How to Segment Your Email List for More Effective Email Marketing


Email marketing software remains one of the most effective digital marketing channels for engaging customers and driving conversions. Read on to get advice from veteran email marketer Michael Bernzweig. This article will explore some of the essential best practices for email segmentation of your email list to achieve exceptional results. Whether new to email marketing or looking to improve your existing efforts, these proven tips can help you get the most out of your email campaigns.

Email newsletters can build brand awareness, increase sales, and strengthen customer loyalty. By implementing these email marketing best practices, you can increase open and click-through rates, drive more traffic to your website, boost conversions, and grow your business. Read on to get advice from veteran email marketer Michael Bernzweig. Let's dive in!

The video covers tips for segmenting your email list to send more relevant and personalized email campaigns. It recommends segmenting by demographics like age, gender, and location to tailor content—also segment by interests like vegetarian recipes for food blogs. Automated email campaigns like welcome and re-engagement emails for inactive subscribers are also discussed. Segmenting your list allows for more targeted emails, leading to higher open and click rates.

Choose Your Email Segmentation Criteria

The first step is deciding how you want to divide up your list. Email segmentation involves splitting your subscriber list into smaller groups based on specific criteria. This allows you to send more targeted, relevant content to each segment. Here are some tips on how to get started with segmenting your email list:


Demographics such as age, gender, location, job title, and income level allow you to divide your email list into groups with common characteristics. This allows you to tailor your email content and messaging to resonate better with each demographic group. For example, you may send different email offers or content to younger versus older subscribers, target women versus men differently, or customize emails based on subscriber location or profession. Collect demographic data through email signup forms, surveys, website profiles, and other methods.


Segment your list based on subscribers' interests and preferences through their engagement with your brand. This allows you to send more relevant, personalized content. For example, if someone engages with fitness content on your site, send them fitness-related emails. Or if someone clicks on recipes on your cooking site, send them more recipe content. Collect interest data through signup forms, website behavior tracking, surveys, and other feedback methods. Match subscriber interests to relevant email content.

“You wan to segment your list by demographics that allow you to target specific groups of customers based on their unique characteristics. Some examples could be age, gender, location, occupation.”

Michael Bernzweig


Analyze subscriber behavior such as email opens, clicks, purchase history, website activity, abandoned carts, etc. Then, use this data to trigger automated, event-based email campaigns. For example, send a browse abandonment email to subscribers who left items in their carts. Or send a re-engagement email to inactive subscribers who haven't opened in a while. Behavioral data allows you to send timely, personalized communications matched to each user's actions.


See engagement metrics like open and click rates, date subscribed, and last email opened. Then, tailor your messaging accordingly. For example, highly engaged subscribers may be interested in accessing new products or content first. While less engaged subscribers may need more re-engagement messaging. Segment your list based on engagement levels to provide appropriate communications to each group.

Customer Lifecycle Stage

Divide subscribers into groups based on where they are in their customer lifecycle, such as new subscribers, repeat customers, inactive subscribers, etc. Then, develop targeted communications for each stage. For example, send new subscribers a welcome series while sending repeat customers VIP offers and early access. Inactive subscribers may benefit more from re-engagement campaigns—match messaging to each subscriber's lifecycle stage.

Choose criteria that will allow you to divide your list into distinct groups with common needs and interests. You can combine multiple factors as well for very targeted segments.

Collect Segmentation Data

Next, you must collect relevant data on your subscribers to sort them into the appropriate segments. There are a few ways to do this:

Signup Forms

Use your email signup forms to collect critical demographic and interest data immediately. Ask for information like name, age, gender, location, occupation, and product interests. The more relevant info you can gather upfront, the better. Just be sure not to make your forms too long or intrusive. Stick to the most critical segmentation data needed.


Send occasional surveys to gather more detailed preferences and feedback from your subscribers. You can use survey tools like Typeform or SurveyMonkey. Ask subscribers to rate interest levels in topics, choose preferred content formats, share challenges they face, etc. This qualitative data helps you segment further. Just don't over-survey subscribers, or they may opt-out. Send surveys strategically every few months.

Website Analytics

Analyze subscriber on-site behaviors using analytics platforms like Google Analytics. Look at page visits, content engagement, products viewed, and more. Then, segment your list based on interests and levels of engagement. For example, group highly engaged subscribers separately from less engaged ones. Site analytics provides a wealth of segmentation data.

Purchase Data

For ecommerce brands, purchase history provides robust segmentation data. Group customers based on products purchased, order frequency, monetary value, buying stage, etc. Use this data to tailor promotions, cross-sells, re-targeting ads, and more. Purchase-based segmentation allows highly targeted marketing.

