Email Marketers Should Know Subscribers Better


How important is mailing list segmentation? Some major brands and marketplaces allow subscribers to opt out of Father’s Day email promotions this year. Etsy, Free Fly Apparel, Tesco, and many more have asked their followers if they want to receive Mother’s Day or Father’s Day marketing ads.

For example, Father’s Day is this coming Sunday in many countries. It is usually a celebration of the family and the parent-child relationship.

But Father’s Day marketing is uncomfortable for some email subscribers. Imagine a girl mourning the recent death of her father. Or a husband who wants to be a father, but for some reason cannot have children. In either of these cases, even a well executed Father’s Day promotional email can still trigger negative emotions for the recipient.

So, companies that have asked customers to opt out on Father’s Day or Mother’s Day are reminding all email marketers to consider how well they know and segment subscribers.

Knowing what is important to a subscriber is essential to doing a better job of marketing to that person. Photo: Stephen Phillips.


Any discussion of email marketing and list segmentation should start with “it depends.” What works for one business may not work for another.

What day is the best to send promotional emails? It depends. What are the best ways to segment a list? It depends. And should I ever message my entire list? It actually depends.

However, we can say with certainty that list segmentation, done right, leads to better performance in email marketing.

“I have seen brands that send [email marketing messages] to very small lists because they’re refined on who they’re talking to, and those lists have 70% or 80% open rates and high click-through rates, ”said Val Geisler, Client Evangelist at Klaviyo, Plate -form.

Geisler relayed the example of a multi-channel retailer with physical stores in St. Louis and email subscribers in New York. Segmenting the mailing list so that New Yorkers aren’t bombarded with local in-store promotions will improve email marketing performance.

Likewise, asking people if they want to opt out of Father’s Day probably improves performance for at least two reasons.

First, subscribers who have not responded to the promotion are removed from the segment. The result is fewer emails, but for buyers who are more likely to purchase a Father’s Day gift.

Second, subscribers who read the unsubscribe email but didn’t respond might be looking for your store’s Father’s Day promotion. They, in a sense, chose to see the email.

That way, asking a customer about Father’s Day or Mother’s Day is like asking their physical location or their preference for one product category or another.

Subscriber Information

The more a marketer knows about a subscriber, the better they can segment that subscriber and thus deliver the most relevant offers.

But it does take a bit of work.

If your business knows that a subscriber tends to buy women’s clothing but purchases men’s clothing as gifts during Father’s Day and Christmas, you can message them describing the popularity of men’s chino shorts.

Likewise, a customer who bought himself some men’s chino shorts and also purchases men’s clothing as a gift might receive an email telling them that the chino shorts they adore would make a great gift for dad.

Putting these segments together would likely produce better results than a generic message to both clients, but it would take more effort to collect the information. This includes taking action based on a subscriber’s decision to opt out of a certain promotion.

Geisler emphasized that each of us wants to be treated as a valuable person. So when we as marketers collect information about a subscriber, whether it be a behavior or a preference like unsubscribing from Father’s Day messages, we need to act on it. .


“A lot of marketers are very responsive, and we [unfortunately] don’t get ahead of our work, ”Geisler said.

So, you can send an unsubscribe message a few days before a holiday such as Father’s Day, or you can ask subscribers for their general preferences. Geisler suggested doing the latter twice a year. Rather than asking about Mother’s Day in May and Father’s Day in June, also ask about birthdays, or category affinities, or other interests.


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