List Segmentation and Why It’s Worth It

Today’s guest blog post is written by Elise Rebmann, Renewals & Retention Manager, Patron Technology.

My family and I recently became subscribers of a certain meal delivery service that shall remain nameless. When we discovered the service, we were really busy, tired, and felt like we were in a complete rut with meal planning. This seemed like a cool option to both expose our kids to different foods outside of the 10-12 basic meals we’d been riffing on for 8 years while also taking a few of our weekend hours back from meal planning and grocery shopping.  

The meals are generally pretty good, some have been great, others just okay. But we have really enjoyed cooking everything together and trying new meals that we would never have made on our own, so we continued our subscription.

We had been active subscribers for about 9 weeks when I received a mailer from the company. It was a beautiful, oversized, full-color, triple fold out brochure on glossy cardstock highlighting their meals and ingredients. On the front page, in giant letters, there was a special offer to save $40 off my first week of meals – applicable to new customers only. This was the first mailer I had ever received from them.

So I’m standing in my kitchen with this thing in my hand, and I turn to my husband and literally say out loud – “Why don’t you segment your list (insert company name)?!” I am upset with this company because they simply didn’t care enough to target their offer to me and my active subscriber status. I could have used that discount when I first signed up, but it’s useless for me now. Needless to say, this incident has made me feel significantly less loyal to this particular company, and the market of food delivery services is certainly expanding quickly.

On some level, I get it. I have been in sales and marketing for (cough) over 20 years, and I can remember when we sent postcards to everyone on our list. Segmenting would have required an unbelievable amount of expertise and time that seemed out of reach for anyone besides multi-national corporations. In 2002, I was in charge of creating an “Email Club” for my arts organization. We would send discounts out to shows that were struggling to every email address we could get our hands on – whether or not you were a premium subscriber, donor,  board president, or first-time full-price ticket buyer. We certainly weren’t doing ourselves any favors, but we just didn’t know any better, it was all so new.

Lucky for all of us, times have changed. Segmenting your list is easier than ever with the right technology. And the great news is that taking the time is completely worth the effort in tangible results. You will have better open rates, better click through rates, lower abuse reports, and lower unsubscribe rates. More importantly, you won’t annoy your current patrons.

There is terrific information about best practices and creative ideas for list segmentation that is a mere google search away, but this article is a great place to start if you are somewhat new to this practice.

Had this company sent me a thank you postcard to let me know they were happy to have me as an active subscriber and subsequently included a thank you promotion to upgrade to their wine service, I would be feeling quite differently about them! So, please love your patrons enough to take the time to target your communications and offers to them based on their history with your organization. 

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One response to “List Segmentation and Why It’s Worth It

  1. Excellent post. The link is helpful too. Customer interaction should be as personal as possible whenever possible.

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