4 ways to segment subscribers and send better emails

A regular email blast every week won’t get you 40x better results than social media. Let’s look at 4 different ways to segment subscribers so you can send better high-converting emails.

Email marketing is constantly lauded as one of the highest ROI marketing channels.

It’s better than Facebook.

The returns are higher than Twitter Ads.

In fact, it returns more than 40x what the two platforms generate combined. Even direct mail doesn’t beat it.

There’s one thing those quoted statistics forget to mention. The organizations and individuals that get results understand the nuances of email marketing.

A regular email blast every week won’t get you 40x better results than social media. Before that’ll happen, it’s necessary to segment your email subscribers and send them content that’s relevant to them.

It’s easier said than done. In this post, I’ll look at 4 different ways to segment subscribers so you can send better high-converting emails.

Why segmentation matters

The best way to illustrate the importance of segmentation is with an example.

Bob is a young professional who’s been
working in the same company for three years and just got promoted to a
managerial position. He wants to use his increased salary to buy a few suits to
look the part.

He goes into two different stores.

In the first store, a sales rep meets him at the door and tells him about the history of the company and their commitment to quality. When Bob tries to get in a word, the salesman listens, waits for him to finish, then continues his spiel.

Bob doesn’t have a chance to look around on
his own because the salesman keeps presenting different suits. Nothing the
salesman does is rude but he also doesn’t take the time to understand what Bob
wants and why. Eventually, Bob leaves the store and tries his luck somewhere

In the second store, Bob walks in and is greeted by a sales rep but isn’t approached. He wanders around the store and sees a few items he likes. The sales rep eventually approaches him and asks a few questions to understand why Bob is looking for a suit.

Bob explains the situation and the rep
listens attentively. When Bob is done, the rep combines what he was told with
observations he made while Bob was browsing the store. He presents a few suits
and frames their qualities as the answer to Bob’s problem.

Bob is happy buying and the sales rep gets
a nice commission. Everyone wins.

It may not be obvious but the sales rep used behavioral and psychographic segmentation to sell suits to Bob.

In order to be successful with email marketing,
you should also be segmenting your subscribers. Here are a few ways to do that.

Segment subscribers based what they opted in for

Most websites cover multiple topics or audiences. For example, the Email blog has multiple topics which include Email marketing, SMS marketing, Digital strategy, and more.

The people drawn to the blog have different wants and needs. When they subscribe to the blog or download a resource, they’re clearly interested in that specific topic. For example, if they were to download Your Guide to Email Design Email would know they’re interested in direct marketing.

With that information, it can segment them so the subscriber receives information related to direct marketing and mobile marketing. When Email pitches its solution, it can frame it as the ideal solution for direct mobile marketing.

How is your website categorized?

Do you cater to people with different needs or cover multiple topics?

Does your product have multiple use cases?

Is your customer base made up of many personas?

If so, you can create multiple lead magnets for your customer personas or for different use cases of your product.

MindSumo does this well by creating multiple resources that target different customer personas. When a prospect downloads the lead magnet that’s relevant to them, they’re segmented into the proper email nurturing sequence.

Eventually, they’re pitched a demo of the

When you’re creating lead magnets, be sure
to consider who you’re making it for and how you can use it to segment your

Survey lead magnets

Segmenting based on how a subscriber joins
your email list can be an effective method but isn’t perfect. What do you do if
someone gets multiple resources or is only slightly curious about the lead
magnet’s topic?

Your segmentation may not be as effective.

What should you do to prevent this from

You can simply ask your subscribers what they want within the context of your solution. This simple tactic can produce a goldmine of information and while segmenting them into the perfect group at the same time.

Melyssa Griffin is a blogger and entrepreneur that became popular through Pinterest. On her homepage she offers a lead magnet but requires people to answer a simple question, “What’s your biggest business or blogging challenge right now?”

There are three options and the one they
choose determines the messages she sends and the offers she presents.

Your survey doesn’t have to be long and involved. It simply needs to get enough information to make your segmenting effective.

It’s knowing what to ask that can be
tricky. How did Melyssa Griffin know those are the biggest challenges her customers

The answer is a customer discovery survey.

The nuances of that process is beyond the scope of this post (If you’re interested, you can find out more here). Ask as many questions as you want in your customer discovery survey but be sure to include the following one:

What’s your biggest challenge related to x?

X is your niche or focus. For example, what’s your biggest challenge related to email marketing or what’s your biggest challenge related to relationships?

The question is open ended which allows people to pour their hearts out in a good way. The most common answers you get are the major segments in your audience. They’ll also be the answer you’ll present in your survey lead magnet.

The team at Wild Audience does something similar to Melyssa Griffin but they ask five questions instead of one.

