Effective email marketing typically means segmenting your list, but how can you do this effectively to test the best way to segment list? While we've given you tips throughout this ebook on proper list segmentation, in this section we'll discuss some basic ways to test list segments.

Why Test List Segment?

Not every piece of clothing fits every size. Not every meal is appealing to every kind of diet. In general, in life, one size does not fit all. That's as true for consumer goods as it is for marketing techniques. You wouldn't have an in-person salesman show a man's hat to a fashion-conscious female shopping for shoes, would you? The same is true in email. In fact, the need to personalize and display the best offer to the best customer is even more important in email marketing because you don't have the advantage of a compelling salesperson and his or her personality. Therefore, finding and identifying your specific list segment that will respond to various offers most effectively becomes the best way to turn a "one-size" generic email into a precisely targeted email.

Types of List Segment Tests

Some common ways to test your list segments for targeted sends include:

User State: As we discussed in great detail before, users state is a common way to help you segment list. The longer a user has been lapsed or the time since they've abandoned the site, the more likely it is that they'll need a big or significant offer in order to re-engage with you. It's certainly worth it to test sending a more compelling offer to lost customers rather than continue to send the same maintenance offers to all users.

Gender: Not only do men and women often have different product or content interest, but it's also true that sometimes different marketing techniques or graphics and images will appeal differently to different genders. Depending on the scope of your product or service line, separating your database by men and women and presenting different displays and messages to them may result in higher conversions or sales.

Age: Again, product and service interests may be different depending on a user's age. However, even more importantly, an older demographic may want more information about privacy and instructions. A younger demographic may respond more to catchy copy and pop culture references. Breaking database out by age to test if different approaches will work to different list segments is a great idea of your website or business appeals to users of all ages. Just because you appeal to all ages, it doesn't mean that a single email campaign can effectively speak to all ages.

Geographic Region: There are so many reasons for you to segment list by geographic region. Colloquial speak, reference to landmarks and local events, use of local colors, and even the ability to reference the weather are just a few. However, it's also possible that your products or services are so generic that a geographic split won't do you much good. You'll never know until you test breaking out your most major markets from your database and trying a separate send to them.

Purchasing History: More often than not, the most effective way to split your database or to segment list will be by common purchasing histories. If you have a critical mass of people who have previously purchased mixing bowls, then those people are ideal to send an email to about baked goods. There are many similar purchasing trends to explore. In most cases, though segmenting by purchasing history may take the most work, it will also yield the greatest results.

Best Practices for List Segment Tests

Segmenting your list may be tricky, and you want to be sure not to over-email people. Take the time to run an extra manual check to ensure that you haven't inadvertently included the same people on multiple email lists that are being sent at the same time. Few things will get you marked as spam by a user faster than delivering multiple emails to their inbox on a given day.

Don't have too small list segments! You still need a critical mass of users in order to make the time and effort of sending a unique email worth your time. You'll need to determine "how small is too small" for a list segment based on your own business needs, but don't fall so in love with list segmentation that you create email lists that don't really have any value.

Take the time to think through your business needs and the best way to segment list for you. You may have a list segmentation that is entirely different from the ones that we've suggested above.

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