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Cleaning House: How to Build Healthy Email Lists

Divide and Conquer with Segmentation
Segmentation is a powerful method for creating relevant content and keeping your list in good shape. It is the key to delivering communications your audience is most likely to respond to. If you ran an automobile dealership, you wouldn't try to push an SUV on a prospect who insists that they prefer sports cars. Why take the same one-size-fits-all approach with the subscribers on your list?

Following is some criteria you can use to take the big master list you have, and segment it to target your communications more effectively:

Demographics - More than likely, your list is chalk full of data that can be used for email segmentation purposes. Gender, age, and location are just some of the criteria you may already have at your disposal. While demographics segmentation doesn't let you get too deep, it does tend to be considerably easier to execute than other strategies.
Purchase History - You can also make your communications more focused by basing your segmentation strategy on purchase data. For example, if you know you have a few customers who buy the same items from your store every month, you can place them in a group away from the occasional shoppers and target them with special messages to butter them up right around the time they make their usual purchase. You can take this a step further by tempting them with special offers on similar items they might be interested in.
Activity - The activity associated with your email campaigns gives you a lot of criteria on which to base your segmentation strategy. As an example, you could create a segment comprised of subscribers who open your message and do not click your links, as well as a segment that contains subscribers who click your links but do not make a purchase. For the list members who are not resulting in conversion or opening your emails at all, you can place them in a separate segment as part of a re-engagement campaign designed to increase their activity.
Uniquely marketing to smaller groups on your lists is far more effective than sending the exact same message to the masses. Your subscribers expect you to both know who they are and target them accordingly. Through segmentation, you enhance the viability of your list by sending out more focused content. The added benefits can range from better responses and customer retention to upselling opportunities and greater loyalty.