Issue #25

5 best practices for your targeted email marketing segmentation strategy

Email Marketing
16 min read
In this Article

Email subscribers join your email list for different reasons.

They could be motivated to learn about your niche topic, inspired to hear more about your business journey, or itching to get an inside peek into your creative process.

No matter what persuades an audience member to join your list, you’ll want to keep their reasoning in mind as you create a targeted email marketing segmentation strategy.

As a beginner email marketer, the action of simply sending emails is worth a pat on the back. It’s more important to get started than it is to get it perfect the first time around. But as you start to invest more time and energy into your targeted email marketing, you’ll want to prioritize email segmentation.

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Too many content creators make the mistake of sending the same email broadcasts and email sequences to everyone on their list. Every subscriber has a different level of interest or skill in your niche topics. Sending everyone on your list the same emails could cause you to unknowingly alienate people on your email list who want to learn and buy from you.

Instead, we recommend creating subsets of your email list to improve your targeted email marketing. Email segmentation helps you thoughtfully organize your larger email list into segments to better understand your audience’s desires and needs.

Think of your email list segmentation strategy as a folder that holds crucial information about your subscribers. Any time you want to test a product idea or launch a new offering, you can look inside the folder to see what segment of your audience is the best fit for any call-to-action.

Now that you know a little bit more about what email segmentation is, let’s briefly cover why it’s important so you can get started with the strongest foundation possible.Your Targeted Email Marketing Segmentation Strategy

Why is email segmentation important in email list growth?

As content creators, we know that the more trust we build, the more likely that trust will translate into higher sales. One of the best ways to build trust with your audience is to send highly relevant and valuable email content.

As you build your overall targeted email marketing strategy, email list growth will be one of your primary goals. And while this is great, it can also become a major issue if you aren’t prepared to execute strategies that will help you optimize your list as it increases.

Here are a few reasons why you’ll want to be proactive with your email list segmentation strategy and why it’s important to think about it strategically.

Grouping subscribers by common data points

Although every subscriber on your email list is unique, their needs may be similar to one another. As you get to know your audience, you’ll notice that some of the same questions and problems frequently come up when you do audience and market research.

When you are hearing the same things multiple times, that lets you know that you have stumbled upon a great segment type for your audience. Understanding this things your audience members have in common will help you create segments with your ideal customer profiles in mind.

We’ll talk more about which data points you may want to focus on below. But for now, know that this is a powerful tactic to utilize when building your email list for long-term growth.

Creates an opportunity for more targeted content

When you have an email list that is segmented by data points, you can create targeted content based on what the person is looking for. Targeted content helps you build trust by sending tutorials, stories, and information that are relevant to where they currently are.

If your email list isn’t properly set up with email segmentation, your subscriber could assume your email content isn’t relevant to them based on the few emails they’ve read and therefore, impact your open rates.

For example, if you teach your audience the basics of starting their own freelance business but your subscriber is looking for more advanced tips, they might be turned off if you send them emails about how to package their services or price their offerings since they already have these details nailed down.

As you think more about your customer’s journey, you can think through what email content is most relevant to them. Then divide similar topics into bigger categories that can guide your targeted email marketing strategy.

Increases your email list engagement rates

Segmented email campaigns have an open rate up to 14.32% higher than non-segmented email campaigns. Having a higher open rate means that more of your subscribers are seeing your email content.

Open rates aren’t the only way to measure email list engagement. Click rates on segmented email campaigns are 100.95% higher than non-segmented campaigns. This is a huge increase, which tells us that email segmentation not only helps your audience consume more of your email content but also take more action. These are stats we can get behind!

Produces a higher email deliverability rate

As your email engagement rates climb, you’ll find that your overall email deliverability will improve. Email deliverability refers to the effectiveness of how well your emails are delivered and received by your email subscribers.

When your email deliverability rate improves, your bounce rate will decrease as your emails escape your subscriber’s spam folder. You’ll also be able to improve your overall email marketing metrics so you have a more accurate picture of how well your targeted email marketing is performing.Email list segmentation strategy best practices

Smart ways to strategically segment your email list

It’s never too early to start introducing an email list segmentation strategy into your business. Even if it is simply segmenting your subscribers into two broad categories like “customers” and “non-customers,” it’s still worth it to get the hang of email segmentation.

