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Today, our users are actively looking for a personalized customer experience. Targeted email marketing is a great way to respond to that need by ensuring that the messages those customers receive is always relevant.

In this article, I’m going to tackle everything you need to know to be successful in targeted email marketing. By the end, you’ll know how to send an email that sounds like it’s coming from a close friend rather than a company.

Let’s jump in:

What is targeted email marketing?

Targeted email marketing is sending specifically targeted and personalized email campaigns to subscribers based on their segmented characteristics, like profile data, behavior, location, etc.

By segmenting your subscribers and sending targeted email campaigns, you can craft a more personalized message to go out to customers who fall into a certain segment. The more detailed your segments, the more personalized the message.

But why create a personalized and targeted email marketing campaign? Don’t the batch and blast methods work?

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Benefits of Using Targeted Email Marketing

There’s no denying that email marketing is powerful: email acquires 40 times more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined.

But you can only really harness that power if your emails are personalized.

Think about it- no customer is going to be interested in a message that’s not relevant to them. Would you be?

By creating smaller segments of your email lists, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to create more relevant messages tailored to those segments’ subscribers. This helps you build a relationship with those subscribers.

And it comes as no surprise that when you send people a relevant message, they’re more likely to engage with it. This means higher open, click through, and conversion rates.

What’s more- sending relevant messages can help stop subscribers from becoming inactive and improve customer retention.

Most importantly, it means a higher ROI from an already ROI-rich channel.

So let’s sum this up:

  • Segmenting allows you to send a more relevant message
  • Customers are going to be more interested in the message and engage more
  • Segmenting improves email ROI
  • Customers are less likely to become inactive and retain easier

Despite all of these clear benefits from using targeted email marketing, a whopping 89% of marketers don’t segment their email lists.

Whether that comes from a misunderstanding of the channel, a lack of resources, or a lack of time, it’s a waste of the most valuable channel you have.

So I’m going to show you what you need to know to create an excellent targeted email marketing campaign to boost your email ROI.

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How to Create a Targeted Email Marketing Campaign

There are a few steps you’ll need to take when segmenting your subscribers for a targeted email campaign. If you already have a sizable list, this might take a bit of setup.

However, once you determine what your segments are, you’ll be able to auto-segment your lists from this point on. Maintenance will be next to nothing.

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Define What Data You Need

The first thing you need to do when you’re created a targeted email marketing campaign is to define the kinds of segments you need for your online store.

There are a lot of basic segments you’ll likely want to have, but they usually fall into a few different categories:

  • Profile data: demographics, location, age, gender, and any other valuable data
  • Campaign activity: opened/not opened, clicked/not clicked, inactive, etc
  • Shopping behavior: recently purchased, purchased once, purchases regularly, abandoned cart, browse abandonment, etc

While the above segments are the major ones that should be a staple for your targeted email marketing, you might also choose others that are pertinent for your specific ecommerce store.

For example, if you specialize in winter wear, you could have a segment based on whether or not a customer prefers black coats or brown coats. Or whether they prefer peacoats to puffer coats.

Being able to segment based on preferences means that you’re only showing the products your customer has the highest probability of being interested in.

So think about the data that you need to target your email campaigns properly:

  • Email address
  • Name
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Location
  • Interests /preferences

Plus anything else that you think might be useful. Once you define your the data you need, you can adjust your opt-in forms, surveys, and lead magnets to capture that information.

For a complete guide to email segmentation, check out our article here!

Connect your Channels: CRM + Email Service Provider + Online Store

A great way to unify the data across your store, CRM, and email platform is to connect the three.

This is a great way to not only make sure your information is in the same place, but also to make sure that your information is updating on each of those platforms as your customers are acquired, retained, churned, and everything in between.

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Create Customer Personas Based on Those Segments

Creating a marketing persona based on the data you use is critical for this next part. For each segment, you’ll need to create a separate marketing persona.

Why?

Because it’s easier to write when you know who you’re talking to. You wouldn’t talk to a woman in her 60s from Brooklyn the same way you’d talk to a 17-year-old man from rural Missouri. They’re just not going to connect the same way.

You want to know your customer, put a face and a name to them. So you create a marketing persona to achieve this. Let’s say you sell casual to business casual fashion for women.

Marketing Persona Targeted Email Marketing

Your marketing persona should include vital information:

  • Name (it doesn’t have to be your customer’s actual name, it’s a symbol)
  • Job role (especially if you’re selling clothing or other things for work)
  • Likes, dislikes, hobbies, interests
  • Age, gender, location, revenue, family, etc
  • What they want- ideally the problem you solve
  • The message that your brand offers this customer

Obviously, you’re not necessarily going to have all of this data. It’s awesome if you do, but chances are, you won’t.

