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Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2016-08-10

When it comes to B2B email marketing success, it’s all about delivering the right offer, at the right time to the right people. While this is always easier said than done, the practice of list segmentation can be used to significantly increase your chances of success. By narrowing your focus and sending targeted messages to specific groups across your email lists, your campaigns will be more timely and relevant – and get better results.


How much better? MailChimp reports that clients who segment their lists get about 14% better opens and 60% more clicks compared to non-segmented emails. The study states that targeting prospects by some type of identifying value (such as job, location, interests or other value) not only leads to better results but also reduces complaints as well as unsubscribes and reports of email abuse.


So how should B2B marketers segment their campaigns for maximum impact? Here are six keys for success:


  1. Start with clean data: Many marketers initiate segmentation based on fields within their CRM system, which makes sense. But using data that is out of date, contains duplicates, or isn’t formatted properly will only sabotage your campaign (especially if your recipients receive an email that is way off target, or if they receive multiple messages). Make sure your data is clean, accurate and current.


  1. Capture the right data: Be sure your CRM system and forms are set up to properly support your offerings. For example, if you sell supplies for veterinarians and for hospitals/medical offices, capture and collect info on your form fields to confirm the right segmented campaign goes to the right audience. Make segmenting easy by standardizing fields, too. For example, instead of asking for an industry name (with its inherent variations), use a pull down menu with a list of industries. To determine the right data to collect (or purchase/acquire), be sure to know your ideal customer profile, and make sure you are collecting what you need to power your segmented campaigns.


  1. Start with simple firmagraphics: For those who have never tried segmenting their data, the easiest way to begin is with firmagraphic data, which should support the definition of your ideal customer. Most B2B email marketers start by asking for the prospect’s name, email address, title and company name. They can then append the firmagraphic data later as more insight is learned about the prospect or customer.


  1. Graduate to more advanced segmentation: Once you’ve experienced success with your initial efforts, move on to other segmentation opportunities, such as geographic (targeting campaigns for specific regions based on address data); surveys or quizzes (gather insights into preferences, or how much a prospect knows about a particular topic); those who have downloaded content previously (vs. those who have never responded); previous purchases or amounts spent (to better target those comfortable with higher amounts vs. frugal shoppers); or time since last purchase (time to renew or refill?)


  1. Measure and optimize: Analyze your campaign results and discover the segments that delivered the best (and worst) results. Focus your ongoing efforts on the best performing segments (and consider dropping the worst ones), and expand upon your messaging to optimize the offers and calls to action that yield the best results. You’ll get the most value in mining the best segments over a period of time, using multiple campaigns to discover the messages that best match the segment. Doing this will allow you to track overall improvement in your marketing to that particular segment. Here, A/B testing can help accelerate success.


  1. Discover new segmenting opportunities: If you send 50,000 general emails and get 2,000 opens, what can you deduce and learn from those 2,000 people? What similarities do they share? Use this data to uncover new segmentation opportunities – and find new prospects with those same attributes.


When segmentation is done correctly, the results include increased campaign results, higher ROI and the ability to learn new things about target customers. What’s not to like about that?




Outward Media’s accurate, targeted email data can help you segment your email marketing, and ultimately, convert more prospects into customers. Ask us how. Also, take a look at our complimentary new e-book on building a successful B2B email marketing database.


Image copyright: jirsak / 123RF Stock Photo

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