Five segmentation cohorts that work best for SMS marketing

If you send an email that doesn’t quite resonate with your recipient, the worst that can happen is that the customer won’t open it. But SMS is a different ball game. Text messages are more intimate and immediate. If you bombard your customers with texts that are not relevant to their needs or interests, you risk losing their trust—and subscriptions.

While your customers don’t necessarily see all of the emails you send, SMS has an almost 100% open rate, and more than 50% of consumers open a text message within five minutes of receiving it. 

Clearly, you need to approach segmenting SMS in a different way. In order to maintain your customers’ trust, it’s important to make sure that every text you send is meaningful and relevant.

Try these segmentation cohorts in order to better connect with your customers by sending them the right text messages at the right time.


Send targeted text messages to customers within a specific region to help ensure that they receive the message at the most relevant time for them. Use segmentation by geolocation for your SMS marketing. This is helpful if you’re running a time-sensitive event that’s happening at a specific day and time in a specific brick-and-mortar location. While an email may sit unopened in your customers’ inboxes for a few days—and may not even get read until the event is already over—there’s a 98% chance that your customers will see your text message.

With this information, you can then send targeted text messages to customers who not only live close to the location of your event, but are also physically close to the location of the event as it’s about to happen. 

CROSSNET uses geographic segmentation to engage San Francisco basketball fans

You can also segment by location, targeting customers based on geospecific events, like a sporting event that may be relevant to customers in a specific area. CROSSNET, a volleyball net supplier, took the opportunity to target subscribers in the San Francisco region after the Golden State Warriors lost in the NBA playoffs. It cheered up disappointed fans by providing a discount on their next order.

“We said, ‘Sorry about your loss, Warriors fans. Make it better by taking $50 off of CROSSNET,’” Chris Mead, CROSSNET’s CMO, explained. “I see so many opportunities to use SMS more in that way. And as a marketer, it’s really fun to think about all the innovative campaigns you can run like that.”


Take advantage of the hyperpersonal nature of SMS by using demographics to segment text messages. Segmenting by demographics includes targeting customers based on factors such as their age, gender, and lifestyle. Using this information, you can relate to customers’ interests and needs on a deeper level.

Sending text messages segmented by demographics will increase the likelihood that your customers will open a promotional message and act on it in a timely manner. For example, if you’re an outdoors brand running a promotion on ski poles, segmenting text messages specifically to skiers will increase the likelihood of your engagement.

Segmenting by demographics also profiles lifestyle traits at an even more granular level. Examples of this include people interested in health and wellness, patrons of art galleries and museums, or avid sports fans. 

CookUnity uses demographic segmentation to send targeted food recommendations

CookUnity, which specializes in subscription food boxes, sent a text message to customers segmented by lifestyle. This message targeted its pescatarian customers, offering food recommendations that appeal to people whose meat intake is limited to fish and other seafood. This segmentation increases the likelihood that a customer will act on the message and place an order before the cutoff time.

Amount of time since last purchase

Segment by the amount of time since a customer’s last purchase to encourage recent shoppers to order another item they would be likely to buy. Or, motivate customers who haven’t bought from you in a while back into doing business with you once again. The amount of time you use as your metric will depend on the kinds of products and services you offer and their life cycles. Sending a targeted message by SMS increases the likelihood that your text will reach your customer and motivate them to continue shopping with you.

Victoria Emerson segments by customer purchase history to target recent shoppers

Ecommerce jewelry brand Victoria Emerson segments text messages based on customers’ purchase history. The company sent out a text message to a customer who had recently purchased an item. The text message had a CTA asking the customer if they were interested in continuing to shop. By sending this targeted message to the customer through SMS, they’re more likely to see the message and access the hyperlink to continue shopping.

VIP customers

Targeting VIP customers offers the perfect opportunity to drive deeper engagement and build stronger loyalty with your best customers. Make your best customers feel special with exclusive offers, content, and early access in your text messages.

When you send VIP customers a text message with an exclusive offer, you’ll increase the odds that your most loyal customers will see your message—and access the deal. Take advantage of the personal feel of SMS to encourage higher brand advocacy from your best customers.

The DB Method builds loyalty with their best customers

Fitness equipment brand The DB Method targeted VIP customers with a text message. The SMS message refers to the customer as an “VIB” once they opt into text message marketing. By receiving this message by text, the customer is more likely to see the message, and shop the brand.

High intent

Send targeted texts to customers who have shown high interest in your product or service, but haven’t yet purchased. These texts will encourage customers to follow through and buy from you. These types of customers may have previously interacted with your brand in various ways, like clicking on CTAs in your messages or adding items to their cart—but failing to complete their purchase.

KontrolFreek motivates high-intent shoppers with segmentation

Gaming accessories retailer KontrolFreek sent hyper-personalized text messages in Klaviyo, segmented to customers who had demonstrated high intent. These customers started to place an order, but then abandoned their cart. They also failed to open an original abandoned cart email. Segmenting using SMS was necessary for KontrolFreek to engage these customers and encourage them to follow through with their purchases. By sending the message through SMS, they increased the likelihood that the customers would see the message and resume shopping from their cart. This strategy earned the company an 8% increase in revenue per text message with a 25% increase in their SMS click-through rate. 

Hyper-personalize your SMS messaging to drive customer engagement

Segmenting your text messages should be a part of a larger marketing strategy to hyper-personalize your SMS communications with customers. Tap into the personal nature of SMS to take advantage of uniquely intimate interactions that you can’t achieve as easily from other channels. This will not only drive higher engagement, but build even more meaningful brand loyalty.

Learn how to personalize your communications to deepen customer engagement.

Back to Blog Home
Get email marketing insights delivered straight to your inbox.