The idea is to create a representation or figurehead of your customer based the data that you have on your customers, and how you fulfill their needs.

You’re likely to have more than one segment when you’re targeting your email marketing. You should be creating separate personas for those customers when you’re targeting based on profile data.

What you can also do is create a typical road map for each customer persona so you know how to communicate with that specific customer, no matter where they are in their purchase journey. This will also help you craft your emails so that they’re personalized for each customer.

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Create Content Specifically for Those Customers

Now that you’re armed with your handy customer personas, you can begin crafting the perfect email to each of your customer types.

Using your persona, write your email copy and headlines as if the person was sitting in the room with you:

  • What would you say to that person?
  • What kind of offer would interest them?
  • What do they need?
  • How can I help?

While this might seem abstract, let’s go back to Brie the businesswoman. Let’s say we’re past the point of shipping for Christmas- so she’s likely not shopping online for last minute gifts. But chances are, she’s probably got a New Years party to go to, and you still have time to get a swanky dress out to her.

email content example targeted email campaigns

See Brie needs a nice new party dress- and thanks to the products she consults and her purchase history with you, you know she likes to keep it classy. Showing more formal party dresses to her is going to be much more relevant.

After all- she just spent all that money on Christmas gifts- she should treat herself! That discount will give her even more incentive to do so.

Obviously, you wouldn’t target this campaign towards the younger female customers. This might be too sophisticated, and they have less disposable income. So using your persona created for your younger segments, you would create content specifically for them.

email content example targeted email campaigns 2

While all of this is completely hypothetical- this shows you how you can use your customer persona to target the right content to the right customers.

Because when you tailor your customer’s experience, the messages will be more relevant to them and when a message is relevant a customer will be more likely to purchase.

It goes without saying that this idea of creating content specifically for each segment of your targeted email marketing campaigns also translate well to your PPC and social media campaigns.

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Use a Great Email Marketing Tool

A great email marketing tool will do so much more than just email. Email is powerful on it’s own, but if you’re looking to use targeted email marketing, it’s important to go with a sophisticated email service provider that offers smart segmentation.

You ideally want an email marketing tool that:

  • Offers precise segmentation of your email lists based on
    • Profile data
    • Shopping behavior
    • Campaign behavior
  • Provides popups and landing pages for email capture
  • Allows you to connect channels outside of email to unify your experience
  • Integrates with your store for easy product recommendation

A great email marketing tool will give you ways to segment based on profile data that you create from your customer personas, and campaign behavior so you can gauge customer interest.

Segmenting by shopping behavior is imperative for targeted email marketing, as you can pinpoint your customers with the most relevant message in their customer journey.

For example, if a customer abandons a cart, it’s always a great idea to automate emails to go out to those customers and show them the product they left in limbo. This is where product recommendations is another great feature of an email marketing tool.

A great email tool will also allow you to auto-segment your lists at capture. For example, if you capture an email from your product page, it won’t necessarily have the same message as someone captured from your blog or a lead magnet page. Segmenting those email contacts as they come in means less work for you in the long run.

Finally, an outstanding email marketing tool will harness omnichannel marketing by allowing you to connect several other channels in to unify data collection and your customer’s experience. How much more powerful would your email campaigns be if you could pair them with a well-timed SMS and a convenient Google Ad?

Regardless of what email service provider you choose to use, making sure they have these basics will make your targeted email marketing campaigns all the smoother.

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Measure and Test Your Targeted Email Marketing Campaign

So once you follow all of these tips, you’re done and your emails will be amazing forever right?

Wrong.

The fact is, when you’re using targeted email marketing, you’re never done. Your customers won’t be the same forever, and your messages might get stale after a while, especially if you don’t change it up every now and then.

Aside from that, you should be reacting to the data from your campaigns. If you have customers that stop engaging, figure out why they’ve stopped with some A/B testing. You should be A/B testing regularly with your promos, your subject lines, and various other elements around your campaigns.

You have tons of data- use it to your advantage to achieve the best results.

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Using targeted email marketing can be tricky, unless you know what you need to do. Putting the customer at the center of your marketing strategy should be the goal, no matter what kind of channel you decide to use.

When you put your customer at the center of your strategy, gathering this kind of data and tailoring your campaigns and messages to each of them is like second nature. Using targeted email marketing is child’s play at that point.

What are your best tips for achieving a great targeted email marketing strategy? Tell us below!