Automate Email Marketing and Boost Sales.

Automate email marketing and boost sales

Email Segmentation: 10 Proven Strategies + Examples

Are you guilty of blasting the same emails to all customers without using email segmentation? It is an easy route, but it will not yield any conversions.

Having a great email list doesn’t increase your conversion rates; segmentation and sending personalized emails do. Email Segmentation is considered the best way to engage customers and boost the conversion rates of your e-commerce store.

In this blog, we explain why segmentation is important in email marketing and list the most effective email marketing segmentation strategies. On top of that, we provide you with email segmentation examples to show you how top brands implement their email segmentation ideas.

Let’s dive right in.

What is Email Segmentation?

Email segmentation is the technique of dividing your email list into smaller groups based on criteria like age, gender, location, purchase history, email engagement, and more. 

This way, you can craft email content to match the unique characteristics of every segment and send emails that resonate with the customers’ needs and interests. 

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What is the difference between email segmentation and personalization?

  • Email Segmentation in marketing involves dividing your email list into groups based on criteria like age, location, or purchase history.
  • Personalization means tailoring the email content to match those criteria, making each email feel unique to the recipient.

Benefits of Email Marketing Segmentation

In Hubspot Research 2021, email segmentation (78%) and personalization (72%) were identified as the most effective strategies in email marketing.

Out of all the strategies, here are the reasons why segmenting is an effective email marketing strategy.

  • Increased personalization and engagement
    Email personalization goes hand in hand with segmentation. The more personalized your emails are, the more engaged your customers will be. 
    Creating customer segments based on their unique characteristics, like purchase history, interests, and demographics, allows you to tailor the message based on these factors. This makes your email resonate with each customer. 
    This is the most important reason why does segmentation matter in email marketing. 
  • Improved open and click-through rates
    Segmented email campaigns had 100.95% clicks compared to non-segmented emails globally, according to Mailchimp. 
    Because segmented emails are more relevant to each recipient, they tend to have higher open and click-through rates compared to non-segmented campaigns. 
  • Increased conversion rates
    According to Campaign Monitor, segmented email campaigns result in a 760% increase in revenue. 
    Segmented email campaigns can lead to higher conversion rates as they target subscribers with content and offers that are most relevant to them.  
    For example, sending a promotion for baby products to recent parents rather than the entire email list makes a conversion more likely.
    The sheer number of conversions you get is the reason why email segmentation is more important than any other email marketing strategy out there. 
  • Lower unsubscribe rates
    When emails are consistently relevant and engaging, subscribers are less likely to feel overwhelmed or annoyed by your communications, leading to lower unsubscribe rates.

Now that we know why segmentation matters in email marketing, let’s move on to learning how you can segment email lists based on various criteria. 

Types of Email List Segmentation

You can segment email lists based on the various unique characteristics of your customers. 
Personalized emails are not only about mentioning the customer’s name in the email; they go much beyond that. 

Let’s look at how to segment your email list with the help of customer data and send more tailored content. 

1. Demographic segmentation

Criteria: Age, gender, location, income, education level, occupation, etc.
Demographic segmentation is one of the most straightforward ways to categorize customers, as these factors significantly influence buying behavior and product preferences.
For example, marketing strategies that appeal to millennials may not resonate with baby boomers. 

2. Behavioral segmentation

Criteria: Purchase history, website activity, email engagement, shopping cart abandonment, etc.
This email list segmentation offers insights into customer interactions with your brand. Understanding a customer’s past purchases can predict future buying behavior, enabling businesses to recommend relevant products. 
For example, customers with high email engagement could receive exclusive deals to encourage conversion.

3. Preference-based segmentation

Criteria: Product interest, content preferences, etc.
This email marketing segmentation focuses on the specific interests and preferences of your customers, ensuring that the content and products they receive are aligned with what they value most. 

4. Lifecycle stage segmentation

Criteria: New customers, active customers, inactive customers, loyal customers, etc.
Customers at different stages of their relationship with your brand have different needs and expectations. 
This email list segmentation criteria allows businesses to nurture these relationships appropriately, from welcoming new customers to re-engaging inactive ones and rewarding loyal customers.

10 Best Email Segmentation Strategies

Let’s look at some examples of email segmentation strategies and email marketing templates that show how the strategies are implemented in real time. 

Here are the best email segmentation strategies:

  1. Location-specific emails
  2. Purchase history
  3. Email Engagement
  4. Abandoned carts
  5. Products viewed
  6. Stage of the sales funnel
  7. Personal interests
  8. Discount code usage
  9. Predicted customer lifetime value
  10. Content interests

1. Location-specific emails

This is one of the most basic email segmentation strategies to get started with.

You can predict customer preferences with their demographic data. If you are running a clothing store, sending emails about monsoon season offers will work for Asian customers but not for Americans. Or you wouldn’t want to send a recommendation email for a gaming product to a 40-year-old. 

Here is an example of a location-specific email by Nanit.

Location-specific Email Segmentation example

If you have customers across the globe, sending a July 4th email only to North Americans would make sense. 

