The Power of Segmentation in Email Marketing

Katy Herrera

Katy joined the team at White Stone Marketing in December 2015 and brings a unique blend of experience working for companies including The Four Seasons, Make-A-Wish, and Vince Camuto which allows her to approach marketing initiatives with a fresh perspective.

Here at White Stone, we love a little healthy competition. It helps us to continue to generate innovative and creative strategies while also adding a little excitement to our day. Here’s a look at one of our recent challenges and the key takeaways from the competition:

The Challenge:

Get the highest click-through and open rate for an email campaign sent within a 4-week time-frame

Our Strategy:

Our team decided to segment the email list for one of our clients into “out of state” versus “in-state” residents. This way we could tailor the messaging for each list in a way that would be most compelling for each circumstance.

The promotion was the same for both email lists – discount ferry tickets and spring rates from $129 – but the way we presented the message was slightly different. For the Out of State list, we framed the email around the idea of seeing the highly sought-after destination of Nantucket without the steep prices or crazy crowds. For the In-State list, we pitched the promotion as the perfect opportunity get out of the city for the weekend before the summer crowds arrive.

Both emails were fairly simple with a graphic outlining the promotion, a brief description of the perks of visiting Nantucket in the spring (tailored to each subscriber list), followed by a clear call to action.

We sent the emails at the same time on the same day and in the end the Out of State list had the highest open and click-through rate (both were above the industry average). Here’s a closer look:

The Subject Line & Preview Text:

These components are essential for open rate. They should be compelling, specific, and give just enough information for the reader to want to learn more. Here’s the combination we used for the Out of State list:

Subject: (First Name Auto-Filled) – See Nantucket Without The Crowds & Save This Spring
Preview Text: Special Spring Perks & Savings Just for Our Guests

The Campaign:

View the full campaign here.

Centerboard Inn Campaign

The Results:

The email for the Out of State list had a 51.4% open rate and a 9.1% click- through rate.

For reference, the industry average for open rate is between 20 and 35% and for click-through rate around 2%. Needless to say, we couldn’t have been more excited about the results! After further analysis, we had a few key takeaways:

Segmenting your email list is a simple but powerful way to target your audience and tailor a message that will truly resonate. Not only is this a great way to make the message feel more personal for subscribers, it can also lead more people to take your defined call to action because it is in line with their interests. It really comes down to knowing your audience and crafting your pitch around their circumstances.

In addition to segmentation there were a few other components that were key to the success of this campaign. We created a feeling of exclusivity by specifying this offer was “just for our guests” in the preview text, then we delivered on what was in the subject line and elaborated in the body of the email. We also gave a special incentive for guests followed by a clear call to action. The email was simple and pushed the subscriber through our desired call-to-actions (opening the email and then clicking the “check availability” button to take advantage of the offer).

In short – we learned segmenting, special incentives, feelings of exclusivity, and clear calls to action can pack a powerful punch!