Why is segmentation important?
Segmenting your list correctly ensures that you can send the most appropriate content to your contacts.
Chances are not every person on your contact list is interested in the same content. For example some people may be interested in contests, other want product updates, members need membership details, only people in Vancouver should get event invites for events in Vancouver, internal emails should only be sent to staff and so on.
- Relevant content means higher engagement: more opens, clicks, sales, etc.
- Irrelevant content results in list churn due to unsubscribes.
Before you import your contacts or create a sign up form or even send your first email you should determine how to segment your contact list.
Subscriptions are used to manage communication preferences that your contacts can update on their own.
Contacts can subscribe on forms
Contacts can manage their own subscriptions
Subscriptions also appear and on the “subscription preferences” page:
If you offer multiple types of content for your contacts to choose from - for example newsletters, product updates, event invites, special offers, etc. - then you should set these up as subscriptions on the subscriptions page.
Sending emails to subscription lists
You can send emails to contacts who are subscribed to a single subscription or you can combine multiple subscriptions in a single e-blast using filters.
Subscriptions can be used as conditions for dynamic content in emails.
If you don’t send different types of messages then there is no need to create any subscriptions. Be sure to also remove any default or sample subscriptions.
Unlike subscriptions interests don’t appear on the “subscription preferences” page. You may think of them as “tags” or “internal lists”.
Interests can be self-assigned by contacts when they fill out forms, for example: Industry = Retail or Demo requested.
Interest can also be assigned to lists as you import them, for example: staff only, July e-blast, current customers.
Sending emails to contacts who are assigned to interests
You can send emails to contacts who part of a single interest or you can combine multiple interests in a single e-blast using filters.
Interests can be used as conditions for dynamic content in emails.
Comparison between subscriptions and interests
Filters (custom segments)
If you want to send an email to a custom segment (not to a single subscription list or a single interest) you can create filters that are made up of a combination of subscriptions, interests and other fields.
Interests and subscriptions are "yes/no" type fields with a finite set of pre-determined answers. They are commonly shown as checkboxes or drop down selectors on forms. If you want to store custom input with no pre-determined answers then you should use custom fields. Custom fields can be part of filters just like interests and subscriptions.
Contact creation sources
Contact creation sources indicate how contacts were originally acquired - not what list they belong to. Contact creation sources are set when a contact is added to your database for the first time (think of it like the place of birth for your contacts) and they don’t change when existing contacts are updated via a re-import, new form submission, etc.
Adding contacts to the right segment
Each form should include fields to ensure contacts are added to the right segment. These fields can be visible or hidden.
Each time you import a list you should also tag them with the appropriate subscription or interest.
Common list segments and which field to use to track them
- Geography: Use contact fields for country, state/province or city
- Job title: Use contact field call "job title"
- Content topic: Use subscriptions
- Industry: Use interests
- Lead details: Use interests