Rethinking the Batch-and-Blast: 3 Emails to Segment Before You Send Them to Your Entire List

batch and blast segmentation

Marketers seem to have a love-hate relationship with the batch-and-blast email. 

You probably realize that sending the same information to your entire email list without any segmentation or personalization isn’t the best way to get your message across to your customers. But at the same time, some of your campaigns are just so exciting that you want to get the word out to everyone without leaving out a single email address! 

What’s important to remember, though, is that just because you’re segmenting your campaigns, it doesn’t mean you can’t hit most or all of your list—often, it’s about sending your campaign in waves so certain segments get it before others or so people get a different version of your content based on their preferences, behavior, and buying history. 

Not only will segmenting major marketing campaigns allow you to personalize each message, but it’ll also help you improve the deliverability of your entire campaign to ensure your most important emails reach the inbox of your subscribers.

So, instead of bombarding all of your customers with the same email for your next big announcement, find out how you can filter and segment your campaigns to reach the right audience at the right time.

Filters to use for every campaign

Filtering certain subscribers out is a good rule of thumb for every email you send, not just the most important ones.

Before getting into segmentation strategies for specific campaigns, there are a few ways you can filter your lists for every email to help improve deliverability, avoid annoying your customers, and reach the most relevant subscribers. 

Here are a few foolproof ways to filter every email you send:

Engaged subscribers

Unless you’re sending urgent information that all your subscribers need to know, such as a policy change or company update, a more effective strategy is to segment all of your email sends to go to engaged subscribers and filter out people who haven’t opened or clicked on an email from your brand in a long time. 

“A long time,” of course, differs from brand to brand, but generally, if someone hasn’t clicked or opened an email from you in the last 30 days, you should filter them out. By making sure you’re only sending emails to engaged subscribers, you’re doing yourself a favor when it comes to successfully reaching your subscribers’ inboxes. 

Think your campaign is good enough to win back lapsed subscribers? Send the email after you send it to engaged subscribers to take advantage of your sparkling sender reputation.

VIP subscribers

One of the perks of being a brand loyalist? Your customers can get first looks and sneak peeks of your most exciting offers before other people.

Developing a VIP segment, whether customers know they’re a part of or not, is all about creating the feeling of exclusivity. In turn, your most loyal customers will stay loyal and, hopefully, become brand advocates. 

If you’re sending out a campaign that you’re especially excited about, chances are your VIP customers will be, too. Let them know about it before the general public, whether you tell them through an email a week before the launch or tell them through a text message an hour before the launch to give them first access to the best opportunities you have to offer.

Customers who recently made a purchase

If your campaign is promoting product-based content, considering filtering out people who have bought from your brand within the past few hours or days. 

These customers are unlikely to buy from you again in such a short amount of time, especially if they just paid for shipping and their order is still in the mail. 

Your customers will be much more open to receiving further promotions from you once they receive their product and they’re ready to start thinking about making their next purchase.

People who recently received a communication

You don’t want to spam your customers’ inboxes by sending them emails or texts too many times in a row. And again, you have to keep those deliverability rates in mind. 

Consider filtering out people who have received an email or a text from your brand in the last 24 hours or more, depending on the frequency of your normal sends. 

This is especially important the more you build out segments—if a customer qualifies for three different segments, you don’t want to send them three versions of the same email in the same day. 

How to segment 3 commonly blasted emails

There are some emails that are obvious candidates for segmentation—birthday and anniversary emails, for example, require the end receiver to meet very specific criteria before they’d see this kind of email in their inbox.

There are other types of emails, though, that are easier to blast without a second thought. Here are three of the most commonly blasted emails and how you can think about segmenting them:

1 | Product or collection launches

While it’s always exciting to release a new product or new collection, especially as a smaller brand with limited inventory, you can still get the word out to your entire customer list without sending the same email to everyone at the same time.

Social proof is essential to many shoppers’ buying decisions, so try sending the first batch of product launch emails to customers who have previously provided feedback on your products. 

Since these customers are more likely to leave a review of your new product or products, you can start curating user-generated content to use when you announce the launch to the rest of your email list.

Once you have testimonials, ratings, and photos of customers using your product, you can use these to immediately prove the value of your product in your messaging.

Alternatively, release a lookbook ahead of the launch as a sneak preview to your VIP segment or send out an email vaguely hinting of a launch where people can sign up to be the first to know when it’s available.

 

2 | Sitewide sales and promotions

Sales are always a great way to drive traffic to your site, but before you promote an email about a can’t-miss deal to your entire customer base, take a step back and think critically about the goals for the campaign.

Are you holding a sale to get rid of this season’s items before next season’s collection hits? Is this a sale that aims to get rid of excess inventory or overstock on a certain item? Is this a sale you have every year, such as a Cyber Weekend sale or holiday sale? Are you trying to try to give loyal customers an exclusive perk or win over people who haven’t purchased yet with an irresistible offer? Do you have plenty of products to get rid of or will your inventory be limited?

The goal of your sale should inform who you send it to first. For example, if you’re just trying to move product, maybe you want to send a message to customers who have only bought from your brand using a discount. You could also do a second push to this segment towards the end of your sale when prices are even lower to ensure that everything you’re trying to get rid of is gone.

Another option for this kind of sale would be to prioritize customers who have only purchased from your website once before because it might encourage them to make their second purchase and become a repeat customer, instantly increasing their lifetime value. 

On the other hand, if you’re trying to score net new customers, you could use a sitewide sale as an opportunity to showcase best sellers at a discount. Especially if your sale inventory is limited, you may want to prioritize non-purchasers to ensure they have a positive first experience when they try to shop and have the largest selection of products to choose from.

And don’t forget about your big spenders—you can target them with sales on luxury goods that could still be considered expensive, even with a significant discount, such as half-priced designer handbags or shoes.

 

3 | Contests and giveaways

Contests are always a popular way to attract the attention of subscribers (who doesn’t love free stuff?), but there are a few ways you might want to segment your lists when sending out information about the event and details about how to enter.

For example, you might want to target different customers with the initial messaging based on whether the contest is something you’re doing alone, with brand partners, or with influencers.

If you’re hosting the contest solo and holding a giveaway for a year’s supply of your product, for example, you could send this out to your VIP segment first. Based on what product you’re giving away, you could also target customers who specifically have bought that product before—or better yet, customers who haven’t bought it before so you don’t miss out on a potential future sale.

If you’re doing a giveaway where you’re partnering up with an influencer or another brand, maybe you want to initially send the information to customers who you first acquired through social media channels since they’re more likely to know the people or businesses you’re collaborating with. 

To keep your giveaway even more targeted, leave out your current customers completely. Create a popup form on your website during the contest for site visitors and only send information about the event to new subscribers as part of your list building and new customer acquisition strategy. 

Ditch the batch-and-blast

It’s time to ditch the batch-and-blast mentality for good and, instead, focus on building stronger relationships with your customers with personalized messaging that’s actually going to be relevant to them.

You work hard on your marketing campaigns, so it can be difficult to practice self-control with your email list when it comes to sharing big news. 

But segmenting your email list will make those efforts really pay off and allow you to focus on what really matters—watching each send turn into opens, clicks, and conversions. 

Interested in learning more about segmentation? Read the email segmentation for ecommerce benchmark report.

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