Thursday, September 28, 2017

The 3-Minute Guide to List Segmentation

I used to sell health insurance to letter carriers by direct mail (ironic, no?).

I targeted 27 segments within a list of 300,000 prospects, mailing each segment different creative. 
The individualized sales arguments made in the copy paid off, and more than offset the extra production costs.

So there's nothing new about list segmentation. 

It's high time to stop thinking of your mailings as "broadcasts" and segment your list.

But how?

Here are six tips (they apply equally to postal and e-mail lists):

Scrub your list. Seven in 10 names on a B2B list become outdated within a year, so don't dirty your hands with something unwashed. Send your list outside for a good cleaning.

Slice up the list. Comb through your newly cleaned list and identify commonalities. Slice up the list accordingly. I divided the letter carriers according to the health insurance policies they owned in the past.

Introduce triggers. Identify key events and add fields for them to every record. For example, how many mailings have they received? Have they bought anything? Have they changed jobs or companies?

Create niche content. Tailor sales arguments for each segment. Someone who's bought from you may jump at the chance to save with a "loyal customer discount," while someone who's never bought from you, but has recently been promoted, may be ready to save with a "first-time customer discount."

Keep it simple. Create a manageable number of segments and work with them for a while. Don't invent new segments or second guess yourself every month. Remember, if it isn't simple, it isn't scalable.

Grow your list. Rent highly-targeted prospect names from third parties, to protect your list from "list rot." B2B lists are volatile and decay at a rapid rate.
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