I just read an interesting research report on email list segmentation published by email service provider MailChimp. They reviewed responses from 1,998 of clients who segment their email lists, and compared the results to non-segmented campaigns. In addition to overall results, MailChimp looked at the data several other ways:
• Emails segmented by database field, such as zip code.
• Emails segmented by signup date, usually so recent subscribers can receive additional mailings
• Emails segmented by self-selected interest groups, such as vegetable gardening or greenhouse gardening
• Segmented by activity, such as sending an email specifically to subscribers who have not opened the last three campaigns
The emails that were segmented by database field received the biggest lift. Opens were 18.85% better than average, and clicks were 21.98% higher.
Emails segmented by signup date also received a significant boost. Opens were 11.64% higher than average, and clicks were 10.50% higher.
Interest group segmentation made surprisingly little difference. Opens were only 1.66% higher than average, and clicks were 1.71% higher.
The shocker was that segmenting by activity actually produced worse results: Opens were 2.07% lower, and clicks 2.52% lower. The most common use for this segmentation was to remail a campaign to subscribers who had not opened it on the first sending. MailChimp theorizes that, due to the inherent problems with accurately reporting opens, some subscribers perceived the remail as an annoying repeat.