2. Purchase History

Purchase history has a goldmine of information about your customer’s purchasing behavior – what type of products they have purchased before, the frequency and recency of purchases, and the total purchase value. 

Here is how you can use this email marketing segmentation strategy to send personalized emails.  

  • Frequency of purchases – Send exclusive offers for frequent buyers and limited-time offers and product recommendations to occasional buyers. If they haven’t purchased for more than 90 days, send them a win-back email. 
  • Total purchase value – Offer high-value customers exclusive offers, send cross-sell and up-sell emails, and invite them for a loyalty program. 
  • Product categories – Send cross-sell and up-sell emails, re-stock reminders, and product usage guides. 
  • Purchase history trends – Send emails featuring products related to the current season or upcoming holidays. 

Here is how Adidas this email segmentation idea.

Purchase history based Email segmentation example

You can implement email segmentation ideas like this by segmenting the customer by product category and including a complementary product in the email. 

3. Email Engagement 

Email engagement indicators will tell you what to send and how frequently you should send emails in the future. Create segments for highly engaged subscribers (frequent openers and clickers), moderately engaged subscribers, and less engaged subscribers.

Here is how you can send segmented email campaigns with this data .

  • Highly engaged customers – Send exclusive offers and more frequent emails. 
  • Less engaged customers – Send re-engagement emails with incentives or fewer emails to avoid unsubscribes.

Here is how Sunglass Hut uses this email segmentation strategy.

Email engagement based segmentation example

Provide early access to shop newly launched products like this or send an exclusive offer to high-engaged customers.

4. Abandoned Carts

This is one of those email segmentation strategies that you shouldn’t turn your back on. 

You wouldn’t want all of your abandoned cart emails to look the same; say the same “Your cart is waiting for you” tagline. You can segment the customers who abandoned carts based on the items in the cart, average cart value, and frequency of abandonment. 

With dynamic content blocks in the email, you can include abandoned items directly in the email. Moreover, segmenting the email list by average order value allows you to give them special treatment, like sending exclusive offers

Here is an example of email segmentation based on abandoned carts by Fabletics Men. 

Abandoned cart-based email segmentation example

See how they included a VIP Member Exclusive offer. This can’t be done without segmenting the abandoned cart customers by VIPs or non-VIPs. 

5. Products viewed

You can also collect data from customer’s website activity and segment them based on that. Products they have viewed are a great clue into what they are interested in, and all they need is a little nudge to purchase. 

You can also provide exclusive discounts for products they viewed. This creates a sense of urgency and encourages conversion.

You can use tools like Google Analytics and Hotjar to track viewed products and integrate these tools with your email marketing software

Here is how Rael implements this email marketing segmentation strategy.

Email segmentation example based on products viewed

6. Stage of the sales funnel

The ultimate goal of segmentation is to send relevant content to the customers. The stage of the funnel clearly tells you about customers’ varying needs and pain points, allowing you to address them in your emails. 

  • Awareness stage – Customers in this stage have recently discovered your brand or product. Send newsletters with educational content, blog posts, and welcome emails to nurture their interest.
  • Consideration stage – Customers here are actively considering your products or services. Send product recommendations, comparison guides, and customer reviews to help them make informed decisions.
  • Decision stage – These subscribers are close to making a purchase decision. Send them personalized offers, discounts, or product recommendations to encourage conversion.
  • Post-purchase stage – Subscribers who have made a purchase. Send next-order coupons, loyalty rewards, and upsell or cross-sell emails to encourage repeat business.
  • Referral stage – These customers are satisfied and can become brand advocates. Send referral incentives, request reviews, or invite them to join your loyalty program.
  • Abandoned Cart stage – Send cart recovery emails with personalized product recommendations and incentives.
  • Inactive/Win-back stage – Segment based on the length of inactivity. Send win-back emails, special offers, or re-engagement campaigns to rekindle their interest.

There are quite a lot of ways you can gather data to determine which stage the customer is in. For example, someone who fills out a contact form is likely in the consideration stage, while a customer who completes a purchase has reached the post-purchase stage. 

Most of the email segmentation tools allow you to segment your email list based on product page visits, email open rates, or time spent on your site.

Here is how Fulton uses this email segmentation strategy. 

Email segmentation example based on the stage of the funnel

This email segmentation example would be typically sent to someone in the Decision stage. They have viewed the product and just need a little push to click “Buy.” 

Send automated personalized emails that engage more with Retainful’s easy-to-use email segmentation and automation feature. 

7. Personal Interests

Other than the above email marketing strategies, a simple survey or making the customers choose their interests in the site would give a peek into their persona. If they chose sportswear instead of formal wear, you can recommend sports products in your emails. 

8. Discount code usage

Unique coupon codes you have offered will give you data for segmentation if you track their usage. You can unlock it by tracking their usage. Some criteria you can consider are high-spenders, seasonal shoppers, and first-time buyers. 

