Automate Email Marketing and Boost Sales.

Automate email marketing and boost sales

Mastering Email Segmentation: Proven Strategies + Examples

Are you guilty of blasting the same emails to all the customers? It is an easy route but will not yield you any good results. 

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 ecommerce store. 

In this blog, we explain the ‘why’ part of the question and strategies on how to use it. We show you how top brands do it by providing you with examples. 

Let’s dive right in. 

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What is Email Segmentation, and why does it matter? 

Email segmentation, also called as email list segmentation, is the practice of dividing your email contact list into smaller groups or segments based on specific criteria. 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. 

At the end of it, you will have personalized emails that are more likely to attain high open rates and revenue.  

Here are some numbers to back up this claim:

  • In Hubspot Research 2021, email segmentation(78%) and personalization(72%) topped as the most effective email marketing strategies. 
  • According to Campaign Monitor, segmented email campaigns result in a 760% increase in revenue. 
  • Segmented campaigns had 100.95% clicks compared to non-segmented emails globally, according to Mailchimp. 

Apart from reaping these benefits of email segmentation, if your goals are increasing customer engagement and experience via emails, getting fewer spam complaints, higher open and click rates, and lower unsubscribe rates, there is no better option out there than email segmentation.  

It would be obvious by now that email personalization goes hand in hand with segmentation. The more personalized your emails are, the more engaged your customers will be. 

How to segment your email list for email marketing campaigns? – 10 Strategies and Examples

But, how can you segment your email list to send highly personalized and tailored content? 

Personalized emails are not only about mentioning the customer’s name in the email; it goes much beyond that. With the help of customer data, you can group your customers by the following categories and send more tailored content. 

  • Demography: Age, gender, location, income, etc.,
  • Behavior: Purchase history, website activity, email engagement, etc.,
  • Preferences: Product interest, content preferences, etc.,
  • Lifecycle stage: New customer, inactive customer, loyal customer, etc.,

Let’s deep dive into each of the Email Segmentation strategies and understand them with examples. 


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. 

Use demographic data like age, gender, location, income level, and cultural factors to segment the customers. 

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. 

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 data to segment and 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 a classic cross-sell email by Adidas.

Purchase history based Email segmentation example

You can create an email like this by segmenting the customer by product category and including a complementary product in the email. 

Using the Retainful plugin, you can easily segment customers by number of orders, order total, product name, and product ID, among others. 

Email Segmentation using Retainful plugin

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 tailor content to nail this email segmentation strategy.

  • 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 an example by Sunglass Hut. 

Email engagement based segmentation example

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

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 one of the email marketing segmentation examples 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. 

Retainful offers multiple ways to segment abandoned cart customers, such as abandoned date, abandoned product name, total number of abandoned carts, and cart value, among others. 

Email segmentation using Retainful plugin

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 an example by Rael. 

Email segmentation example based on products viewed

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. 

  • Awareness Stage – Customers in this stage have recently discovered your brand or product. Send 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 StageSend 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 an example by Fulton. 

Email segmentation example based on the stage of the funnel

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

Experience the dual power of Segmentation and Automation with Retainful and boost your customer engagement. 

Personal Interests

Other than the above ways, 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. 

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.

Predicted customer lifetime value

You can’t miss out on those long-term customers who will stick with you forever. 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 appreciation for their loyalty and repeat business and offer exclusive perks, such as early access to sales or VIP events. 

Email segmentation example based on customer lifetime value

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

Content Interests

You can also segment your customers 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. 

With these email marketing segmentation strategies in place, let’s move on to learn about some of the best practices you should follow while email list segmentation.

5 Email Segmentation Best Practices to Follow

Every segment you create indicates differences in preferences, needs, and behaviors. 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 best practices of email segmentation, like

  • 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.
  • 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 strategies and email content to identify what works best. A/B testing can help refine your 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 segmentation can be quite overwhelming; let’s simplify it further by what you have to do step by step. 

Step 1: Choose an Email Segmentation Tool.

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

Step 2: Choose your segmentation criteria. 

Define your goals for specific segment 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 segment 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

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 in that criteria.

Ready to gain conversions and retain customers with Email Segmentation?
Use Retainful to make it happen. 

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.

Learn more about creating targeted email campaigns and start engaging customers with relevant emails. 

What is the difference between email lists and segments?

A list is a collection of all of your email contacts grouped together. While 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.