Five B2B Email Contact List Segmentation Ideas to Apply in the Last Two Quarters of 2012

Contact list segmentation for B2B email marketing is still a critical and evolving issue among many practitioners. While the more traditional methods of segmentation still hold some level of validity and usefulness today, these may no longer be as effective as they once had been, especially in the light of recent developments on how people access emails and consume information. This post looks at five additional segmentation criteria you can use to extend your present list management strategy.

The reasons why conventional contact lists segmentation methods may no longer be up to the challenges of today’s email marketing landscape lie in the changes that started taking place in recent times. Among these trends is the increasing use of mobile devices not only for accessing the Web but opening and working with emails as well. The next culprit would be the transformation in email filtering and management technology. Messages in an inbox are no longer sorted chronologically but according to the recipient’s preferences.

These two reasons by themselves are enough to highlight the need to adopt more dynamic and responsive segmentation techniques, and here are five examples of such:

1. Device Used.

The clear uptrend in mobile device usage in both the B2C and B2B hemispheres has made things a bit trickier for email marketers. Mobile users obviously require a vastly different email experience from desktop device users. With 64% of business executives doing email-related tasks with handheld devices, it pays to classify email lists according to recipients’ preferred device.

2. Behavior.

Content relevance is also determined by the behavior or actions taken by your targeted email recipients. Factors such as items clicked within the email and landing pages are ideal indicators for behavior which can then be used as list segmentation criteria. Website browsing and navigation patterns are likewise useful additions to behavioral determinants.

3. Funnel Stage.

Closely related but not entirely identical to behavior is funnel stage segmentation. Depending on what action or inaction the recipient has demonstrated, a contact can be classified in the early portions of the sales funnel or in the late stages.

4. Subscription Activity.

Interacting more with active subscribers and spending less time on inactive contacts allows better allocation of resources. That’s why it’s good practice to segment email lists according to subscription activity as well.

5. Sales-specified Qualifications.

In line with behavior-oriented segmentation, the sales team can also be a good source of ideas for classifying email contacts for both existing customers and target prospects. Since sales teams typically directly interact with customers/leads, they offer valuable insights for categorizing opportunities.

The above five items are among the most proactive ways you can segment your B2B direct email list. A fundamental reason behind using segmentation is to enhance content relevance and, because the rules for how the content matching game is played are being rewritten, classifying your email contacts according to new and more dynamic criteria is the only way to go – not only in the remaining half of this marketing year but well into the future.

In your email campaign, how are you coping with the changing preferences and behavior of your target audience?