Email marketing is not a new term to many small business owners. In fact, some of them have embraced email marketing to such an extent that it has become an important strategy to grow their customer base and build a strong relationship with their prospects. One of the reasons they are seeing results is because they’re using targeted email marketing and aren’t carpet bombing their list with the same, generic message.
It doesn’t matter what niche you are in or how big or small your goals are, you can use targeted email marketing to take your small business to the next level. You can build real-world relationships with your customers and also create a solid brand that gets you noticed by your target audience.
In fact, it has been found that email marketing is the top marketing tool used by U.S. small business owners.
However, there are still a percentage of small business owners who do not take email marketing seriously. This is mainly because of the misconception that email marketing is reserved for the big players in the market. They assume that you need to have lots of customers and a million dollar revenue stream to actually make profit from their email list.
But if you look deeper into the world of email marketing and how it drives profits for small businesses, you’ll be surprised to know that any business of any size can strategically use email to grow itself. Even small business owners can see a high return on investment with email marketing.
However, the truth is email marketing has evolved over the years. Which means you simply won’t get the kind of results you want if you’re not taking a targeted and tailored approach to it.
Gone are the days when you could send the same message to your whole email list and expect sales to roll in. It’s a pipe dream that will never give you great results now.
Today, it’s all about focusing on customization and personalization so that you aren’t leaving money on the table. It’s crucial that small businesses begin to use targeted email marketing, and not just depend on generic email marketing.
What is Targeted Email Marketing?
In simple words, it is the practice of creating and sending out highly customized/personalized emails to a specific segment of your email list. This is done with the aim of getting the most wanted response from your subscribers. When a small business leverages targeted email marketing the right way, it increases the chances of generating leads and sales via email.
In order to take advantage of targeted email marketing, your business needs to segment its audience.
Here are the four most common segmentation areas:
- Geographic [eg: country]
- Demographic [eg: gender]
- Psychographic [eg: interests]
- Behavioural [eg: intent]
By segmenting the audience, any brand (regardless of its size) can create marketing personas or user profiles, which helps it understand their preferences. When compared to generalized emails, targeted messages are much more powerful because they have contextual relevance.
Here’s an example of an e-gaming company’s approach to targeted email marketing.
By segmenting your email subscribers into specific groups, it becomes easy to craft such targeted email messages. Even though the communication with your email list is not one-on-one, it has the same effect when you use personal and behavioural data. This way, your email campaigns not only become targeted but also engaging.
5 Real Benefits of Targeted Email Marketing
Regardless of the type of small business you run, you can benefit from targeted email marketing in more than one way. In fact, there’s no reason for you to not take advantage of this simple yet effective strategy.
Here are a few clear benefits of using targeted email marketing to grow your business:
1. Relevancy: One of the reasons why many small business fail to get results with email marketing is irrelevancy. Their messages are not customized enough. When you use targeted email marketing to broadcast messages to a specific segment of your email audience, you’re in a better position to create content that is highly relevant.
Let’s face it, your audience wants to see quality content that gives them the needed knowledge and help. Putting in a little effort to send messages that resonate with your target audience will increase your chances of being profitable. Relevant content also helps your email recipients remember your content, and makes them spread the word about it. In the process, making your brand more recognizable and easy to connect with.
So whether it is personalizing your emails by your prospect’s first name or your their purchase history, keeping your emails relevant works. It gives you a chance to show them that you value their presence on your email list.
2. Response: What’s the use of sending out email messages if your recipients don’t interact with your content? Your goal could be as simple as hitting the reply button or clicking on the “buy now” link or filling out a survey form. It doesn’t matter what kind of response you’re expecting. What matters is your recipients find enough value in your emails and happily respond to them.
There’s no doubt that targeted email marketing fetches real response from your list. When your emails are highly relevant to the interests and problems of your email subscribers, they are more likely to engage with your content.
In a study done by MailChimp, it was found that targeted email marketing campaigns not only experience a high open rate but also a higher click-through rate. Remember, when more of your emails get opened and links get clicked, it leads to better conversions.
3. Boosts Revenue: Email marketing is one of the most effective tools to increase sales and get more leads for your business. Given that you carefully craft your targeted email marketing campaign, you can expect to convert more of your email recipients into customers.
There are a number of ways to generate higher revenue from your email marketing efforts, such as targeting a specific group of subscribers according to their interest and sending them special yet relevant deals.