When you’re ready to start exploring other segmentation strategies, these different data points will be a great place to start. Some are more sophisticated than others, so we recommend starting with the data points that are most important to your business and what factors affect your sales growth most.

Customer journey point

This refers to the exact stage of the customer journey your email subscriber is in. This will be dependent on your subscriber’s level of interest in what you are selling. No matter where they are in the journey, you can craft educational emails and sales pitches that uniquely fit where they are.

If you fail to understand where your audience member currently is in your marketing funnel, you may miss an incredible opportunity to make a connection with them and build trust through relevant email content. Without these two key things, making the sale will be more difficult.

Current customers

If a subscriber has already bought something from you, you’ll want to segment them inside your email list. You can have a master segment for all of your current customers or clients, but we also recommend breaking down this umbrella segment into smaller sections based on the offering they buy. We’ll talk about that next.

Products purchased or downloaded

A huge benefit of segmenting your customers by purchases is so they don’t keep being pitched for what they’ve already purchased. This is one of the quickest ways to turn off your email subscribers and customers. No one wants to be sold something they’ve already bought.

It doesn’t matter if you are selling your first product or have a collection available on your website. You can start segmenting your email subscribers by purchases to send tailored upsell emails to sell other similar products. Since it is 60-70% easier to sell a current customer on another product than acquiring a new customer, upsell emails will present a significant area of opportunity for you to grow into.

Interested in your offerings but hasn’t purchased

If your subscriber has expressed interest in learning more about a niche topic through clicking on links and engaging with your emails, they can be segmented into a separate segment than people who have already bought one of your products.

We recommend creating an email segment that is titled “Interest” so you know they aren’t a current customer. To get even more specific, you could title the segment “Interest: Group Coaching” if they are interested in one of your upcoming coaching programs based on their link clicks. We’ll talk more about how to set this up later in the article.

Attended webinar or event

When your subscriber expresses interest in attending a webinar or event you are hosting, you’ll want to segment them in your email list. This will help you from over-emailing people on your email list who aren’t interested in the event.

Only the people who have expressed interest will be segmented. This means you can send webinar reminders and event preparation information that is helpful directly to them. You can also create separate segments depending on the webinar subject, event type, or event location.


If you regularly host in-person events or run a local service business, segmenting your email list by location could be crucial. By understanding where your audience is located, you’ll be able to send them location-specific information, deals, and updates. If you run a primarily online business, the location of your customers may not be as important.

Opt-in form location

If you are a content creator who wants to understand where your subscribers are coming from and what your strongest referral sources are, you can segment your subscribers by their opt-in form location.

An example could be that one subscriber comes from a content upgrade on your blog while another comes from the same opt-in that is promoted in your podcast notes.

Affiliates or referrals

If you have affiliates for your product shop, you can include a segment in your email list for people in your affiliate program. That way, when you are looking to share affiliate program updates or swipe copy, you have them in their own list to easily send that information.

If you are just getting started with affiliate marketing, we have an in-depth resource to help you understand how it can enhance your business.


Everyone likes to feel like they are celebrated and remembered on their birthday. You’ll see many digital and physical product shops use this technique to offer birthday sales to their customers. But you can take it one step further.

Let’s say that you want to send out a highly valuable freebie on your subscriber’s birthday. You could create email segments for each month of the year and segment your email list from there.

You could even schedule this email a year in advance! Simply go to the ConvertKit dashboard and hit the Broadcasts tab. You can then schedule 12 emails (one for each month) to be delivered on the first day of every month.

Feel free to reuse the same email content template for each email and the same freebie. Just change the email delivery date and the audience segment you are sending the email to and you're set.

Industry type

If you serve multiple industry types with your email content, creating this segment will help you ensure your brand voice stays consistent and relevant for each audience member.

For example, if you are a financial planner who works with entrepreneurs and career professionals, you’ll want to create a segment for each because finances look very different for full-time employees than for full-time entrepreneurs. The same can be true if you write content for freelance website designers, developers, and copywriters.

5 Targeted email marketing best practices

Best practices for creating a targeted email marketing segmentation strategy

Since you’re in strategy mode, let’s direct your brain power to get you started with the basics of email segmentation.

