Guide to Email List Segmentation

Introduction: What is List Segmentation?

Email list segmentation is exactly what it sounds like; filtering the contacts in your list into distinct groups so that you can send them targeted emails.

From the moment a contact subscribes to your mailing list, you can start gathering data on them. Where they are located, what their interests are, whether or not they are interested in buying your products. You can use this information to better understand your contacts, and create content which caters to their interests. If your subscribers feel like you value them, they are more likely to open your emails, and click on your Calls-To-Action (CTAs).

List segmentation is the tool that will take you from sign-up to sending relevant and appreciated content to your subscribers.

Why Should You Segment?

Segmenting your lists can be time-consuming work (especially if you're segmenting an existing list), but it is well worth the effort. By segmenting your email list, you make sure that you're sending the most interesting content to the people who want it. This is good for your contacts. We all receive a torrent of email everyday, if we're lucky most of those emails are too general to be of interest to us. If we're unlucky, those emails are just plain SPAM.

List segmentation is good for you too, your subscribers will appreciate the fact that they get more interesting emails from you, and that will translate into more clicks. Let's take a closer look at some of the reasons why you should segment your emailing lists.

No Two Customers Are the Same

No matter what your business, your customers are people and no two people are the same. We all have different interests and preferences and segmentation allows you to tailor your email campaigns to your customer's preferences. If you are a law firm, for example, you may have some clients who are individuals interested in family law, and others who are corporations interested in tax law. It wouldn't make sense sending the same information two both groups. You'd be much better off sending each group a specific email which addresses their interests and needs.

Customers Are in Different Stages of the Sales Cycle

Not only do you have many different types of customers, but they are almost certainly in different stages of the sales cycle. If we revisit our law firm example from above, you may have a couple interested in drawing up a pre-nuptial contract before their wedding, while another may be an established client whose will you update on a regular basis. Ideally, you'd be sending different emails to each of these clients, with content tailored to their stage in the sales cycle. The potential clients might benefit from mailers highlighting the importance of getting all their documents in order before getting married, while the established client might appreciate more personal emails and reminders to update their will.

Better Email Sender Reputation

If you're sending emails which appeal to your contact's interests, they will come to trust that your content is worth their time. Your reputation doesn't only improve with your contacts, but with email servers and internet service providers (ISPs) too. Senders with poor reputation are more likely to have their emails blocked or marked as SPAM. The better your sender reputation becomes, the more likely it is that ISPs will deliver your emails to your contact's inbox.

Better Results

Not only does email segmentation make your customers happy, and make you look good, it also delivers better open and read results. According to the Lyris Annual Email Optimiszer Report (2010) (links to PDF), marketers using email segmentation enjoyed 39% higher open rates and 28% lower unsubscribe rates.



Large Lists are Easier to Manage

If you have a very large list, segmenting it into smaller sections can make managing your contacts easier. It is also very difficult to gain unique insights about your contacts when there are thousands of subscribers to pick through. Rather look to segment your lists into smaller, specific groups where you can focus your attention accordingly.

How Do You Segment Your List?

List segmentation can seem like a daunting task, and if you try to make your segmentation too complicated from the start it can seem almost impossible. Let's take a look at a few techniques you can use to successfully segment your mailing lists.

Segmenting New Subscribers

By far the easiest way to segment your list is right when new subscribers sign up. You can set up lists based on interest, which contacts can then choose from when they subscribe. Alternatively, you can create a specific list for new subscribers, and send them a tailored email campaign designed to discover what their interests and needs are, and then funnel them from there.

Segmenting an Existing List

If you already have a list of subscribers you'd like to segment, you can still do so. This is more labor-intensive than segmenting brand new subscribers, but is still well worth the effort.

You can send your subscribers an email asking them to join lists based on their needs and interests, or you can create filters based on subscriber data you've already collected.

Keep it Simple

Segmentation can become extremely complicated, very quickly. If you're just starting out, take the time to do a little planning up front, and keep your first segments as simple as possible. Rather than setting up complex segmentation rules, start of with a simple "either/or" segmentation. Using buying behaviour to filter subscribers into buyer/non-buyer segments is very useful (you would need to import purchasing behaviour data before doing this in Everlytic, as the system doesn't track this behaviour).

Of course, there are many other segmentation options. Here are a few suggestions you may find helpful:

  • Geographical location
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Industry
  • Past purchases
  • Purchase cycle
  • Interest level
  • Engagement with content

Analyse the Data Before and After Sending

Of course, you can't just split your subscribers into lists and fling emails at them without properly analysing the data.

Before you segment, you need to study your subscriber's interests and needs, and how you can meet them.

After sending to your segmented lists, you need to analyse how your emails are performing; how have opens, clicks, unsubscribes, etc. changed since you segmented the lists? Can you refine your segmentation to achieve better results?

Using Segmentation in Everlytic

Filters allow you to create segments in your lists.

Creating a Filter

To set up an email filter, click on Contact Admin > Filters, then click Create Filter at the top of the filter listing, on the left. Enter the name for your filter, and a description if you need one.

Once you have created your filter, click on the Test button to test your filter. Testing will not apply your filter to any lists, it will check what the results would be if the filter were applied to that list.


Check the checkbox next to a list, and then click the buttons on the top right to test the filter against either email or SMS contacts in that list.

Sending Email

You can apply filters to lists during message composition.

On the list options step, check the checkbox next to the list you want to send the message to, then click Apply Filter. Choose the filter you want to apply from the table.


If you haven't created your filters yet, you can create a new filter by clicking Create New and following the steps. You can only create property and date-related filters in this way. Other types of filters must be set up before you start creating your message.


Once you've started sending emails to your segmented lists, you can access reports the same way you do for other types of emails in Everlytic.

Pay special attention to your open and click-through rates to see how segmentation is improving subscriber engagement with your emails.

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