Notice that the first question is almost
the same. That’s because this information is important for successful segmenting.

If you’re unable to ask your prospects at the point of lead capture, you can also ask after they’ve joined your mailing list. Make each option a link that can be clicked and add a tag or add them to a specific list based on the link they click.

The end result is a better open rate, increased click through, and more revenue in your business.

Behavioral segmentation

It’s said that actions speak louder than
words and in many cases that statement is true. Survey lead magnets let you ask
your prospects about their preferences.

At times, they may not give the best answer
because they’re not 100% sure what they want as relates to your solution or they
want multiple things.

Behavioral segmentation helps you unlock even deeper insights. After someone has joined your mailing list, they’ll open specific emails and click on certain links. You may notice that they ignore emails about weight training but love emails about running.

In addition to how they interact with emails, they may visit specific pages on your website multiple times. Together, these make up their behaviors and will allow you to build out a profile of the subscriber.

For example, let’s say you have a website
that’s focused on software development. You cover a lot of topics such
JavaScript, .Net, MySQL databases, and more. A new subscriber joins your
mailing list by downloading a resource about java script so you segment them

After the initial welcome series, you also
send them emails for new blog posts. Over time, you realize they’re also
interested in CSS and MySQL. You can add them to nurturing sequences that cover
those topics and pitch relevant products.  

Purchase history

With behavioral segmentation, you’re making
inferences based on a few actions they’ve taken. You may be correct or it may
be a coincidence.

Purchase history gives you concrete evidence that they’re interested in that topic or product category.

There are multiple ways to go about
segmenting based on purchase history:

  • Total lifetime spend
    People who’ve spent more money with you may get a different messages such as an offer to join your loyalty program or a discount. Those who just became customers may get messages encouraging them to come back and buy something else.
  • Most recent purchase
    If you choose to segment like this, you may send messages that promote other products that are closely tied to the one they just bought. Conversely, you may send informational content that keeps them engaged and using your product. This is also a good opportunity to send review or feedback requests to improve your product or show the world how awesome you are.
  • Product category of the purchase
    If someone buys a shirt then they’re likely to by another one down the line – right? When you segment based on product category, it means you send messages relevant to the kind of product your customer has shown interest in.

ASOS is a great example of this. I tend to buy shoes and accessories from the online store and it has taken note. Every few days, ASOS will send me a message about one deal or other that highlights the shoes in their inventory.

Because it’s relevant to what I’ve purchased in the past, I tend to buy something at least once a month.


Email marketing segmentation is the difference between campaigns that move the needle in your business and those that fall flat.

When you segment subscribers, you unlock
the true potential of your email marketing strategy. In this post, I’ve
outlined a handful of strategies you can use but it’s by no means all of them.

Use one or two as a starting point and
tweak the strategies until you find a combination that works best for you.

Let me know how you segment subscribers in
the comments and don’t forget to share.

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what you can do with Filters

Let’s look at the activities which can be performed with them to take your Email Marketing strategy to an advanced level.

Our launch post promised you new filters and we are now ready to go, initiating a cycle of publications dedicated to segmentation and email personalisation tools.

Today’s post is an overview of everything a company can do with the advanced filters. As you will discover, our objective is to show you how segmentation, personalisation and automation activities may be linked to each other.

A mixture of functions which unleashes the full potential of Email Marketing because, as we are always saying, the future is in one to one relationships with customers.

You can do everything with the new filters

Advanced Filters allow you to link different conditions together and define target recipients with maximum precision. This results in an ever-increasing potential for engagement and conversion of emails.

To summarise the innovations, with the new Filters you can:

  • Create a filter by linking up to 20 different conditions
  • Create subsets and condition hierarchies
  • Obtain a preview of the segment created
  • Share the filter with all the lists
  • Create a copy of the filter.

However, as we will see, filters play a fundamental role in other Email & SMS Marketing activities, as they assist in personalisation and automation operations as well as in segmentation.

Let’s look at the possible uses of the Filters, point by point.

1. Performing advanced searches and identifying new target segments

Let’s start with the simplest, though not the least important: searching for a segment within the database.

Searching with a filter will allow you to check your database’s composition: in other words, you have an extra ally to guide your campaigns according to your business. Filters allow you to understand which, and how many, targets you can direct your brand at, thus saying farewell to mass mailings and creating a set of diversified campaigns on the basis of the characteristics, interests and specifics of your database.

In this way, thanks to the filters, you can perform searches to find various targets to whom similar Email or SMS campaigns may correspond.

2. Launching segmented campaigns in detail

Now we are getting to the heart of the matter. You’ve designed the campaign, you’ve created it, all you have to do is send it. The filters allow you to find the right target in just a few clicks.