If you offer discounts on specific product categories like “20% off Apparel”, segment customers who have redeemed codes for those categories. Send them relevant product recommendations and similar offers.

9. Predicted customer lifetime value

You can’t miss out on those long-term customers who have stuck with you for so long. Identify them by calculating average purchase value and average purchase frequency and longevity. Those who have scored high on these categories are your high lifetime value customers. 

Show them an appreciation for their loyalty and repeat business and offer exclusive perks, such as early access to sales or VIP events. 

This is how Moment implements this email segmentation strategy.

Email segmentation example based on customer lifetime value

This is an email segmentation example of how you can be grateful for your high lifetime value customers and give them an exclusive offer. 

10. Content Interests

In this email segmentation strategy, you segment your customers based on what content they like – videos, images, blogs, or instructional guides. 

Keep an eye on what content they engage with (e.g., blog posts, videos, articles) on your site and track which emails they open and which links they click. 

There you have it. 10 email marketing segmentation strategies to create segmented email campaigns. 

Now, let’s move on to learn about some of the best practices you should follow while creating this email list segmentation.

5 Email Segmentation Best Practices to Follow

Every segment you create indicates differences in the preferences, needs, and behaviors of customers. The goal of email segmentation is to send emails that align with those unique differences and ultimately engage the customers. 

To meet this goal, you have to follow some of the email segmentation best practices below:

  • Data quality and accuracy – Ensure that your customer data is accurate and up to date. Inaccurate data can lead to incorrect segmentation and ineffective campaigns.
  • Choosing segmentation criteria – Define clear criteria for segmenting your customers. If you are just getting started with email segmentation, start with just 2-3 segments that will make the most impact.
  • Personalization – Craft highly personalized email content tailored to each segment. This includes using the recipient’s name, referencing past interactions, and recommending products or content based on their history.
  • Track and test – Continuously test your email segmentation strategy and email content to identify what works best. A/B testing can help refine your segmented email campaigns over time. And keep an eye on unsubscribes. 
  • Automation – Use marketing automation tools to streamline your email list segmentation efforts. Automation can ensure that emails are sent to the right segments at the right times, improving efficiency and accuracy.

How to get started with Email Segmentation?

On the face of it, email list segmentation can be quite overwhelming; let’s simplify it further by a step-by-step guide.

Step 1: Choose an email segmentation tool.

A good email marketing platform takes the load off you and allows you to create segmentation without a 3-page manual. Choose one and integrate it with your e-commerce store. 

Step 2: Choose your segmentation criteria. 

Define your goals for specific email marketing segmentation criteria – is it for customer retention, abandoned cart recovery, or promotions? Then, select a criteria that align with the goal. 

Step 3: Segment the email list.

Pick your chosen criteria in the email automation platform. 

In Retainful, it can be done in a few simple steps. You can choose pre-defined email segmentation templates like abandoned cart customers, inactive customers, VIP customers, new customers, and active Email subscribers, or you can create your own rules from scratch. 

Email segmentation using the Retainful plugin

Here is an example of two of them – abandoned carts and purchase history.  

You can segment the abandoned cart customers in multiple ways in Retainful –  such as abandoned date, abandoned product name, total number of abandoned carts, and cart value, among others. 


In the case of purchase history, you can segment customers by number of orders, order total, product name, and product ID, among others. 

Email Segmentation using Retainful plugin

Now, you can use these segments effortlessly while creating your email campaigns.

Step 4: Craft targeted content.

After segmenting the email list, it is time to craft relevant email content based on the customer’s interests and needs.

Wrapping up!

The ultimate goal of email segmentation is to make the customers feel that your emails resonate with their current situation so that they are more likely to take the desired action, whether signing up, making a purchase, or referring others.

In this blog, we have covered why is segmentation important in email marketing, the best email list segmentation strategies, and some email segmentation best practices. 

Learn more about how to do better email marketing:

What is the difference between email lists and segments?

A list is a collection of all of your email contacts grouped together. At the same time, a segment is a subset of your email list created based on specific criteria or conditions.

What is an example of segmentation in email marketing?

An example of segmentation in email marketing is dividing an email list into segments based on purchase history. This allows you to send exclusive offers to frequent shoppers with product recommendations while sending win-back emails with re-engagement offers to inactive customers. 

How to segment your contacts?

Data integration: Email automation apps allow for automatic data synchronization from your ecommerce store, including purchase history and customer behavior. It will also track the email engagement rates. 
Choose Segmentation Rules: Define clear rules for segmentation based on the collected data.
Apply Segmentation: Use your email marketing platform to create segments based on the chosen rules.

What are the benefits of email segmentation? 

Segmentation ensures messages are relevant, increasing the likelihood of meeting customer needs and driving desired actions.
As a result, you get higher open and click-through rates, higher engagement, reduced unsubscribe rates, increased conversions, and better customer retention. 

What are some of the best email segmentation tools?

A good email segmentation tool should allow you to segment your customers based on numerous criteria with ease. Here are some of the tools: Retainful, Omnisend, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor among others.