural to want to share that news with the whole world; however, when you think about this from the customer’s perspective, you then realize they have dozens of other brands in their inbox also competing for their attention. By segmenting your campaigns by message type and your audience by the nature of your relationship with them, you can measure open and click rates at a more granular level. Then you’ll be sending more of the content that is working best for you to the right audience, at the right time.

You can help keep email marketing alive!

About the Author
Kalup Alexander is Digital Marketing Director for the Word & Brown Companies. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in New Media Communications and Marketing from Oregon State University and has been at Word & Brown since 2014.
 

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