The new MailUp filters are so advanced that, within a database of, let’s say, 100,000 contacts, you can search for and identify even the smallest niche of recipients in line with the campaign.

The more limited the segment identified, the greater will be the campaign’s performance as it will definitely be relevant to those recipients. What advantage would there be in sending it to all 100,000 contacts in the database? None, in fact there are probably somewhat contraindications, such as a higher rate of unsubscription.

Let’s take an example of segmentation with filters. In this hypothetical campaign we have selected two:

  • 1 activity filter: First send
  • 1 personal data filter: women

Within a database of almost 50,000 contacts, the filter detected a sample of 13 contacts in line with the preset conditions. This is an extreme case but it illustrates the filters’ potential; how they allow identification of the target for each campaign.

3. Converting a combination of filters into a Group

After the target has been identified, the brand will very probably want to send further campaigns to that same segment in the following months.

In other words, that segment becomes a consolidated rather than an improvised target for the company, to be nurtured over time.

In this way filters can help to create a new Group. To create this group, you go to Recipients >Groups and click on the NEW GROUP button in the upper right corner.

After choosing the name of the Group, you click the Actions button and select the View email or View SMS function: you can now access the searches of the recipients with the filters.

4. Exporting the Group of recipients

Anyone who works in Email Marketing has found themselves, or at some time or another will find themselves, exporting contacts in the form of an Excel or csv file.

To do this you go to the Recipients >Export page. At the top of the page, you make sure you select the Export label and you choose how to segment the recipients for a targeted export: we will do it by group membership. Finally, you choose the format of the export file and click the Export button. So simple.

Once the export is finished, you click on the top Export list section. You now click the Actions button and then Download. You can open the file or save it to your computer.

5. Automating the personalisation of emails

We have now reached one of the most advanced uses of filters. This is aimed at personalising emails by applying rules for displaying lines and entire sections of the message. These will be automatically filled in with the most suitable content for each recipient.

To do this, tou use the Conditional Display function as well as the filters. This allows you to apply a filter for one (or more) blocks of the email when creating the message. Basically, Conditional display allows you to deliver emails to recipients which contain images and texts in line with their characteristics, preferences and needs.

The following is an example of an email in which Conditional display has been applied to show products for women or men according to the recipient.

Differentiation is possible thanks to the Filters, which will be applied to the content module.

6. Setting up an automatic mail

Filters are also essential for activating a triggered message, be it an Email or an SMS.

By combining Filters and Marketing Automation functions you can, for example, activate automatic mail to customers who have made a purchase in the last 30 days.

Alternatively, a common scenario in e-commerce, you can send abandoned basket recovery emails. We will use a personal data filter and an activity filter to create this automatic function. The following is an example of a possible flow:

As we said, to create it you need to apply a personal data filter which searches for all recipients who abandoned their basket three hours ago.

Another filter will be needed for the reminder, this time an activity filter, to segment the recipients who received the first email and opened it exactly 24 hours ago.

7. Setting up an automatic campaign

Last, but not least, the use of filters to create an automatic campaign.

What do we mean? We mean emails and newsletters which are automatically composed, by taking external content from a source and inserting it into the body of the message.

This type of campaign is based on two elements:

  • The sources: these are like chests storing your contents. You can install these in the email via RSS or ATOM Feed or via a File, by uploading a .csv, .json or .zip file (max 5MB)
  • Content modules: those elements which, when inserted into the body of the message, will be automatically filled in with the content stored in the source.

Filters are also essential for this type of campaign because they allow you to segment your audience by selecting different target recipients. An E-commerce campaign can, for example, create two different automatic campaigns:

  1. An automatic campaign for men, so as to only automatically forward the latest new items in the men’s catalogue to male contacts
  2. An automatic campaign for women, so as to only automatically forward the latest new items in the women’s catalogue to female contacts.

there are lots of possibilities.

To sum up

We wanted, with this article, to show you just how linked and interdependent segmentation, personalisation and automation activities are and how indispensable filters are in these activities.

Our desire is to make more and more companies take a one to one approach with customers and prospects, and to make advanced use of Email Marketing technologies which, as you must have noted, are available to everyone.

Finally, if you haven’t already tried MailUp, we invite you to request a free trial of the platform. You will have 30 days to try all the features and tools seen so far. See you soon!

Try MailUp'

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MailUp’s advanced filters have arrived

You can now create a filter by linking different conditions to segment recipients with maximum precision. The result? More flexibility, better engagement, and greater conversions.

We’ve been working for months on customizing campaign tools in developing the MailUp platform. We had started with new workflows then moved on to custom rows.

Today, we announce another great step forward: advanced filters where companies can fine-tune segmentation rules with maximum precision for sending increasingly profiled and relevant e-mails.