4. Builds Relationships: When you run a targeted email marketing campaign, you are in fact directly connecting to your prospects and customers. By regularly speaking to your email list and conveying valuable ideas, you are in a better position to create and nurture relationships.
Your focus should be on delivering real value and showing them that you, as a brand, see them as an important part of your business. Let them know that they aren’t a mere data point or a number on the list. Because after all, these are real people who have real wants/needs.
Only when you understand the importance of your prospects/customers will they treat you with the utmost respect and work on building strong relationships. Doing so also allows you tailor your content and your offer accordingly. The more your email subscribers see you as a respectable brand, the better will be your relationship with them.
5. Increases Retention: Building a strong relationship with your customers and prospects is only one part of the equation. The other part is to ensure they stay on your list for a long period of time and keep coming back for more.
When you focus on retention, you automatically work on leveraging the already-built relationship and consistently work to improve it. In short, targeted email marketing allows you to retain your email subscribers by helping you engage with your email list on a regular basis.
How to Segment Your List for Targeted Email Marketing
Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to enhance your small business’s growth. However, if you don’t do what it takes to send highly personalized emails to your list, you’ll find it difficult to see real profits. After all, how much can email marketing really do for you if you’re sending out the same email to all your list? All of your customers are not the same so why should they all receive the same email?
Every subscriber on your list is different, with different needs. So the last thing you want to do is take the one size fits all approach. Think about it, will it be appropriate to send a promotional email to men, when it actually appeals to women? Of course not. There’s little to no chance that every subscriber will be interested in the different types of products you sell.
The idea is to make your emails as relevant as possible to your email subscribers so that they continue to respond to your offers. It’s obviously impossible to customize your emails for each and every subscriber on your list.
But what is possible is segmenting your list into groups according to specific data. Which not only helps you get more engagement from your email marketing campaign but also convert more subscribers into leads and sales.
Email list segmentation is nothing but a method to divide and organize your subscribers into specific lists based on the data you have about them.
Let’s look into how you can segment your list in order to create a targeted email marketing campaign.
#1: Target Emails Based on Customer Type
Understanding who your customers are, and what kind of a relationship you share with them can help you send highly targeted messages. Just by knowing what stage your customer is in lets you send emails that are specific and personalized.
When you segment your customers based on the data you have about them, your chances of getting repeat sales increases. If you already have an email list of customers, then you could segment it according to the category each customer falls into.
- Potential Customers: Customers who haven’t bought your product or service (yet) but may buy in the future, fall into this category. These are prospects who you can email educative content that helps them understand your brand, product, or service better. You can even email them content that helps them see the brighter side of your market or current trends better.
- New Customers: Customers who have bought your product or service for the first time come under this category. Your main aim should be to get new customers to become repeat customers. You can send them emails that offer discounts on your other products or free offers that add them to a new marketing funnel. The idea is to make them loyal to your brand of products.
- Loyal Customers: Customers who buy your products repeatedly and give you regular feedback go in this category. Your loyal customers are the most valuable segment because they regularly invest in your products/services. They don’t require salesy emails or pushy offers. What they need is to feel rewarded so that they remain loyal. You could email them freebies or special offers exclusive to them.
- Inactive Customers: Customers who have bought from you in the past but are no longer purchasing. These dormant customers require you to take a fresh angle and keep in touch via email asking them questions or inviting them to online webinars about your product or service. You can also send surveys to them to understand what’s stopping them from making a purchase.
Targeted email marketing can help you not only understand your customers better but also improve your relationship with them, regardless of what stage they are at. Your main objective should be to give your customers and prospects email content that they can relate to. Content that gives them a reason to hit the buy button.
#2: Target Emails Based on Interests
It’s common to see small businesses dealing with multiple products, catering to different kinds of people. So segmenting your email list based on actual interests is a great way to boost the response you receive. Now, how you understand their interests is what sets you apart from the rest. Usually, how your prospects and customers interact with your brand shows what kind of product or service they might be interested.
Segment After They Join Your List
Let’s assume you own an online store that deals with t-shirts. On your email list, you may have both men and women. You probably have people who are only interested in buying polo t-shirts. While other like those graphic tees. Or those into simple, round neck t-shirts. If you send your list the same offers each time, do you think you’ll get a huge response? Not really. Since you are not catering to interests of specific groups of people, you aren’t going to see a high number of sales.
