Should We Send a Segmented Email?

22 Oct 2013

On our recent webinar on using Mailchimp and Ticketsolve, we had a great question. One of our customers recently had an upcoming comedy show they wanted to promote through an email. Rather then send the promo email to their entire master list, they sent it to just a segment of the list - those that either had attended a comedy event previously, or had specifically signed up for information about comedy shows. The result was rather "meh". Less than average click throughs and lower ROI. Her question was - should we really segment at all, especially when it comes to theatre events? Today's opera goer might be tomorrow's panto goer. So what gives? To be honest it depends. What is Market Segmentation Segmenting your market involves (basically) splitting your target market up, so that when you sell your products (or shows in our case) you are talking to people who actually want to hear more. If you don't segment your market, you risk wasting your marketing euros and pounds on people who are just not interested. Segmenting your market should give you more ROI. Customer Data In order to segment your market you need to have a lot of customer data to accurately get a picture of their buying patterns. A basic amount of data would include geographical and demographic data, as well as information on buying patterns, add ons and donations. The deeper we can go with our customer data, the better our profile of them, and the better we can target a message just for them. On the whole, segmenting is considered a must do, to get the most bang for your marketing buck. But it is not as easy as it first appears. To really get segmenting to work for you - it requires a lot of data capture, analysis, and frankly, trial and error. Importantly, the more information you can gather about your customers the more honed your message can be. Purchase history, abandon shopping carts, power users and inactive users all represent information we can use to create powerful messages. Used wisely, this can help you create a real connection with your customers. Remember of course that we cannot abuse the information we have and we cannot overwhelm our patrons with tons of emails either. No Segmenting Needed? But, there might some instances where there is no need to segment the market at all. If you are selling a commodity for example. Or if all your customers use media in the same way and make their purchases in the same way. Are they all worth the same in terms of profitability? Are all your customers sourced from the same pool? If you answered yes to any of these questions you might be able to get away with not segmenting your customer base. If for example, you are focused on a specific geographical area, or your overall audience size is small, it might make sense not to segment at all. If you did segment and it didn't work as well as you had hoped, maybe there is a concrete reason why. Timing of your email was off, perhaps the segmented email came directly on the heels of another mass email. But maybe we can tailor our mass emails, so they better fit each segment. For example, let's say we want to send a mass email on our winter productions. We have a mix of music, comedy, kids panto and drama. We can send the same email out, but swap our lead piece depending on the market segment we are emailing. So those on our comedy list get the email with the lead show being comedy, and our family and kids list gets the email with the panto as lead, etc. Ensuring we remove any dupes, will mean we can send a tailored message with annoying our patrons. Another example would be during an annual giving drive. It makes sense to segment our customers based on who has given before. A message of "we value your continued support" will be more effective than, "support your theatre!" Again this is really about trial, test and adjust, and see what really works for your market. So what do you think? How do you segment your market? Or don't you do it all?

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