The new filters are so advanced that 100 profiles can be identified within a database of, let’s say, 10,000 contacts. The campaign is significant for those selected, yet excludes others for whom the message wouldn’t be of particular interest.

In terms of performance, what does segmentation translate into? It means greater recipient engagement. This is then verified through the key metrics of open, click, and conversion rates.

This post is the first in a cycle dedicated to customization tools. It is intended to accompany you in discovering new advanced filters. First, let’s zoom out.

What are filters?

We need a brief introduction before discussing innovations. This is mainly for the beginner or companies that have yet to try their hand at segmentation activities.

The MailUp filter is a function that allows for sorting recipients into segments based on a variety of conditions. Such conditions can be set based on the recipient data and information within the database. There are four data sets that correspond to four types of configurable filters:

  • Profile filter: based on each recipient’s saved data profile
  • Activity filter: based on the actions that the recipient has or hasn’t done (i.e., behavior)
  • Geographic filter: based on the recipient’s location upon opening your e-mail (localization is possible because of IP-collected information)
  • Device filter: segments according to the recipient’s device used in opening and engaging with your messages.

What did companies need?

Following our constant search for feedback, certain pressing needs
emerged from our clients. In particular, those needs involve:

  • Creating filters by combining different conditions
  • Creating a filter copy
  • Being able to branch the filter to create subsets of conditions and hierarchies
  • Making operations easier and more intuitive, even for companies that may initially overlook such Email Marketing tools.

That’s it for the introduction. Let’s jump right in.

How to work with the new advanced filters

Create and link up to 20 different conditions

You can now fine-tune a link of conditions. This allows you to create a filter that selects a segment of recipients in the most precise and accurate way.

In reality, this means you can obtain a segment of recipients from your database to perfectly represent the target of your next campaign.

If you go to the platform, then the Filters section (Recipients > Filters > New filter), you will find the Add condition button.

This function lets you apply an additional search command to the filter, so that you can perform further segmentation on the previous one.

In relation to the previous, the new condition
applies in two ways:

  • Including the (AND button): recipients selected with the new condition;
  • Excluding (OR button): recipients selected with the new condition.

The degree of segmentation can be very high. It is possible to add and link up to 20 conditions.

Need an example? An e-commerce can create a filter for these linking conditions:

  1. First condition: Include only female recipients
  2. Second condition: Include recipients with birthdays on gg/mm
  3. Third condition: Excludes all green-eyed recipients.

This is just an example, but it provides a good idea of how the new filters enable you to perform very advanced segmentation operations through details.

Branching the filter to create condition subsets and hierarchies is also possible. For example:

[Condition 1 OR Condition 2] AND ALSO Condition 3  

Where Condition 3 applies to the result of the set given by Condition 1 and Condition 2

Preview the created segment

You have created your campaign and the filter with all conditions in place. However, would you like to glance at that segment’s sample size or check if there’s a specific internal contact?

You can now do it from the same page in which you are creating the filter: Simply click on Calculate recipients.  

This is how you’ll always have full control over your filter-created segment. We constantly say that our goal is to guide advanced functions with tools for making operations agile, simple, and immediate.

Share the filter with all lists

Simplicity and immediacy, we’d say. Here’s another innovation that greatly simplifies marketers’ operations: the possibility of sharing the newly created filter with all other lists in the MailUp platform.

Make the advanced filter available to all other recipient lists in just one click.

Are you asking yourself—”what’s a list”?

A list is an independent set of messages, recipients, settings, and statistics that you can use to manage a certain type of mailing (e.g. a list for loyal customers, a newsletter list, a foreign markets list, etc.).

Create a filter copy

Being able to duplicate the newly created filter is no less important.

In understanding its usefulness, just think of how important it is to make a filter similar to the one created (exactly the same but with a different condition, let’s say) without having to start from scratch by performing the same actions.

Essentially, this is a nice step forward in terms of flexibility and agility in operations.

Everything is more clear and simple, even for the beginner

Along with the functions’ development, we have improved the interface of the Filters section in order to make each segmentation operation clearer and more accessible.

The redesign involved both the graphics and the texts to offer an intuitive interface, even for those who have never handled the filters. As previously mentioned, we always accompany usability and UX development when it comes to developing functions. The goal is to offer companies a powerful but also ready-to-use tool.

To sum up

Got any ideas on the potential of new advanced filters? As anticipated through this blog post, we’re launching a cycle of posts focused on segmentation functions and activities. We’ll show you some filter case studies and go deeper into the possibilities for your business.

If you haven’t had a chance to try MailUp, the filters, and any other E-mail Marketing features yet, then we invite you to request a free platform trial today. Try it free for 30 days—create, send, and measure the results.

Try MailUp'

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