6 high-value audiences you should target with email segmentation

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The more relevant your messaging is to your target audience, the more likely they are to convert. You know this, but it’s easier said than done—especially when so many businesses have multiple distinct audience segments, each with their own motivations, pain points, and needs.

That’s where audience segmentation comes in. Most email marketing tools make it easy to identify and target different audience segments, so you can tap into more sales opportunities and build stronger relationships with all of your customers. But where should you start?

Here, we’ll look into a few different audience segments you can target via email.

How to segment your audience

Every business has multiple audience segments. A professional women’s clothing store, for example, is already serving a niche market, but there are segments within it. I’m petite: I want to see emails advertising petite clothing or options like pencil skirts that are less likely to need tailoring. That means I’m in a different audience segment from someone who needs extra-long trousers.

You also need to segment your audience by where they are in the digital sales funnel. If I just converted on a lead magnet and haven’t even become a customer, for example, I shouldn’t be getting an email encouraging me to refer my friends for 15% off.

With all that in mind, here are six audience segments you can use regardless of your industry. (I’m using Mailchimp as an example because that’s what I use for my email marketing, but many other email marketing tools offer similar features.)

1. Users who opened but didn’t click emails

Start with users who opened an email but didn’t click on any CTAs or internal links. This means they were interested enough to open the email, but you need another shot to crack the sale.

Say you’re trying to drive sales on a new product. You write a series of five different emails that explain what the product is, with a CTA to pre-order. Once it’s live, you can create a campaign that allows you to target users who opened but didn’t click on any of those five campaigns.

Showing opened-did-not-click segmentation in Mailchimp

Sometimes offering an extra incentive here can be what you need to finally convert these users.

2. Users with similar demographic data

While demographic data may seem superficial when it comes to audience segmentation, it can actually be a great way to divide up specialty email campaigns.

If you have a shirt-printing business, for example, that has shirts for every college in your region, then it makes sense to target users by their location. When I lived in Tallahassee, I’d receive emails showing me FSU items from a brand I followed when the college shirts first rolled out. That was due to demographic targeting.

You know those birthday emails that you get offering you $5 off for your birthday month? That’s using demographic data, too.

Segmenting by birthday in Mailchimp

Ultimately, you can use everything you know about your customers to find new ways to incentivize purchases with relevant messaging. That’s where demographic data comes into play.

3. VIP users

The reality is that we all have some customers who are more high-value than others. Maybe for you, those customers consistently have higher-than-average order values, maybe they purchase premium products or subscriptions, or maybe they just purchase more consistently.

Whatever the case, Mailchimp allows you to add users to a designed VIP list, which you can then target with special messaging.

VIP segment in Mailchimp

You can let these customers know that because of their loyalty to your brand, they’ve earned access to exclusive content first—first access to sales, the ability to be a beta tester, or even exclusive products, services, or offerings created just for them.

This leverages exclusivity in your favor, which can make your customers more likely to convert, especially if they’re already a high-value customer to begin with.

4. Signup source

An easy way to segment your audience is based on how they signed up with your brand.

For example, someone who converted on a landing page for a webinar is almost certainly at a different stage of the digital sales funnel than someone who signed up on a “free trial” or “demo” landing page.

Signup source for Mailchimp campaign

You can create entire campaigns based around the signup source.

  • If users converted on a lead magnet, set up an autoresponder that will not only get them the lead magnet instantly, but also offer access to other high-value content they might want to see.

  • You can send reminders for upcoming webinars or demos if users converted on those offerings.

  • For users who signed up on a landing page for a free trial, send emails every few days highlighting features and tutorials of the software, so users can get the most out of it.

5. Inactive subscribers

It’s easy to write off inactive subscribers (who are different from unsubscribed users), but they’re a potential gold mine if you’ve got the right strategy in place. With Mailchimp, you can actively target inactive subscribers (or users who haven’t responded to emails within a set period of time) as an audience segment using re-engagement campaigns.

If you’ve ever gotten an email that reads, “We miss you! Take 20% off” or “It’s been a while, don’t forget to order soon!” then you’ve gotten re-engagement campaigns. They’re designed to bring customers back into the fold, and they’re much cheaper and effective than trying to attract new customers.

Inactive subscribers segment in Mailchimp

You can also send out an “are you sure you still want to subscribe?” email. Brands sometimes send these out to say that they’ve noticed you haven’t engaged in a while, and if you want to stay on the list, just click here. If not, they can unsubscribe you. This is an easy way to clean up your email list to keep your subscription costs low if needed.

6. Past purchases made

If you’ve integrated Mailchimp with your eCommerce site like Shopify (which I strongly recommend), you’ll gain access to all sorts of audience targeting options.

One example: you can create campaigns for users who have made past purchases.

Say I’m selling a line of organic beauty products. I can target someone who’s purchased my olive oil body butter but who hasn’t yet purchased the body wash, bubble bath, or shampoo in the same scent.

Past purchase segment in Mailchimp

You can use this to upsell or cross-sell, increasing your overall purchases and even your average order value if you’re promoting a set of items.

6. Users who abandoned their cart

This is another one of those need-to-integrate-with-your-eCommerce-platform segments, but it’s a particularly high-value one. The abandoned cart rate globally is around 77%, and abandoned cart email series have an exceptional open rate of 43%.

Think about how many more sales you’ll be able to generate by not letting those abandoned cart users slip through the cracks.

Abandoned cart segment in Mailchimp

Mailchimp makes this particularly easy, with an Abandoned cart audience segment all ready for you to target once you set up site tracking.


Audience segmentation in email marketing can make all the difference between an enthusiastic purchase and someone ignoring the email (or worse, hitting the unsubscribe button), so it’s well worth taking the time to focus on.

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