When it comes to building a list of prospects for your product or service, by far the most important thing to do is to segment your list so that you can effectively communicate with each of your prospects as an individual, as opposed to just another subscriber.
Not bothering to segment your list is, in my opinion, the equivalent of email marketing suicide because when you just send everything to everyone, your message relevance and open rates will suffer. As a result, the number of people that opt out of your list will also go through the roof.
How do I know? When I first started email marketing a few years ago, I was a total rookie and didn’t know anything about how to make it easy for my subscribers to segment themselves so they only receive the content and notifications that they actually want to receive. Like most rookies, I just sent everything to everyone.
How to Segment Your List Automatically
They key with segmentation is to allow your subscribers to segment themselves. This can be done directly or indirectly. In other words, you can segment by asking direct questions, or you can segment based on the actions your subscribers take.
Segmenting with Direct Questions
Direction questions work very well for segmenting. All you need do is ask your subscribers direct questions and then ask them to click links that correspond to their answers. In the video below, I show you how to do this.
Another way to use direct questions to segment your list is to allow your subscribers to choose the categories for the types of content that they would like to receive. In my case, I have a form that looks like the image below. My subscribers can update this form anytime they wish, just by clicking a link in the emails they receive from me.
On the backend, Infusionsoft is applying or removing tags that correspond to the check boxes on this form. When the boxes are checked or unchecked, the decision diamond (enlarged in the image below) then looks at the logic and routes the subscribers down all the appropriate sequences. Each of the sequences then are set to either apply or remove the appropriate tag.
Below is a screenshot of a portion of the decision diamond that I enlarged in the image above. As you can see, configuring the logic is pretty simple. You just click each of the blue links and then Infusionsoft will give you a choice of your available options for each rule. No programming experience is needed whatsoever.
With this automation in place, we now have lists of people who have these tags that we can send broadcast emails to when we publish new content.
For example, if a subscriber was to place a check in the box for case studies (above), then whenever we publish a new case study, only the subscribers with that tag in Infusionsoft would receive that notification.
With indirect segmentation, instead of asking direct questions, you are going to segment based upon your subscriber’s behavior.
For example, if you published 5 pieces of content (over time) that all revolved around the topic of lead generation and you then emailed your list each time you published a post, whenever a subscriber clicked the link in an email notification you sent them, it would be a pretty safe bet to assume that this particular subscriber was pretty interested in lead generation.
In fact, if a subscribe were to click all 5 of the links in all five of the emails, the chances that they are interested in learning more about lead generation would be extremely high.
Fortunately with Infusionsoft it is extremely easy to identify these hot prospects with something called Lead Scoring – which I will cover in more detail in an upcoming post.
Until then, just know that you can easily apply a tag for every link click that occurs, and in aggregate, the tags give you the ability to segment your list in pretty much whatever way you would like. This is made possible via the very powerful contact search capabilities that Infusionsoft has built into the CRM portion of their application (shown below).
Other Segmentation Criteria
Depending on your business, you may want also want to segment your list in a variety of other ways. This can be accomplished by adding additional questions to your lead capture forms. Just bear in mind that adding too many questions to your lead capture forms will result in diminishing returns as the more info you ask for, the lower your conversion rate will likely be.
Here are a few ideas on questions you might want answers to:
- Organization Type
- Job Function
- Buying Frequency
- Seniority Level
- Education Level
- Interest Level
- Company Size
To see a more complete list, be sure and check out 27 Ways to Slice & Dice Your Email List for Better Segmentation from Hubspot.
Want to Learn More?
As important as list segmentation is, it is only one small part of an effective overall marketing strategy. The real key to running a success small business is to understand and embrace something called Lifecycle Marketing. If this is a concept that is unfamiliar to you, be sure to check out our Lifecycle Marketing Guide for Small Business as well as to register for our next webinar.