When you segment your email list by interest, you are no longer doing guesswork. You can segment your subscribers according to the call to action in your email. Segment subscribers who click on this link. If the subscriber clicks on a link leading to a round-neck t-shirt, you can segment them as someone interested in that type of t-shirt. And as new products come in this category, you can email them about it.
Segment Before They Join Your List
While a lot of email segmentation is done after someone joins your email list, there are times when you may want to segment your subscribers prior to getting on your list. Why? Because some interests can only be gauged at the beginning stage.
For example, say, you’re selling an self-improvement program or course. And in the front end you’re building your list using a free report or eBook about improving yourself.
Now, different people want to improve different areas of their lives. They have unique goals that are connected to their specific circumstances. In order to truly personalize the experience of your subscribers, you need to know where they are coming from, and what category they fall into.
So how do you really achieve this? The best way to improve your results and generate high quality leads is to do the segmentation on the landing page itself. This not only helps you qualify your leads in advance but also improves your email conversion rate.
When someone visits your landing page, you should give them information about your offer that is specific to them. Recommend them the best option based on their “self-identification”. In the above example, you can choose to get a free, customized quote based on whether you are a homeowner, renter or a commercial organization.
Your aim should always be to gather high quality, super-targeted leads. Instead of investing time and money into promoting your landing page to an audience that is not relevant, focus in the other direction.
#3: Target Emails Based on Location
By now you should know that personalization is a great way to increase your email open rates. However, what actually sweetens the deal is real-time personalization. Why? Because by going beyond personalizing the first name of your subscriber, and by using real-time data you give people a strong reason to open your emails and take action.
If you look around, you will find that many companies are targeting their email marketing by focusing on the location. Because geographical data is real-time data that you can use to send customized emails and avoid making the mistake of sending the wrong information. After all, you don’t want to send a California-specific offer to your New York based customers.
Segmenting your email list by location is nothing new. Businesses do it all the time. But what really matters is doing it right.
There are many mom and pop shops that have an online store. And like any regular business, they have sales and special offers going from time to time. Targeted email marketing based on location can help you send promotional emails to get more people to visit the store.
The three biggest advantages of targeting your email marketing campaign based on the location of your subscribers are:
- If you have a brick and mortar store, you can boost your in-store traffic.
- Communicate with customers on a consistent basis and build stronger relationships
- Increase the amount of sales along with the “average order value”
If you want to get the most out of your business and get more people to visit your physical store, while increasing sales, then you should try targeted email marketing based on location. It’s one of the most relevant ways to get more customers, and maybe even faster.
#4: Target Emails Based on Engagement
Now, when you build an email list, you have a list of subscribers who are not the same. Which is why you see different activity from different subscribers.
Some of your subscribers may be a big fan of your emails and open every single message you send them. While others may never open an email after the first welcome email. Can we segment emails based on this information? The answer is yes.
Targeting emails based on engagement is a powerful way to get more subscribers to interact with your emails. If you’re using a popular email marketing tool like Aweber, Constant Contact or MailChimp, you should know that these companies have built specific features for this purpose. You can easily use these tools to segment your email list based on the type of subscriber activity.
For instance, if you want your email list to remain fresh and responsive, you may want to create a dedicated segment for all those dormant or inactive subscribers. These are people who haven’t opened your emails in a certain time frame.
Once you’ve segmented them, you can send them an email to reconfirm their subscription with you. Give them a strong reason to stay (such as a freebie), but if they want to leave, let them leave by clicking the unsubscribe link.
However, if they don’t take any action in a week or two, you can remove them from your email list and save money on what you’re paying to your email service provider. It’ll also help you increase your return on investment.
Targeted email marketing may seem complicated at first, which is one of the reasons why small businesses don’t bother with it. However, when you actually implement it, you will find that it is anything but complicated. It is the missing piece of the puzzle for businesses that are unable to get results from their email marketing efforts. If you need help sending a monthly newsletter or building your email marketing campaign, then contact us and we will create a campaign for you that will help you achieve your goals.
If you’ve tried your hand at targeted email marketing in the past but didn’t see significant results, it’s okay. Apply the tips that we discussed above and try to understand where you went wrong. And if you have never leveraged targeted email marketing in the past, then you need to do it now.
Remember, the more relevant your email marketing efforts are, the better results you will see. Which generally means a bigger return on investment and more business in the future.