“Let me talk a little bit about email segmentation for creating automated email campaigns. So email segmentation can be used to create these automated email campaigns targeted by specific subscriber actions or events that they exhibit on your website.”

Michael Bernzweig

Place unique tracking links in your email campaigns. Then, segment subscribers based on the types of links they click on most. This shows content interests and engagement. For example, group subscribers who click on product links separately from those who only click on blog content. Track interests based on link clicks.

Social Media

Connect email subscribers to social media profiles like Facebook to gather more demographic and interest data. Social media provides valuable segmentation data like age, gender, location, hobbies, brand followers, etc. Just be sure to respect user privacy and get explicit consent. Social media integration allows expanded segmentation.

“Tailor your messaging, offers and content for each segment. Personalize emails based on subscriber preferences and interests.”

Michael Bernzweig

Create Targeted Emails for Each Segment

Now that your list is divided into segments, you can create targeted email campaigns. For example:

Send Content Relevant to Subscriber Interests

Tailor your email content to match the specific interests of each subscriber segment. For example, if someone signed up for fashion emails, send them content about new clothing collections, style tips, sales on dresses, etc. Or if someone opts into your cooking emails, send recipes, kitchen product deals, and cooking classes matching their cuisine preferences. Personalize content by aligning it to the interests each subscriber has indicated through their engagement with your brand. This creates more relevant communications.

Personalize Emails with Subscriber Details

Make your emails more personalized by including the subscriber's name, location, purchase history, and other details. For example, you can say, “Hi [First Name], we saw you purchased hiking boots last month. Check out these recommendations for local trails near [City] to break them in!” Pull data like name and location from your email signup forms or CRM. Then, use past purchase history or website engagement to make personalized product recommendations.

Michael Bernzweig, email marketing expert, presents tips on segmenting your email list in a video talk.
Michael Bernzweig, an email marketing expert, presents tips on segmenting your email list in a video talk.

Offer Promotions Based on Purchase History

Analyze a subscriber's past purchases and site behavior. Then, make special offers tailored to them. For example, if someone bought a tent recently, send a coupon for camping chairs or sleeping bags. Or if they visited your recipes section, offer a discount on cookware. This shows you pay attention to each subscriber's interests and makes your deals more relevant. Just make sure only to send related offers, not random ones.

“By segmenting your email list based on demographics interests and user segmentation for these automated email campaigns allows you to create more personalized and effective email marketing campaigns”

Michael Bernzweig

Re-Engage Inactive Subscribers

If subscribers haven't opened or clicked your emails in a while, they may need re-engagement. Create a segment for inactive subscribers and send them a special offer to restart communication. You could offer a discount, gift, exclusive content, or other incentive to reactivate them. Just make the offer valuable enough to get them to re-open your emails and re-engage.

“Think about the different groups you want to speak to. For example, segment by how long someone has been on your list, their level of engagement, demographics etc.”

Michael Bernzweig

Send Educational Content to New Subscribers

For new subscribers, focus on educating them about your brand, products, and content. Send a welcome series introducing your brand story, product lines, blog, etc. Share tips, how-tos, and guides to nurture new subscribers. The goal is to get them familiar with your brand so they become active, loyal subscribers over time. Tailor onboarding content specifically for your new email segment.

“Ensure you have the data and insights needed to divide your list. Profile your subscribers to understand their behaviors and attributes.”

Michael Bernzweig

Continue Refining Your Segments

Treat email segmentation as an ongoing process. Continuously gather data on your subscribers and adjust your segments accordingly.

Send segmented campaigns, analyze the results, and optimize. Over time, you'll discover which segments are most engaged so you can focus your efforts accordingly.

Email segmentation takes some upfront work but allows you to send highly relevant, targeted emails to each subscriber group. This results in higher open rates, more clicks, increased engagement, and better conversions. Start segmenting your email list today!

“Continuously analyze performance by segment. See what resonates with different groups and optimize your approach.”

Michael Bernzweig


When done correctly, email marketing remains essential to any digital marketing strategy. You can effectively engage your subscribers by providing value through relevant content and personalization.

Remember to grow and segment your list continuously, A/B test your emails, ensure proper deliverability, and track results. With the right strategy, email marketing can be one of your highest-converting channels for acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones.

Check our website and subscribe to our email newsletter for additional tips and resources. Thank you for reading this guide on email marketing best practices. With the strategies outlined here, you can take your email marketing to the next level and see tremendous benefits for your business.

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