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How to Segment Your List the Right Way

February 9, 2015

Whether your business sells a product or a service, every customer or client that you do business with has their own unique needs. You wouldn’t sell to prospects with a one-size-fits-all approach, so why apply one to your direct mail campaign?

Advertising is often said to be “salesmanship in print.” Just like a great salesman modifies their pitch as they learn more about their prospect, the best direct mail marketers use segmentation to deliver a different message to different people.

List segmentation is the process of breaking your mailing list down into smaller segments. Segmenting your mailing list enables you to deliver a customized message to prospects based on their position in your company’s sales funnel.

The more deeply segmented your mailing list is, the more effective your direct mail marketing efforts will be. From service businesses to retailers, any type of business can benefit from segmenting its direct mail list into defined and specific groups.

There are lots of ways to segment a list, from separating big-spenders from small customers to segmenting cool leads from warm leads. In this blog post, we’ll share three simple but effective ways for your business to segment its direct mail list.


Segment prospects into “cold” and “warm” categories

Does your mailing list contain both cold and warm leads? There’s a big difference between marketing to a cold lead and marketing to someone that’s already shown interest in your product or service.

While a warm lead might require minimal persuasion to see your service’s value, a completely cold lead might need to be warmed up before they become responsive to your marketing message.

Segment your list based on lead warmth – for example, into “cold,” “warm,” and “hot” categories – so that you can deliver a different message to prospects based on their existing level of interest in your product or service.


Segment prospects based on their location

One of the easiest ways to increase your direct mail campaign’s response rate is by making it more relevant for recipients.  If your business has several retail stores or offices, you can make your campaign more relevant by segmenting based on location.

Do your direct mail postcards include the location of your nearest store? Segment your list into multiple categories based on recipients’ ZIP codes and increase each postcard’s relevance by listing the store closest to a recipient’s home address.

This might seem like a small improvement, but it can have big positive effects. When a prospect sees that your nearest store is just a five-minute drive from their address, the amount of friction involved in them taking action becomes far lower than usual.

Segment new, loyal, and lapsed customers 

As any marketer or business owner knows, the easiest customers to sell to are the ones you already have. While new customers require time to trust your company, loyal customers have already developed trust with your company.

The optimal marketing message for new customers is very different to the right one for existing customers. This makes segmenting your list based on customer loyalty and freshness a logical way to make your direct mail campaigns more relevant.

As well as “new” and “old” customers, you can create a segment for customers that have purchased your product or service in the past but since then have gone dormant. This allows you to deliver an even more relevant and closely targeted message via direct mail.


How should your company segment its mailing list?

Breaking your list down into small, clearly defined segments lets you deliver a more relevant message to prospects and customers, increasing your campaign’s response rate and return on investment.

How should your company segment its mailing list for maximum ROI? From location to customer history, there are several ways to segment your list, each with a variety of advantages and disadvantages.