A company that treats all customers and prospects the same speaks to everybody, and thus nobody. Rather than using a “one size fits all” approach, identify the most likely targets for a product or service. Use email to get to know customers better, and then serve them more relevant content.

Instead of viewing customers as single-minded groups, all with the same wants and needs, consider how wants and needs might differ among them, and how those differences might influence their purchasing patterns and behaviors. The goal is to extract from your database the “right people” (i.e., the ones that are interested in buying your product or service) and send the “right message.” Then use dynamic content to create personalized email programs that evolve to match prospects and customers’ needs and increase the relevance and impact of your emails.

Deep market insight based on customer data is the key to a successful email campaign. Know what motivates your customers and target those who represent the best opportunity by segmenting your list. Segmentation is the process of dividing a market segment into distinct manageable groups that are likely to behave in a similar manner or share a similar set of needs or characteristics, and selecting one or more groups to target with a distinct marketing message. Start with a single attribute to divide your mailing list. Continue to subdivide until you reach divisions that include smaller groups of likeminded individuals expected to respond to your emails in similar ways, then send personalized messages that resonate with each group (e.g., subscribers interested in Message A receive Message A; and Message B is served to subscribers interested in Message B).

By targeting your message, you increase the probability of them opening, reading and purchasing from you. In fact, research conducted by MarketingSherpa has shown that email segmentation improves results. The key is to select the appropriate variables for list segmentation, and ensuring that each segment receives a unique and personalized message that is relevant to their needs. Again, email marketing offers wonderful segmentation opportunities. If you are not segmenting your list and sending communications that are more relevant to your target audience, start doing so today. If you are segmenting your list already, try to find new ways to narrow your segments. The more segments you have, the more focused you can be about characterizing the various groups within your email list. Relevancy could be the difference between an open and a conversion.