How to Separate the Clooneys From the Carrot Tops in Your Email List

Reaching for the stars? Target the ones who always open your emails and buy, by using great content and frequent contact.

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By Seamas Egan

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Summer in Hollywood is about blockbuster movies and celebrity sightings. In the world of red carpets and premiere parties, stars range from A-listers like George Clooney to, well, not so highly rated celebs, like Carrot Top. The same could be said for your email customer contact list.

Related: 3 Elements That Will Make or Break an Email Marketing Campaign

Think of your most valuable, highly engaged email contacts as your own "A-list," and your least valuable, maybe even inactive, contacts as your "D-list." It won't benefit you to wine and dine Carrot Top when you've got Clooney on speed dial, right? So, why bother? Instead, read on for advice on how to segment your email celebrities and strategically schmooze your contacts.

Celebrity segmentation

When segmenting your email contacts, keep things simple; don't overcomplicate your efforts. Start by dividing your contacts into four main groups based on engagement levels:

  • The A-List: These VIP contacts on your list almost always open your emails and frequently click through to make a purchase.
  • The B-List: Your B-list contacts regularly open your emails and have probably made at least one purchase in the past.
  • The C-List: This group occasionally opens emails but rarely makes purchases.
  • The D-List: The D-list consists of duds who never interact with your email campaigns.

Email marketing tools can make segmentation easy by automatically generating an engagement score for each contact to represent his or her rates of interaction with your emails. Explicit information about your contacts, such as age, gender and location, is also very valuable. But what you really want to do is "up-level" your marketing for a personalized approach. And here the real value lies in mixing in any implicit insight you might have from your contacts' actions.

For example, say a female celebrity wants to go incognito so she can browse the Web for a new pair of sunglasses. She ends up at her favorite online retailer, which already knows her age and gender (data that aids in narrowing down which brands and styles she is likely to be interested in).

But if that retailer goes further and incorporates information about which sunglasses she actually clicked on in her emails from the store, the company can market specific products and deals to her to encourage her (or, perhaps, her assistant) to make the purchase.

Another crucial step in segmentation is tracking how your contacts got onto your list in the first place. Whether the source of a lead is Facebook, Twitter, an online survey or an affiliate marketing partner, there's value in that context when it comes to your outreach strategy. Social media and mobile platforms, for instance, are most likely to deliver A-list contacts; you can assume that a contact who opted in from Twitter is fairly active online and more likely to interact with your email.

On the other hand, leads from a single in-store purchase may be less receptive to a high-frequency email marketing campaign. Either way, knowing the source of your leads allows you to segment by an individual's estimated level of interest.

Related: 3 Elements That Will Make or Break an Email Marketing Campaign

Star strategy

Two main concepts to be mindful of in email marketing strategy are frequency and content. In other words, you should pay attention to how often you email your contacts and what it is you send them. These factors fluctuate depending on which group you're targeting.

Send your A-list contacts as many emails as they can handle. Consider the image of Halle Berry passing on the roles she's not interested in. Similarly, she and other A-list contacts can handle a heavy volume of email outreach without being overwhelmed.

Content is also crucial here, as A-listers expect the very best, so pamper them with swag-bag worthy promotions.

Typically, producers seek out the hottest talent in Hollywood, since these are the names who bring in the biggest crowds, and, thus, the biggest bucks. In the same way, you can expect the major portion of your revenue to come from these email A-listers. Therefore, be mindful of the 80/20 rule and make your high-performing contacts your priority.

Meanwhile, don't ignore your B list. Send these people intermittent emails offering a variety of quality content, including useful and fun information, alongside your promotions. Your C- and D-listers should hear from you only rarely, with carefully crafted subject lines to test whether they're still interested.

Finally, the most efficient email marketing campaigns occur only cyclically. Focus on scrubbing your D-list and transforming those moderately engaged contacts into A-listers. Once you have a big group of Hollywood-esque heavy hitters, focus on creating blockbuster content for them

Then send big promotions at those times when you have a peak number of high-engagers -- and enjoy the results of your hard work.

Related: 3 Effective Strategies for Growing Your Subscriber List Faster

Seamas Egan

Associate Director of Revenue Operations for Campaigner

Seamas Egan is associate director of revenue operations for Campaigner email marketing. His experience in strategic development across multiple channels has resulted in working with small-business owners to global enterprises. Egan is particularly versed in digital media and email marketing.

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