In a previous post I talked about the importance of keeping your email list cleaned up. A second, equally vital step towards keeping your email lists well managed is segmenting them into properly divided interest groups. Basically, you want to make sure what you are sending to your clients, or potential clients, meets their needs and stays out of the spam folder. That said, how can you make sure your interest groups are not too broad and are properly divided?
How Many Groups are Too Many?
To get started you’ll need to decide how many interest groups you can realistically manage. Let’s be honest, a few well managed groups are going to be more effective than 50 unmanaged groups. Don’t bite off more than you can chew, instead create only the amount of groups you have the time to monitor and manage.
Narrow Down Your Categories
Deciding what kind of interest groups will be most effective for your business depends largely on the nature of your business and who your clients are. As you decide how to divide your email list into categories, keep in mind that they should never be too broad. For example, an interest group for everyone who attended your home show last spring is way too broad. Instead, try creating a few simple groups based on your clients’ age group, their interest in a certain product or service your company offers, etc.
For example, let’s say you own a fitness club with various training guides and personal training programs. A 20 year old client is not likely to be interested in a new book about fitness after 50, and a 50 year old client is not likely to be interested in youth training. Properly dividing your interest groups will allow you to send messages about special events or services only to those who are likely to be interested.
Get to Know Your Contacts
In order to divide your interest groups properly, you need to know a little bit about the people behind the email addresses in your list. Obtaining specific information requires some advanced planning, but it is definitely worth the effort.
For example, if you do a home show, make sure to add a few check boxes to forms where people submit their email addresses. Include boxes where they can indicate their specific interests, age groups, or other information. Just a few boxes will do, try not to make the form too long and complicated.
If you meet a new contact at a business meeting or networking event, converse with them and pay attention to what their interests are. If they would like to be contacted by your company, be sure to exchange business cards with them. Afterwards, jot down a few words on the back of their card describing their interests and age group. This is one of the easiest ways to remember their interests and place them in the right category when you get home.
It’s Never Too Late to Get Organized
So, what if it’s too late for advanced planning? What if you never got specifics and now you have a huge email list with no way to know who exactly your messages are being sent too? Never fear, there is a solution for that too. Try sending a targeted message to your very broad list of contacts with a specific call to action like, “Download our free eBook” or “Visit our blog.” When the contact takes action, you will begin to understand their interests and can thereafter place them in a corresponding interest group.
Managing your email lists is no easy task, but you can achieve it. With a little advanced planning, some occasional clean up and properly organized interest groups, you will be on your way to creating email lists that yield real life results.
Below is a brief excerpt from a recent interview I did with Ashley Hunsberger about this subject