Email Segmentation.... Is It a Good Idea?
We’ve posted quite a bit about our email strategy over here at FranchiseHelp. We’ve seen incredible success in using email to generate leads, and we’re always looking for ways to get better. From improving open rates with catchier subject lines, to making our emails look more attractive, to creating content our users find more valuable we’re constantly testing and tweaking. Lately I’ve been playing around with figuring out how to send the right email _to the right user_.
It might seem obvious to say that everyone reacts to emails differently, but how do you put that into practice? Do you send different emails based on where people live? What franchise industry they’re interested in? Their current role at work? Something else altogether?
We weren’t completely sure, so we tried all of those. To figure out whether one type of segmentation was better than another we measured the difference in open rate, click rate, and conversion rate between segmented groups and a control group of randomly selected emails in our list.
So what did we find?
Normal Types of Segmentation:
Geographic segmentation doesn’t work for franchising, or at least doesn’t work when you’re advertising nationally (obviously if you’re only advertising in select states you only want to send emails to people living in those states). We found that, when it boils down to it, people aren’t that different between states or regions.
Segmentation by industry works decently well for us. It gives you an opportunity to show the “right” franchises to the “right” people, and avoids frustrating your potential franchisees by showing them something they really aren’t interested in, but if you’re trying to attract franchisees for a specific franchise then this isn’t an incredibly useful way to segment.
But there’s a pretty big issue that pops up when you try to target specific users for specific emails based on their interests or based on their jobs: how do you get that info? We’re able to get a pretty good feel for it through people's’ responses to our Franchise Matching Quiz, but otherwise how do you find out what types of franchises people want to open or what their current career is like?
A Better Way to Segment:
There is a pretty amazing way to segment your emails based on whatever data you have. Whether it’s the source that brought a user to your site or the information they fill out for an email submission form on your website, you have some data on every single one of your potential franchisees. Additionally, if you’ve sent out emails in the past then you have information about which of those users opened your emails and who actually clicked on the links in your emails. If you put this all together you have a pretty powerful tool to figure out what messages you should show to which people.
We had a massive amount of information to work as a result of our matching quiz when we set to work segmenting our emails. By combining that with our email data we were able to see patterns between what characteristics people have (career, interested industry, education etc.), what emails people receive, and, most importantly, how they respond. It’s not just about receiving a single email. It’s about receiving a series of emails that get people to act. From this info we created sets of five emails for users and the results were way way better than any individual segmentation we could’ve come up with.
By combining all of our user data together we were able to come up with an email strategy that were getting clicked on nearly 10x as much as our standard emails and more than 3x more than our other segmented data.
If you want to get the most out of your email strategy you need to figure out exactly who your potential franchisees are through all of the data you have on file (you probably have more than you realize!), and, with that valuable information, see what messages each of them responds to.
Or if you feel like you need some advice to get started crafting your email strategy check out these articles:
“Franchising” May Be More Dead Than I Thought
Since then, I’ve received lots of positive and negative feedback on that article. Some people seem to think that I undersold my point, while others pointed to the fact that overall interest may be waning but interest amongst the most important groups was increasing.
Inbox Changes – Here We Go Again...
Before I dig into what is a very dynamic topic for email marketing, I want to talk about mailboxes. In 1775, when Benjamin Franklin became the first postmaster general of the U.S., mailboxes looked something like this:
Which messages appeal most to potential franchisees?
It depends, obviously!