Want better engagement? Then you’ve got to segment. Do I sound like a broken record? You know this, right? You might be saying, “I AM segmenting and it’s not working!”

Then I’ll ask you, how are you doing your segmentation? Because more times than not, you’re using the wrong segmentation approach if you want to get results in today’s attention-deficit world.

Traditional marketing (and what I heard as recently as mid-January from some marketers) instructs you to segment based on demographics. While that ‘could’ have some relevance – that sort of segmentation is not what yields engagement and results that I suspect you truly want and need.

Let me relay a recent experience:

I was just in a 3-day course on how to structure and run a great webinar. And as I looked around the room at the other participants, all age groups were represented – from early 20’s to literally the 70’s (Yes! There are people interested in running great webinars who are in their 70’s).

The same message appealed to all of us – and that is what lured us into the 3-day course. Millenials, Gen-Y, Gen-X, and Baby Boom generations were all represented in the room. There were men and women in the room. Some were married, some single, some had kids, some had more marketing experience than others… yet there we were, all in this class on how to structure and run a great webinar.

Think about that for a minute… I just relayed to you a bunch of demographics… yet NONE of them mattered in terms of successfully marketing (and filling) the 3-day webinar course.

What DID make the difference? What engaged all of us and brought us to the event?

I’ll get to that in a minute, but first, let me ask you a question: Do you have tons of time to work on your marketing message and campaigns? Because given who was in the program I just attended, IF marketing had focused on demographics, just consider how much time it would have taken to craft those messages – to EACH demographic… to generate the interest and attendance in this program.

That would wear anyone out! I don’t know about you – but I DO NOT have the time to do it. Should I just throw up my hands and return to a batch and blast strategy of treating everyone the same?

Sure, if you don’t want to increase your conversions, and instead ride that slippery slope into irrelevance!  And I suspect that’s not you (in part because you’re still reading this post!).

What all of the participants in the program I just attended had in common was our commitment to leveraging webinars to help grow our businesses. We are all interested in being more effective and achieving real growth in our businesses.

See how that has nothing at all to do with demographics? The ‘segment’ that we all fit into is based on our interest and not at all along the lines of demographics.

Take a look at your leads, and how they’ve responded to your marketing. Maybe I should first ask you what you know about your leads and what they’re interested in… Can you see it? Do you have that information?

Because THAT is the secret to segmenting that will drive results today.

Not convinced? I could say just try it for yourself – but let me tell you another story.

I worked with the head of continuing education registration for a community college in the Eastern United States. After sending a broadcast (batch & blast) email to his list, he noticed that he got a LOT of clicks on a link that was at the bottom of the email.

He got curious about those clicks and decided to focus in on that interest area – the link was for a sewing class and he extrapolated that out to a “back-to-basics” theme. He got instructors for cooking, canning, and sewing together, and each offered an article about their subject – with some fun information and things people could do… each article page had a blurb about the instructor and links to upcoming classes that instructor was teaching – that were open for registration.

Then he looked at and pulled everyone who had shown interest in cooking, canning, or sewing – but not enrolled in classes (and created a separate list of those who had enrolled previously). Based on the tools he was using (full disclosure, he was our customer – using our Genoo product), this took him only about 5 minutes to do. Then he crafted three emails specifically for that segment he created and sent them out.

What do you think the results were for that effort? Could you create a segment of your leads based on a specific interest that they have expressed?

While you consider that, I want to give you another reason to pay attention to this new winning type of segmentation. There are actually multiple benefits to be had when you get segmentation right – but the one that I want you to consider is improved deliverability. If reaching the inbox is important to you, then segmentation (the new winning kind we’re outlining) done right, will be a tailwind to your email marketing efforts – because more of your emails will make it to the inbox.

OK – back to the results that our community college customer experienced from designing an interest-based segment campaign. You wonder how it went?

He got direct replies from recipients that they loved the articles and lots of engagement with them – which were clicks through his emails. Pretty great, but the other thing he achieved, without directly asking people to sign up? Yep… he FILLED the available classes for the instructors he featured.

How could you harness interest-based segments in your marketing? Post a comment and let us know or ask a question – we’d be happy to engage with you!


About Kim Albee

An in-demand marketing consultant, speaker, and educator, Kim is a respected visionary with a great sense of humor who has made her life goal to make marketing easier and more accessible for small business owners. When not changing the course of marketing history, you can find her at a tiny cabin next to a Wisconsin lake with people and critters that make her happy.


  • John says:

    Hey Kim,
    I appreciate the way you’re smart.
    I guess you won’t be really surprised I tell you I already read this current blog some 13 months ago.
    I would like you to write about how contacts are becoming more relevant than subscribers,
    I would also be interested in reading any blog from you about why every list database should comply with the EU GDPR, to be prepared for the future.


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