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Email Marketing: How to Use Segmentation to Increase Customer Loyalty

By Shelly Kramer – Contributing Writer, Co-Chief Executive Officer of V3 BroadSuite.

email-marketing-segmentation-skWhen it comes to giving customers what they want, when they want it, there’s no better way to accomplish that than with email marketing. And if your goal is to win their loyalty, you need to be focused on customer segmentation. Personalization helps, too, but segmentation is where you need to start, and email is where you can make that happen.

Email marketing, is, by its very nature, a very personal, one-on-one channel. And understanding how to target your prospect base and deliver the right kind of messaging to the right person at the right time is the key to success. According to the Direct Marketing Association UK’s “National Client Email Report,” email marketers estimate that targeting specific segments drives 39 percent of email revenue. That’s why segmentation is the cornerstone of building a loyal customer base.

Segmentation: A roadmap to building the right customer base

Building the right customer base goes beyond measuring open and click through rates. These are metrics to pay attention to, but it’s the more important data: things like the purchase patterns of customers, their level of engagement with your brand, how they respond to marketing efforts, and their demographic and social profiles, are missing the boat.

You have to invest in getting to know your customers well before you try to gain their loyalty. And by taking the time to segment your client/customer email database, you can use different tools — like the ones listed below — to form highly personalized campaigns that truly connect. Let’s take a look.

Marketing Automation FTW

There’s no better way to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns than with marketing automation — and really, there’s not a better way to deliver more value to your customers. When marketing automation doesn’t work, it’s usually because people either don’t understand how (or have the resources) to implement it, they don’t understand the importance of data hygiene, or they’re cutting corners and/or not paying attention.

For marketing automation to work, you still need to study customer behavior, what interests them, and what triggers them to buy. And this is an ongoing cycle—one that requires you to constantly test, measure, tweak, and then start all over again with. Marketing automation and the data that you use to drive that allows you to craft content that ensures your customers get the information (or the offer) they need, at the time they need it. By mapping your automation to match your customer’s journey, you can build loyalty by keeping them engaged, delivering exactly what they want when they want it, and showing them that to you and your organization, the customer is what matters most. That’s what every buyer really wants—to feel like what it is they are doing, or buying, matters a lot to you and your organization.

Give your customers incentives to share their email addresses

Let’s be honest: It’s often not easy to convince a customer to share his or her email with you. But really? It doesn’t have to be all that hard. Think about what it is you can give them that is so valuable that they can’t resist trading their information for what it is you’re offering up. Whether it’s early bird access to something, special discounts, limited time offers, opportunities to do something others don’t get – all those things are things to consider when you’re designing your website user experience and your invitations to opt in to email.

Integrate email marketing with your customer relationship management process

Effective email marketing automation requires a compatible customer relationship management (CRM) program to power it. And the two must integrate seamlessly.

This takes the headache out of planning and saves you the time of filtering and sifting through multiple databases; with the right CRM, you can easily get a single, updated view of your customer engagement data and data-driven targeting. If you’re smart, instead of letting vendors sell you on the right CRM system to power your marketing efforts, look for a consultant who is platform agnostic and who will work with you to analyze and assess your individual needs, as well as your budget, along with the internal resources you’ll need to make all this happen. This will be time and money well spent and help you get the right system for the right place to serve your needs.

Checklist for building your email marketing customer loyalty program

If you want to get starting on making your email marketing deliver in terms of customer loyalty, here are some questions you can start by asking:

  1. Why do we want to do this? What do we really want out of it?
  2. What’s in it for our customers—how are we going to deliver real value to them?
  3. What shape is our data in? Is it reliable? How can we improve it?
  4. How well does our data match our key customer target groups and how are we going to differentiate between them?
  5. What does success look like? How will we measure it? How long do we think this will take?

Make sure your email marketing efforts are mobile-optimized

One last point that I can’t not mention relates to mobile. Mobile commerce has grown at a rate of more than 68 percent over the course of the last year, indicating that mobile devices are on track to become the primary mode of digital interaction between brands and customers.

So, you can just assume that your marketing emails will be read on a mobile or a smartphone instead of a desktop or a notebook. As such, it’s important to have your content optimized accordingly so your customers can read and interact with it across all platforms. Make sure that your calls to action are clear and incredibly easy to respond to on a mobile device and that you provide a user experience that is an enjoyable one, across any device. That’s a challenge for many marketers, but our reliance on and use of mobile devices isn’t going to go anywhere but up, so this is an important thing to keep in mind as it relates to of all your marketing strategies.

So, if your goal is building a killer loyalty program, start with customer segmentation. Let smart marketing automation be a part of your toolkit, give customers a legitimate reason to want to opt in, integrate your email with your CRM, and develop everything with a mobile first mindset,.

Want to know more about how to put segmentation to work for you? Want to learn more about segmentation and how it can make a world of difference to your email marketing efforts, check out this whitepaper from the folks at DotMailer [download] [but worth it]. They take you through a number of different case studies, provide lots of valuable tips, and can help you jump start your efforts to build a customer loyalty program through your email marketing efforts.

What about you? Do you use email to build and improve customer loyalty? Have you been practicing email segmentation? Has it impacted your results? You know I’m looking for your stories here, so bring ‘em.

Other resources on this topic:
The Most Overlooked Email Marketing Strategy: Segmentation
Segmentation: Moving Your Email Strategies from Basic to Best
How to Improve Your Marketing Automation ROI

By Shelly Kramer – Contributing Writer, Co-Chief Executive Officer of V3 BroadSuite
Website:, Twitter: @ShellyKramer



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