Six Smart Ways to Cut B2B Email Lists into Precise Segments for Targeted Campaigns

A few posts ago, we touched the topic of B2B lead nurturing and the importance of matching content with audience. In email marketing, communicating with the “right” audience means slicing your B2B email lists into particular segments that receive emails of specific content. While you may be quite familiar with traditional segmentation methods for email lists, you really have to go beyond the basics and adopt more advanced techniques to come up with the best content-audience match possible.

This post discusses six segmentation options you can use to enhance your email marketing campaign’s precision and overall effectiveness. But, if you’re not yet convinced about the real benefits from segmenting email lists, take a look at the following real-world proof.

Surveys independently conducted by email marketing think-tanks show marked improvement in key metrics due to list segmentation of email lists. Open rates improved by as much as 18%; click rates increased by around 21%; and bounce rates dropped by 1.4%. Of the companies that practice email list segmentation, 39% saw better open rates, 28% observed lesser unsubscribe rates, and 24% noticed improved deliverability.

With these figures, it’s no surprise why 84% of B2B marketers use segmented lists in their campaigns, and you should too. Here are six smart ways to segment your B2B email lists:

1. Lead Scoring
Lead scoring is determining how far in the qualification/conversion cycle a prospect currently is. Classifying your leads according to origin, such as marketing-qualified and sales-qualified leads, then using a scoring scheme can produce highly-specific segments. Contact/prospects from mailing list vendors typically range between early and sales-ready leads. So, consult your email lists provider on the quality of prospects in the database.

2. Buyer Persona
Contacts in your B2B email lists typically play certain roles in the purchasing process. These roles are called “buyer personas” and include such categories as economic buyers, end-users, decision makers, influencers, etc. Segmenting your email lists according to the roles your recipients fulfill helps you distribute targeted content more accurately.

3. Interest Groups.
Segmenting your B2B email lists into interest groups isn’t exactly similar to how B2C marketers typically approach it. In B2B email marketing, we have to look at our contacts’ purchasing position relative to our vertical market. This gives us the ability to determine which content materials may or may not be relevant.

4. Company Profile.
Company profile should go beyond traditional categories such as industry, size, or location. We should be looking at operating efficiency, supply chain overview, regulatory/compliance issues, industry/market position, and company fundamentals. These details help us identify and match needs with our offers.

5. Subscription.
Studies have shown that opt-out rates are influenced by the duration of subscription among contacts in our email lists. When working with our own lists or deciding to buy mailing lists from brokers, it’s important to know how “fresh” entries in the database are in order for us to classify and prioritize accordingly.

6. Extended Information.
Extended information includes data that you collect throughout the course of your campaign. For example, email poll results may help you identify buying behavior that you can use as segmentation criteria. Also, you can classify contacts in your B2B email lists according to how active or responsive they are in your campaign.