Segmenting your email list is critical to maximizing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Arranging your subscribes into groups increases your ability to send information that is relevant to them.

“By using tracking tools, you can determine the behaviours and preferences of individuals on your email list and place them into specific segments or categories,” says Subhas Fagu, partner with Techlicity Ventures Corp. in Toronto.

But you first must gather some basic information about your subscribers — at a minimum, their name and email address. You must also ensure that you have their express consent to send them emails, and give them the option to unsubscribe from your list, as required under the Canada Anti-Spam Legislation.

When you ask subscribers for minimal information, Fagu says, they are more likely to sign on, according to Fagu. People are generally more comfortable when they are not asked to give out too much personal information.

However, your tracking tools can help you to determine the content your subscribers read, how engaged they are, whether they have taken action on your emails, their location and a number of other variables. The information you track must be based on your objective — whether it is brand building, sales or product promotion, Fagu says.

For example, if you are focused on promoting tax-free savings accounts (TFSAs), then you would place all those who show interest in TFSAs in a specific segment, allowing you to send them customized emails based on their interest.

“Clients tend to appreciate emails that are targeted to what they’re interested in,” Fagu says.

“Over time,” Fagu adds, “you would be able to get more demographic and psychographic information about clients as they become more engaged.”

This information will enable you to enhance your segmentation strategy. Your ultimate goal is to be able to send customized messages to those who are most likely to respond.

Here are some of the ways you can segment your email list:

> By demographics and psychographics
The most basic type of segmentation includes the personal details about individuals such as their name, address, age and gender. This information can allow you to promote specific products or strategies to defined groups of individuals, or arrange a seminar in a particular location.

For example, you may wish to hold a seminar on retirement-saving strategies in a specific location for individuals who are between 30 and 45 years of age. You don’t need to attract retired people to this type of seminar, Fagu says.

> By new vs old subscribers
You may wish to segment your list based on how long subscribes have been with you. You would choose a cut-off date to separate the segments.

This way, the emails you send to “old” subscribers, whom you might already have engaged, would be different from those you would send to new subscribers, with whom you are still building a relationship.

> By existing clients’ known interests
Individuals on your list who are already clients can be targeted based on their known investment behaviour. “These individuals can be sent emails that are relevant to their investment strategy, goals and objectives,” Fagu says.

> By activity
Your email list would typically include active clients, prospects, leads and individuals who are inactive. You can, therefore, segment your subscribers based on their current activity status, Fagu says, so that you can send them the most relevant emails.

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