If you’ve invested in a CRM platform, you’ve already taken a leap in the right direction. Automation and personalized messaging are revolutionizing the way companies stay in contact with their current and future customers. But with that power, comes a great responsibility: the responsibility to gather more information from your customers and use it in a relevant way. That’s where list segmentation comes in; no longer should we be blasting the same email messages to 10,000 people on a list, it’s time to send targeted messages to the people who are actually interested.

So before you send any email out to your contacts, ask yourself these questions:

→ Is this email relevant to every single person on my contact list?

→ Is there a chance that any contact will unsubscribe due to “non-relevance?”

→ Is there content in the email that appeals to people on the contact list, or is it all about us?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it’s time to rethink your strategy and drill down on segmentation. Recently, we challenged ourselves to begin the process of list segmentation for one of our clients, Sissy’s Log Cabin. The results gave them extra information about their clientele’s jewelry preferences. Here’s how we approached it:

Step 1 | Identifying categories of existing consumers

Our first step was to identify key groups of customers. This helped us understand how we wanted to separate our lists. For example, in our efforts to start segmenting Sissy’s Log Cabin’s existing customer lists, we identified five key areas of interest: men’s, women’s fashion, estate jewelry, engagement/wedding and diamonds.

Step 2 | Finding a value proposition that enticed customers to give us extra information

Simply identifying the above segments was not enough. An existing customer list that only consists of first names and emails does not tell us enough about them to put them into segmented preference lists. To create an email marketing strategy that gave existing clients on the email list something of value, we offered a $50 Sissy’s Log Cabin gift card for anyone who filled out a 10-second survey about their product preferences.

Step 3 | Sending and automating

Before we hit send to the existing customer list, we automated the segmentation process. We created rules within our CRM software; if Bob filled out the 10-second survey and selected that he was interested in diamonds, the action triggered a rule that put him into a list titled, “Preference: Diamonds.”

Step 4 | Using information for relevant messaging.

Once existing customers completed the survey, we ended up with robust lists of existing customers with preference specifications. Now we are able to send those customers emails that match their interests. Now, moving forward, women interested in engagement/wedding jewelry won’t receive emails about Rolex watches, etc.

This case study is just one of many ways to approach list segmentation. The bottom line? We all need to use CRM and automation to our advantage and give customers information that is in tune with their interests.