Email Marketing has been around for as long as email itself. It’s quick, easy to understand and with the Direct Marketing Association’s The Power of Direct Marketing stating that marketers see an average return on investment of 43:1, it is a much loved cash cow in an otherwise confusing and expensive multi-channel environment.

Despite this fact, many email marketers are failing to maximise on the potential of their email lists and campaigns. It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that just because your ROI blows away results from the typical acquisition channels such as paid search and affiliate marketing that your email campaigns are a runaway success.

The apparent success of email can make email marketers lazy. This is a luxury which is not easily afforded to people operating in other channels. Consider the investment the search marketer makes in compiling long tail keywords and developing deep SEO strategies to see an ROI a mere fraction of that shown from email. Then consider how much more successful your email campaigns could be if you devoted a little extra time to the channel that has the potential to generate the greatest ROI across your marketing arsenal. According to a recent report by eConsultancy, Email Marketers at the top of their game are seeing returns of more than 500%. Remember this and aim higher.

In the world of opt-in email marketing (everything else is Spam) there should be no such thing as an unrelevant email. Nothing will lose you subscribers (or worse still tarnish your reputation) than a dull, untargeted and uninspiring email. Even if your subscribers don’t hit the unsubscribe or spam button, the chances are your open rate will diminish significantly.

Sophisticated email marketers will take care to segment their list and therefore be able to target subscribers more efficiently and ultimately see a far higher ROI. But what happens when, as is typical when email lists have grown organically across a variety of systems, you have no easy way of segmenting your list?

It’s easy – you listen.

Six easy steps to segmenting your list:

  1. Create a generic email marketing template allowing you to build and deploy multiple campaigns quickly and efficiently. A well segmented list and a simple change to text and images should enable you to easily send out multiple emails in a single day.
  2. Send an email to your un-segmented list giving them a number of easy options to interact with. For example a fashion retailer promoting a sale could feature three prominent calls to action around ladies’, gents’ and kids’ fashion.
  3. Now is the time to sit back and listen. Your customers’ don’t even have to buy anything to let you know what they are interested in. Your email marketing software should allow you to see who has clicked on which link and create new easily identified lists allowing you to send more relevant campaigns.
  4. Segment even further. The fashion retailer now has three separate targeted lists alongside a much larger general list. They can now get even more specific by offering more detailed call to actions i.e. shoes, designers, accessories, etc. Don’t be afraid to segment too much. Lists can be used in conjunction with each other together and your generic template should ensure speed of deployment for even the smallest of broadcasts.
  5. The marketer can then put together a comprehensive marketing calendar allowing them to send more frequent and yet highly targeted campaigns.
  6. Don’t forget your unsegmented emails. These may still represent a very large part of your list. Experiment with subject lines and split testing to improve your open rates and always be ready to ask your subscribers (with clear actionable calls to action) what interests them.

John Hayes

John Hayes


John Hayes is the EMEA Business Development Executive for iContact.