7 Ways to Think Like a Targeted Email Marketing Expert

Targeted email marketing

When you look at your email list, what do you see? If you’re like most people, you see a big group of email addresses — the more, the better. But what if you could look at your list and see an array of targeted email campaigns instead?

The danger in seeing “one big list” is that you miss out on opportunities to reach people with precisely targeted messages. You lose out on chances every day to bring new revenue into your store by sending targeted emails, in many cases with little or no effort required.

Targeted email marketingFortunately, it’s possible to change what you see when you look at your list. We talked to Brianna Hernandez, a Product Expert on Klaviyo’s Support Team, to uncover seven ways to look at your list differently. And once you’ve got these figured out, you’ll never look at your list the same way again. Find out how to send targeted email marketing campaigns.

1. Figure out who’s not opening your emails

Of all seven ways to look differently at your list, this one might be the most counterintuitive. But you can and should look at who isn’t opening your emails — so you can email them less frequently.


Because the key to excellent results actually doesn’t lie in emailing the greatest number of people. It lies in emailing the greatest number of people who want to get your email. When you’re bombarding people who never open your emails, that sends a signal to ESPs that your messages aren’t wanted.

Companies like Gmail have strict algorithms to determine inbox placement. Having high open rates will help ensure inbox placement and higher revenue, while unsubscribes and spam complaints will drive down deliverability.

“Consider only emailing engaged customers,” says Brianna. “For example, customers who have received an email at least once, are associated with your master marketing list, and who have opened an email from you at least once in last 90 days.”

2. Woo first-time customers

Customers who have just made their first purchase represent a unique opportunity for you. They’ve shown their interest in your products and your store. At the same time, they’re still forming an impression.

It’s a great time to reinforce their interest and strengthen the relationship. Consider sending a special post-purchase email to first-time customers only. You can say that you’ve noticed they’ve made their first purchase, ask them what they thought, and throw in 10% of their next order as well.

This gives them an opportunity to raise any issues that might have come up and can be resolved, as well as a one-time incentive to come back and shop again.

3. Wake up your dormant customers

First-time purchasers have your store fresh in their minds. But what about customers who bought something 3, 6, or even 12 months ago, but nothing since?

Set up an automated email series to reach out to them with a clear message — we want you back! — and a discount. If exciting new products have been added to the store or other things have changed, let them know.

If they haven’t opened an email from you in the past 90 days (see #1, above) it’s okay to reach out them with a winback email or two? Just make sure your subject headings are super-clear to increase the likelihood that they’ll open your emails.

4. Cultivate interest in a product line

Customers who purchased from a specific collection of products on your site may be more likely to purchase again from the same collection.

For instance, if you sell clothing and come out with a new line of graphic T’s each season, consider promoting them to customers who have purchased your graphic T’s in the past. And of course, you can combine this with email-opening history to improve your odds even more.

The segment might look something like this: people who have purchased a graphic T in the past 6 months, are in your marketing email list, and opened an email from you in the last 90 days. (If you don’t limit it to people in your marketing email list, you’ll send it to people who didn’t agree to get newsletters and updates — and their spam complaints and unsubscribes will hurt you in the long run.)

Hang on, though. Is that segment going to be large enough to send to? “You don’t want to build the biggest segment,” Brianna offers as a reminder. “You want to build the segment that’s most likely to take the action you want.” And in this case, that means opening the email, viewing the new graphic tees, and potentially purchasing one.

5. Anticipate buyers’ needs

Let’s say you sell clothing for babies and toddlers. If someone purchases an item, you can target them a certain amount of time later with the next logical item in the series.

Let’s look at an example. When someone purchases a newborn onesie, you can set up an automated email to trigger 60 days later. Say that you hope they enjoyed their purchase — and here are some great items for babies ages 3 to 6 months. The email could then link back to that section on your website.

Because readiness-based targeting can link back to evergreen pages on your website, it’s particularly well suited to automated targeted email marketing.

6. Leverage geographic location

There are lots of times that it makes sense to segment by geographic location. In some cases, the use case is more obvious: For instance, a company that sells products with logos of sports teams around the country.

But even if you don’t sell products that resonate in specific geographic areas, geography-based targeting may still make sense for your store. In fact, according to Brianna, if you ship any kind of physical products, you may want to explore geographic targeting.

Say you’re based in the U.S, you sell jewelry, and you’re having a special sale for Mother’s Day. You might want to send out two versions of your sale email emphasizing the last day to order for holiday delivery. You can send one version to non-U.S. customers with one date, since they’ll need more time for shipping, and then one to U.S. customers a few days later with a different date, since they’ll need less time.

7. Set up and utilize custom fields

Once you’re segmenting by email behavior, first-time purchasing, long-ago purchases, interest in a new product, readiness for the next in a sequence, and geography, what’s left? Plenty!

One area that enterprising ecommerce stores are exploring more and more: custom fields. Invite customers to answer a question on signup, choosing from a pulldown menu or a set of checkboxes. For instance, you can ask about birthdays, gender, desired email frequency, or preferred types of emails. Once you’ve got it set up and the information is feeding back into your email platform, you can segment based based on those customer properties.

Send Targeted email marketing campaigns in a nutshell

Precision really is the name of the game here. Sending relevant emails is good for you, your customers, and your entire email list. It improves deliverability over time and increases the likelihood of purchases.

Depending on your ecommerce platform and your email marketing provider, different capabilities may be available to you. You may find that some of these conditions are easier for you to target than others.

“The most important takeaway,” Brianna says, “is that you want to reach out to people with messages that are interesting, targeted, and add value. When you do that, everybody wins.”

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