email segmenatation

Beginner’s Guide: Email Segmentation & Personalisation

We’ve lost count how many times email marketing has been declared a dead method. Contrary to marketer gossip, email is as alive and well as it’s ever been.


If you want to simply learn a bit more about email segmentation and personalisation, or maybe just brush up on your existing knowledge, then look no further. We’ve devised this simple beginner’s guide for you to use. If you want to read more on email marketing from Spot Studio, then check out ‘How to Use eCommerce Email Marketing to Increase Conversions’

What is Email Segmentation and Personalisation Exactly?

email segmentation

Source: Sven Van Der Pluijm



Email segmentation and personalisation is basically your data driven alternative to “batch and blast” email strategies. Marketers could be taking greater advantage of their consumer’s behavioural data and segmentation, and personalisation is a great way of doing so.

Email Segmentation

If it’s not something you’re doing already then you’ve got your work cut out for you. If it is something you’re doing then chances are you’ve got your emails chopped into dozens of different relative segments. There’s at least two segments everyone works with and those are active and inactive. Each company will have different categories so you should be asking yourself who your customers are and what drives their purchase in order to segment them.


Email Personalisation

Email personalisation isn’t as simple as inserting the customer’s name at the beginning of the email. A highly targeted segment is personal even thought it wasn’t written personally for them. Triggering emails based on different activity is also a personalised approach. The key to good personalisation is that it’s subtle and seamless. Personalisation is data driven so make sure the data you have to have is accurate and complete, and then go through it with a fine toothed comb.

Why do I need to utilise it?

email segmentation

Source: William Iven



There are several reasons why email segmentation and personalisation should be a part of your overall strategy. Above all, the main reason is that without it you’re just writing crap emails to people who may or may not even be interested in what you’re saying. You’re wasting your time without it.


Does it work? Yes. MailChimp sampled 2,000 users who sent out 11,000 segmented emails to 9million people and compared the results of this with those who did non-segmented campaigns. Segmented campaigns received 14.47% high open rates, 10.55% higher unique opens, 58.89% more clicks 6.40% less abuse reports and 7.88% less cancelled subscriptions. So the stats are there – use your data and segmentation to better appeal to those on your list.


Remember that not all subscribers are not created equal!

How can I do it?


Email segmentation and personalisation really doesn’t have to be daunting. There are some really easy to use tools which any on can come to grips with.



Using MailChimp you can either group subscribers or segment them. Grouping involves organising users by interests and preferences whereas segmenting is organisation through qualities such as birthday, past purchases etc. If you’re going to group subscribers ask yourself the following:


  • – Do I need to categorise my subs in any way? Think about advanced or novice users for instance…
  • – Do I have the time and resources to create tailored content based on their interests?


If you’ve chosen segmentation you’re able to make more extensive lists. How about asking yourself:


  • – Who are the most active users on my list?
  • – Who are the most loyal customers, for example those who spend $500 or more?


You are able to save all of your segments and these will automatically update. MailChimp automatically adds subscribers to the segments they fit into, which is pretty useful. A paid feature that’s extremely helpful for building your lists is “Discover Similar Subscribers”. It helps you find people similar to those within your segments. The useful perks of MailChimp don’t stop there, either. It’s integrated with SurveyMonkey – so if you want to get more info on your segments then you can just ask.



Vero doesn’t do lists. Instead it makes you use segments as the default method of grouping subscribers, and it does this automatically. This means that your segments are updated live, are cross-platform and can have unlimited conditions.


Vero focusses on 3 types of email, those being: transactional, behavioural and newsletter.


Newsletters segment users and combine conditions to send campaigns to the right customers either instantly or at a scheduled time.


Behavioural emails are sent out when the users take action and match conditions in real time.


Transactional emails collaborate on email copy and insert dynamic data into them using Vero’s real time API. Vero also allows segment nesting (i.e. segments of segments). All very inception, we know. But it does mean you can combine and improve segments without disregarding your original lists.



The segmentation options for GetResponse can’t be focused as much as Vero’s, and you don’t have unlimited conditions. However, you can use up to 8 at the same time which still beats MailChimp’s free plan. Like the other two, GetResponse’s segments are automatically updated and dynamic. A cool trick this tool has is “Suppression Lists” which prevents certain emails on the list getting a particular autoresponder message or newsletter. You can mask emails from a specific domain, a specific email provider, an email address in particular, or emails in MD5 format – it’s up to you.

In conclusion, email segmentation and personalisation are both greatly effective ways of increasing your conversion and making the most of your email marketing. But remember – there is no ‘one size fits all’ method of doing this. It’s crucial that you AB test what works out best for you, and what brings you the best returns. If you want to know more about AB testing – we’ve got the A/B Testing blog for that!

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Alice Page

Digital Project Manager

Digital project manager, Alice smashes PPC campaigns and getting the developers into gear...