Email marketing is a powerful tool in any marketer’s arsenal. But not every approach is created equal. Yes, you can send the same message to every person on your mailing list, but that’s unlikely to reap the email marketing benefits that inspired you to hit send in the first place.

Today’s consumers demand personalization from the brands they interact with. They want to see the content and offers that are most relevant to them, and they’re quickly turned off by brands that treat them as just one person in a sea of other customers. Research shows that personalized emails receive 29% higher open rates and 41% higher clickthrough rates.

So why are many businesses still sending one-size-fits-all email blasts to their entire list? Today’s technology makes it incredibly easy to create targeted emails for various segments of your audience, so if you haven’t already started to do so, now is the time to implement a change!

Targeted email marketing can help you achieve that level of personalization your customers crave, plus set you up to get the greatest ROI on your email marketing campaigns. Sound good? Let me walk you through all the ins and outs of targeted email marketing strategy so that you can start reaping the benefits for your own business.

What is targeted email marketing?

First thing’s first: Let’s define the term. Targeted email marketing is email messaging that is designed to speak to a specific subset of your mailing list. Using a smart email marketing platform, you can break your giant mailing list down into subsets that make sense for you, and then send specific, tailored messages to these groups at just the right time.

What goes into targeted email marketing?

There are a number of things that go into targeted email marketing, running a successful campaign, and measuring that success. Let’s take a look at the basics you need for a targeted email marketing campaign.

1. Segmenting Your List

The great thing about targeted email marketing is that you can get as specific as you want when it comes to defining your segmented groups. For prospects on your list, it might make sense to break them down based on demographics.

If your business has both an e-commerce component and a number of brick and mortar locations, you can segment your list based on geographic location. If your business offers products that are gender- or age-specific (say a clothing or toy store), that’s another way to break down your list.

For customers that you already have a relationship with, you can segment your list based on prior interactions they’ve had with your brand. Targeted email marketing allows you to send messaging about related products to those who just made a purchase, so you can aim for the upsell. Or, you can let your most loyal customers know about sales or new products ahead of other consumers to help build loyalty.

I recently received a targeted email marketing message from one of my favorite clothing stores encouraging me to come in to shop the sale ahead of it going up online. I raced right over that day! Then, I made sure to sign up for their email list so I didn’t miss any future sales. Just one example of how targeted email marketing can help advertise an existing sale or special and also encourage someone to subscribe to your regular mailing list.

2. Setting Specific Conversion Goals

Segmenting your list allows you to greet consumers at their exact stage along the customer journey. Once you’ve defined these subsets of your population, you can define exactly what it is that you’re hoping to get from each of them.

Of course, your goal is always to move people further down the sales funnel. For those prospects who just signed up for your emails, you might want to convince them to download a free ebook or sign up for a free 30-day trial of your service. For existing customers, you want to get them to come back to you for future business, or even to refer you to their friends and family.

Each segment of your list should have a specific conversion goal. When you create the email messaging for that group, design it around a specific call to action that drives at the goal.

3. Using Additional Personalization Techniques

Sending messages to consumers based on exactly where they are in the customer journey is a great first step to achieving a real sense of personalization. Most email services also allow you to take things a set further, customizing each individual email with the customer’s name or specific information about their past purchases.

Going that extra mile when it comes to personalization is key. Simply including the customer’s name in the subject line can catch their eye in a crowded inbox and help you to stand out from your competitors.

And if you don’t use personalization techniques, you may be missing out on business opportunities. Seventy-two percent of consumers will only engage with personalized messaging.

Why do you need targeted email marketing?

Now that I’ve walked you through the basics of establishing a targeted email marketing campaign, let’s take a closer look at why you really need one. Here are the three biggest benefits of using targeted email marketing techniques for your business.

1. Increase Open Rates

I’ve already cited a number of statistics that demonstrate the importance of personalization, but it bears repeating: The more personalized your messaging, the more likely consumers are to engage with your email. Greater engagement with your messaging means higher open rates for your email campaigns. And higher open rates mean a larger percentage of your audience has a chance of reading through your message and taking the conversion step.

2. Stay in the Good Graces of ISPs

The benefits of keeping your open rate high go beyond just the obvious. In addition to generating greater attention for your brand, higher open rates keep you in good standing with Internet Service Providers (ISPs).

These guys are the gatekeepers to all email inboxes. ISPs sort out emails with low engagement, placing them in spam folders. When you have a higher open rate, ISPs take notice. They infer that your messaging is relevant, meaningful, and welcomed by consumers. This, in turn, means that your emails end up in inboxes rather than junk.

3. Take Control of the Customer Journey

Email is one of the few ways that you can proactively reach consumers on the individual level. Messaging on your website and organic social media must be applicable to a broader audience. After all, anyone could happen upon these public channels, and it’s important that your messaging there resonates with any potential prospects or existing customers.

Targeted email marketing, on the other hand, can get very granular. You can reach out to customers who recently made a purchase and make recommendations for other items based on the specific item they just bought. If there’s a customer you haven’t heard from in three months, you can send them a personalized email” addressed just to them — telling them “long time, no see!” — and offering them a special discount code to draw them back in.

This hyper-personalized messaging allows you more control to drive customers toward the exact journey you’d like them to have with your business. And it’s only possible with specific, targeted messaging.

What else do you need to know?

There are seven essential elements that the best email campaigns share. Are you getting them right?

While you don’t need to be Jane Austen to write a great email, there is an art to it. Here are a few pointers on how to start off an email, how to finish with a bang, and so on.

People sometimes ask two interrelated questions: “is email marketing dead?” and “does email marketing work?” The answers are no and yes. Click on the links to find out why.

With email marketing, the name of the game is staying out of the spam folder. Here’s our take on best practices.

If you’d like help getting started with email marketing, give us a call (or shoot us an email!).

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