How do you segment your email list?

Do you have a tagging framework or a segmentation method for your email list?

Let’s assume for the sake of brevity that you are segmenting your list at least to the point of people who have bought and haven’t bought from you.

If you are like me, you are tag happy, they want to track everything someone on their list does and so they tag everything.

This is great, but if you don’t do anything with the information, it’s just clutter in your CRM or email marketing platform.

There really are 2 things to focus in on when you are segmenting your email list.


The first is intent.

Why do people buy from you? What problems are they trying to solve?

Intent is essentially the buyer’s goal. It’s what they want to achieve when they buy from you.

Someone’s intent is all the benefits that are important to them that they will get from you, your solution or product.

It’s their motivation behind the purchase decision.

For example, you want to buy a big screen TV because the big game is on and you are having a party.

The intent here is you want everyone to see the game, and maybe impress your friends a little too.

That’s the motivation behind the purchase of a big screen TV.

Another example, and maybe a bit more relevant is a non-profit wants to redesign their website so that they get more signups for their fundraiser.

The intent here is that the non-profit needs signups to get more donations so that they can fuel their mission.

The motivation behind the purchase of a redesign is that it will result in more signups.

How you obtain this intent is either through asking them and recording that as a tag.

Or the more efficient way of getting that intent is by asking someone who just bought from you what they hope to achieve from their purchase.

Then you can take that information and turn that around into headlines on your website, maybe even case studies or articles too.


The second segment to focus on is interest.

This is harder to do, but when carefully planned out is powerful. Because interests is where you are able to really hone in on the language so that you can craft a proper buying journey for them.

Interest is a big area to cover because it has a wide range of possibilities. It’s actually where most get stuck in the weeds about, which in a minute I’ll share how you can avoid that.

For the sake of choosing the easy road first, demographics is a part of interests.

In the case above with the TV, the one making the decision obviously likes sports, has expendable income, and even has a time crunch to make a purchase.

In the case of the non-profit, well, that’s the first demographic. The age of their existing site and the number of signups they have for their fundraiser are also demographic data points.

Simply because they need a redesign doesn’t mean that they will convert into signups. You are the professional understand all the parameters that go into that conversion. Traffic, word-of-mouth, social, etc are all factors they don’t know about. If those are all good then moving a signup button around on the site make work. However, if there isn’t enough of that, a redesign may not even help. Maybe a paid ad campaign would be better for them.

The more difficult but intentional road to travel is creating opportunities for a potential buyer to engage with you that illustrate interest.

For example, if you’re like me, then you prefer video and audio content on the web over reading a 15,000-word article.

You can find this out by having various types of content that talk about the same thing. One type is video, another is a podcast and the other is the long form article.

This is an interest segment that allows you to give specific content types to them, but also know that if you are selling a book, they may be more interested in the audio book rather than the hard cover book.

How to start finding a subscriber’s interest

This segment is where most get into the weeds a bit because figuring out all the specific data points of interest is hard to do. So instead you tag everything and everyone.

If you are tagging everyone, then I suggest that you look at all those tags. See how many of your customers are in a particular tag.

Are you seeing a pattern of particular articles, videos, resources, lead magnets? If so, that’s where you start.

Those tags are telling you the story of your customers, that you’ll want to tell leads the same story.

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