It may seem like there are a lot of email segmentation types and options. If you're overwhelmed, it's best to start with a few simple steps. You can also grow your targeted email marketing strategy as your subscriber count grows, but for now, here are some best practices to keep in mind.

Create a welcome email with segmentation

Now that you’ve chosen segment types to experiment with, are you wondering how you can implement them into your emails?

Where do they go? The first place you’ll want to introduce your email segmentation is in your welcome email.

We also recommend creating a full welcome email sequence, but let’s focus on your first welcome email right now.

When you create this email, you’ll want to make a great first impression. This can be done by giving upfront value and introducing your subscriber to your brand.

As you give your subscribers an idea of what kind of information they’ll find through your email content, you can offer them the opportunity to self-select the segmentation type that fits them best. You can do this through Link Triggers, which we’ll talk about next.

Introduce link triggers into your emails

One of the easiest, most hands-off way to segment your email subscribers is by using Link Triggers. You can do this by clicking the Automations tab. Then you can click Rules, which will bring you to a screen that allows you to set a trigger and an action for an event of your choice.

If you are creating a Link Trigger, you can select “Clicks a Link” from the drop-down menu under the Trigger column and paste your desired URL. You can also give the intended trigger a name so you can easily find it on your Rules list after it is published. This will be a name used internally so it’ll be seen by your eyes only.

Now you’re ready to choose an Action. From the drop-down, you can choose from a number of options. This includes segmenting your subscriber, subscribing them to an email sequence, tagging them, and more.

How to create ConvertKit Link Triggers

Once you’ve done this, you can go back into your welcome email to connect your Link Trigger Rule. You can do this by highlighting the text you want to create a link with and clicking the Link button. You’ll see an option to the right of your URL to create a Link Trigger.How to set up ConvertKit Link Triggers for your Targeted email marketing strategy

Create personas for your ideal customers

The more you understand who your audience members are, the better you can create email content that inspires them.

After conducting research, you can create a customer profile so you know the types of customers you want to attract. This will help you understand the email segments you’ll want to create for your email list as you grow.

Create offerings geared toward each of your email segments

Once you know what data you want to collect in order to create optimized email segments, you can then use those segments to inspire your content and product ideas.

If you segment your audience by their level of expertise in your niche topic, start by creating different tiered products that take them deeper into your marketing funnel.

Channel this inspiration as you create content and products that uniquely fit each customer persona.

When you are ready to test a product or content idea, you can send your email subscribers a survey or even an interactive quiz to help you gather data that will influence your content creation process. This data can be used to thoughtfully segment your subscribers even further.

Layer your segments to find the most targeted groups

You may find that some of your email segments will overlap with one another. When subscribers purchase multiple offerings, you can layer the segments to reach loyal customers who are more likely to buy from you again.

For example, someone who purchases your ebook on beginner’s yoga might also attend a local yoga meetup you host.

Targeted email marketing homework

Homework: Use link triggers to begin your targeted email marketing strategy

Your challenge for the week is to send an educational email to your audience on a topic of your choice. Remember, this is an email that only provides value and doesn’t lead with a sales pitch. If you want to make it even more valuable, you can develop a short educational email series as an email sequence.

Inside the emails, you can ask your audience to self-select what they would like to learn more about by including Link Triggers. Start with choosing two or three topics and let your audience decide what they are most interested in.

Then it’s time to create a small email series with Link Triggers based on each of the desired topics that will lead to a free offering or low-entry point product. Something priced around $19 is usually a great starting point for most audiences unless this distracts too much from your premium positioning. We’ll let you decide what the best fit is for you and your audience.

This may take a few days to strategize, create, and execute. You don’t need to accomplish it all in one sitting. Instead, look at your current calendar and create one or two-hour time blocks to help you get started.

Need an email marketing platform to send those educational emails?

You're in luck! You can try ConvertKit for FREE for the next 14 days. Just click the link below and you can create targeted email marketing content today!

Own the relationship with your audience

ConvertKit helps you build a relationship with your followers and own that connection you make with them through your email list.

Start a free 14-day ConvertKit trial

Kayla Hollatz

Kayla Hollatz is a copywriter and content creator for creative entrepreneurs who want their words to connect and convert. Few things make her happier than ghostwriting for clients in her studio, aka her four-season porch with a lake view. She can frequently be found fighting Minnesota winters with a mug of hot chocolate in hand.

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