How important is email list segmentation? Some leading retail brands and marketplaces are allowing subscribers to unsubscribe from Father’s Day email promotions this year. Etsy, Free Fly Apparel, Tesco, and many others asked subscribers if they would like to receive marketing announcements for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
In many countries, for example, next Sunday is Father’s Day. It is usually a celebration of the family and of the parent-child relationship.
But Father’s Day marketing is awkward for some email subscribers. Imagine a daughter mourning the death of her father. Or a husband who wants to be a father but for some reason cannot have children. In any of these cases, a Father’s Day promotional email, no matter how well executed, can still trigger negative emotions in the recipient.
Hence, companies that have reached out to customers to unsubscribe from Father’s or Mother’s Day serve as a reminder to all email marketers how well they know and segment subscribers.
Any discussion about email marketing and list segmentation should start with “it depends.” What works for one company may not work for another.
What is the best day to send promotional emails? It depends. What are the best ways to segment a list? It depends. And should I ever post a message to my entire list? It depends on.
However, we can definitely say that well-done list segmentation leads to better email marketing performance.
“I’ve seen brands broadcast [email marketing messages] to very small lists because they know exactly who they are talking to, and those lists have an open rate of 70 or 80 percent and a high click rate, ”said Val Geisler, a customer evangelist at Klaviyo, the email marketing platform.
Geisler cited the example of a multichannel retailer with physical stores in St. Louis and email subscribers in New York. Segmenting the email list so New Yorkers aren’t bombarded with local in-store promotions improves email marketing performance.
Similarly, asking people to opt out of Father’s Day is likely to boost performance for at least two reasons.
First, subscribers who would not have responded to the promotion are removed from the segment. The result is fewer emails, but buyers who are more likely to buy a Father’s Day gift.
Second, subscribers who read the unsubscribe email but didn’t respond can search for your store’s Father’s Day promotion. You kind of chose to see the email.
In this way, a buyer’s question about Father’s Day or Mother’s Day is like asking about his physical location or his preference for one product category or another.
The more a marketer knows about a subscriber, the better they can segment that subscriber and thus provide the most relevant offers.
But it takes a bit of work.
If your business knows that a subscriber is more likely to buy women’s clothing but is buying men’s clothing gifts for Father’s Day and Christmas, you could send them a message describing the popularity of men’s chino shorts.
Likewise, a shopper who bought men’s chino shorts for themselves and also purchases men’s clothing gifts might receive an email message stating that the chino shorts they love is a great one Would be a present for his father.
Putting these segments together would likely produce better results than sending a general message to both customers, but it would take more effort to gather the information. This includes taking action based on a subscriber’s decision to unsubscribe from a particular promotion.
Geisler pointed out that each of us wants to be treated as valuable individuals. So when we, as marketers, collect information about a subscriber, be it behavior or a preference like unsubscribing from messages on Father’s Day, we should act on it.
“A lot of marketing is very reactive, and so are we [unfortunately] don’t get ahead of our work, ”said Geisler.
For example, you can send an unsubscribe message a few days before a public holiday like Father’s Day or ask subscribers about their general preferences. Geisler suggested doing the latter several times a year. Instead of asking about Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June, ask about birthdays or category affinities or other interests.